A beta for Halo Infinite ‘s bigger-than-ever Big Team Battle mode is coming up later this month, and now 343 Industries has shared some new insight into what fans can expect from the mode overall.
Starting off with the studio’s design philosophy for BTB, which expands the player count to 12v12, lead multiplayer designer Andrew Witts said in the newest installment of the Inside Infinite series that there are three main pillars. These include “embrace the Spartan battle fantasy,” “Empower player types to thrive,” and “Unleash the Halo Infinite sandbox.” Here is a rundown of each, as explained by Witts:
- Embrace the Spartan Battle Fantasy – We want players to really feel like they are within a Spartan unit pushing through the battlefield and capturing objectives as a team. That's why we've invested in things like Pelican Drops, Commander mode VO, Weapon Pods falling from the sky to resupply the field and a few more dynamic elements – we wanted it to feel like an active battle inside the Halo universe. Additionally, we wanted maps to feel like they were a part of an iconic battle within the Halo universe.
- Empower Player Types to Thrive – There are many different types of players in the Halo ecosystem. Some players are pilots, others are slayers or objective hunters, but we wanted all of them to work together in this BTB experience. [Senior multiplayer designer Fernando Reyes Medina] has a fantastic phrase that sums up this pillar well: Make sure everyone can feel like a hero in any match.
- Unleash the Halo Infinite Sandbox – This pillar kind of speaks for itself. We felt like the "big" in BTB was not just the number of players in the match or the size of the maps but the number of options at players' disposal. All the toys are available in this space for maximum fun.
In designing Halo Infinite’s Big Team Battle, the studio looked back at some of their favorite BTB experiences and came up with “new twists” to put a fresh take on it.
” When starting to develop BTB, we started by having the multiplayer team share memorable stories that they have had in past Big Team experiences in Halo,” Witts said. “We talked a lot about how those stories made us feel as players. What more did we want from those stories? What more would we want out of the BTB experience that would make those stories even better? These are all the questions we asked each other to come up with the feature list for BTB. So we didn’t key into specific features as much as we tried to key into experiences that were possible in BTBs of the past.”
Halo’s BTB mode has been a much-loved mode embraced by fans over the years, and Medina said the team was “careful not to mess with what isn’t broken.”
“We wanted a BTB experience that feels classic and modern at the same time. An opportunity I saw to improve classic BTB was to make sure that the mode rules and balance consider the increased player count and the amazing new maps that level designers made for Halo Infinite,” Medina said. “This allowed us to create an exciting pace throughout a BTB match, which, combined with the awesome new toys in our sandbox, makes the perfect stage so players can play out memorable moments with their friends.”
Witts went on to say that the goal with Halo Infinite’s BTB was to go “bigger,” and this was made possible by increasing the player count by four on each team. “More players means more player interactions which we felt was a net positive to a lot of the strengths of BTB,” Witts said.
Medina added that 12v12 “maintains that classic BTB pacing that we all love while increasing the possibility for fun player engagements in all parts of the map.”
One of the challenges of increasing the player count, Witts said, was in the area of “pacing,” which means the feeling of “escalation of urgency in a match.”
“Ideally you want to start a match with excitement and over time that turns into increased tension so that at match end you feel fulfilled/jubilant as a player when the conclusion is reached, and one team is victorious,” Witts said. “Pacing can be a big challenge when you increase the number of players. A lot of the stress of providing good pacing falls on the map and game modes and I think our teams have done a fantastic job working together to crack this puzzle.”
Halo Infinite’s BTB maps will make use of the game’s new equipment by placing equipment spawners throughout the maps. The biggest change from Arena Slayer for equipment is that the specific equipment you pick up can be used up to five times.
“The reason we made this change is because we felt that increasing the frequency of the equipment verbs, players would be able to see more systemic outcomes of the sandbox more often,” Witts said. “We felt it tied very well to our ‘sandbox unleashed’ design pillar and our playtests have been validating this design choice.”
Medina added in the blog post that Halo Infinite’s BTB was designed to encourage teamwork and to give players the opportunity to succeed and contribute based on their own preferences and skills. “Whether you are an incredible sniper, a skillful Warthog driver, or a stealthy flag runner, you can contribute meaningfully to the outcome of any match,” Medina said.
Halo Infinite’s BTB maps will of course also have vehicles. Some vehicles will spawn at the start of a match, while others will spawn over time as a means to “escalate the experience over time” in any given match. Pelicans will fly over and drop in more powerful vehicles as matches go on, leading up to tanks–the deadliest of the bunch. “We wanted the more powerful vehicles in the sandbox to really feel special and create a moment in the game that can change the flow depending on what vehicle is brought in,” senior multiplayer designer Patrick Wren said.
This is just a small sampling of what the team at 343 had to say about Halo Infinite’s new BTB mode–be sure to read the full blog post to get all the details.
Fans will get a chance to try Halo Infinite’s BTB later this month when the BTB beta test kicks off September 30 . Ahead of that, a 4v4 Arena Slayer beta is taking place beginning September 23, and invitations are going out now .
343 will have more details to share on the upcoming beta tests later this week, so keep checking back with GameSpot for more.
The Halo Infinite Inside Infinite blog post for September is stuffed with details. It also included news about Halo Infinite’s new Training mode , the items you can buy with microtransactions , and many new details on the game’s controversial progression system .
Halo Infinite’s free multiplayer and campaign are set to be released on December 8. Here is the full schedule for the upcoming Halo Infinite beta tests .
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