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Halo Infinite [Xbox/PC]


Romier S
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31 minutes ago, Romier S said:


Ha.

 

Them’s fightin words though. The original Knack is a solid game. Terrible art direction but it’s fine. The sequel is actually pretty damned good.


I agree, but if he’s going to start talking trash about Xbox Series X through the official UK Dominos Pizza account — which we all agree he’s doing — he has it coming.

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Nice interview with Gareth Coker at Halo Waypoint about his work on Halo: Infinite.

 

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Most recently you’ve done some incredible work as the composer on the Ori franchise. How do you approach Halo infinite compared to Ori? What was one of the biggest adjustments when changing genres?


Thank you! In many ways, they could not be more different! But, there is one thing that does tie them together which I’ll get to momentarily.

 

Approaching Halo was not just a switch conceptually in terms of writing music, but also a switch in terms of workflow as the way 343 handles working with a composer is very different to Moon Studios, not only due to the size of the studio, but also simply for what this game requires. The way that music is composed is such that it can be edited and broken down by 343’s audio team to best be utilized by their playback system, which is insanely deep and not something I’ve experienced before in my career. We write a lot of dynamic music tracks but also several handcrafted linear pieces, the best of both worlds.

 

Probably the most important thing to point out is that this is one of the first times I’m stepping into an existing franchise rather than creating an IP from scratch. That’s where working with Joel and the other oracles at 343, while creating a new experience, has been valuable in making sure things are kept ‘Halo appropriate.’

 

In terms of the stylistic differences between Halo and Ori, I’ve written plenty of action and science-fiction music before, it’s just a case of applying that experience in the context of Halo’s world and making sure it fits. As is always the case with almost any project, there’s a settling in period where you try and get the musical vocabulary ‘under your fingers,’ and once you’re comfortable, something then clicks and things start getting approved more quickly!

 

An important point to mention is the concept of space in music, especially during gameplay. When looking through the prior Halo material, it’s not just the notes on the page, but the space in between them – the notes that aren't there – that allows everything else to shine. A lot of the most successful music – particularly in gameplay – is not over-written or heavily orchestrated, except when it truly needs to be, making the bigger musical – and by extension, in-game - moments matter more. If your music is big all the time, it will eventually stop registering with the player. Pacing is so key to the player experience and I know 343 will be working tirelessly taking our cues and making sure they fit the flow the game needs, continuing to refine until the game’s release. Ori’s soundtrack – while also focusing heavily on pacing – has a completely different approach to space, as the music is almost ever-present, the notes are always there! It’s densely layered and sustained, and that wall of music ebbs and flows alongside the game’s smallest and largest moments. It’s an example of two fundamentally different compositional approaches that ultimately are trying to achieve the same thing, that is music that resonates and flows with the player.

 

Additionally, while writing with sound effects and dialog is always taken into consideration, in Ori there’s hardly any dialog, and the sound effects are rarely competing with music, partially because there’s very little percussion in Ori’s soundtrack. With Halo on the other hand, it’s obvious that there’s a lot more activity going on in-game, and additionally we have to use percussion as it’s a musical staple of the franchise, thus, the concept of space in the music is extremely important to allow gameplay sounds the chance to shine. This conceptual approach to the compositions, combined with 343’s music system that allows us to have several mixes and edits of a track, allows us to create the space the game needs and make sure everything works in harmony.

 

Ultimately though, there’s one extremely important thing that is conceptually a huge crossover between these two franchises. The experience – not just music, but all elements – is deeply tied to the main protagonist of each respective game, Ori and Master Chief respectively. The music represents how you feel when playing them, but also commentates on how other characters in the game respond to each of them. Both Ori and John-117 affect the worlds they are a part of and the lives of people / creatures they encounter in very impactful ways.

 

 

Good stuff. More at the link.

