Halo 5 multiplayer beta embraces eSports features

For many games, an eSports-friendly spectator mode is an after-thought, something that’s thrown into a post-release patch, if not left out completely. 343 Industries is taking a different approach, supporting the eSports community from the very start, and including spectator mode in the beta test for Halo 5: Guardians.

The mode allows eSports fans to broadcast and commentate on live matches, something that 343 developer Josh Holmes says is very important to to the studio.

When you think about Halo, it’s such a tailor-made experience for eSports, especially with that competitive edge, getting back to the level playing field and everything. So we put a lot of focus on surrounding features.

Spectator mode means you can live-spectate on any of your friends’ matches as they play through the Beta, whether you want to watch it in first or third person. This means that rather than streaming just one person’s perspective, the spectator can set up the livestream and show both sides at once.

Twitch will be the platform of choice for Halo 5 – as streamers are collected together not just on the Twitch website but also within the Halo Channel app that will be available on Xbox One. Using the app, you’ll be able to find streams from the the top players, browse through matches, and pick the ones you want to watch.

343 has also made another interesting decision specifically for casters – they’ll be given the opportunity to “rewind and fast-forward through the match”, Holmes tells IGN. You’ll almost inevitably be watching with a slight delay, so you can go back and re-watch a specific moment, then skip right back to the live action. (Obviously you can’t go forward in time – Master Chief is good, but he’s not that good.)

We’re looking at deepening those controls for launch, but we want to get that there for Beta so we can put it in the hands of players.

Halo 5: Guardians is due out late next year, with the multiplayer beta test kicking off on December 29 and running until January 18th.

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