MCC Development Update - July 2020

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Hey Friends,

Postums here to share a bountiful update this month on everything that is Halo: The Master Chief Collection (MCC). For those who have been paying attention, it has been a packed month with lots of new information coming from the studio. July felt like the month of Halo. With that in mind, we have a handful of things to talk about in today’s update!

Halo 3 launched earlier this month onto PC. With it, we had a handful of fixes across the collection, including the audio for Halo 3 and Halo: Reach. We’re going to talk with the partners that helped upgrade the audio before shifting gears to discuss how our investigation into Halo 3’s hit registration is going. 

Next, we’ll look to the future and our next Season of content for MCC, this will include details about some new options inside of Halo 3: ODST’s Firefight. Then, we’ll set the table for what folks can expect when ODST flighting comes online next month. To wrap everything up we have a juicy State of the Game to confirm a lot of additional work items that are now in development! Now then, let’s get into it! 

Halo 3 is on PC

Earlier this month, Halo 3 finally made the move from being a console exclusive to being available on both Steam, the Microsoft Store, and available to Xbox GamePass Ultimate subscribers worldwide. However, that was not the only title in MCC to benefit from this July launch. Forge became available to Halo: Reach, Halo 2: Anniversary, and Halo 3. Updates to the entire Challenge system were also included, as was a new season of content for Halo: Combat Evolved! There’s been so much good stuff and we’ve been watching players across the board playing the game in new ways with the Acrophobia skull, using Sabers in Halo: Reach, and stacking Elephants as high as you can on maps in Halo 3. Just so much goodness.

If you want to read up on all of the things that came with this update, HERE is the complete launch blog.

Audio Evolutions

With the title launch, our update for audio to both Halo: Reach and Halo 3 rolled out across both Xbox One and PC. Today, we wanted to talk with one of our partners, Yoav Rattner at Waves Audio, to hear more about this herculean effort.

Thank you for taking some time to talk with me Yoav. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself like where you work and what you do? 

Yoav Rattner: Thanks for having me! I work at Waves Audio in our headquarters based in Tel Aviv, Israel. Specifically, I work with in the Waves consumer electronics division and I'm Director of Product Management. I lead a talented group of PMs that work with our key product lines at Waves Consumer including MaxxAudio, MaxxVoice, and Nx 3D audio. The Waves Consumer team brings these advanced audio technologies to consumer devices including laptops, smartphones, smart speakers, gaming headsets, and more.

You are nearly a world away from where 343 is located! Earth location aside, in the world of Halo, what are some of the key things you have been working on?


(The L1 Ultramaximizer Pro Audio Plugin - Advanced level maximizer and look-ahead peak limiter)

Yoav: Quite a bit of things. 343 Industries and Microsoft approached us about porting the original Waves runtime plugins from Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach for the Halo: Master Chief Collection. Plugins, as they are referred to in pro audio production, are software technologies that perform specific processing functions and are "plugged in" to the signal processing path in Digital Audio Workstations (DAW). Examples of plugins that might be familiar include reverb, compression, and EQ. DAWs are complex software editing and mixing environments including well-known solutions like Pro Tools from Avid. 

(The Q10 Equalizer Pro Audio Plugin - Multiband paragraphic EQ with 10 bands of precision equalization)

DAWs and plugins are the tools used to produce hit records, mix blockbuster movie soundtracks, and yes, design jaw-dropping video game sounds. Back in the day, when Halo 3 was in development, Microsoft had an epiphany: they surmised that, if it could be possible to run some of these pro audio plugins in real-time in a game engine, the improvement to overall sound quality of the game could be huge. That's when Microsoft originally reached out to Waves seeking to integrate a set of seven plugins into Halo 3 including:

  • L1 Ultramaximizer
  • C1 Parametric Compander-Compressor
  • Q10 Paragraphic Equalizer
  • TrueVerb Room Emulation
  • C4 Multiband Parametric Processor
  • L360 Multichannel Limiter
  • C360 Multichannel Compressor

Waves and Microsoft worked in partnership to integrate the suite of plugins, a major technical achievement that was way, way ahead of its time. The result was uniquely impressive sound in these early Halo games, something that could not be reproduced for the Master Chief Collection without Waves.

