Two Years Later, Halo 5 Still Getting More Updates

Developer 343 Industries has supported Halo 5: Guardians with regular and substantial updates since the game’s release in October 2015. While the game is no longer receiving major expansions, that doesn’t mean 343 is finished supporting the title.

In its latest weekly blog post, 343 said, “Even as we’re nearing two years since release, the team is far from done.”

No Caption Provided

Right now, 343 is working on a 4K update for Halo 5 on Xbox One X. 343 teased in the blog post, “From the early glimpses I’ve seen, it is something to get excited about for players with 4K hardware.”

This update has required a lot of time and effort, 343 said. The studio added that it is working on this update alongside “brand new secret stuff for the future.”

“The list of things the team would like to do in Halo 5 is seemingly never-ending,” 343 said. “The reality is that much of those items are left in limbo until there’s either a critical need to greenlight a patch (an experience-ruining exploit, for example) or a larger initiative comes into play (supporting the launch of a new console is a good one). Once it became clear that Halo 5 would be receiving an update for Xbox One X this Fall, teams across the studio started taking stock of what else might make sense to include in that update.”

While specifics are being held back for now, 343 said the Fall update for Halo 5 will do more than add 4K support for Xbox One X. “A number of high-profile bugs are being actively worked on in addition to a few things that I think will be genuinely surprising.”

One part of the update will be tweaks to Halo 5’s sandbox, which covers the game’s weapons, abilities, and vehicles. The last big update for the sandbox came in March, so it’s been a while. For the fall update, 343 is going to make some “tuning refinements and adjustments” for some weapons.

“While the vast majority of these pieces are in a very good place, there are some that are not performing as designed and/or have room to be tightened up to fit a specific target role,” 343 said. “It’s been nearly two years now and there are elements of the sandbox that warrant some sprucing up and refreshing. We aren’t quite ready to detail out every single item that’s being looked at–we’ll get to that very soon–but today we want to provide some high level context and expectation for what and why this is happening.”

Also in the blog post, 343 talked about how fan feedback plays a critical role in shaping the updates that it releases. “This is your game as much as it is ours, and touching a sizable swathe of the sandbox is not something the team takes lightly,” 343 said. “And it’s important to note that this is all players–not just a competitive thing–once finalized, these changes will be updated throughout the entire game.”

As Halo 5 is one of the biggest and most talked-about shooters out there, 343 is aware that not everyone is going to love every tweak that it makes to the game. “The team’s job (which isn’t easy!) is to wade through all of that feedback and sentiment, compare and contrast the subjective with the objective data, and land on changes that satisfy our goals and have an overall positive impact to the game and community,” 343 said.

Starting next week, 343 will begin to share specific details on some of the Halo 5 sandbox changes, and we’ll report back with more details then. For now, check out the full weekly blog post to hear a lot more from the developer.

It’s not a big surprise that 343 is continuing to support Halo 5. The game is included in the Xbox Game Pass subscription program, so its playerbase is likely still pretty significant.

Read more

Titanfall 2 Should Have Sold Better, Dev Says

Much has already been said about Titanfall 2’s lower-than-expected sales, and now Respawn boss Vince Zampella has spoken more about the topic. In an interview with GameSpot, Zampella said Titanfall 2 was “successful” and that it “sold well.” However, Zampella also acknowledged that sales should have been stronger.

“The game was successful, it sold well, but it didn’t quite sell as well as it should have,” Zampella admitted. “Maybe because it was super-crowded, the pricing was aggressive–it was a rough window to launch our game.”

No Caption Provided
Gallery image 1Gallery image 2Gallery image 3Gallery image 4Gallery image 5Gallery image 6Gallery image 7Gallery image 8Gallery image 9Gallery image 10

Titanfall 2 was released on October 28, sandwiched between Battlefield 1 (October 21) and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (November 4). Andrew Wilson, the CEO of Titanfall publisher Electronic Arts, said before the game’s release last year that Titanfall 2 and Battlefield 1 catered to different types of gamers.

Also in our interview, Zampella talked about how Titanfall 2’s fanbase is a generally positive group, which can’t always be said for other fanbases. “There’s not really much negativity or acidity compared to other communities, so I’m very thankful for that,” he said.

