‘Tis the season for Halo updates, apparently, as both Halo Infinite and Halo: The Master Chief Collection have dropped patches that offer some rather handy new features. In the case of Halo Infinite, 343 Industries has added a new custom game browser that allows you to easily join various combinations of maps and modes, including stuff made in Forge. You can also look forward to a new map, newly-unlocked Armor Cores, fixes for desync issues, and more. As for Halo: MCC, 343 has added Steam Workshop support, new skulls to collect in Halo 4, and more. Overall, it’s a surprising amount of stuff for a franchise that’s got a bad rap for not pushing out enough content recently.
Here’s a rundown of the new features and content added in the latest Halo Infinite update:
Custom Game Browser
"Custom Games can now be opened up to all players via the new Custom Game Browser. This feature allows players to start and join a Custom Game using any map and mode combination, including content created in Forge. The Custom Game Browser lists currently active Custom Games that players can join immediately without waiting in a lobby. Once the Custom Game ends, all players in the session will remain in the same Fireteam. The Fireteam leader can then start a new Custom Game. The Customs Browser menu lists 12 sessions per page. Use the shortcuts next to the Page number to see more sessions or use the Filter options to re-sort and narrow down the session list.
When creating a Custom Game session for other players to join via the Custom Game Browser, set the Privacy setting within the Lobby Options to Open. Other players can join the open session once the multiplayer match begins. To ensure a Custom Game is listed in the Customs Browser menu, the Privacy setting in the Lobby Options menu must be set to Open."
Armor Core Unlocks and New Cadet Coatings
Previously released Armor Cores that could only be unlocked via Premium Battle Passes or limited-time events are now available to all players for free. This includes:
- Mark V [B]
In addition, the following 10 Cadet Armor Coatings have now been added to all available Armor Cores for free: Cadet Blue, Cadet Brick, Cadet Brown, Cadet Cyan, Cadet Forest, Cadet Grey, Cadet Orange, Cadet Sage, Cadet Violet, Cadet Yellow
New Multiplayer Map: Empyrean
"A new Arena multiplayer map, Empyrean, is now available in Custom Games and various matchmaking playlists. Empyrean was created in Forge and is based on the Halo 3 multiplayer map The Pit, albeit with tweaks for the Halo Infinite sandbox. For example, the machine gun turrets at each base are now Scrap Cannons and weapon spawns throughout the map now use Weapon Racks like other Halo Infinite multiplayer maps."
As another step in the development team's ongoing work to address networking and "desync" in Halo Infinite, players may notice the following improvements during online multiplayer matches:
- Melee attacks now deal damage to sliding Spartans more consistently.
- When moving, melee lunges will more consistently connect with other players who are actively moving.
- Lunging to and hitting an enemy with an Energy Sword should more consistently result in one-hit kills.
- Players will be less likely to briefly teleport away or experience desync after having their vehicle hijacked.
- Reloading weapons is less likely to result in "fake" or "ghost" reloads that lead to inaccurate ammo counts and "blank shots."
"This update introduces multiple PC improvements based on both player feedback and bug investigations. Thank you for sharing feedback on the Halo Waypoint forums and remember to submit Bug Report tickets if you encounter an issue in-game!"
- Red Reticle - With this update, players on PC will now see the aiming reticle on their Heads-Up Display (HUD) turn red when aiming at an enemy in their weapon's effective range. As mentioned in the "Sandbox Balance Updates | Winter Update" blog on Halo Waypoint, the development team will be monitoring how this change affects cheating.
- High Dynamic Range Toggle - Players will now be able to enable and disable high-dynamic range (HDR) via the Settings menu on PC. While also allowing players with compatible PC monitors to utilize HDR as expected, this toggle may also improve the experience for players whose laptop or monitor(s) are displaying Halo Infinite incorrectly due to mismatches in other system-level or HDR settings.
Keyboard and Mouse Improvements
"Mouse cursor on Xbox consoles - To better align with PC, a cursor will now become available after connecting a keyboard and mouse to an Xbox console running Halo Infinite. As with Halo Infinite on PC, the cursor can be used to navigate various menus, including all menus while editing a map in Forge.
Walk key on Mouse and Keyboard - Prior to this update, mouse and keyboard players who wanted to move slow enough to avoid detection on enemy Motion Trackers had to crouch walk. With the newly added Walk key binding, players can now slow their upright walking speed without crouching. The accompanying Player Walk Throttle Scale option will also allow players to adjust how slowly they move while walking. Players will be able to choose to hold or toggle walking."
Player Reporting and Muting
Players can now mute and report other players during multiplayer matches via the in-game scoreboard.
And here’s what you can expect from the Halo: The Master Chief Collection update:
Steam Workshop Support
"Halo: The Master Chief Collection on Steam is now integrated with Steam Workshop. Using Steam Workshop, players on Steam can now subscribe to mods, such as a multiplayer map, then play that content in-game without having to manually navigate to or move downloaded files.
Visit the Halo: The Master Chief Collection Workshop to view compatible player-created mods. To navigate to the Steam Workshop within the Steam app, select Halo: The Master Chief Collection in your Steam Library then select Workshop in the row of options beneath the Play button."
Halo 2: Anniversary and Halo 4 Mod Tools
"Mod tools are now available for Halo 2: Anniversary and Halo 4. To download these mod tools on Steam, set your Library filter to include "Tools" then locate the “Halo 2: Anniversary Mod Tools - MCC” and “Halo 4 Mod Tools - MCC" listings."
Spartan Point Rewards for All 300+ Levels
"Reaching a new level in Halo: The Master Chief Collection will now grant 1 Spartan Point for all available levels. Prior to this update, players would receive 1 Spartan Point per level up to level 100 (Tour 4, Level 10). Players can now earn 1 Spartan Point for all 330 levels (Tour 11, Level 30). Players who surpassed level 100 prior to this update have been granted the correct amount of retroactive Spartan Points."
Matchmaking Rejoin Feature
"Players will now be able rejoin a matchmaking session they were either disconnected from or intentionally left, so long as the game is still in progress. Players who were automatically kicked from the match due to a violation will not be able to rejoin an in-progress match."
Exchange Selection Expansion
"The Exchange menu now features more customization items for players to unlock each week. Level up or complete Challenges to earn additional Spartan Points which can be used to unlock items in the Exchange."
Campaign Collectibles in Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 4
"Golden Moa statues have been added to Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 4 campaign missions. These statues will appear in different missions each week and can be collected by shooting them. Rotating weekly challenges will reward players with 100,000 XP and 1 Spartan Point for finding and collecting these hidden Golden Moa statues."
New Skulls Added to Halo 4
"The Acrophobia and Bandanna Skulls have been added to the Halo 4 campaign. The Acrophobia Skull allows players to fly through the air after double pressing then holding the jump button or key. Once in the air, press the crouch button or key to hover in place. The Bandanna Skull provides players with unlimited ammunition and grenades as well as instant cooldowns for their equipped Armor Ability."
Returning Halo 4 Multiplayer Loadout Options
"The Recharge and Survivor Support Upgrades, as well as the Resistor Tactical Package, are now available in Halo 4 multiplayer in Halo: The Master Chief Collection."
Of course, the December updates for both Halo Infinite and Halo: MCC also offer a long list of smaller tweaks and bug fixes. You can check out the full, unabridged patch note for Halo Infinite here and Halo: MCC here.
Halo Infinite and Halo: The Master Chief Collection can be played on PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.