Josh Holmes is just a nice guy when it comes to community interaction - I’ve already had the pleasure to get some answers from Josh on Twitter.
But now he stepped into the lion’s den (brave man!) @teambeyond which I havn’t seen any studio head doing to that extent before.
He answered a lot of questions - there are some nice infos there too!
HERE is the corresponding thread (please wear a protective suit - enter at your own risk!).
Josh goes by the name of Sal1ent there… just that you know.
As I’m a real nice person I’ve harvested all of Josh’s quote for your reading pleasure - probably not all things are perfectly clear without the context of the conversation but I think you can get 90% of the info without having to read through 18+ pages.
I’ve summarized the most important points a couple of posts below (for the lazy)!
But here is the full text (Josh’s quotes in normal text)!
WALLS OF TEXT INCOMING
Why is there a thread with my name in the title?
@Maximus IL: Great post and thanks for taking the time to write up in such detail. Your posts here are pretty uniformly awesome BTW.
Where to begin…
I can’t really offer much insight into MCC because I didn’t work on it. Same goes for the rest of the Halo 5 team. What I can say is that the MCC team cares deeply about their product, they worked their -Yoinks!- off to try and deliver the ultimate Halo fan experience and they were devastated by the problems the game had upon launch. There was no conspiracy to knowingly release a flawed product and they have been committed to fixing issues since it released. That’s not an excuse for the state of multiplayer when it launched and you have every right to feel frustrated and angry.
On communication: I am very much in favor of open dialogue with the community. Prior to release that will always be somewhat constrained by plans around announcements, etc because we can’t talk about unannounced stuff. I am looking forward to post-E3 and GamesCom when I can share our HCS and post-launch support plans for H5. During Halo 4’s development our communication was further limited by team bandwidth. We were a brand new studio taking on a massive challenge, growing our team while building a huge game. For Halo 5 we’ve tried to open things up with the Arena beta, The Sprint series and through direct interaction on forums, social media, etc. We’re balancing this with the effort that goes into building the game, obviously. Speaking for myself, personally I try to respond whenever I am able to address a question or concern from members of the community, so long as the dialogue remains respectful.
On the beta feedback / post-mortem: my blog wasn’t trying to justify decisions, I was providing context for changes being made and a developer’s perspective on the game that we’re building. I tried to touch on what I felt were the most important takeaways for us as a team, but of course not everything was covered.
You mentioned concerns with lighting. These were not addressed in detail, but I did mention lighting improvements in my summary as one of the many things being addressed post-beta. To add more context, we have a new physically-based material system and a new lighting model for Halo 5. At the time of beta we were still dialing things in and there were a number of technical work items still outstanding. We’ve continued to work on refining the lighting throughout the game and paid particular attention to improving player visibiity in multiplayer, which was a big issue in the beta in specific areas on the maps. This is something we have been rigorously testing and it is much better. It’s also been a high priority across the many other maps we’re building that weren’t featured in the beta.
On sprint, I feel like this is a religious debate. The mechanic is incredibly divisive. Nothing I say will convince the sprint haters that it’s good for Halo, no matter how it’s implemented. We like the way our game plays with sprint. There are many reasons why it’s in the game, both mechanical & experiential. I’ve tried explaining some of them (and maybe I have done a poor job), but it seems any attempt to do so devolves into a dogmatic rhetoric and personal attacks. Suffice to say, we enjoy the way it plays and feel it supports our vision for Halo 5. That’s why it’s in there. The core of the game is supported by sprint and we prefer the way it plays with it. So do the vast majority of players based on all of our research. For people that don’t like it, we’ve enabled a toggle in customs so they can play without it.
There. I’m done talking about sprint.
Finally, you mentioned the lack of a forum on Waypoint to highlight bugs and glitches discovered. In your mind how would this differ from the HALO SUPPORT forums there? Is it simply a question of better moderation or are there specific tools that you feel are lacking? Any thoughts or suggestions are appreciated and I will be sure to pass on to the appropriate folks.
> Because that would be totally free of self selection bias.
Do you even know what this means?
> He has compared real Halo players to kids crying for a -Yoinking!- comfort blanket.
I’ve done no such thing. But feel free to go ahead and fabricate whatever words you want to put in my mouth. Whatever makes you happy.
> Oh, yes, let’s ignore all those meaningful, respectful posts that could lead to a useful discussion and just nitpick and reply to these ones instead, so that you can have an excuse to leave the discussion.
I haven’t left the discussion, but I was clear about a couple of things in my last post. I’m done talking about sprint and I can’t speak for MCC (team or game). Also, please don’t freak out if I don’t respond immediately. I’m not trying to ignore people I just have a lot going on and it may take some time for me to post.
I went through the last few pages to address some stuff that doesn’t fall into either category.
> For the love of satan, can we please have another beta?!
We don’t have any plans for another external beta. The burden of supporting an external beta release takes weeks of time from the team. Time that would otherwise be spent polishing the final game. I have to balance the impact to the team and make the right tradeoffs to deliver the best game.