(The C4 Multiband Compressor Pro Audio Plugin - Multiband dynamics processing)

Talk about a blast from the past and looking back at the history of these games. Having this rich history with these technologies, what was the most rewarding point of working to rebuild this technology for MCC?

Y: At first, it was the opportunity to revisit the project and realize how forward-looking and ambitious that original work had been.  The most rewarding part of the project was successfully porting the plugins and successfully recreating that awesome original Halo sound for a new generation of gamers to enjoy.

In the process, what was the most difficult piece in porting the plugins? What sort of technical difficulties did the team have to overcome in effectively rebuilding these for today’s modern use in MCC?

Y: Back in 2007, Halo 3 set a record for the highest grossing opening day in video game history, so there are a lot of fans out there that are passionate about the original sound.  In order to ensure faithfulness to the original sound, we updated the 13-year-old processing source code for the modern Xbox system runtime. Basically, we had to re-wrap the code with completely new API's, and special care had to be taken as any slight deviation in controls would have resulted in incompatible sound performance. 

What was your experience like working with the development teams helping build the game and what did the validation process look like?

This was a tight knit cross-team effort to get it working as intended. We worked closely with 343 Industries over many weeks and with several people. Most of our contact was directly with Tyler Jeffers, Senior Creative Producer, and Greg Hermann, Technical Director on the Publishing Team at 343. The efforts of back and forth helped us get it exactly where it needed to be. We replicated the original game settings and behavior, applied processing offline to multiple files, then repeated the process with the original libraries and verified that the processed audio files were identical. But the effort was all worth it in the end as the games sound as they intended to now in MCC.

Thank you so much Yoav for taking some time to talk with us and share some insights into bringing this literal game changer into how MCC sounds. Generations to come can now play and appreciate the sounds of these games just as they did back on their original releases.

Next up, we are going to check in with the ongoing investigation around Halo 3’s hit registration within MCC.

Halo 3 Hit Registration Investigation

After a quite lengthy investigation into Halo 3’s hit registration that began last month, our engineers have a few things that are being tested internally to help alleviate the issues that players are encountering. There have been quite a few videos going around on social media suggesting that if the game’s engine is just dropped down to 30hz, or “30 ticks,” that the issue will be solved. Upon investigation, this is only half true, and it doesn’t solve the actual issue that is causing shot registration to encounter problems when being played at MCC's higher tick rate.

Below is a video created by one of our engineers that helps to break down the technical workings for hit registration using the Battle Rifle in Halo 3. It shows how projectiles are created, how they fire at 30hz, 60hz, the differences between each, and then how it acts based on the fix currently planned.

The TL;DR version for those looking for a “give it to us now” answer is, this is not a simple problem and neither is the fix for this issue. The devil is in the details and there’s more nuanced work to be done before this fix will work for all scenarios including those where players want to adjust the game to run at 30hz, 60hz, and even 120hz. But, enough text, let’s take a look at the breakdown video that Scoops has put together for us.

Hopefully everyone is able to better understand the complexity of the issue that is Halo 3’s hit registration and has a better grasp of our search for a true fix vs. a Band-Aid (which hurts other areas of the game) when lowering the game engine down to 30hz. Next month, alongside our flighting for Halo 3: ODST, players will be able to get hands on with some of these changes in Halo 3. As we get closer to flighting we will share more details of when and where players can get their hands on these changes.

Next up, we are going to be talking with members from the Design Team to discuss upcoming changes that players can look forward to for the next title launch.

Design Discussion

This month we are welcoming back a few fine folks from the Publishing Team to talk about what to expect when Halo 3: ODST joins MCC on PC. Here are Design Director, Max Szlagor, and Technical Designer, Dana Jerpbak, to discuss Season 3 goals and what players can expect with Firefight when it comes into the fold.

Thank you for joining us Max. I’m going to dive right in with a question I’ve seen pop up across the community. What sort of content can players look forward to with Season 3?