Zampella said he hopes the Titanfall franchise continues, and it will with the mobile RTS Titanfall: Assault, which is due out on August 10. Neither Respawn nor EA has announced plans for the franchise beyond that, but Zampella teased that there are other projects in the works that he can’t talk about just yet.

“It’s important for us to keep the franchise going. “We’re doing more Titanfall,” which is the quote I’m supposed to say. We have our franchise creative director, who’s in charge of safeguarding the franchise in multiple formats and making sure it continues to grow. There’s some other things we’re doing that haven’t been announced just yet, but we’re heavily invested in the Titanfall universe.”

“We’re working on more Titanfall–we’re not announcing what that is yet, but there’s a few other things in the works–the mobile game, which turned out fantastic and is super fun, the fans love it and allowed us to expand on what we did in the last games. So I’m pretty happy with what the franchise has become.”

We also learn in the interview that Respawn does not plan to release more Titanfall 2 content now that the Ultimate Edition is out. “Probably not. We want to work on new stuff,” Zampella said.

In addition to more Titanfall projects, Respawn is working on a third-person Star Wars action game that’s being directed by God of War veteran Stig Asmussen. In March this year, Respawn said this project is “still wrapped in secrecy” and won’t be discussed for “a while.”

You can read our full interview with Zampella right here.

Read more

6 reasons the NFL Hall of Fame game wasn’t a waste of time

There were plenty of fun moments from the Cowboys’ win over the Cardinals.

There was no Dak Prescott and no Ezekiel Elliott. Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald were on the sideline. But still, when the Cardinals and Cowboys faced off in the Hall of Fame game Thursday, it wasn’t nearly as bad as we expected.

Don’t believe us? Look how much fun Prescott, Elliott, and Dez Bryant had on the sideline.

Here are the top six reasons the Hall of Fame game wasn’t a total waste of your time.

1. Blaine Gabbert looked like a quality NFL quarterback.

Yes, that Blaine Gabbert. The one who finished last season with 925 yards, five touchdowns, and six interceptions in six games with the 49ers. Now he’s with the Cardinals, and he looked like a totally different quarterback against the Cowboys.

Gabbert orchestrated two TD drives in the first 10 minutes. He finished the game 11 of 14 for 185 yards. He played like he might be getting a bust in Canton someday, but it is the preseason, so take it with a generous grain of salt. Gabbert won’t challenge Carson Palmer for the starting job, but he sure did enough to challenge Drew Stanton for the Cardinals’ backup role.

2. There were some genuinely fun offensive plays from the Cowboys.

Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott weren’t on the field, but a couple of other Cowboys stepped up to give us some highlights.

FIrst and foremost was tight end Rico Gathers, who was drafted by the Cowboys in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL draft. Gathers played college basketball at Baylor, and he hadn’t played football since the eighth grade

You sure couldn’t tell on Thursday night.

Not to be outdone, Alfred Morris was out there schooling the Cardinals with this ridiculous spin move.

Morris may get some significant playing time early in the season if Elliott does have to serve a suspension, so it’s good for him that he made an impression.

3. Speaking of Zeke, he had a very unusual snack on the sideline.

Feed Zeke. No, seriously, feed him. If he’s hungry enough to eat his beard, he needs some kind of snack.

4. Robert Nkemdiche, Haason Reddick, and Budda Baker stood out for the Cardinals defense.

Arians was happy with Gabbert’s performance, but also mentioned Nkemdiche and Reddick by name.

Nkemdiche brought quite a bit of pressure on Cowboys backup quarterback Kellen Moore early in the game. Reddick, who was a walk-on at Temple and became a first-round draft pick for the Cardinals in 2017, also got after the quarterback and added three tackles. Baker, a second-rounder for the Cardinals this year, contributed six tackles, a pass breakup, and one quarterback hit.

Arizona lost Calais Campbell, cornerback Marcus Cooper, and safeties Tony Jefferson and D.J. Swearinger to free agency this offseason. It should encouraging for the Cardinals to see their young defenders stepping up in the preseason.

5. EZ Nwachukwu scored a touchdown.

Nwachukwu, who was a fan favorite on the Houston Texans’ season of Hard Knocks, only had one reception Thursday night. He made it count, though. Nwachukwu’s 14-yard touchdown reception gave the Cowboys a 17-15 lead in the third quarter.

