After a few weeks of rumours, blended with wishful thinking and a few sneaky secret Satanic rites on my end, Microsoft and 343 have finally announced that Halo: The Master Chief Collection is coming to Steam and the Windows Store.
The collection will include the first three Halo games, as well as Halo 4 and the campaign from ODST. As if that wasn’t enough for you greedy little wretches, we’ll also be getting Halo Reach, the prequel to Combat Evolved and – some would argue – the greatest game in the franchise.
The PC version of the collection won’t all arrive in one big bundle, but will see each title released in (in-game) chronological order. Thrillingly, that means we get Reach first, followed by the original trilogy, the ODST campaign, and then finally Halo 4 for anyone who really cares about that one. Sorry, Halo 4 fans.
343 Industries has said it’s committed to this staggered release schedule to make sure each game is brought to PC in just the right way, with plenty of juicy specific features like FOV sliders, 4K resolution, adjustable framerates, remappable keys, and more.
We’re embarking on a journey with our community to build a PC experience that delivers on PC gamer expectations. The team is passionately committed to ensuring that all of the features, bells, and whistles expected in a modern PC title are included with MCC.
Needless to say, this announcement is a pretty huge deal – and not just because we’ll soon be able to play some of the best FPS games of a generation in 4K 120 fps splendour (PC Master Race y’aaaall).
No, this is a big deal because, to my mind, it reaffirms Microsoft’s newfound commitment to a brave new future without consoles. A future where players can play games on hardware of all shapes and sizes, and craft an experience specifically tailored to suit them.
Thanks to initiatives like Xbox Play Anywhere, Game Pass, and cross play, Microsoft has slowly been tearing down the long held, sacred conventions of consoles; Exclusives belong on one console, and if you play on one you shouldn’t be allowed to play with your mates who own the rival consoles.
It’s been amazing to see Microsoft rip up the old rule book over the last couple of years. Why shouldn’t we be able to play games like Fortnite and Minecraft with our mates who own a Nintendo Switch? Why shouldn’t we be able to play digital games we’ve picked up for Xbox on our PC?
Cynics argue that Microsoft has been opening itself up and working with the competition in a big way because it’s been lagging behind this generation, but I get the impression this approach has long been a plan for the company, and the positive reaction to things like Game Pass, backwards compatibility, and cross play speak for themselves. The haters can basically jump in the bin.
Bringing The Master Chief Collection to PC in a way that involves a ton of love, care, and attention is just another reason to be excited for what Microsoft has in store for the future.
It’s just another bit of evidence that shows they genuinely care about delivering accessible, high quality experiences, and that crucially, they want as many people as possible to enjoy these experiences.
I don’t know exactly what’s next for the company, but I think we can expect more exciting announcements just like this. It was previously announced that Microsoft would be bringing certain Xbox Live features to Switch and mobile devices – including achievements and friend lists – but now it looks like they’ll even be bringing certain Game Pass titles available on platforms outside of Xbox.
The rumour goes that Microsoft’s xCloud game streaming tech will help to bring Xbox One titles to Switch via a dedicated app. This will, in theory, handle the bigger titles that aren’t able to run natively, while games like the fantastic Ori and the Blind Forest will be released natively for Nintendo’s console.
Just imagine that. Xbox exclusives on a Nintendo machine. I haven’t heard anything so insane since SEGA started making Sonic games for the Game Boy Advance, but that turned out brilliantly.
Halo: MCC on PC isn’t just good news for Halo fans, it’s huge news for gamers everywhere, because this is a Microsoft who wants as many people as possible to enjoy their video games.
Let’s be honest, whatever you think of the lack of Xbox One exclusives right now, there’s no denying that Microsoft does have a pretty stellar library of games at its disposal. If we’re looking at a future where we can stream and enjoy these games on the devices of our choice, then I’m more than happy to come along for the ride.
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.