Max: Thanks for having me again Tyler. For Season 3, we are looking to continue expanding on what we are offering for customization. This will include new weapon skins, new visors, and other content for Halo 3. Some include brand new customization options that never existed before in Halo 3. This marks the first step in our expansion of Halo 3 customization.

We also are looking to bring in some new nameplates, which you can use for your profile across the entire game. These will all be again earned through the completion of challenges to earn season points and specific challenges that unlock content during the season.

With all this new content coming when can folks expect the next season to start?

Max: The next season will begin with the launch of Halo 3: ODST. We aim to bring a new season out with each launch of the remaining titles coming to MCC on PC.

When looking at having a handful of seasons coming, will players be able to continue to unlock Season 2 content when Season 3 begins?

Max: Yes! All previously available Season 1 and Season 2 content will still be unlockable. If you have not yet advanced through the first 100 global ranks you can still earn a season point on each level up. If you’ve already done that, there will be a new set of seasonal challenges as well as ongoing weekly challenges that will be there to earn both XP and season points. That said Dana can speak to how the seasonal challenges are going to rotate out to our next season.

Dana: With the addition of a new season, Season 2’s seasonal challenges will expire when it ends. This means that all unlocks that are tied directly to “Zero Five Eight,” “Hot Shotty,” “Thanks, Misriah,” and “Trusty Sidekick,” will no longer be available when Season 2 ends. There will be additional opportunities for these to come back in the future and be earned again, but if you want to make sure you have your weapons decked out in gold, make sure to complete those challenges soon! As far as a more holistic approach like seasonal challenges, we will generally theme challenges around each new season’s content and context.

For example, the current season is largely themed around Halo 3. With the upcoming season, players can expect to see things that are largely themed around Halo 3: ODST. Some things that will focus on Firefight, but there will be broader challenges that you can complete anywhere.

Also, as a reminder to folks, new weekly challenges will continue to roll out every Wednesday that will need to be completed before each Wednesday at 10:00am Pacific Time (UTC-7). If you haven't completed them by that that time, they will expire. To maximize your season points we always recommend people to complete both their weekly challenges before that time.

How long will players have to complete their seasonal challenges for Season 2?

Dana: Players will be able to complete these challenges up until the next one begins with the launch of Halo 3: ODST.

Well thank you for all the info around the current season’s challenges, and what folks can look forward to regarding the upcoming season of content for MCC. Next up, I have found some questions online from folks around ODST’s Firefight! So big question with Firefight: What are some things folks can look forward to when it joins the collection? Specifically: Will it have matchmaking options like Halo: Reach's Firefight?

Dana: Players are going to be able to look forward to ODST’s Firefight which will include all of the legacy content, meaning all 10 maps, all of the classic settings, variations, and then some. We’ve also conducted several upgrades across the board. For the first time, we have upgraded the networking to an asynchronous networking and dedicated server model like what we have in Halo: Reach’s Firefight. This represents a serious improvement over the networking model which is used in Co-op campaign gameplay.

The next big upgrade is matchmaking for Firefight. This will be comparable to what we have for Halo: Reach. Players can expect to see a survival themed option and an arcade themed option to support the newly introduced game variants for ODST’s Firefight. This is also something entirely new and will be introducing a lot of new game options that players may be familiar with from games across the collection. Players can look forward to new options like customizing your starting weapons, movement speed, player gravity, time limit, set limit, number of lives, damage output, and more! They are not quite as advanced as Halo: Reach’s Firefight options as far as customizing the contents of waves or enemy variety within a wave, but this will provide a substantial amount of customization of your experience like never before.

Well this begs the next question of, are there any new items or weapons players can look forward to using in Firefight?

Dana: So this is something I’m working on right now. We have been able to add a couple new weapons into the mix for now. Previously, you were limited to what was on the map and what enemies drop when you killed them. But now, you can spawn with a Spartan laser, a Fuel Rod, or whatever you want that is available. With these changes you have a lot more weapons at your disposal. With this update there are definitely a couple of additional toys bundled in there that players will be able to play with.

