Halo ATLAS brings non-silent cartography to Windows Phone on December 10

Microsoft first announced the addition of an ATLAS to Halo Waypoint back in October. But the ATLAS didn’t show up with the Halo WayPoint Mango update that coincided with Halo Anniversary’s release. Thankfully we’ve learned today that the ATLAS is not very far off – it’s coming this Saturday, December 10.

Halo ATLAS uses maps (sponsored by Brady Games) to provide valuable multiplayer data to Halo Reach and Anniversary players. When we say Halo Anniversary players, we really mean Reach players because the non-campaign Anniversary multiplayer simply piggybacks off of Reach.

The connectivity with Reach is possible because during multiplayer games, Reach constantly sends out packets of data called heartbeats that contain gameplay status. Halo ATLAS provides a bunch of that information in near-real-time to smartphone users.


Some of Halo ATLAS’s features:

  • Weapon and vehicle spawn locations for Matchmaking and Firefight games.
  • Health pack locations.
  • Near-real-time locations for weapons and vehicles during Custom Multiplayer games.
  • Your location and that of your team members displayed on the map.
  • Visual indicators when your teammates are engaged in combat and when they are killed, and even when they positioning themselves to strike
  • ‘Follow me’ mode to track your movement.
  • Dynamic player list, including current score for the teams and each player and equipped weapon for you and your teammates.

Access to all of this information during multiplayer games could potentially change the balance of matches, something 343 has already considered. As such, the near-real-time information won’t appear during ranked matches. You’ll still be able to view maps with weapon and vehicle spawns, but won’t see player locations or where weapons and vehicles get moved. It sounds like that bumps ATLAS down from indispensable to just a fun gadget, but it should still helpful in custom games.

While having an advantage over other players wouldn’t be an issue during cooperative Firefight games, ATLAS won’t support near-real-time updates in Firefight maps just yet. Improved Firefight support should come with a future update.

Coming soon to a smartphone near you

One surprising part of today’s announcement is that Halo WayPoint and ATLAS will be coming to iOS and Android platforms, not just Windows Phone. Allow me to editorialize for a bit. While multiplatform availability is a good thing for gamers in general, publishing WayPoint and ATLAS on competing platforms definitely sends mixed signals about Microsoft’s confidence in their own mobile platform. After all, every time a Windows Phone-exclusive feature moves off to other pastures, that’s one less reason for people to switch over to Windows Phone. On the plus side, ATLAS will be free on Microsoft’s platform but cost $4.99 on iOS and Android. That’s kind of an advantage for Windows Phone.

The future of ATLAS

ATLAS will receive several new features down the line in addition to the aforementioned improved Firefight support. Some possibilities include support for user-customized FORGE maps, more data for objective-based maps (flag, oddball, and hill location, etc.), and a spectator mode for viewing tournament games. The more of these ideas end up in the product, the more useful it will be to Halo Reach players.

The Halo ATLAS update to Halo WayPoint is scheduled for this Saturday in English-speaking countries. ATLAS will be released in other languages shortly thereafter.

Source: Halo Waypoint – The Halo Bulletin

Thanks to Mouthsmasher for the tip!

