Halo: The Master Chief Collection is a compilation of Halo games released on Xbox One on November 11, 2014, for $39.99 USD. The compilation includes Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2: Anniversary, Halo 3, Halo 4, and all of their original multiplayer modes. The Halo 3: ODST campaign and the entirety of Halo Reach was later added as an add-on DLC.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection contains every campaign level from the included games playable in their original engines. All missions are unlocked from the start. The 15 Halo 2 Campaign missions were remastered for Halo 2: Anniversary. Each game runs at 1080p and 60 frames per second, with the exception of the Halo 2: Anniversary Campaign, which runs at 1328x1080 as a result of running two rendering engines at the same time.
The Collection supports both split-screen, on console, and online cooperative play. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary and Halo 2: Anniversary supports a maximum of two players while Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, Halo Reach and Halo 4 supports a maximum of two players locally and four players online.
The Campaign system features Mission Playlists, which contain mixes of missions within the same campaign or mixes of missions spanning multiple Campaigns.
On May 30, 2015, the Halo 3: ODST campaign was added as add-on DLC for $4.99. Players who had played Halo: The Master Chief Collection on or before December 19, 2014, received a free download code.
Campaigns included in The Master Chief Collection:
- Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary
- Halo 2: Anniversary
- Halo 3
- Halo 3: ODST (DLC)
- Halo 4
- Halo Reach (DLC)
Halo: The Master Chief Collection contains every official multiplayer map, including DLC and PC-exclusive maps, from the included games playable in their original engines. Six Halo 2 multiplayer maps were remade in a modified engine for Halo 2: Anniversary. Each game runs at 1080p and 60 frames per second.
The Master Chief Collection supports online matchmaking with dedicated servers and a 1-50 skill ranking system. Some matchmaking playlists will be dedicated to a specific game while others will contain voting options across multiple games.
Multiplayer engines included in The Master Chief Collection:
Players navigate the Collection via the Master Menu, a unified interface through which players can access every mission, multiplayer mode, and customization option for each game.
Halo: Nightfall and the Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer beta are accessible through The Master Chief Collection, the latter being available for a limited time on the Xbox One. Additionally, exclusive content unlocked in The Master Chief Collection will carry over to Halo 5: Guardians.
Completing certain requirements in Halo: The Master Chief Collection unlocks additional credits in Halo: Spartan Strike. Likewise, completing certain requirements in Halo: Spartan Strike unlocks a Spartan Strike-themed emblem, avatar, and nameplate in Halo: The Master Chief Collection.
- Best Buy
- Microsoft Store
- Limited Edition
- Prima Games Multiplayer Map Guide
- Grunt Funeral Skull: Grunts explode after their deaths.
- Limited Edition Steel Case
- MJOLNIR Edition
- Limited Edition
Development and Marketing
Halo: The Master Chief Collection began simply as an idea for Halo 2: Anniversary after Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary released. During development, the team had the idea to put all of the games featuring John-117 on one disc.
343 Industries themselves developed the unified user interface and handled the online matchmaking service, but they outsourced several other parts of the collection to third-party developers. Saber Interactive remastered the Halo 2 campaign, and Blur Studio created pre-rendered CGI videos for the Halo 2 campaign. Certain Affinity created the new Halo 2: Anniversary multiplayer and designed the maps.
At E3 2013, 343 Industries announced a new Halo game to be released in the fall of 2014, leading fans to speculate that the game was Halo 5. At E3 2014, the game was revealed to be Halo: The Master Chief Collection.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection went gold on October 17, 2014. It was released on November 11, 2014, in most countries around the world. It released on November 12, 2014 in Belgium and November 14, 2014 in France.
On October 17, 2017, Bonnie Ross announced a project to update The Master Chief Collection significantly, including matchmaking updates and visual enhancements to take advantage of the power of the Xbox One X. A few days later, Frank O'Connor posted on Reddit expressing regret for the problems at the game's initial launch and explaining that they wanted to finally deliver "a game we can both finally be satisfied with."
343 Industries created a small team--"Publishing Team" or "Legacy Team"--to work on the updates while the rest of the studio worked on Halo Infinite. They then worked with an external partner to test the game as it went through the initial development. They plan to allow members of the Xbox Insider Program to test the game as well once it is stable enough.
