E3 2014: Why the Halo Master Chief Collection Puts Other Greatest-Hits Compilations to Shame

A monument to all your sins.

The rumors were true. 343 Industries is indeed working on a 10th anniversary edition of Halo 2, but that classic 2004 shooter is going to be bundled alongside Halo 3, Halo 4, and the original Combat Evolved as part of The Master Chief Collection.

What is The Master Chief Collection? Well, it looks to be one of the slickest greatest-hits compilations in recent memory. On a single Xbox One disc, you'll find remastered versions of all four Master Chief outings, each spruced up to run in 1080p and at 60 frames per second. And because this is the 10th anniversary of Halo 2, 343 is giving that game a bit of extra attention--think of it as a similar graphical upgrade to the one Halo: Combat Evolved received three years ago, right on down to the ability to switch between new and original visuals with the tap of a button. (Halo: CE Anniversary is also included on the disc.)

Halo 2 has been given fancy new story cinematics. Never has Sgt. Johnson's stubble looked so stubbly!

The whole thing is organized in a way that feels like listening to your favorite band's entire back catalog on shuffle. See, you don't launch each game separately from the others; instead, you access all of the campaign missions and multiplayer--yes, there's online multiplayer for all four games--from a single shared menu. And from there, you can mix and match in a way that few--if any--greatest-hits collections have ever allowed before.

Here's how it works. While you could load up Combat Evolved and play that through to completion before moving on to Halo 2, you can also queue up a setlist of missions from all four games. So you can play through every single Warthog mission in succession--or all the Flood missions if you're a masochist--without having to jump back out to a main menu. But you can also create your own continuous, cross-game setlists. That's because all these missions are unlocked from the start--343 is assuming you've played all this stuff before--and the overall game works in such a way that each of these older engines is loaded simultaneously under the hood to make it all flow smoothly.

(A quick note about campaign co-op: Like Combat Evolved Anniversary, online co-op has been applied to Halo 2. But all four games are sticking with their original player counts. So that means Combat Evolved and Halo 2 support two player co-op as they originally did, while Halo 3 and Halo 4 allow for up to four players total.)

Now let's talk about online multiplayer. Yes, it's there--even for Combat Evolved, which never featured network support in its original Xbox iteration. That may come as a surprise considering that the reasoning 343 used for not including multiplayer in Combat Evolved Anniversary was that it wouldn't feel the same going from offline to online. Instead, it shipped that remaster with access to Halo: Reach multiplayer. So what has changed?

In short: dedicated servers. All four games feature multiplayer running on dedicated servers. So now, according to 343, the multiplayer for Combat Evolved--and the other three games--won't have to rely on the peer-to-peer networking that the Xbox 360 used, thus providing an experience that better mimics Halo CE's offline immediacy.

Maybe that's the real reason; maybe it's not. Whatever the case may be, it's just cool to see online multiplayer returning for those earlier games--all of which run in their original engines, exploitable glitches and all. So yes, according to 343, all those tricks and exploits (think EXP boosting) you discovered in earlier games are still there, because the developers wanted to preserve the original character of these games--like a snapshot in time from before the dawn of patching and title updates. Except, you know, with all the downloadable maps included.

But what's really neat is that, like in the campaign, you can choose to play in multiplayer hoppers that shuffle up each game on the go. So in the pre-match voting screen where players cast a vote for one of several potential map-and-mode combinations, you might be choosing a match on Halo 2's Ascension, CE's Hang 'Em High, or Valhalla from Halo 3. And just like that, when the votes are decided, you'll be whisked over to that game's original multiplayer engine.

Assuming none of the multiplayer magic was lost in the transition to 60-frames-per-second gameplay, all of this adds up to one very cool package. For $60, you've got what is essentially the ultimate Halo collector's edition, and a ticket to transport back in time to the bygone era of early Halo multiplayer. And for story buffs, there are new cinematics that tease the events of Halo 5: Guardians, as well as full access to Ridley Scott's upcoming Halo: Nightfall episodic series. It's easy to feel cynical about remakes as a quick cash grab, but this is one case that looks to put all those other greatest-hits compilations to shame. The Master Chief releases on November 11 this year.

Written By

Want the latest news about Halo: The Master Chief Collection?

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Discussion

251 comments
TrueProphecy22
TrueProphecy22

Ah, it's almost time for me to get another Halo Box. 

irishrizo
irishrizo

If they're adding Online for HALO:Combat Evolved..  i think that in itself would make alot of us  Halo Fans happy since that game we never got ONLINE play for but  we did  have BADASS System link Wars.

