Real World

The Sprint: Ship It

From Halopedia, the Halo wiki

The Sprint: Ship It is a video documentary by 343 Industries, about the development of Halo 5: Guardians.


This episode contains discussion about the end of the Halo 5: Guardians campaign.

  • Announcer Sprint : Making a game on the scale of Halo takes hundreds of people with different skills, a singular vision and time. Lots of time. But before a game reaches store shelves, the team must create thousands of assets that are tracked in two-week deadline, we call Sprints. 343 Industries invites you to join us on our journey, creating Halo 5 Guardians from the ground up, one painting, sound and line of code at a time. This is The Sprint.

October 26, 2015

  • Steve Downes : Well it looks like the swag level has increased tremendously!


Seattle, Washington

  • ? : Enjoy, world!
  • Randall Ng : This year we went to our second midnight launch with 343. On Halo 4, I started off as a gameplay animator and moved my way on to consumer products. Consumer products involves a lot of different aspects like action figures, books, apparel even recently we had the BoomCo blasters from Mattel. So about three years ago, I decided that I want to make a new Halloween costume for my son, originally I made an Optimus Prime and he outgrew it so it was time to make a new costume for him and since I was working on Halo 4 I thought why not make Master Chief. This is the helmet here, it's made out of craft foam, the visor is a mirrored sheet with a piece of yellow acetate over it. On Halo 4, I was a gameplay animator and one of the first Promethean weapons that I worked on was the light rifle, so I decided to make daddy's rifle.
  • ? : Have you ever wanted to be anybody but Master Chief?
  • Randall Ng : I also work on the costumes from disguise costumes which is our current partner and one of the things I pushed for was to make sure that they had a mirrored visor that you could see through kind of emulating what I had made with his costume. 343 is responsible for more than just the game it also involves anything inside the Halo universe. Sparth and the art team, the dev team, the writers they all have a say in what goes into consumer products. We have weekly meetings to review products that are upcoming to make sure that everything is looking the way they should be.

Product Review

  • ? : So they cut the sides out so the new one will actually fit the fans better. Anybody got any issues with those ergonomic changes? Sweet.
  • Tim Longo : Yeah, looks pretty good.
  • Rick Achberger : Spartan Games are doing busts of their commander cards, so this is the first round for Hood. I'm gonna run the badges and ranks past Kenneth just to make sure those are okay.
  • Brian Reed : Didn't we end up dropping the Lord and he became he's just Terrence Hood now?
  • Corrinne Robinson : Uh, that I don’t know. This is already an established name in books. Let's just revisit the name.
  • Tim Longo : This is for the encyclopedia.
  • Scott Jobe : This is for the Halo Mythos story guide.
  • Tim Longo : Oh yeah, the big book, not the encyclopedia.
  • Corrinne Robinson : This will cover the story from the very beginning from Forerunners all the way through.
  • Brian Reed : I think the Composer's way to big, that's Infinity, right? In 4, we run around the Composer inside the space station and that is a little bigger than it should be, with Infinity being three miles long. Chief is that big next to it, like with the look of the pelicans… It's mostly this beam of light is giving me a sense that it's directly under the ship, and this seems way too big maybe I'm way off?
  • Rick Achberger : He's a 681 feet tall.
  • Corrinne Robinson : Yes, and…
  • Brian Reed : Infinity like it's three miles long.
  • Corrinne Robinson : So the length is eighteen thousand six hundred feet. The beam is 2734 and the height is 3416.
  • Rick Achberger : Yeah, Composers a little bit…