Planned improvements include:
- Improved matchmaking reliability (especially in parties)
- Improved visuals on Xbox One X
- Better transitioning between menu and games
- Guaranteed connections to dedicated servers for all matchmade games
- "Intelligent delivery," which allows players to download individual parts of the game separately rather than the whole game at once
- Master Menu updates, including streamlined navigation, an improved social experience, more specific playlists, and the removal of matchmaking voting
- Custom game browser and join-in-progress for custom games
- Offline LAN support
In March of 2019, it was announced that Halo: Reach would be added to The Master Chief Collection, it was also announced it will be added to Steam and the Microsoft store. Halo Reach will be the first available game on The Master Chief Collection on PC, and the rest were released in in-universe chronological order, pricing is $39.99 for the whole collection or $9.99 for each individual game, except for 3: ODST which is $4.99.
PC Release Order:
- Reach: December 3rd, 2019
- Combat Evolved: Anniversary: March 3rd, 2020
- 2: Anniversary: May 12th, 2020
- 3: July 14th, 2020
- 3: ODST: September 22nd, 2020
- 4: November 17, 2020
Reception and Criticism
When The Master Chief Collection launched, it was rife with game-breaking bugs, most notably multiplayer matchmaking barely working (and sometimes not working at all) for days and weeks after launch.
Frank O'Connor lamented the game's poor launch, saying, "the MCC launch was one of my lowest ebbs, professionally. Every angry mail I received, I took to heart. I felt like I had personally let our fans down. I have not spent a single day since the night the game fell down in matchmaking where I didn't think about it." He went on to explain the main reason for the failure: "fundamentally it was because we were testing it in an environment that we had set up incorrectly and with some (as we discovered later) faulty assumptions. And unlike some of our other normal testing cycles, we weren't testing for gameplay balance and stuff that the original releases already contained so our test process was radically different, and we made mistakes in some of the scenarios we asked for."
The Master Chief Collection's achievements span each of the four games and are worth a total of 5,000 gamerscore. Upon the game's release, a title update added 50 multiplayer achievements worth 500 gamerscore to the list, and a second update on January 8, 2015 added 50 more worth the same value.
- Main article: Halo: The Master Chief Collection Announcement Trailer
- Main article: Halo: The Master Chief Collection Terminal Trailer
- Not only does The Master Chief Collection take up all 45 GB available on a Blu-ray disc, but there was also an additional 15 GB launch update that contained some features and multiplayer content. The campaign and some other features are accessible during the download.
- The additional content from Halo 4 Title Update v1.05 (which includes Champions Bundle content) is not available in The Master Chief Collection.
- Players who had played the game between November 11, 2014, and December 19, 2014, received a free month of Xbox Live Gold, an in-game name plate, an in-game avatar, an upgraded Halo 3: ODST campaign, and a remastered Relic map, Remnant, in Halo 2: Anniversary as a thank you and compensation for the multiple issues with the game.
- GameStop - Halo: The Master Chief Collection for Xbox One
- YouTube - Xbox E3 2014 Media Briefing: Halo
- Xbox Wire - Halo: The Master Chief Collection Adds Remnant and Halo 3: ODST Today
- YouTube - New Halo: Master Chief Collection Info and Gameplay - E3 2014
- YouTube - E3 2014: Halo: The Master Chief Collection - Bonnie Ross Interview 4:11
- NeoGAF - Halo Master Chief Collection: H1-4. H2 full remaster. 1080p60. $59.99 Nov 11 Xbox One View Single Post
- IGN - The Horse You Rode In On (A Master Chief Collection Story)
- Halo Waypoint - The Halo Bulletin 6.19.2014
- IGN - E3 2014: Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Halo 5 Beta Announced for Xbox One
- YouTube - Full Halo Gamescom Panel 2014 (Halo 5, Halo Collection, Ect.) 6:34
- Halo Waypoint - The Halo Bulletin: Assault on the Controller Settings
- NeoGAF - Halo: Master Chief Collection Master Thread | This is it, baby. Hold me. - Page 21
- IGN - Halo: Spartan Strike Announced for Windows Devices and Steam
- Halo Waypoint - The Halo Bulletin 6.25.15
- Microsoft Store - Buy Halo: The Master Chief Collection for Xbox One
- Beyond Entertainment - Halo: The Master Chief Collection - Pre-order Bonuses
- ShopTo - Halo: The Master Chief Collection Inc Exclusive Bonded Pair
- Twitter - GAME
- Xbox Wire - Halo: The Master Chief Collection: We are Golden
- YouTube - Rhys, Bonnie Ross confirms a Halo: The Master Chief Collection update
- Reddit - /r/halo - Halo MCC: What Happened and What Happens Next
- Halo Waypoint - MCC Development Update
- Halo Waypoint - MCC Development Update #2
- GameSpot Game Review: Halo: The Master Chief Collection
- IGN - Halo: The Master Chief Collection Achievements
- Eurogamer - Halo: The Master Chief Collection's massive day one update shrinks to 15GB
- Halo Waypoint - A Thank You to Our Fans from Bonnie Ross