343i Assures Fans 24/7 Support Throughout Halo 5 Launch; No Additional Fees For Any Content


Halo 5's Forge mode has been detailed by studio head Josh Holmes. The upcoming Forge news was hinted at last week by Holmes. The new forge mode will be released in December, and will be an ongoing free Halo 5 service. According to Holmes, the new Halo 5 forge, is the biggest evolution of the feature since the original was released with Halo 3.

Holmes detailed the new Forge mode on the official Halowaypoint blog some hours ago. Following the post, some fans on the Teambeyond forums commented on the part where Holmes pointed out that the new Forge will be "an ongoing free service for Halo 5". Judging from the comments, the word free confused some, as the Forge mode has always been free in every other Halo game.

According to Holmes (known as Sal1e, he just wanted to "make absolutely crystal clear that running it as a service (IE: continuing to add and expand based on feedback from the Forge community) did not mean we would charge for those additions and improvements".

No additional fees and support 24-7 throughout launch

Holmes adds that 343 won't be charging for maps, and Forge support (features and content) will also be free. Requisition content can all be earned in-game.

For those who are worried about a troubled Halo 5 launch, the studio head assures players that 343 will "have a dedicated live team established for this game, with a sustain plan including new content and features that extends months beyond launch". Holmes continues that he himself (alongside) will be in the war-room, monitoring the game and community 24-7 throughout the launch. This needs to address any unforeseen issues that crop up. I guess 343 is trying hard to avoid the server issues that both Halo 4 and The Masterchief Collection experienced after launch.

With regards to Halo: The Masterchief Collection, multiplayer matchmaking issues continued months after the game's release, and eventually made 343 to decide to compensate harmed Halo fans by offering the Halo 3: ODST remake for free. Ross stated:

"This has been a humbling experience and highlighted how we as a studio can – and need – to do better for Xbox fans around the world.  We are so grateful to our fans who have stood by our side and we appreciate all of your patience as we worked through these issues.  As a token of our appreciation and to thank fans for the continued support and understanding, we will be offering the following items, for free, to anyone who has played Halo: The Master Chief Collection online since launch (11.11.14) through today (12.19.14)".

Releasing ODST was never planned according Ross though. It was what fans wanted, Ross said in a 'Gamer Girls Gone Wild' podcast

"Obviously when we had the stumble [with The Master Chief Collection], I think when we looked at what people were asking for, before the stumble and after, what they would love have"

Making up for past mistakes

343 is really trying make up for past mistakes with Halo 5. "When we launched MCC and there were problems, we were also right in the lead-up for the Halo 5 beta," Ross said in an interview with Mashable, back in July of this year. "Being able to bring those teams together and troubleshoot what was going on enabled us to actually put things in the beta and change things for the beta — like putting different telemetry in the beta and actually working closely with the platform team to basically take the learnings from MCC to put into the beta, get them tested".

"It actually changed the whole way that we test. Not just within 343 but [across] all the studios going forward, to ensure that, when we're testing, we actually are able to test a real world's external environment. It was a huge learning experience for us, and the result is directly paying off for us in making sure we've got the most robust Halo 5."

For more info on the new Forge mode, I suggest you check out the official Halowaypoint blog post (it's rather large and comes with a lot of screenshots).

Halo 5: Guardians launches within a few weeks, on October 27th.