"Return to battlefield" warning has got to go

We all know the dreaded “return to battlefield” warning that issues the player a countdown to his/her death, and if you’re like me, you miss the days where exploring the outer regions of maps was doable, and even if you did get killed by some automated system by going too far, the game at least did it in a creative way. Examples:

-Mercenaries 1: you would be warned by some air traffic controller that you were in unauthorized air or land space and would eventually get bombed to death by jet fighters.

-Halo 3: those purple turrets that would shoot you to death on snowbound, the “all seeing eyes” on Sandbox that would zap you into oblivion if you left the map, and on Sandtrap you would just get bombed to death.

-Gears of War: during the campaign, there was a level where if you stepped into the darkness you were Krill food and would die almost instantly.

All of these features basically keep the gamer in the bounds of the appropriate area in a creative way, and pretty much any other game before the death timer existed, you would either be able to explore it and it’s meaninglessness because the devs didn’t make anything beyond the boundaries of the game, or there was just an invisible wall.

There is nothing more annoying than thinking you can explore some place on a map and then some giant timer pops up on the screen and basically wags its finger at you saying, “no, no, no, you can’t be here.”

Halo Infinite looks to be a game where exploration is going to be a big thing, and I’ll be more than disappointed if there’s any instance in the game where I just wanna chill and explore and the game issues me a big, fat warning in the form of a stupid countdown timer on my screen.

why not just do it in a creative way? Just imagine, a jungle themed multiplayer map like Guardian, but if you walk out of bounds you’re gonna get headshotted by a Jackal sniper. Or how 'bout a map that’s based in New Mombasa or Reach being invaded by the Covenant and if you walk off the battlefield you get glassed to death by a cruiser.

Out of bounds timers are dumb, annoying, and just plain lazy.

My only real issue with it is that it stifles exploration in single player and takes me out of the game in MP. If your map design lends itself to exploits by normal movement you didn’t do a great job designing it.

It fits in the lore that multiplayer is just simulations but like you said, it just feels lazy. It’d definitely be a nice touch but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter too much to me.

100% agree
“return to battlefield” = bad design
Ladies and gentlemen the glory days of Halo:
https://youtu.be/pQZOAE0Hmt4
Do you remember that?

I agree, get rid of it.

I agree wholeheartedly.

There’s many interesting ways the problem can be dealt with in other ways like those you’ve mentioned. You could also just design the level in such a way that it’s impossible to escape it, removing the need for those boundaries.

Failing to contain the player (in campaign, MP would be a problem), it would just allow the player to explore and can make for some interesting finds, speedrunning tactics, etc. like in Halo 2 (looking at you, outskirts).

Can’t disagree. Soft kill barriers always either seem extremely lazy (when they’re somewhere where you can actually get in normal gameplay without glitches) or pointless when you can’t realistically even get to them. I think level design should be used to keep players in the play area as much as possible. Beyond that, if the feel of the area requires open design, then creative ways of killing the player that fit the theme should be used. With these two methods, I don’t see a reason why we should ever see “Return to battlefield” messages. Frankly, if need be, I’d rather take invisible walls than soft kill volumes.

Agree as well. Those damn timers always wreck any sort of immersion. As a teenager, I didn’t quite understand the advantage of Guardians in Halo 3 from a design perspective. But, as I’ve grown and learned more about design, I realized it was such a simple yet effective way of communicating boundaries.

Plus, it gave players something to get annoyed at in-game rather than the map designers themselves. And that just means more exploration in itself. I know I tried multiple times to take down the Guardians, but it obviously didn’t work haha.

I agree with this 100% but lore wise it makes sense and 343I seem to want to stick to lore…when it suits them that is :wink:

That’s one thing I loved and still love about Halo 2, was the out of bounds explorations. Breaking things in Single Player just adds to the replay value so being confined to an area in that sense kinda sucks. Multiplayer I can understand because these are intended, competitive spaces. The thing is, most of us use glitches to escape maps, which are unintended. The developers and forgets should be (and usually are) aware of such glitches and attempt to tune their map spaces by invisibly blocking areas.

