Post news RSS DevUpdate 4: Legacies (October 2022)

In our October update, we discuss the spiritual successor to SPV3, Halo Legacies.

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Originally posted on halospv3.github.io as DevUpdate 4: Legacies (October 2022)

EDIT (2022-11-19): the content of the source article has been converted for viewing on ModDB. Some elements may render incorrectly or have the wrong text format.


Legacies This article was originally written alongside Development Update #3 in early September, 2022. The MCC Halo: Reach tool kit had not yet been released at the time. This article has been edited to reflect this, but some conflicting information may have slipped through the cracks. This article was further delayed to allow time for a polish pass on some art assets and allow stressed team members to take time off.

Prelude

Eagle-eyed fans of a few community members may have seen a few sneak peaks of our new project–which will succeed SPV3–on both our twitter and a few youtube channels. If you haven’t, then buckle in, buckaroo. You’re in for a wild ride.

Halo Legacies was originally planned to be what Halo 3: ODST was to Halo 3 for SPV3. It was going to take the SPV3 sandbox and expand on it with new features and refine its systems, while allowing you to explore a massive open world in a new campaign.

However–with the advent of the Halo 3 tools and the promise of later game engines coming–the project was effectively canceled in its original form (despite the massive progress on it) to be brought into Halo 3 (and now, Reach) temporarily until Halo 4 and Halo 2 Anniversary tools could be released. We’ve been working on this over the past year; restructuring the team, prototyping, and–most importantly–building out this open world so we can hit the ground running when the newer game engines are delivered.

With Halo: Reach tools released, we are ready to take some serious next steps. The Halo 3 tools–while a huge advancement over CE’s–are still extremely limited and the Halo 3 engine is nowhere near as capable as people think it is in comparison to the later games, making it inviable for our goals.

image_2022-09-19

Mid-September progress of porting the world geometry from Halo 3’s toolkit to Halo: Reach’s toolkit.

What is Halo Legacies and how does it differ from SPV3?

To start, Halo Legacies is aimed to be a "brand new Halo game" inside the MCC, built on both the Halo 4 and Halo 2 Anniversary Multiplayer engines. When it is done, it will provide you with the same experience you get as booting up a new Halo title, with a new sandbox and visuals. Halo Legacies will feature an all new, open world campaign, a PvP Multiplayer, a robust set of features and objects for Forge, and a new mode that we are describing as a PvE “battle royale”-styled mode, which will replace co-op within Halo Legacies as the campaign can not support it. But more on that later. So let's break down these 4 pillars of the game and what you can briefly expect from all of them.

Campaign

The campaign in Halo Legacies draws heavy inspiration from one of the best open world games of all time, Metroid Prime. The world of Halo Legacies is unlike modern open world games—including Halo Infinite. It is made of many interconnected areas and combat zones that unlock over time with the player's progression of different objectives

Various accomplishments open up new biomes and facilities. Backtracking is required to revisit areas in which your actions have changed the enemies encountered within and enabled access to explore further. Throughout this world are various collectibles. Some serve to upgrade either your combat abilities or your suit while others are terminals or other, assorted items. The story is told entirely through the environment and the text of the terminals you encounter throughout your journey.

Due to the ways in which this Campaign is structured, however, traditional Co-Op play is unfortunately not supported. In terms of specific reasons for what keeps us from doing this:

  • The player upgrade systems would modify the game in certain ways (such as changing the game speed), which would interfere with other players' experiences.
  • Certain things that work in the background to track player progression and such would likely encounter issues due to multiple players.
  • The way encounters are designed to scale with player progression.
  • The fact there is no way to resume a playthrough from a save with Co-Op on MCC.
  • A huge reliance on player action tests.

Taking these restrictions into mind, we've decided to create a new cooperative mode that makes use of the entire open world! The PvE Battle Royal mode for Halo Legacies effectively serves as this project's Co-Op replacement—where multiple players will be able to explore all environments together, battle all of the Campaign enemies, and more!