Paul Acevedo

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

  • Can't wait. The mango update was great. This would be very useful
  • Will this be useful to non multiplayer gamers? Glad they charging iOS and Android users!
  • This shouldn't be on Android and iOS at ALL Microsoft is now officially runing the Xbox Live momentum on the WP
  • Im sorry to dissapoint you but Xbox Live on WP7 never had a momentum...
    and what i mean?... Xbox live on wp7 is just a name, nothing special. people will be like "omg can I play against Xbox players??" "what about wp7 multiplayer matches?" boths answers are NO.
    people complained about Xbox live on iOS yesterday, but it does the same than xbox.com. but in WP7 you get Xbox live titles and of course achivements which is the only important thing about Xbox live, not editing your avatar or some silly thing like that.
    but what avantages has Xbox live over not Xbox live? none. earning achivements its the only one. and seriously sometimes thats not even important. until wp7 cant at least have multiplayer games... and good games, not chess or something like that (turn by turn), or even better, multiplayer against Xbox users or even better PC and Xbox users. it will not be important.
    and really, even OpenXlive does the same Xbox Live on wp7. so what momentum? i dont know, its just a brand name with no special features on WP. its not a reason at the momento to switch from android or iOS to wp7.
  • I kind of agree with you but from a marketing stand point MS had the ability to market WP on every HALO game saying that Halo is WP comptabile with WP7. MS has the ability to market WP on every Xbox BOX saying that take control with Kinect and WP
    Do you get what im saying you can use the Xbox Live brand to market WP but now they are slowly loosing that.
    The average salesman Joe at AT&T can sell a potential WP buyer (because of Live integration) to a iOS device because it has almost the same features now.
    From a tech stand point yeah it doesn't do much but for a sales/market standpoint they loose an oppourtunity.
  • i know what you mean, but also i have seen this people who think Xbox live is nothing special. like i said Openxlive does the same, the only missing feature is an avatar, after that you can earn achivements and stuff like that.
    about marketing, sill you can say "Xbox live titles" if people care about Xbox live, and achivements they will know the difference bewteen Xbox live titles and non Xbox live titles. and its exclusive to wp7.
    But until we cant say you can play agaisnt wp7, xbox, and maybe PC. it will be useless. because come on! even iOS has alot of multiplayer games, even if its wifi only.
    Online and multiplayer, became important lately. and wp7 right now, doesnt do anything of that, and it sucks, and if people care about xbox live believe me they want MULTIPLAYER! they want to play against even Xbox! or at least against WP7! but Wp7 doesn't do anything of that yet.
    so i dont see Xbox live important for wp7 yet. I own a wp7 but its boring to see iOS has multiplayer games and we what? the closest i have seen its local multiplayer. because right now Xbox live its not more than that a "Brand" but for gaming its useless and stupid on WP7.
    look at games like angry birds, being Xbox live or not, it would have been the same. people would get it and be like "oh nice we have our angry birds here". but you cant say the same about Xbox live, because it doesn't have anything special over iOS and android, but achivements, and still i think achivents ar stupid and not a reason to say xbox live is better than what you get on iOS and android.
    and I understand what you mean but also you have to see that until at least we can get wp7 multiplayer, it will be Xbox uselesslive, for me and alot of people.
  • I agree with you thats why I gave the OK when MS released the Xbox Live client on iOS but Halo Atlas and other Waypoints are something that can pursuade somebody who isn't really into hardcore wireless gaming.
    Halo is just the start what if WP had Forza, NHL, NBA, Madden, Call of Duty, Skyrim etc waypoints which can track your progress on the go  and all of those were exclusive to WP7 that might pursuade more people to buy it alot casuals dont use cellphones for heavy gaming but if they have Xbox exlcusives APPS which they can use to modify their game or check their settings on the go would be great.
    I don't mind MS doing this but atleast get more Marketshare first before giving out the goods. Just to be clear Xbox App is OK with me its just a APPlified Xbox.com
  • You also have to consider all the blog sites now are going to say Halo Waypoint Avaiable on iOS Android and WP (yeah at the very last) Not a good look I would rather See Halo Waypoint available for Windows Phone 7 December 10th
  • I wish it would stay WP7 exclusive, too, but 343 isn't Microsoft owned, any more.
    Halo 4 will most likely be the last Xbox exclusive Halo, also. :(
  • What 343i isn't owned by Microsoft anymore? From what I understand 343i is what they got from Bungie when they left.
  • What 343i isn't owned by Microsoft anymore? From what I understand 343i is what they got from Bungie when they left.
  • further internet reading indicates 343 IS owned by MS. I misunderstood the Gameinformer arcticle.
    They have no excuse for messing up by putting Waypoint on other devices, then. :|
  • 343i is owned by Microsoft. You must be thinking of Bungie, who developed all the FPS Halo games thus far. Microsoft used to own them, but now they're free.
    It's for this purpose that Microsoft created 343 Industries, so that they could carry on the franchise for them. Again, it's not something they simply got from bungie, it's what they created to continue overseeing the franchise.
  • And the IP rights to Halo are in fact owned by Microsoft, so we will never see the games on other consoles. Also, during E3 week this last July when Halo 4 was announced, they announced it as the begninning of a new trilogy, ensuring there's going to be at least three more Halo games. I believe they also said they currently have a 10 year plan for the franchise.
  • Considering the apps widespread availability on multiple platforms, I'm kind of disapointed they're not enhancing some of the features for matchmaking play.
    So basically it'll just be an overhead map showing us where the weapons and vehicles spawn? Because I already know all of this, it really only benefits new players, and since I don't play custom games that much, ATLAS virtually becomes useless for me.
    I still wish it was a WP exclusive, but at least they're charging everyone else somewhat of a steep price while we get it free.
  • Its like selling your soul to the devil. Waypoints and companion apps are 1 BIG advantage Microsoft has against iOS and Android gaming and now they are selling it away. Very unfortunate.
  • I'm curious where that ranked limitation is... Sounds like it's a client side check waiting to be hacked. :D
  • Soudn great, been wanting to use this since I got Halo Anniversary. Although Microsoft putting a HALO feature that should be WP7 only on other platforms is crazy. Like people have said above it's a great marketing tool to the millions of Halo fans as well as 30 million xbox live useres. Now look at it from our perspective, we WP7 users do not and probably will not have, Google Maps, Google Voice, Official You Tube app, etc. These apps are all on IOS and Andriod. Microsoft in order to maintain competitveness needs exclusives now more then ever and they are giving their edge away. I have told and showed numerous xbox friends about this phone and the new live features. Most of them want one and the only reason they don't have one is because VERIZON doesn't have a good WP7 device. Some may say this is all ok, but for a lot of xbox users I know the LIVE features, etc are reasons why they'd switch. On the other hand though it's funny how Google and Apple have all this proprietary app software that they sometimes shre with each other, but windows phone is always left out. However Microsoft always has software apps on all devices. Nice how Microsoft can share the love, but no one else will. As of now though Bing Maps, Metro Tube, etc. Work just fine. We'll see how this sharing of should be exclusives turns up.
  • On another note, remeber the first Ads ran for Windows Phone.
    "The only phone with Office, XBOX LIVE, and thousands of Apps."
    Well now they have make a huge shift in marketing to gain interest then have to go back on their word to the consumers saying Xbox Live available on WP7 and now iOS and android.
    Also want to add some better features to the gaming on Windows Phone? How about being able to save our phone saved games on a cloud. So that when we update we do not have to start all over again.
  • Lol about 343 not being owned by Microsoft anymore. Seriously...
    Regarding "ooh ppl want multiplayer on a phone"! Do they ? I couln't care less, enough about that multiplayer already, it's getting old.
    And what's that Openxsomething ? Is that even a threat to Live, do anybody know about that. Come on...
  • But waypoint hasnt been working for weeks since the last update.  Hmm..so I guess this will fix it?