By B is for Bravo -
There have been several times during the development of Halo: The Master Chief Collection where it “hit me.” I’ve seen forum threads and posts across the internet about this phenomenon, where the excitement for The Master Chief Collection meets a tangible reality, and then I get even more excited. For some, this was seeing the map list for the Team Slayer playlist for the first time at the RTX panel. For others, it may have been seeing Halo 2: Anniversary and classic gameplay running on Xbox One for the first time, or seeing Halo 1-4 displayed within the brand-new UI. Over the past few months, I’ve had the great privilege of seeing the game come together in a variety of ways, and it often results in goosebumps and “it just hit me” moments.
Just this past weekend, I jumped into the most recent build of the game, and dropped straight onto the sandy beach of The Silent Cartographer, guns blazing, rapidly switching back and forth between classic and Anniversary graphics. I eventually reached the first entrance of the facility, and repeatedly tried to execute the Hog Fling, because it is the only noteworthy speedrunning trick that I have ever come close to pulling off. After around 20 attempts, I was unsuccessful, and despite Cortana’s best efforts, I let them lock the doors time and time again.
Defeated, I saved my progress, and with a few button presses, was on Halo 2’s first mission on Earth - Outskirts. I returned to the familiar rooftops of Old Mombasa (once again swapping between graphics and audio at an unreasonable frequency) and (naturally) stole Sgt. Johnson’s Sniper Rifle purely so I could listen to the new sounds of the S2 AM Sniper Rifle’s muzzle blast. After, I found myself scrolling through the wide-open list of Halo 3’s missions, and landed on Tsavo Highway. After eliminating my fair share of jetpacking hitchhikers, I saved once again, and before calling it a night, I skipped over to Rally Point Delta on Halo 4’s sixth campaign mission, Shutdown. As the tower was altered before me, I attempted to find new jetpack shortcuts from platform to platform, skipping as many enemies as I could until I ran into those pesky Hunters.
Somewhere during this experience, I realized that this was truly a new way to play. I have severe attention problems (not really, but kinda), and I often jump from one playlist to another when playing multiplayer (to put it lightly). Realizing that I had the ability to jump in between the campaign missions from each game at the press of a button was pretty darn cool. For me, re-playing the campaigns means failing at speedrunning tricks and taking the time to explore and discover new things along the way. Whether you’ve been re-playing campaign for years or haven’t played since the titles released, I have a feeling you’ll enjoy the ability to play Chief’s legendary saga however you’d like.
Another important element of replaying these timeless missions is how the game feels. In The Master Chief Collection, new control options and schemes also present the option to play across all of the games in a new way, or return to the original schemes (on a per-game level). For me, this means playing Halo: CE on Halo: CE’s default scheme, playing Halo 2 on its respective default scheme, and then playing Halo 3 and Halo 4 on the new Universal Bumper Jumper scheme. If you’d like to play on a single Universal control scheme across all games, you can. If you prefer specific control schemes for each game, you can set ‘em up, and whether you’re playing Campaign, custom games, or Matchmaking, your control preference will be remembered. Let’s talk about how controller settings will work in Halo: The Master Chief Collection.