Narrative Post-Mortem

  • ? : I think we knew how Halo 5 ended before we knew how Halo 4 ended. I remember discussing the end of this game real early on.
  • Jen Taylor : “Found you. Hide and seek's over, Infinity.”
  • Frank O'Connor : Most of the fundamental crafting of the events that are going to happen definitely happen to start but then they can evolve by the time you actually ship the last cinematic into a pretty unrecognizable shape.
  • John-117 : “Where is she?”
  • Jameson Locke : “She's gone, sir.”
  • Brian Reed : At that point we certainly didn't know about Blue Team, Osiris was but a gleam in her eye but yeah like the big beats of Cortana survives this thing that happens then before Cortana comes back, Cortana has this new plan that nobody gets quite sure they agree with, that was all there.
  • Frank O’Connor : Even Osiris I mean at one point Spartan Locke was gonna be Gabriel Thorne, right?
  • Brian Reed : Yeah, at one point he was gonna be Thorne he was gonna get Palmer eventually we knew that he was gonna be a new character. He was Agent Smith for us for a long time. All Matrix jokes aside it was Smith was our placeholder name that we knew we'd change and then as the team started taking shape we just kind of realized we wanted Buck.
  • Jeremy Patenaude : That's the interesting thing for me at least is that when we do set up those big tent poles, we're always trying to remain agile enough so that things like the Buck situation can actually happen.
  • Brian Reed : Repeatedly throughout we were talking to each other about how you know Cortana is not evil, Cortana is doing a thing we don't agree with and she has the power to make it happen.
  • Frank O’Connor : America does things people don't agree with and Russia do things people don't agree because, you don't have to go to the edge of space to find that different perspective on things and I think the difference is that the fact that Cortana is gonna walk Chief in a Cryptum for 10,000 years is a great way to look at how many ticks are on her watch face.
  • Jeremy Patenaude : That'll be how long it takes me to show you so I can convert you.
  • Frank O’Connor : Exactly that would that is what the only thing, I thought of is when he pops out of her everything will be fine.
  • Brian Reed : Yeah, and you know what I think she's probably right.
  • Frank O’Connor : She's might be right away but the tension that people have always had and that cultures have always had is, it's not up to you to enforce that vision on me, you have to give me the freedom to do it myself. We're talking about the grand thesis of storytelling but there's all these little bits of storytelling going to the universe that are bluntly speaking tedious to do. One is how many ways can you say I threw a grenade that don't sound wonky as you all know.
  • Brian Reed : Part of what made me a Halo fan in the first place was realizing this game had a sense of humor.
  • Jeremy Patenaude : Yeah, we don't take ourselves too seriously.
  • Brian Reed : There's a story about the fate of the galaxy is on the line, that grunt is hilarious! And being able to get that into 5 was a big goal.
  • Frank O’Connor : And it has to work with systems that you know when you hear this is a real and the Elite’s saying “he shot him in the face!” because you just shot one of his grunt subordinates in the face, like all the things that were required to that wasn't grenade it was definitely a shot, it was a headshot it killed him outright [the meeting didn't go?], there were all these triggers and things that have the function correctly and that’s not just a string that starts playing randomly everything is working as a holistic system.
  • Brian Reed : There was a point early one where we could tell if the Warthog was ramping and was upside down and if you were in the gunner seat or the passenger seat of the driver's seat and we were writing dialogue for this nonsense!
  • Jeremy Patenaude : That's not a problem that every game has, that every shooter has, in Halo you're upside down in a vehicle often depending on what you're doing.
  • Brian Reed : And so you can only record so many thousand lines before it's time to ship the game. […]I mean it's continuing you know as we start talking about next projects with Halo Wars 2 and whatever comes up for Halo 5 like, we already pretty well know where the universe is heading.
  • Frank O’Connor : So we're already in the early stages of framing out the story and getting big big agreements from Tim Logo and Josh Holmes and this group on the big tent pole pieces of the story. And I think it's something we haven't even really sort of dug down to in terms of the emotional or philosophical aspects of that. Practical yeah, but like what does this mean who's the Chief in a world that is that radically changed and where the command structure is actually kind of looking up to him now rather than the other way around.
  • Brian Reed : There's definitely going to be a sense of “boy, you're part of this problem you need to fix this”. “What did your best friend just do?”
  • Jeremy Patenaude : I think the most interesting part for me is the fact that we are really in uncharted territory and I know that as a fan before I came on the team one of the things I loved doing was trying to figure out, like where are they gonna go next what's the next thing and honestly I can't imagine. I mean given what I know, I can't imagine anybody being able to sort of set course for where we're headed so I think that's pretty awesome.
  • Frank O’Connor : But I think the good, the truth is we sort of know where we're heading, we have some pillars. But we don't really know where we're gonna end up cuz all the same challenges and opportunities that we've had on all of the games from Halo 1 until now, we're still gonna be there and it's the opportunities that are the most exciting part.

January 2015

  • ? : What are we seeing?
  • Christopher Blohm : A crazy early version of the Req Store? Actually this is the first time I've seen it.
  • ? : This is the first time?
  • ? : You're really hoping it doesn't crash, right?
  • Christopher Blohm : No crashing okay, I’ll do that.
  • ? : Oh you're opening up a pack.
  • ? : It’s animating !
  • ? : Mongoose, Needler, Ghost, fuel rod cannon, all the details are there.
  • Christopher Blohm : That's fantastic!

