Hey Waypointers. When I’m talking about a sky and bring placeholder, I am of course talking about The Silent Cartographer. After watching the new video showing a demonstration of The Silent Cartographer and the flashback feature being used while looking out to the sea, I noticed a few major differences, and realized a few things about Combat Evolved.
The first thing I saw was that Anniversary looks amazingly beautiful - but something about its visual style seems different. As I’m watching and Dan Ayoub is talking about the flashback feature, whoever is playing the demo uses the feature, and suddenly whatever was off in my head just clicked. Seeing both versions of the game in motion, it became apparent to me that Combat Evolved is much more vibrant and simplistic than Anniversary. With the click of a button, the clouds in the sky suddenly disappeared, yielding the way for stars to dot the sky in a mystical fashion. The sea, when looked at from the beach, just went on and on without a visible stop; no islands or anything to stop it being absolute, save the one you stand on.
This changed in Anniversary. Clouds went from being just on the very edges of the sky; far away enough to see, but so that most of the sky directly above you was bright blue and dotted by stars to being well…pretty all over the place. The sky is now a dark blue and the stars have disappeared. The beautiful, mystifying, spotless horizon is suddenly dotted with odd islands; one resembling a column of rock jutting straight up.
I just want to say, this stark, seamless comparison tool has made me realize that - and I feel just as weird saying this as you will reading it - Anniversary seems too detailed. I’ve never really realized it until Anniversary, but Halo: Combat Evolved is probably one of the most beautiful Halo games, because it’s simple, vibrant, and colorful. With Anniversary, the clear, bright blue, spotless sky is replaced by dark blue and clouds, making it less noticeable.
There are things besides the sky that I’ve noticed, but the sky suddenly being so much less remarkable was the one I wanted to highlight with this thread. So I really hope that that sky is placeholder, and the one we see in the final product isn’t so different from the original. I love staring out at the Combat Evolved skyboxes. With each Halo game, this interest has faded. Halo 2 had really pixelated, uninteresting skyboxes. Halo 3’s skyboxes were first blocked off by urban environments, then marred by much the same problem as Anniversary. Reach’s skyboxes are pretty good, though. But none of them even come close to the strikingness of the Combat Evolved skyboxes. So please, 343 Industries, put a little more work into retaining that. I know - unfinished game is unfinished - but I don’t know for sure what’s placeholder and what’s not, so if this wasn’t brought to your attention, I wanted to make sure it is.