Halo: The Master Chief Collection is, so far, the closest we've come to a Criterion Collection edition of a video game. It’s a massive anthology spanning four games, the Halo Nightfall digital series, and an invitation to the Halo 5 beta. When we last saw the game, we caught a glimpse at the improvements to Halo 2’s anniversary edition, multiplayer changes, and the playlist feature that lets you relive themed events across the entire Halo series. Here at E3 2014, developer 343 Industries talked us through some more of the nuts and bolts changes coming in this collection.
Right off the bat, the developers noted that both saved films and Forge will exist in the Master Chief Collection where they existed before. That means they’re not going to be adding saved films to the original Halo, for example. The only exception to that rule are six remixed multiplayer maps for Halo 2, which the original multiplayer game designer of Halo 2 is personally designing. Players will be able to edit those maps in Forge. As for Halo Waypoint, the team is committed to continue supporting this feature, however they weren't ready to go into the specifics yet as they’re still working out the details. More information to come at Gamescom later this year.
Both saved films and Forge will exist in the Master Chief Collection where they existed before. That means they’re not going to be adding saved films to the original Halo, for example.
Speaking of Halo 2 Anniversary, this game will let you swap between the remastered visual style and the original visuals with the press of a button--just like in the original Halo Anniversary. But unlike the original Halo Anniversary, this transition is almost instantaneous, instead of first fading to black during the switch.
Since this collection spans five Halo games, you will be hopping between some very different control styles and game engines. The developers admitted it will be a bit jarring between them, however, they have some options in place to make it a smoother transition. For the Halo purists out there, you will be able to use the original control scheme for each of the Halo games, but if you want something a little more convenient they will also include a unified control scheme that applies for all games.
Also included in this anthology is an invitation to the Halo 5 beta. This beta opens up roughly a year ahead of Halo 5’s release, so the developers stressed this is a genuine beta and not just a demo in disguise. It will be a polished experience, but they are looking for fan feedback and input to help shape the final game. The beta will run for three weeks from December to January, and will be comprised of single multiplayer mode. The developers wouldn't reveal said mode, but did tease it with an image of a red helmet with a "5" on the forehead. Your guess is as good as mine on that one.
Finally, the developers noted that, among this game's many other additions, the Master Chief Collection will also include a whole host of new skulls to test your abilities. While they didn't go into details, they did note that there are now 30 skulls total for players to test their skills against. With all of its improvements and additions, Halo: The Master Chief Collection is shaping up to be a real treat for Halo fans. Hopefully, other developers will take note and treat some of their classic franchises with the same love 343 has shown Halo.