EZ was loved by fans of Hard Knocks in part because he asked some interesting questions, like, “Is there water on space?” But he also earned respect for his route running, which also paid off on Thursday.

6. This guy had to hold a monitor for a play that was under review.

Hilarity ensued.

It’s play review Inception.

The Cowboys ended up taking the win with a final score of 20-18. Yes, it was a game that really doesn’t matter, but it still had plenty of entertaining moments.

Read more

NFL Hall of Fame Game 2017 live updates: News, highlights, and scores from Cowboys vs. Cardinals

The Cowboys topped the Cardinals in the first official unofficial game of the season.

Hey there, football. Long time, no see. Sure it’s the preseason, but it’s something.

Final score: Cowboys 20, Cardinals 18

We got a little excitement in the last two minutes. Rod Smith took a page from Zeke and stiff-armed and hurdled a guy on fourth down. The Cardinals got the ball back with under a minute to go, but the Cowboys held on for the 20-18 win.

If only the Cardinals had played Gabbert the entire game …

Cowboys 20, Cardinals 18 (2:00)

Both teams traded possessions … somehow. We were watching Megan Rapinoe’s goal while that happened.

All we know is this poor guy really lost track of the ball here:

Cowboys 20, Cardinals 18 (7:03)

Looks up Cardinals roster T.J. Logan got his shot at running back, and ran straight up the middle for a 16-yard gain.

His rhyme twin, Krishawn Hogan, snagged a key first down later.

But then the drive stalled and punter Matt Wile lined up for the field goal. He must have thought he was still punting because he missed baaaadly.

Cowboys 20, Cardinals 18 (10:53)

Rush, uh, rushed for 12 yards and a first down, and then connected with Andy Jones for 13 yards. It was enough to get the Cowboys in field goal range, and to get them the lead back.

Third quarter

Cardinals 18, Cowboys 17 (0:00)

Did anything happen at the end of the third quarter? Sorry, we weren’t paying attention.

Cardinals 18, Cowboys 17 (3:54)

Oooh, we’ve got a challenge from Jason Garrett. And a lot of product placement for Microsoft Surface.

The call — that Cardinals running back Elijhaa Penny was down by conduct before fumbling — was upheld.

The Cardinals got the lead back with a 40-yard field goal.

Cowboys 17, Cardinals 15 (9:35)

Sadly, Gabbert’s night is over. Trevor Knight, who is apparently a quarterback and not the dorky best friend of bad boy Cooper Rush on a teen show, is taking snaps for Arizona now. The Cardinals punted a minute after his debut.

Cowboys 17, Cardinals 15 (10:48)

Cooper Rush, who is apparently a quarterback and not a bad boy with a heart of gold on a teen show, starts the second half for the Cowboys.

Gathers showed off his athleticism again, taking a short pass and turning it into a 17-yard gain. Later on that drive, Rush hit Uzoma “E.Z.” Nwachukwu (aka one of the stars of the Texans’ season of Hard Knocks) for a 14-yard touchdown, giving the Cowboys their first lead of the game.

Halftime

Cardinals 15, Cowboys 10 (0:54)

On this drive, Rod Smith, older brother of Jaylon, got the carries for the Cowboys. He’s rushed six times for 25 yards and caught a short pass.

Elliott made an appearance … to snack on his beard. Gotta feed Zeke.

The Cowboys threatened to score, but Brandon Williams intercepted Moore in the end zone.

The Cardinals attempted a field goal right before the half but it sailed all the way to Cleveland.

Cardinals 15, Cowboys 10 (7:55)

The Gabbert magic could only last so long: He was sacked for a big loss on third down, so the Cardinals had to punt.

Alfred Morris got in on the action with the Cowboys and looked strong running the ball early. His nifty 25-yard run got Dallas to midfield:

Then Butler came through again with a diving grab on third down. But was it a catch? (It was.)

Bruce Arians didn’t care enough to throw a challenge flag, because it’s the preseason, and he’s already made it clear what he thinks of the Hall of Fame Game.

The drive stalled, and Dallas settled for the field goal.