Sylonious
Sylonious

It sounds like they are only upgrading Halo 2. Halo 1 already had an upgrade from last gen so it, Halo 3, and Halo 4 will only get res bumps. I don't like that. The textures should be improved on all of them. And honestly, it's silly to take any staff away from Halo 5 to work on these ports. They could have used any studio to do this.

borkgordon
borkgordon

I can't wait to play lockout and headlong

croxus
croxus

I ve always hated the Halo series after the first one, i was never really into ski fi shooters, IMO it is a compromise the publishers have to make, when they aknowledge that they cant make a game realistic enough by real life standards, so they have to make it in a plastic world... The first one was a technogical marvel back then, but after games like far cry appeared, the industry set some new standards MS never followed suit.

I would just ignore the Halo series, to me the GearsOfWar series is far better, but because of all that misplaced hype, the Halo series has become an icon of abusive marketing tachniques...

Having said all that, still, i reckon that this is indeed the best remastering there is!!

The MGS came close, but they did not respect the first one...

corb77
corb77

Really can't wait for this game, I love halo. One of my greatest games of all time

spikepigeo
spikepigeo

I like the part where MC sails to victory on the back of a prickly potato.

Arsyad00
Arsyad00

wait till souls series compilation out...

shidib09
shidib09

Can someone explain to me can you play just halo 2 MP? Or does it alway play whatever everyone votes on??

eze_sl89
eze_sl89

Pfff microsoft's ideas are so little, that they have to relay on refurbishing old games to try to sell their fail console. 

cool.

Duckynevada
Duckynevada

The glitches are confirmed! "so yes, according to 343, all those tricks and exploits (think EXP boosting) you discovered in earlier games are still there, because the developers wanted to preserve the original character of these games--like a snapshot in time from before the dawn of patching and title updates."
I can't wait to make the scarab walk out of the map on the ark and find all the davinci eggs again :)

NTM23
NTM23

Super excited for this, all of it.

Snyper22
Snyper22

YEAH!! Halo 2 on its original engine? Thats all I needed to hear. Good ole super bouncing days here I come!

Ensabuhnur
Ensabuhnur

Ive followed halo since the original announcement for macintosh pc to present day and have purchased 2 copies of every game.  Add in every book and special edition and you get the idea.   It's going to be good to hav an old friend back

coolguyhero
coolguyhero

No offecence i played halo 1 & 2 but i don't like it much.i don't know why so much fuss around it.

ignitingicarus
ignitingicarus

I sunk countless hours into Halo 1. I remember picking it up in my local store not knowing anything about it. Never could I have imagined that it would be such a huge hit. I even went so far as to connect my original Xbox into my computer and launch online multiplayer through the GameSpy client. In years since, I've fallen off the Halo train. Halo 2 was such a major disappointment from what they were previewing at E3. It had so many shortcomings when compared to the first one. I wasn't a fan of most of their changes, but apparently many others were. I'll probably pick it up just to see what they've done with the original Halo, and I wish the best of luck to 343 for the future of the series.

A8ADD0N
A8ADD0N

Imagine if they do this with Gears of War next year and pack in a beta for the new Gears. Ooof!

hahamanin
hahamanin

now just need to wait for the xbox one to launch in our country day one edition..

The_Dragon_Born
The_Dragon_Born

Kinda seems like a big F you to those who bought it at 500 bucks. No rewards to loyal 'Bone fans? Glad I didn't get 'Boned too easy.

The_Dragon_Born
The_Dragon_Born

I wasn't easy for the 'Bone like some people...but crap I have to have one for this now. Probably for black friday.

bullsfan769
bullsfan769

The value in this package is pretty good, when I first told my friend about it, he was like "how much is going to cost?" lol

blue_shift_91
blue_shift_91

i know it's just a bunch of old halo games repackaged and refreshed.

but let's be honest. halo fans have dreamed about seeing their favorite universe and its multiplayer redone in HD glory. this is gonna sell.

Vodoo
Vodoo

Halo 2 had the best multiplayer out of all the Halo games, imo. The campaign wasn't the best, but the mp surely made up for it.

A8ADD0N
A8ADD0N

@Sylonious 


I know this is an old post, but they aren't taking staff away from Halo 5. This collection is being worked on by Saber Interactive and Certain Affinity.

KerrinScott
KerrinScott

@croxus

So, the crux of your argument rests on the notion that Gears of War is a "game realistic enough by real life standards"?

Chainsaw guns, dudes with arms so big they shouldn't even be able to shoulder a rifle, locust/grub/insectoid bipedal sentient aliens that are destroying the world from the inside out...

Just needed to clear that up...