I'm a little hesitant to talk about <redacted> yet as I'm literally working on it today, but I think we're going to let you spawn with <redacted> in Firefight. Once it has had a little more time to bake and we have had test look at it we can go more in depth on it. It should be pretty cool, but I literally got that working like an hour ago, so we will see how it goes. If all is well, I’m pretty sure folks will be happy with being able to adjust their starting weapons and the starting <redacted> on the maps.

Well thank you so much Dana and Max for stopping by and talking through some cool things will be available with Season 3 and Halo 3: ODST when it joins MCC and brings Firefight online! But, we won’t be able to do that without community participation so let’s talk about next month’s flighting.

Halo 3: ODST Flighting

Halo 3: ODST is our next installment coming to MCC on PC, and brings a stylish flair to the collection. The mood, the music, and the character development across the campaign makes it a unique Halo game that truly withstands the test of time.

In the first half of next month, we are planning to flight a slice of Halo 3: ODST to Halo Insiders on PC and Xbox One.We are also planning to include Halo 3 content in a patch during this flight to test some changes we have made to hit registration and Halo 3: ODST weapons in Halo 3.

If you aren’t a Halo Insider already, please head on over HERE and register. If it’s been a while since you have visited your Halo Insider profile, please take some time to make sure everything is up to date with your profile including your PC specs (many folks have been upgrading their machines during quarantine so please make sure yourprofile is current!). Ensuring you are up-to-date and registered with a valid (and verified!) email, greatly improves your chances of being selected for flights. 

Flight Goals

The goals of this first flight will be to test our distribution pipeline, validate Firefight for ODST, gather feedback on the content listed below, and ensure all supporting systems are functioning properly in preparation for bringing Halo 3: ODST to Halo: The Master Chief Collection on PC and its version of Firefight to both Xbox One and PC.

Flight Content

Below is a complete list of content for the upcoming Halo 3: ODST flight for both the Microsoft Store and Steam based on the development spec. There may be some slight changes between now and then, but overall, this is what we believe will be available in the upcoming public flight. Please don’t fuss if things change by then…. because they usually do to some degree.

New Features

  • Customization: Updated customization will be available for Halo 3: ODST.
  • Firefight Matchmaking & Firefight Custom Games: Firefight’s networking model has been completely overhauled for its addition into MCC.
  • Theater: Theater will be available for use with Mouse & Keyboard for Halo 3: ODST.


Flighting will support the following ODST Campaign missions with options for all difficulty levels, single player, and co-operative online play:

  • Campaign Missions: Mombassa Streets, Tayari Plaza, Uplift Reserve, NMPD HQ, Data Hive, and Coastal Highway.
  • Campaign Playlists: Flight Test, Flight Test (Heroic), Hoofin’ It (Tayari Plaza, NMPD HQ, and Data Hive), and Street Smart (Mombassa Streets).

Firefight Multiplayer Options

Halo 3: ODST’s flight will support various multiplayer Firefight options. This will include Custom Firefight Games and Firefight Matchmaking. Below is the content that will be available:

  • Maps: Crater (Night), Rally (Night), Crater, Lost Platoon, Windward, Chasm Ten, and Last Exit
  • Playlists:Firefight Heroic and Firefight Arcade

Settings and Options Supported for PC

Below is a complete breakdown of Settings and Options included in the flight for PC:

  • Settings – Controls: Configure Mouse & Keyboard and Configure Gamepad
  • Settings – Video: Field-Of-View, Vehicle Field-Of-View, Gamma, Window Mode, Aspect Ratio, Resolution Scale, V-Sync, HUD Anchoring, Unified Medal Display, Framerate Limit, and Graphics Quality
  • Settings – Audio: Game Volume including Menu Music Volume, Game Music Volume, Effects Volume, Voice Chat Volume. Also, Voice Chat Channel, Push to Talk Voice Chat, and Multiplayer Game Sounds
  • Settings – Gameplay: Crosshair Position, Show Invite Notifications, Enemy Player Name Color, Multiplayer Game Timer, and Credits
  • Settings – Network: Network and Relays
  • Settings Accessibility: Subtitles, Change Language, Convert Text-To-Speech, and Convert Speech-To-Text

We do not have final timing just yet for when flighting is going to start, but we are looking to get things rolling within the first few weeks of August. Stay tuned for our MCC Development & Flighting Updates over in the Insider Forums HERE to stay in the know.

