The biggest exclusive release on Xbox One this year is in fact a re-release, or four re-releases to be precise. Halo 5 reportedlywon’t be out until next year, but creator 343 Industries says Halo: The Master Chief Collection will offer plenty of satisfying information on the mystery shooter. Obviously Halos 1, 2 with a fresh Anniversary Edition makeover, as well as 3, and 4 are in, but dig beneath the surface and you’ll find more than just remastered versions of musty old games. In other words, there’s more to Halo: The Master Chief Collection than was initially believed.
Halo 2 is getting a full HD redo, all the rest have been boosted up – Halo 3 runs at 1080p and 60fps – and otherwise it’s the same games you’ve played already, with better looking cut scenes. A fair bit of coverage has picked up on the remastered Halo 2 maps, including the popular Lockout – hopefully spicing up your multiplayer experience.
“We’ve added bookend cinematics that start to introduce some characters you’re gonna see in Halo 5 and kinda set up the story that way,” producers Dan Ayoub and Kiki Wolfkill said. “The characters you’re gonna see in the cinematics won’t appear in the gameplay of Halo 2. They’re just setting up some guys you’re gonna see in Halo 5. We’re gonna show the Arbiter. We’re gonna show [new Halo 5 character] Locke. Characters like that. You’re gonna see some old characters and some new ones.” Wolfkill added: “I would think of it as connective tissue to Halo 5.”
As well as including a beta for Halo 5: Guardians, Halo: The Master Chief Collection will also feature a variety of unlockables that won’t just be pieces of concept art. “We will go into more specifics a little later down the road,” Wolfkill revealed, “but we definitely want [Halo 5 beta] rewards to feel meaningful for the player. So it’s not just art.”
“Let’s put all the story on one disc, on one platform, finally,” Frank O’Connor of 343 Industries said.
Along with the complete Halo experience and the complete Halo multiplayer experience, the collection will include a ton of Halo 5: Guardians references which players can discover. In addition, owners of the collection will also get the chance to join the Halo 5 multiplayer beta test that will debut end of 2014.
And there’s something else to add here, the Halo Channel, an app for the Xbox One based entirely on the Halo world, running competitions, news, pro-streams and episodes of the new TV series Nightfall. You’ll also be able to gain points and experience in the game from watching shows on the channel. Nightfall has Ridley Scott as Executive Producer, so that’s a plus.
As far as this exclusive Xbox One release, and no promises regarding an eventual PC alternative, no amount of similliarities between the hardware architecture of the Xbox One and a typical PC can allow for a simple transition. And besides: the studio’s focus is entirely on Xbox One at present.
“From a technical standpoint, you look at the architecture of the Xbox One and there are some similarities to the architecture of a modern PC,” Ayoub said. “That certainly makes that sort of cross-platform development easier. But beyond that the ease goes away. Master Chief Collection is massive. We have to coordinate four games, 100-plus maps, a lot of new cinematics, and Halo 2 Anniversary.”
When reminded that the original Halo still boasts a lively playerbase on PC, Ayoub responded that PC is still a part of Microsoft’s business plan, providing some slim hope that there’s a future for Halo on the platform.
The games will run in 1080p @ 60 frames per second on Xbox One, and rumors of this collection edition might be released on PC later on.The Master Chief Collection is believed to be released on November 11, 2014 in America and November 14, 2014 in Europe, exclusively on the Xbox One.