Although we aren’t getting to continue Master Chief’s journey until Halo 5 releases in 2015, there is still plenty for Halo fans to look forward to later this year. Halo: The Master Chief Collection is not only 343 Industries ambitious follow-up to their work on Halo: Anniversary, but it’s also one incredible deal.
For those who don’t know, The Collection includes all four mainline Halo games (i.e. those starring Master Chief) on a single disc, preserved to play exactly as they did when each game first released. What’s more, Halo 1 and 2 are packaged as Anniversary Editions on the disc, with greatly improved visuals built on top of those two games’ existing engines.
At Comic-Con 2014, we got a chance to see more of Halo: The Master Chief Collection in order to get a better idea as to how this comprehensive offering will work. We didn’t get too much in the way of new information, but we can definitively say that Halo fans will want to keep an eye on this game later this fall.
Most of the presentation we saw was focused on Halo 2, and how 343i has added a second visual layer on top of the game’s existing engine. So while Halo 2: Anniversary might play like Halo 2 it looks like a highly polished version of it.
However, as with Halo 1: Anniversary, players can switch back to the game’s original visuals with the press of a button. And thanks to the power of the Xbox One, that transition is instantaneous — no waiting for a fade to black like with the first Anniversary.
On top of that, 343 is working with Blur Studios (the guys behind some of the best CGI trailers in the business) to create new cut scenes for Halo 2. That way, those players who are new to the fold can jump into Halo 2 and treat it as a completely next-gen experience.
The presentation also touched briefly on Halo 2‘s new terminals, which will tease some story elements for Halo 5: Guardians. The Arbiter seems to play a large part in the proceedings, but it’s unclear yet how exactly the two games will connect.
Overall, it appears 343 has done a fine job updating Halo 2‘s visuals, while also keeping the core experience the same. And modern touches like CGI cut scenes and even story teases for Halo 5 will give players even greater incentive to play.
As a whole package, the single player content in The Collection gives players a ton of choices; there are specially curated play lists that repurpose individual or several games’ levels into unique experiences. For example, if players love the high intensity escapes of Halo, the ‘Final Four’ playlist lets them play each games’ last level one after the other. As of right now, however, players will not be able to create their own playlists, but 343 does say they will take gamer feedback into account when creating new ones.
On the multiplayer side, Halo: The Master Chief Collection is a fans’ dream. Everything players could want has made its way over — every mode and every map, playing exactly how they did on their day of release. There’s also six revamped versions of classic Halo 2 maps packaged into The Collection, but 343 has yet to reveal more than Ascension and Coagulation. Fans should expect to hear more about new maps as Comic-Con goes on and at GamesCom, though.
There’s still more to learn about Halo: The Master Chief Collection, but this early glance at the game shows that 343 Industries knew when to tweak and when to keep things as is. Creating a unified user interface, offering curated playlists, and peppering new story content should make The Collection feel new, but make no mistake hardcore fans should have no problem picking up a controller and getting back into their groove.
What most intrigues you about Halo: The Master Chief Collection? Have any questions? Feel free to ask in the comments below.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection releases November 11, 2014 for Xbox One. No PC Release is planned…yet.
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