State of the Game with Farns

What a month! Halo 3 launched, and the train keeps moving as we focus on getting ODST ready to flight. In my section this month, I am going to go more in depth on some items, so check it out below: 

I wanted to start with a large thank you to our players that are helping us out by being part of our Ring 1 & 2 flighting groups. Halo 3’s launch has been well received and you all played a HUGE part in that. Thank you for all your bugs, feedback, and dedication as you work with us on each of these games. The same goes for all those dedicated folks that are participating in our Ring 3 (“Halo Insider”) flights. Over the past 6 or so months, we’ve developed a very strong core base of players who are always engaged and give us excellent feedback and bugs – thank you for taking the time to work with us and make the games better for everyone. This has helped us as we move forward and continue building new plans for more development work for the future.

Last year we began laying the groundwork to bring Saber Interactive back into the MCC development mix to help shore up gaps in our plans to bring MCC to PC, add additional features, and content to both PC and Xbox. Starting in January, Saber took over all primary development for MCC that Ruffian & Splash Damage helped to start. Saber has proven to be a strong partner and will continue to work with us on the remaining titles as well as some of the features listed below.  


Below is a status update to the top Known Issues which we’ve previously discussed in prior MCC Development Updates (December, January, February, March, April, May, and June). As updates are made between blogs, you can always check out the latest status discussed in the MCC Development & Flighting Updates (, and also please review the Known issues found on the Halo Support site for latest details. Please know that while our #1 priority is driving towards the release of Halo 3: ODST and the rest of MCC on PC, the team is still progressing on various backlog issues and feature requests as possible. The scope and implications of these issues vary greatly so while some may see good movement in a given month, others may not.  

Challenges not progressing or resetting: An update earlier this week on 7/29 helped address several core issues with challenges not progressing and resetting. We will continue to investigate reports from players around them not completing correctly. If you encounter any issues with challenges, please submit a ticket at the Halo Support site.

Unable to play Halo 2: Anniversary Co-op Campaign: This issue is under investigation and we are working with the community who has submitted support tickets to understand the core issue. If you have not yet submitted a ticket on this and are experiencing it, please submit a ticket at the Halo Support site.

Achievement Issues: We have continued to fix bugs around reported achievement issues. We are aware the “All According to Plan” achievement is not unlocking currently. If there are other achievements that you are still encountering issues with specifically, please submit a ticket at the Halo Support site.

Co-op Disconnect Issues: We have released a handful of server-side updates to address issues with connectivity when playing co-op Campaign. If you are still encountering disconnects, please submit a ticket at the Halo Support site.

Players Unable to Matchmake on the Same Internet Connection: There have been some reports relating to this that we are trying to investigate and work through. If you have not yet submitted a ticket on this and are experiencing it, please submit a ticket at the Halo Support site.

Inability to Login and Play: Our team is actively investigating reports relating to this issue. If you are experiencing any issues where you can’t get past the login screen or beyond the main menu, please submit a ticket at the Halo Support site.

Game Crashing with UE4 Errors: We are still investigating this issue on our end.

Halo 3 Hit Registration: As discussed above, the team is actively investigating this and working on a full solution that will benefit everyone across the game. Please be patient and we will let you know about progress. Thank you!

Key Bindings Reset on Game Close: The team is currently investigating this. If you are encountering this and have not yet, please submit a ticket at the Halo Support site.

View Model: This work has been verified as working for Halo: Reach and is now in active development for merging into our main branch and extended the functionality across all games prior to release.


Let’s take this month’s blog to get a snapshot of what we’re currently working on and committed to for 2020. I am not going to commit to specific dates as things need to remain a little flexible in our development schedule as some items may get moved around depending on how development priorities shift over time. 

