Building a Warzone – 343’s Kevin Franklin on Halo 5’s new multiplayer mode

October 5, 2015

Making a game of the calibre of Halo is no easy undertaking. “We built a lot of momentum crafting the first game,” explains 343 Industries’ Design Director Kevin Franklin. Now onto their second major title in the Halo universe, Franklin concedes that taking over development from original studio Bungie wasn’t easy. “We felt a lot of pressure,” he says, speaking to us about Halo 5 Guardians while taking a quick break at last weekend’s EB Expo.


Franklin knows how fond locals are of Halo, describing Australia as one his “favourite destinations”. “Everyone has been really enthusiastic,” he says. “People are really excited about our local dedicated servers,” Franklin notes, referring to infrastructure established to look after the Australian Xbox community. This network of local servers will be playing host to a high volume of players when Halo 5 launches Warzone in October – the largest addition to the franchise for some time. “Fans shall be able to create custom game modes on our dedicated servers,” Franklin says. Continuing the thread of community features, I asked about file sharing, but Franklin said it was “not something we are discussing at this time”.

Unlike the Creative Director, who focuses more on the campaign and narrative, Franklin is chiefly responsible for Arena and Warzone, or as he describes it, “everything that is multiplayer”. Leading a team tasked with creating a brand new iteration of one of gaming’s most loved multiplayer experiences can be challenging, to put it simply. “There is a lot of pressure making such a big game” Franklin admits. Keeping gameplay fresh, while still staying true to the Halo legacy, is a tough endeavour. “There’s a lot of competition,” Franklin says, “but Halo has always led the way, and that’s what we’re doing with Warzone”.


For the uninitiated, Warzone sees two large teams of Spartans on opposite sides on a vast map facing off against waves of AI enemies, and each other. Franklin explains how 343 Industries dreamed of making Warzone, or as what he terms as a “Halo battlefield”, since Halo 4. “The Xbox One allowed us to do something we could not have done before,” he says. “With 60 frames per second and dedicated servers, we can finally offer this amazing game experience” Franklin proudly says. Seeing Warzone for myself at E3 earlier this year, the new mode is certainly something that fans should be excited for (you can read all about it here).

“We’ve always dreamed of introducing Warzone,” Franklin recounts, citing Halo‘s deep lore as the team’s inspiration for the new mode. “Reading through the books, learning about the large-scale missions with Spartans and Scorpion Tanks, we though, wouldn’t it be awesome to build this into the game?” Franklin also alludes to Halo‘s own catalogue of games as providing 343 Industries with the idea for Warzone. “Seeing the huge AI battles in Halo Wars, we thought, how can be bring this experience to the players?”


Speaking of the challenges when introducing new features into a game, I asked Kevin if there was anything that didn’t quite make the final cut. After a pause, he says, “we really got together and did as much as we possibly could, and there were things we had to get rid of.” Nevertheless, Franklin believes Warzone is finally ready for the masses. “Right now, the team’s really happy where things are at with Warzone,” he concludes.

Fans shall be able to experience the chaotic multiplayer of Warzone from October 27 when Halo 5 Guardians releases on Xbox One.