It finally happened. After months of leaks, rumors and speculation – Halo: The Master Chief Collection was finally revealed during the E3 2014 Xbox Press Conference. Before you panic and scream “WHEREZ MAH HALO 2 ANNIVERSARY”, I’m going to attempt to clean this up for you and clarify what we know so far about this package.
UPDATE: UK users will receive the Halo: The Master Chief Collection on 11/14/14 via Dan Ayoub.
— Dan Ayoub (@Danayoub) June 19, 2014
The Halo: Master Chief Collection is a group of all the Halo titles with Master Chief being the main character. With this Collection, players will receive:
- Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary
- Halo 2: Anniversary
- Halo 3
- Halo 4
- Halo: Nightfall
- Halo 5 Beta Access (Beginning December 27th)
A lot of this is confusing, so I’ll try and clear it up for you on a per-game basis, but first lets look at something that ALL Halo titles will be getting in the Master Chief Collection.
- 60 Frames Per Second
- Dedicated Servers
- Original Multiplayer
- Original Campaign
Halo CE: Anniversary
Players will gain access to the first Halo remaster – Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary. Just like the Xbox 360 version, players will be able to access the first Halo games Campaign in it’s 2001 form, or it’s 2011 remastered form. However, this time around – players won’t have access to the Halo: Reach Multiplayer which originally hosted Halo CEA’s multiplayer.
For the first time ever, the original multiplayer for Halo: Combat Evolved will be available to play over Xbox LIVE with the use of dedicated servers, running at a blistering 60FPS and a stunning 1080p.
Yup, you read that right. Fan favorites like Chill Out, Damnation, Wizard and more will be playable across Xbox LIVE through the Master Chief Collection.
Halo 2: Anniversary
The leaks were true, Halo 2: Anniversary is coming with the Master Chief Collection rather than a port of Halo 2. Players will gain access to a remastered Campaign with CGI cutscenes, six remastered Halo 2 multiplayer maps (with the original 23 still playable) and a completely unchanged multiplayer experience from 2004.
The original multiplayer experience will remain exactly the same, and will be played on the original graphics and engine, whereas the new remastered maps will be played with new models, graphics, and a new engine designed to mimic Halo 2’s engine.
Players will instantly be able to access a remastered version of the Halo 2 Campaign from 2004. With a similar treatment to Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, you can expect to see fully updated textures, terminals and new prologue and epilogue cutscenes which will have ties to Halo 5: Guardians. However, when playing in Remastered mode, players will see CGI versions of the Halo 2 cutscenes, like below.
Just like Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, anytime during the Campaign you can hit the Back button and you will switch between Classic and Remastered graphics.
This is were it gets interesting. Halo 2: Anniversary will not only come with all 23 original Halo 2 maps, but 6 remastered versions which will receive graphical upgrades just like Halo: Combat Evolved did. IGN has confirmed that these 6 remasters will be played in a brand new engine designed to mimic Halo 2 gameplay. The original 25 maps can still be played on the normal Halo 2 engine. One of these new HD maps is Ascension as seen above, but 343 has yet to comment on the remaining 5 maps.
The Multiplayer – Glitches
Most of you are probably at the edge of your seats, wondering if glitches will still work in Halo 2: Anniversary. Multiple sources have confirmed that in Halo 2: Anniverary, players will still be able to perform Button Combos like BXR, BXB, etc. Dan Ayoub of 343 Industries commented saying that the original code for Halo 2 is being left untouched.
The Multiplayer – Ranks
Halo 2’s multiplayer was considered widely successful due to its introduction of ranked matchmaking in the form of 1-50. 343 Industries have commented saying that while the original 1-50 ranking system will not be included, there will be some sort of “leveling system” were players ranks will go down for losing and go up for winning.
The Multiplayer – Maps
To begin with, we received confirmation (with those gorgeous images you’re seeing) that Ascension would be one of the six maps remade for the Xbox One engine. Frank O’ Connor has teased hugely on Twitter that the next two maps will be Lockout and Zanzibar.
The Multiplayer – Forge
During a quick event with IGN on their live stream, Frank O’ Connor and Dan Ayoub confirmed that in Halo 2: Anniversary, the Forge gamemode will be available which will allow players to modify maps and save custom variants. This inclusion of Forge is most likely only available for the six new HD remakes, as they are running on a new engine which Forge can be used on.
So to clarify, you can Forge on the 6 new remastered Halo 2 maps, as well as in Halo 3 and Halo 4. Each game will retain its own version of Forge.
While this won’t be that much of a shock to you, but Halo 3 won’t be getting an ‘Anniversary’ treatment like Halo Combat Evolved and Halo 2 did, instead, the game will be getting a boost to 1080p, 60FPS and dedicated servers. While at first, Forge wasn’t officially confirmed for the game, Frank O’ Connor and Dan Ayoub have revealed that Forge will be in Halo 3.
Similar to Halo 3, Halo 4 won’t be getting any graphical improvements or a remaster like Halo CE & Halo 2 – instead, it will be getting a resolution buff to 1080p and also receive 60FPS and dedicated servers.
Halo: Nightfall is a live-action digital feature being produced by Ridley Scott. While details are scarce at this point, we can only assume that it will tie into the Master Chief’s story based on what it is being packaged with.
Players will be able to check this out in-game via the “Extras” menu in Halo: The Master Chief Collection.
Halo 5: Guardians Beta
Players who purchase the Master Chief Collection will receive an invitation to the Halo 5: Guardians beta. Starting December 27th, 2014 and lasting for THREE WEEKS, players will be able to join 343 Industries in testing the next step in the Halo franchise.
Starting November 11th, 2014 – players will gain access to Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Four games, one beta and a digital feature. All that for a total price of $59.99. Nope, that isn’t a typo.