When Halo: The Master Chief Collection launched last year it was supposed to be ultimate fan service: four of the most renowned games in the series, all in one fancy package loaded with extras, all on Xbox One. The final product was… well, problematic. To this day it still isn’t 100 percent functional all the time, with a rash of issues like game crashes still persisting. “It was our first game on a new platform, and it was essentially five engines [with] a wrapper,” 343 Industries head Bonnie Ross explained to me this week. All that to say, because the game wasn’t a native Xbox One game is why it had so many issues. Still that makes it incredibly difficult to get excited for this fall’s Halo 5: Guardians. Will it be as heartbreaking on a technical level as MCC? I briefly spoke with Ross about how she and her teams are working to overcome and address that very valid concern.
I know that the Halo 5: Guardians development team is a different from the one that developed Halo: The Master Chief Collection.
Bonnie Ross: That’s why I’m here to answer all those questions; it’s not this team.
But not everyone else knows that. My readers might not. How do you convince people who bought MCC that this isn’t going to be a problem like what happened with that game?
BR: First off, when I say it’s not the same [team], it is 343 Industries. We’ve taken full accountability and we obviously let the fans down. That’s crushing to our studio as well. I think we’re doing everything to make sure that that will never happen again. The difference with Halo 5 is that it was purpose built for the Xbox One in close partnership with the platform team. It’s a brand new networking stack built for Xbox One, which is not what we were using with MCC; we were using old code.
Being able to solve and understand what the problems were with MCC right before we had the [Halo 5] beta, the timing was very beneficial. We did a ton of changes with the beta. It was a huge learning of the issues we fell down with with MCC that we were able to quickly incorporate into the beta and make sure that we were standing up.
We took that learning to make sure that this [game] is purpose built for Xbox One. You will never see us not do a beta again because there were a lot of things we couldn’t see when we stood up externally. Some of the testing that [Halo 5 lead] Josh Holmes alluded to is testing that we’ve developed since then to make sure we can test all the regions, with all the different types of network profiles (NAT, settings) to make sure that we are standing up.
What happens with MCC once Halo 5 releases?
We will keep supporting MCC. You’ve seen that we’ve given continuous updates, and as fans are giving us feedback we will continue to support MCC.
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This interview has been edited and condensed