Features Planned for release in 2020

  • Crossplay 
  • Input Based MM 
  • Sever Region Selection 
  • Custom Game Browser 
  • Per Game Graphics Options 
  • Per Game Audio Options 
  • M&K Support for Xbox 
  • PC Fileshare 
  • Double Keybinds for all games 
  • Viewmodel adjustments for all games 
  • In game FPS Cap/Adjustments 
  • Steam Account Linking 

I can also give you a window into some features that are planned to be released together based on how they’re progressing: 

  • Planned to release together: Crossplay, Input Based MM, and Server Region Selection.
  • Planned to release together: Custom Game Browser, Per Game Graphics Options, and M&K Support for Xbox

In addition to the above, we are committed to bringing ODST Campaign & Halo 4 on PC, as well ODST Firefight (with updated networking) to both Xbox and PC in 2020. 

Quality of Life Improvements

As we move forward with features, it is also important that we continue to support bugs and quality of life improvements. Aside from our normal bug fixing efforts, we have a team that will be solely dedicated to bug fixing spinning up in August. This will include areas like: 

  • Performance improvements for all games on both PC & Xbox 
  • Improved Uncapped framerate (looking at you Reach & H2A
  • Community requested bugs 
  • UI/UX Improvements around navigation, roster, customization, and many more areas of the game  
  • Achievement issues


Due to unforeseen development issues, Season 1 lasted much longer than planned. We have now resolved those issues and have stood up our content pipeline alongside the launch of Halo 3 on PC. We are building A LOT more content that will allow us to bring some new and exciting things to you on a more regular cadence. We will continue to share some of this as pieces come online. 

Mod Support

There has not been a lot of communication from us on this and I’ve been asked about this a lot when speaking to people in the community. Our goal is still to support modding, but due to shift in development priorities that tends to happen over the course of a project, modding has continued to get pushed back over the past 6 or so months. The good news here is that we have reached a point where we are now able to spend some cycles to get the conversations, design, and planning going again. I am also now in active iteration on the EULA that lays out the ground rules for modding and player generated content with our legal team.

I understand this will be disappointing news to many of you, but the silver lining here is the EULA is in late stages. Once it is ready, we will re-assess what we can accomplish in the short, mid, and long-term timelines. Modding is close to my heart so I hope to be able to ramp this effort up more soon.

Support Tickets & Process

We’ve had a lot of feedback here and while I don’t have much to share yet, I will say that we are actively having conversations and have adjusted process so that we are ingesting tickets that come in from support in a more efficient manner. This will enable us to turn around quicker feedback loops as well as action on bugs and problems more rapidly. We will continue to iterate on this process as time goes on. 

Actively in Development  

  • UI/UX Improvements around navigation, roster, customization, and many more areas of the game  
  • View Model Adjustment for all games  
  • Steam Account Linking  
  • In Game FPS Cap/Adjustments  
  • PC File Share 
  • Additional Video Settings/Options (Added) 
  • Custom Game Browser (Added) 
  • Input-based Matchmaking (Added) 
  • Regional Server Selection (Added) 
  • Cross-Play between Xbox & PC (Added) 
  • Double Key Binds for all games (Added) 

In Design Iteration

  • Additional Mod Support    
  • Text Chat Improvements 
  • Better ways to Report Players  
  • VFR Improvements to Reach & H2A  
  • Per Game Audio Options (Added) 

In Backlog Pending Further Discussions

  • Text chat on/off Option (Added) 
  • Idle System Improvements 
  • Bringing PC Features to Console (Like FOV Sliders)
  • Additional Accessibility Support
  • Split Screen on PC
  • HDR Support on PC

As always, there are likely some things we’ve neglected to mention in here. Please reach out to us through the various forms of social outlets and let us know your thoughts to help us build our topics for the next development blog.     


Closing Time

So much good stuff to look forward to this year! All these features are thanks to you letting us know what you want. Your feedback and discussions online are helping build and grow MCC. A huge shoutout to the Halo community for always letting us in on what you think and where you want the game to go. These updates are a great place for us to come together and see how we are working hand in hand. Though we are all worlds apart working, these blogs also help bring our teams that much closer to each other during the current pandemic.

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us in our forums, over on Reddit, or on Twitter. We are always looking to bring even more details to you when we can. Until next time Spartans, thanks for stopping in and we will see y’all online!




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