Hooray! WP7 Halo Waypoint ATLAS app will offer real-time maps for Xbox 360 players

It has been a long time coming, but it seems we will soon see some actual Windows Phone 7/ Xbox console integration.

The new Halo Waypoint app will offer many new features, including sending challenges to other Halo players.

The most interesting feature however is the ability to provide a secondary, top-down display of Halo maps in real time, featuring the location of your team and also the location of important objects in the game.

haloatlas

The top down view on the Windows Phone on the left, and the console view on the right.

The feature will work with any Halo: Anniversary or Halo: Reach map but not custom maps.

“We tried to imagine what a Spartan in the field might actually have if they had an assisted system from the future,” explained CJ Saretto, lead producer for Halo Waypoint. They posited that future soldiers would have satellite imagery as well as floor plans for facilities, all annotated with notable information such as where weapon drops and vehicles could be found, what weapons players’ allies are wielding, the match’s score, and so on.

The maps themselves can either be viewed as satellite imagery or “what might think of as map view from Google Maps.”

“There’s a number of set-ups that we’ve imagined,” Saretto said. “We’ve imagined the phone kind of sitting on the coffee table in front of you and you checking it out on occasion if you’re wondering what’s going on. We’ve also imagined a co-pilot style scenario where another person is watching what’s occurring while you’re playing and kind of giving you additional information.”

“We also think about, if you’re in a firefight, you’ve ducked behind a corner, you’re kind of hidden, you take time to look at where your team mates are,” Halo Waypoint executive producer Doug Hebenthal added. In other words, steal a glance while the Spartan’s shield recharges. Saretto also noted that the app will follow a player as they move through the level, so there isn’t a process of orienting oneself in the app.

The ATLAS app appears as if it will give players a leg-up over those who don’t own a Windows Phone 7 device. However, O’Connor noted that the app actually has “built-in” balancing, in that every time a player glances down, they are splitting their attention away from the game, a move that always comes with hazards.

Finally Microsoft is giving Xbox 360 owners a real reason to get a Windows Phone 7 phone.  We hope Microsoft splashes this feature all over their other games, and also the media as advertising also.

All this will be available this holiday season.

Read more at Gamespot here.

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