Ten Months Later

  • Josh Holmes : Pitch for Warzone and the Req System they were both pitched independently and they were pitched in very early 2013 if I'm remembering correctly.
  • Lawrence Metten : When it really started working for me is when we got real inventories for players and so they weren't just burning a card they had been given arbitrarily, they were burning a card that was in their inventory and had weight and you wanted to succeed with it you didn't want an enemy to take it out. When we turned that page and Warzone really started feeling like some things people could sink hours into…
  • Josh Holmes : There's like a personal investment in these things right, like if I go and I earn my Banshee Ultra and I decide that this is the moment I'm going to deploy it on the battlefield and then somebody either takes it out with a well-placed laser beam or somebody manages and suddenly jump on and hijack my Banshee and take it away, it has so much more impact to me knowing that that was my thing and I used that card at just that moment and then on flip side it feels amazing to take something away from someone.
  • Lawrence Metten : I love calling a splaser to take out maybe it's your Banshee or someone’s Scorpion tank, it's an amazing feeling, especially when it contributes to a boss take down or a big late game win. I was in a game the other day and people were on voice chat and someone said does anyone have a Scorpion and I had the card and called it in and it felt like I was kind of the hero arriving to the battle to turn the tides and it's a really cool moment.
  • Josh Holmes : I think is really interesting when you're working on something that's a brand new experience like Warzone and you're part of a really large team and not everybody is working directly on that experience. They're coming down to playtest, and they're seeing prototypes, and they're kind of hearing second hand or third-hand like “oh yeah, this is kind of the vision for the mode”. And I think there was a lot of skepticism in different parts of the studio where it was is this thing really gonna pan out, like is it gonna be fun, you know should we be pursuing this thing or how's it all going to work. And for me the point where it all kind of clicked is we had the team working very hard on kind of a vertical experience all these different systems you had like the game mode itself. You had the content that supports the game mode but then you also have the Req system coming online and people able to actually use their Req inventory within the game. And the loop wasn't completely you know finished but it was close enough that you could kind of squint and go like “oh I get this now”. And that was the point where I could see everybody across the team starting to get really excited and it was like light bulbs went off there, “oh I get it now that's what Warzone is and that's awesome”.
  • ? : I think overall we knew certain things would be coveted and they're in a little bit of scarce supply at launch so for example, weapon skins. People love Magnum skins. People love AR skins because of the arena starts we see a very clear need there.
  • Josh Holmes : Everybody is now officially making Req content all the time. All right the new job is to go and build as much cool stuff to put in the Req system as possible. The team has delivered an amazing game, but we're not content to just deliver that game and then move on, we're going to be continuing to deliver more maps, more Req content, weapons, vehicles, armor sets, game modes on a regular cadence, trying to deliver new content monthly, trying to deliver new experiences as quickly as possible to just let people know that there's always a reason to come back and play more Halo 5. That's a huge shift for our team moving from that idea of like releasing a product at a single moment in time and then racing off to go and build the next game now it's, we've released that product and that's the beginning of the next chapter of the journey where now we're continuing to build content for it.
  • Lawrence Metten : I think also proving that we can be agile, and tweak the economy or experiences as players play it and give feedback. Like we actually made a change the Warzone assault based on the way people have been playing it in the first week, we found players weren't hitting the Req levels we wanted them to hit, so we've sped up leveling and that will be going out in an update this month.
  • Josh Holmes : Multiplayer for Halo 5 is just going to continue to evolve over time, and that's what's cool about it is, it's the experience that fans play a year from now is going to be completely different from the experience that launched, and we're just going to continue to develop and evolve multiplayer in Halo 5, we want it to be the best multiplayer experience anywhere in any game. And we're going to get there one week in one month at a time.
  • Bonnie Ross : With Halo 4, we had an amazingly talented set of individuals. With Halo 5, we have a team now we have the team that's going to lead Halo going forward but this is our new 343 and congratulations.
  • Phil Spencer : Thank you Bonnie. So I appreciate the opportunity to come up here and just spend this moment with you guys and that's been a long journey as many of you know building the studio from the ground up, going through the up sorting through the downs all of those things are important to getting to the point we’re at today. This is an amazing accomplishment and the last thing I'll say [so that's one off a long times?] I know some people in here as well these moments where you get to ship something that says great is this come and go very quickly. It's easy to just have them get up it's something that you remember slightly in the past, it’s just take a moment and just soak this in and it’s easy to always look at the next, but you deserve to sit just over the now involving the celebrations. So please take the time to do that because this is something that you’ll think back on 20 or 30 years from now, being a part of, remember being a part of this one forever, for that I'm grateful and thankful, so thank you.
  • Josh Holmes : After six years in Kirkland working on Halo 4 and 5 we’re now spread across two buildings, and in January we're actually moving to a brand-new studio space in Redmond. Our new studio is now under renovation it's going to be great to finally get the whole team under one roof. That's pretty early I think the only Halo thing there right now is Chief’s cryotube, fittingly. Launching Halo 5 really is the beginning of the next step in our journey as we continue to support that game and then dream about whatever comes next.
  • ? : And now back to work!