Certain maps that are aesthetically built in H5 BTB, such as Scavenger, have way to mucho ground game for all the little extra alcoves and areas above ground that you can easily clamber to. Clamber as a tool makes these areas reachable by anyone, and more skilled players can traverse easier.

I just feel like the timer is too unforgiving. 30 seconds seems a bit much but maybe 20 seconds is more reasonable. The only reason we need a safeguard is from people simply exiting a map with a lead and holding out until the timer runs out, which ruins gameplay. I’d even be all for something else other than killing the player, such as marking a waypoint over their head after 10 seconds or even deducting a point (Slayer), and in objective games not allowing your team’s objective to score if someone on your team is out of bounds longer than 10 seconds.

I agree that it should be removed entirely from the campaign and official multiplayer maps, but I think that, until Forge is as powerful as the toolset that 343 is actually using to develop the game, there’re reasons to keep soft kill barriers around for some custom game maps.
In theory though, I 100% agree that it’s a very poor way of preventing players from going to specific places in most cases. Especially given the way that time on the soft kill barriers regenerates - I think Halo 4 was particularly terrible with this - you’d get out of a soft kill barrier with 1 second to go, then accidentally reenter and immediately die.
And on that note, you should never be able to accidentally leave the play area. That itself feels like either mal-thought-out map boundaries, or bad player channeling.

Halo: Reach was the first game to implement that rule. After that, it’s been in other games. They should get rid of that function because it limits exploration and map creation for the people who build maps on Forge.

Couldn’t agree more OP…

In halo reach I remember hating it so much, especially because some of them were in ridicules spots. Halo 4 was even more annoying when it came to it too.

> 2533274815533909;9:
> I agree with this 100% but lore wise it makes sense and 343I seem to want to stick to lore…when it suits them that is :wink:

What’s hilarious is how developers in our generation constantly use “lore” and “canon” as excuses for poor design and gameplay decisions in certain games and then just neglecti that entire idea with a game in the same franchise (Halo Wars 2)

I think it should be law that lore and canon keep it’s fat nose out of multiplayer at all. Gameplay and fun over everything else, that’s good design.

Or wait, maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about and they should totally preserve the canon of the franchise and just not give us playable Elites again, regardless of the hundreds of thousands of people who want them to return.

So maybe I’m also just a foolish peasant in the eyes of game design and the countdown timer is actually brilliant and ingenius!

> 2533275022531756;4:
> 100% agree
> “return to battlefield” = bad design
> Ladies and gentlemen the glory days of Halo:
> INGENUITY :: A Halo 3 Montage - YouTube
> Do you remember that?

Well I mean, it started in Halo Reach. And kill barriers were worse in there I swear.

> 2533274847563380;13:
> Couldn’t agree more OP…
>
> In halo reach I remember hating it so much, especially because some of them were in ridicules spots. Halo 4 was even more annoying when it came to it too.

Exactly. I getting a jetpack and only going 2 feet before the warning sign kicked in… -_-

Yes and the invisible barriers that prevent the freedom to fly higher with vehicles.

I hated it especially in Forge World, where I could not see a single reason why I couldn’t build in certain areas (under the waterfall for example)

> 2533274869172866;18:
> I hated it especially in Forge World, where I could not see a single reason why I couldn’t build in certain areas (under the waterfall for example)

True, I totally forgot how egregious that exact example was… It’d be nice if they had an inbuilt option to disable invisible walls in forge too (although I see the value in invisible walls before someone explicitly consents to their disappearance).

> 2535431515129249;17:
> Yes and the invisible barriers that prevent the freedom to fly higher with vehicles.

That one is actually a case where the “return to battlefield” type killzone works. Have players that go above a certain altitude get a warning that they are about to be shot down and you’ll achieve the same thing without having a invisible magic hand pressing down on your banshee/pheaton/whatever.