You also mention MGS, and I'm guessing you missed those Metal Gears with bovine legs making moo-moo noises, that knife-fighting vampire, and the whole multiple-solider-clones-injected-with-a-timed-genetic-virus-who-are-controlling-the-world plotline?

Again, just wanted to clear that up...

LancerPower
LancerPower

@eze_sl89 Just like Sony refurbishing TLOU to try to sell PS4s? At least Halo has a fan base, TLOU is a brand new game, that should be left where it is.

ZZoMBiE13
ZZoMBiE13

@Ensabuhnur I can't say I've bought every book, but I'm right there with you on the other stuff. Been a Halo fan so long it's hard to recall a time when I wasn't. Cannot wait for November now. :)

irishrizo
irishrizo

@coolguyhero Halo 1 are memories to me.. so it is iconic if you started from the beginning... Hooking up 4 XBoxes together with lots of friends 8vs8 on Blood Gulch. it started it all for us...

justicar_1
justicar_1

@coolguyhero Because unlike you, other people do like the series, and it's a big deal to them. And if is not your thing it's ok not to like it.

skiggy34
skiggy34

@coolguyhero Either you were too young when Halo 1&2 came out or maybe just dont understand what this franchise did to gaming..  Halo 1 was easily the best console shooter back in the original xbox days and Halo 2 defined multiplayer online.  NOTHING back then could touch these, especially on console. PS2 had NOTHING to compete with Halo. So if you got to grow with Halo like some of us did you would better understand.  

larkin-54
larkin-54

@coolguyhero halo 2 pretty much made console multiplayer the systems you take for granted today where implemented in halo 2 so its a pretty big deal in that sense it was also the only console FPS to actually have a legitimate professional tournament series that people wanted to watch. 

nazgoroth
nazgoroth

@coolguyhero Agreed. Didn't really like 1 myself.

Will be buying this though, if only to play halo 3 / 4 on the one.

LancerPower
LancerPower

@A8ADD0N GoW is probably one of my favorite series on the 360. I would love for them to make the jump to the One!

deasvail144
deasvail144

@A8ADD0N Thats exactly what I'm looking for. Love those games so much I would buy them again!

ZZoMBiE13
ZZoMBiE13

@The_Dragon_Born I'm the first one to critisize the original Kinect. It was pretty awful. 


But the X1's Kinect is pretty good. And I honestly never would have tried it if they hadn't packed it in. 


Early adopters know, or at least should know, what they're getting into. I got my X1 because I wanted to play Forza and Dead Rising and Titanfall. And that's exactly what it has offered me. No complaints at all from here. 


And to the people who waited for a version without Kinect, I look forward to meeting you in Halo come November. :)

skiggy34
skiggy34

@The_Dragon_Born Not bothered by it at all.  If I didnt want to buy the kinect I would have waited it out a year to see if they removed kinect like they did. So really, the people who DON't buy the kinect version are the ones who are missing out on what the console offers...

A8ADD0N
A8ADD0N

@The_Dragon_Born 


How does it seem like an "F you"? When you're an early adopter, you should know what to expect.

Foppe
Foppe

@daikkenaurora12 Indeed, it's much better to remake a game that was released last year instead, right?

irishrizo
irishrizo

@ZZoMBiE13 @The_Dragon_Born i bough kinnect version w/titanfall Bundle for 500.. 60 bucks i was planning on spending on Titanfall anyways.. in a sense i literally spend 40 bucks more than w/out kinnect. and im glad i did.. it works way better than original.. signs me in.. it even turns on my TV when i say xbox on.. and vice versa.. Scans my face signs me into MY Xbox Live Account.  There are many other reasons why i like it i might not use it for games.. but i do for everything else.


so no it wasn't a slap in the face

A8ADD0N
A8ADD0N

@Foppe @daikkenaurora12 


Yeah no kidding. While we're at it let's just charge full price for that single remaster. Seems like a good deal.

ZZoMBiE13
ZZoMBiE13

@daikkenaurora12 @Vodoo Halo spans more than just the multiplayer space. I spent over a year drawing a Halo comic and I met all kinds. People who only played for the story, folks who loved the social aspect, trickers, map builders, video makers, and of course, people who loved playing the online multiplayer. 


Halo's community is pretty vast and multi-faceted. Or at least it was back in 2007-08 when I was a big part of the community. 

A8ADD0N
A8ADD0N

@daikkenaurora12 @Vodoo 


Xbox gamers friggin love games. But if one of the greatest features of a console is having a strong online infrastructure that puts to shame the competitions offerings, well it makes sense that multiplayer games are uber popular on that console.