First quarter

Cardinals 15, Cowboys 7

Only the end of the first quarter could stop Gabbert, the GOAT. He stayed perfect with his seventh pass of the game, connecting with Jeremy Ross for a 29-yard pass.

Cardinals 15, Cowboys 7 (1:24)

OK, now Moore is looking Gabbert-esque. He found Brice Butler for a beautiful 46-yard pass and then hit basketball-player-turned-tight-end Rico Gathers for the touchdown grab.

Speaking of quarterbacks, *waves to Tony Romo*:

Cardinals 15, Cowboys 0 (5:18)

Sorry, Tom Brady. We know it’s your birthday and all, but Blaine Gabbert is now the greatest quarterback of all time. He brought the Cardinals right down the field agin, going a perfect 3-for-3 again. Andre Ellington punched it in to give the Cardinals another touchdown.

A penalty on the Cowboys during the extra point gave the Cardinals the ball at the 1-yard line, so they decided to go for two. After another Dallas penalty, Gabbert bulldozed in for the two-point conversion.

Cardinals 7, Cowboys 0 (10:00)

No Dak Prescott or Ezekiel Elliott, bummer. Instead, Kellen Moore and Darren McFadden got the start for the Cowboys. Moore was not Gabbert-esque, which is actually a criticism right now, and the Cowboys went three-and-out.

Cardinals 7, Cowboys 0 (10:46)

Don’t expect to see many starters in this game. The Cardinals started with the ball and trotted out … Blaine Gabbert. Wooooo, get excited!

To be fair, Gabbert was dealing on the first possession. His biggest play came on a 35-yard pass to Brittan Golden, but Gabbert was perfect on the drive, completing all three of his passes. Kerwynn Williams put the Cardinals on the board with a 5-yard touchdown run.

(We’re not completely sure who some of these players are, tbh.)

Before the game

If 2017’s preseason opener between the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals gets even a coin toss in, it will have exceeded the 2016 Hall of Fame Game. Last year’s scheduled matchup between the Packers and Colts was called off after extreme heat in Canton turned the field’s synthetic turf into a hardened, sticky mess.

At the time, the NFL and NFLPA released a joint statement saying “player safety is our primary concern, and as a result, we could not play an NFL game on this field tonight.​”

The end result was an underwhelming start to the 2016 preseason. Fans who made the trip to Ohio were forced to head home without seeing Aaron Rodgers or Andrew Luck take the field.

2017 promises to be better, if only because the game will actually take place (we think).

If this were the regular season, the headlining matchup would be a showdown between two of the league’s best tailbacks. Cowboys runner Ezekiel Elliott’s premier season was an unrequited success; he topped the NFL and threatened Eric Dickerson’s rookie record with 1,631 rushing yards. On the other sideline is David Johnson, who led the league with 2,118 yards from scrimmage in his second season as a pro.

Of course, we won’t get a chance to see that matchup Thursday. Starters typically don’t last long in the preseason, and the Hall of Fame Game is no exception. In 2015, Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater played just one series in the season-opening exhibition. The Steelers rested the majority of their starters, including Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, and Antonio Brown. The game was, let’s say, less than thrilling.

If Dak Prescott plays, it probably won’t be for long. The Cowboys quarterback earned his starting gig last year when Tony Romo went down with injury during the preseason.

The Cardinals boast a surefire enshrinee in wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and a veteran quarterback, Carson Palmer, who could work his way onto semifinalist lists in the future. Not that either veteran will take the field. Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians already said that he would not playing any starters — or even backup quarterback Drew Stanton. That leaves quarterbacking duty to Blaine Gabbert in the first half and undrafted rookie Trevor Knight in the second half. Nothing says preseason like that.

The Hall of Fame Game kicks off at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. A live stream is available at NBC Sports.

Pregame reading

The Hall of Fame game is step one in parsing out the Cowboys’ roster. Here’s what their key position battles look like (Blogging the Boys)

Here are the training camp headliners who could make the biggest impact on Thursday night (Blogging the Boys)

Robert Nkemdiche has looked like a monster in training camp, and could have a major impact at the Hall of Fame Game (Revenge of the Birds)

And, just in case you needed a reminder of how awful last year’s game cancellation was… (SB Nation)

Read more