A public test for Halo: The Master Chief Collection's Firefight horde mode was supposed to come to PC in July, but it ultimately failed to materialize. The short explanation for the delay was "bugs"; the long version is also "bugs," but with an in-depth explanation of the Halo testing hierarchy, the current status of the Firefight mode on PC, and why it all seems so complicated.
343 opted to hold back the testing due to "blocking bugs" that it simply could not get past before the end of the month. "'Blocking Bugs' are 'blockers' in that they are deemed severe enough to prevent a flight from functioning as needed," 343 explained in a new Insider Update.
"Keep in mind that though we address, mitigate and solve 'blocking bugs' for each ring of flighting, this doesn’t mean that any flight is bug-free. In fact, it’s quite the contrary since each flight is very much a work-in-progress development build."
"Rings," as 343 explains it, are essentially Halo-speak for milestones: Each ring must be passed without blocking bugs in order for a "flight" to move on to the next. Ring 0 is made up of an internal 343 team, ring 1 is "external partners that work closely with the studio," ring 2 brings in even more external partners, and ring 3 is the Halo Insider Group, selected based on "Key Performance Indicators" to test various aspects of game.
"At the time of writing this, we have just completed our first Ring 1 test for Halo: Reach FireFlight [what 343 is calling the Firefight flight, apparently, because why just call it a "test" when you can be unnecessarily confusing instead] on PC. Late last week, the team resolved the final key issue that had been blocking entering Ring 1 and now has a few bugs being worked on that are blocking Ring 2," 343 wrote. "There are currently five Ring 2 blockers, and fifteen Ring 3 blockers the team is working through:"
- Security solution does not auto-install once game is installed
- Long delays in menus accompanied by matchmaking errors can happen
- Opening the settings menu during gameplay can cause the roster to stay stuck on screen
- Frame loss can be experienced in various menus when played in higher resolutions.
- Crash is present sometimes when a matchmade Firefight game starts
Once the flight gets to ring 2, other bugs relating to navigation, crashes, and other issues will have to be dealt with before it can go to Halo Insiders. No date for that has been set: 343 said only that "flighting has moved out slightly," and the next round will take place "when it's ready."
"When we announced MCC coming to PC and Reach coming to MCC, we thought we knew exactly what the roadmap was to bring about the best game for gamers. We were wrong about a few things and this is something that happens often in the complex, fluid world of game development. To compensate for this, schedules around flighting had to be shifted out," 343 wrote. "But, even with these challenges, the development team has overcome them and is continuing to work on it day-in and day-out towards bringing MCC to PC and Halo: Reach to MCC the right way."
Halo: The Master Chief Collection will be released as individual games in chronological order, beginning later this year with Halo: Reach.
Correction: The post originally referred to the Halo developer as Bungie in two places. As absolutely everyone on the planet (including me) knows, Halo has been under the care and control of 343 Industries since 2012. Sorry about that.