Halo Wars 2: an interview with creative director Alistair Hope

Eight years after the release of the best-selling RTS console title ever, Halo Wars 2 (finally) continues the story of Captain Cutter and the crew of the UNSC Spirit of Fire.

The story, which takes place 28 years after the events of the first Halo Wars, sees the crew awakening from stasis to face a new enemy known as The Banished. The game features new characters, bigger battlefields, and more game modes – including Blitz, a combination between RTS play and a card-collecting game.

According to Alistair Hope, creative director at Creative Assembly, the latest instalment will be a Play Anywhere title, meaning, when purchased digitally, “it can be played on both the Xbox One and Windows 10, with saved games and achievement progress able to move between the two platforms.”

“It’s an RTS for everyone, whether you’re new to the genre or you’re a die-hard Halo fan,” said Hope. “We have the fantastic campaign, but we also have these really great co-operative and competitive modes online, too.”

We talked to Hope recently to learn a little bit more about Halo Wars 2.

Halo Wars 2 follows on from the much beloved Halo Wars. What improvements can fans of the original expect to see in the sequel?

“The first Halo Wars was arguably the best game to translate the mouse and keyboard of PC RTS to a controller, and for Halo Wars 2, we didn’t want to completely change the controls but rather find ways to improve upon them.

“We’ve added the ability to assign control groups to the D-pad, a feature something PC fans are very familiar with, and the ability to quickly scroll through the map and jump around bases and forces with hotkeys.”

RTS games are closely associated with e-sports. Will Halo Wars 2 be suited to the e-sports scene?

“Esports is something we’re interested in, but it’s also something we feel we can’t ‘force’ and that it needs to come from the community. We’re very interested to hear from fans what they think and see how the meta, deeper strategies develop!”

How many hours of content are on offer for Halo fans who are solely after a story-driven, single-player experience?

“Playtime will vary depending on your skill level and also what difficulty you play on, but we expect most players will spend roughly 10 hours of play on normal difficulty.”

How will content updates be handled? Will they be offered for free or as paid DLC?

Halo Wars 2 will receive more than six months of content updates as part of our season pass, which includes new Leaders, Blitz cards, units, and campaign missions.”

Is it important to have played the first Halo Wars before jumping into the sequel?

“Fans who play the original game will appreciate seeing the characters of the first game back, but the story of Halo Wars 2 was crafted intentionally as a standalone one.”

Halo Wars 2 launched February 21 on Xbox One and Windows 10 PC. To discover more about the world of Halo Wars 2, head over to The Halo Compendium or to get playing, head on over to the Microsoft Store.