PvE Battle Royal

As stated before, this mode replaces traditional Co-Op. The current plan is that at the start of every game, up to 4 players will spawn in a random location of the map—or drop from the sky, if the engine tech allows it. Once players land, a point on the map will be set for their objective.

Players will encounter a variety of enemies which block their progress—and will need to work together to defeat them in order to get within a certain radius of the set objective, and within a time limit. If they don't? Well, there's no danger zone planned... but rather endless attacks by the Flood, who will wear players down and eventually overwhelm them, as they fight their way to their objectives.

Along the way there will be optional challenges, allowing players to undergo mini-Firefight waves to earn new weapons and vehicles. Like a Battle Royal, the weapon and enemy spawns will be randomized for each playthrough—so players must improvise and work together to utilize what sandbox items they encounter.

Multiplayer (PvP)

The Multiplayer also takes place within this open world in which various multiplayer maps from Halo: CE, Halo 2, and Halo Custom Edition are featured. The majority of the open world is in fact made and composed of these maps, but tailored for single player combat first and foremost. Because the world of Legacies was designed so certain barriers can be removed (as seen in the Campaign), the Multiplayer maps can be enjoyed in a PVP environment as per the original intent of the maps.

Think of the open world as one giant map akin to Forge World from Halo: Reach! The number of diverse environments allow for both us and the community to create individual "maps" using existing sections. While we don't have an exact count yet of how many will be featured at launch, the open world will support at least 12 BTB maps and 12 4v4 maps.

This also means–once you would have Halo Legacies MP installed–you would be able to play any of these 24 maps with your friends without having to download any additional content. Furthermore, thanks to the work being done by the Forge Community, a version of Invasion is planned to be supported—with several maps tailored to Invasion being built within the open world.

Forge

2022-10-15_forge0

In mid-October, Zanzibar was being converted into a blank slate for the tropics biome. New structures are going to replace the base, wheel, and tower and the resulting map is intended to be more Forge-friendly.

While touched on briefly above, the plan is to allow you to use the open world as a Forge canvas. Altogether, this open world is larger than all of Halo: CE. With this massive scale in mind, think of the possibilities! There’s an opportunity for map-makers to create giant, sprawling spectacles such as racetracks or…deserts! We will be working with the Forge community to ensure all requested content is developed so they and others can make creations within this world. We plan to continue support for Forge and the multiplayer and add new features and weapons in what we hope will be seasonal updates.

Part of what we plan to do is also allow certain community members to build their own sandboxes for the multiplayer and be featured in our Discord server so you can Forge the maps with a weapon sandbox designed by someone other than us. Our hope is that, with time, Forge will allow many members of the community to design weapon sandboxes and custom content, and be able to use the new maps provided in Halo Legacies to allow people to play with their content, without having to repackage or recompile existing maps.

2022-10-15_forge1

We’re considering enabling Forgers to link Relic and Zanzibar for Invasion. First, the offensive team captures the base on Relic; then the land bridge opens up for a fight for the beach on Zanzibar; and then round 3 is an assault on the Zanzibar base.

While these ambitious plans have been outlined very generally for you, we will have plenty more to share in the weeks and months ahead. In the meantime, we’ve taken some pictures of areas within the open world from the last Halo 3 build and a couple Reach builds. Keep in mind, what we have been focusing on is the layout and scale of the world, designing play spaces, and making sure we get the geometry as close to what we want it to be in the later game engines. Visuals are still rough in areas, but this will give you a sense of the scale of the world you will explore and the play spaces you have to look forward to fighting in the Campaign, PVE Battle Royal, Multiplayer, and Forge modes.

2022-10-17_scale

Hastily-outlined in blue is a grid Forge structure for scale.



P.S. Some of Legacies’ soundtrack is already available to listen to and purchase. You can listen to early renditions of each track in Alyx’s YouTube playlist and purchase the final versions via Bandcamp. This album is occasionally updated with new tracks, so follow Alyx on Twitter for more news on that front!


The following albums of screenshots of modelling work in Blender, in-engine tests, and private playtests of two builds—one for Halo 3 and another for Reach.

Development Gallery

August Playtest

October Playtest

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