It’s now largely forgotten, but Halo: The Master Chief Collection released on Xbox One in absolute state. All the games were there, in a way, but it felt like something that had been put together as quickly as possible on a shoestring budget, rather than a definitive remaster of the series that remains one of Microsoft’s crown jewels.
The reason why the release period faded is that 343 Industries took over the project (the released game had multiple developers), and for many years they have added, polished and made Halo: MCC shine. In addition to bringing it to the PC, of course.
Now I would say that this package not only represents tremendous value, but is the ultimate way to enjoy some of the Classic first person shooter games. That’s because 343 has one by one added every game before Infinite Halo, including Halo 3: ODST (one of the best campaigns in the series), and has gone overboard, for example, going back and fixing Halo 2 broken PC port (opens in a new tab), adding modding tools to Halo: Combat Evolved (opens in a new tab)Y restore cut content (opens in a new tab). When the microtransaction plans inspired an onslaught of complaints from the community, Microsoft just canceled the plans (opens in a new tab).
All of which suggests that, around that launch period, Microsoft had a serious internal discussion about how it had featured its supposed Master Chief icon (and in a collection named after him). 343 Industries clearly has both the will and the funding to keep improving the game. And now, in what may make the biggest difference to the game’s PC player base, Steam Workshop integration was added out of the blue.
For the uninitiated, Steam Workshop can basically be read as “easy mods”. in a blog about the latest game update 343 writes (opens in a new tab):
“Halo: The Master Chief Collection on Steam is now integrated with the Steam Workshop. Using the Steam Workshop, players on Steam can now subscribe to mods, such as a multiplayer map, and then play that content in-game without having to manually navigate or move around. .downloaded files”.
On top of this, the update adds mod tools for Halo 2 and Halo 4, as well as an “excess tool” that makes it a piece of cake for modders to package up their existing mods so they’re shop-ready.
As can be seen from the workshop page (opens in a new tab)mods are already flooding in: including biggies like Halo 2 Uncut, various total game overhauls, oddities like a Resident Evil 4 location, a fight against a giant rat on Reach, and something called “Saving Sergeant Johnson” that I got to play tonight.
The update comes along with a bunch of smaller bug fixes and tweaks, list here (opens in a new tab), and the addition of even more Golden Moa statues. These were first added to Halo 3, but can now be found in Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 4 as well, appearing in different missions each week and are collected by shooting them. I mean they’re not exactly big skulls, but look: if 343 continues to support Halo: MCC like this, they can add all the silly birds they want.