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343 addressed the criticism of the visual fidelity in a new community update:

 

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Based on our learnings from Halo 4, Halo 5, and Halo Wars 2 – along with strong community feedback – we decided to shift back towards the legacy aesthetics that defined the original trilogy. With Halo Infinite, we’re returning to a more ‘classic’ art style which was a key message going back to the very first reveal that garnered enthusiastic and positive responses. This translates to a more vibrant palette, “cleaner” models and objects with less “noise”, though it doesn’t mean less detail. While we appreciate this may not be everyone’s personal preference, we stand by this decision and are happy to see it resonating with so many fans around the world.

The second theme being discussed involves visual fidelity. Negative feedback in this area includes comments around characters and objects appearing flat, simplistic and plastic-like, lighting feeling dull and flat, and object pop-in. We’ve read your comments, we’ve seen the homemade examples of retouched content, and yes we’ve heard the Digital Foundry assessments. In many ways we are in agreement here – we do have work to do to address some of these areas and raise the level of fidelity and overall presentation for the final game. The build used to run the campaign demo was work-in-progress from several weeks ago with a variety of graphical elements and game systems still being finished and polished. While some of the feedback was expected and speaks to areas already in progress, other aspects of the feedback have brought new opportunities and considerations to light that the team is taking very seriously and working to assess. We don’t have firm answers or outcomes to share yet but the team is working as quickly as possible on plans to address some of the feedback around detail, clarity, and overall fidelity. The team is committed and focused on making sure we have a beautiful world for players to explore when we launch.

 

https://www.halowaypoint.com/en-us/news/infinite-inquiries

 

 

I'm left with an even greater sense that future SeriesX patches will add more than just ray tracing. I'm perfectly at ease with ignoring the game until that version is more substantially optimised than it is likely to be at launch. It's good that they're taking in some of the criticism, but it still doesn't excuse what a poor visual debut it was for the new console (and for it to then be revealed it wasn't running on console hardware anyway). 

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True, but I’m also glad to see the clean visual aesthetic will survive this; one of the things that makes Halo (and Destiny, for that matter) so much better than all these endless military shooters is that I’m instantly able to recognise the enemies I’m meant to be shooting at from the friendly characters and the background. 

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Yes, I like that too. I also personally liked that the pilot was a touch cartoony in the rendering. I have no problem with that stuff at all. I do think that Brute who gave the speech could have done with a better skin texture though. Really it just feels like lighting, reflections, trees...etc, all environmental stuff, is where I'd have liked to have been more impressed, and it's not like I am a graphics snob in saying I won't touch the game until there's some improvement, merely that if there is to be any improvement at all I'd sooner play it from the outset with such changes as it's rare that I revisit games within the space of a few years. The original teaser from a few years ago hinted at a Halo that was really going to be teeming with life, and the gameplay reveal failed to live up to that.

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Cool. Though I wonder if that lines up with Microsoft killing the online pay wall in general. If that were the case, it seems odd to highlight one game but hell, good news for Halo fans. Curious to see what resolution the game runs at at 120hz and what type of visual fidelity we’ll see.

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Possibly, or a hub where you can choose which to run / install. Didn't MCC do it that way?

 

Yeah, MCC did it when they updated it for the One X.

 

Not a single multiplayer map is installed my my console. 🙂

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10 minutes ago, kelley said:

I wonder if those complaints against the game not looking next gen enough are feeding into this.

 

If reports are true that the game has been in development hell for some time are true, it's likely this was always going to be the outcome and it was wishful thinking for it to hit launch. The fact that the games showcase garnered little in the way of confidence from the general gaming community that the game was ready for prime time might have made it easier to pull the trigger.

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I wonder if they thought as a games as service, they could make the necessary improvements over time, such as the ray tracing patch, but the overwhelming negative reaction caused them to rethink that strategy. Ultimately though, it’s for the best. But as the centerpiece of their launch, it really looks kind of sparse now. Not really how they would want to start a new generation where they have been touting their game studios and their new dedication to first party for months now.

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