Gamers everywhere have been eagerly anticipating Microsoft's love letter to dedicated Halo fans - Halo: The Master Chief Collection. The game is scheduled to drop on November 11 and the hype has built to a climax with the release of a new launch trailer!
Believe it or not, it's been almost thirteen years since Bungie's iconic franchise began with the acclaimed original, Halo: Combat Evolved. And yet it seems like only yesterday that I tore open my shrinkwrapped copy and shot my way through the campaign's covenant hordes in one straight sitting! The nostalgia cortex of my brain is already pumping in anticipation of this definitive collection.
What's All the Fuss About?
For the first time ever, every game in the core series* will be available to play on one console, all on a single disc - and I could not be more excited! Gamers will not only get to play Halo 1 through to 4, but also get the Halo: Nightfall digital series and access to the Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer beta. Despite the fact that Halo 5 isn't scheduled for release until late next year, this beta will give die-hard fans an exclusive sneak peek at what's in store, though Microsoft haven't yet confirmed when exactly the beta will go live.
If all that wasn't enough, the collection also includes over 100 multiplayer maps to keep you Spartans busy for quite some time! Hardcore fans will be pleased to know that the original feel of each game's multiplayer mode has been retained, so all those glorious memories of sticking plasma grenades to your buddies should come flooding right back!
* Halo: Reach and Halo: ODST will not be included.
Are the Games Exactly the Same as Before?
As you can see from the screenshot comparison above - no. Using every inch of power the mighty Xbox One has to give, the developers at 343 Industries have completely revamped the old classics. The collection will feature improved graphics, smoother frame-rate and faster loading times. Many of the sound effects and voice overs have also been re-recorded, so that Warthog should now rev around the Halo rings with even more satisfaction!
Microsoft have also hired renowned CG studio Blur - who worked on Avatar - to re-do all of Halo 2's cutscenes, and the results are truly staggering. To show you just what I mean, take a look at how startlingly different your favourite characters from the series now look:
The detail that's gone into rendering the Arbiter is seriously impressive! Those gnashers look pretty damn scary.
I can't wait for the smack-talking, tank-busting, charismatic leader of the UNSC marines to order me to go kick some hi-res Covenant ass!
The Prophet of Mercy
The leader of the Covenant looks even more formidable in the remastered version.
The Master Chief
Now you can be sure you're looking your best when head-shoting your way through waves of enemy grunts!
Halo: The Master Chief Collection is looking like the quintessential Halo game for all dedicated fans out there and I can't wait to get my hands on it. See you online!
If you're not already pumped, check out the launch trailer in full below.
And to witness the graphical improvements in action, watch this side by side comparison video: