We’ve known for some time that Microsoft would remaster its Halo series of games in 4K and HDR for Xbox One X. But now we have more details, including the fact that we won’t see most of these updates until next year.
Work on the updates to the games in Halo: The Master Chief Collection is “now underway,” Microsoft’s Halo account tweeted yesterday. That’s no surprise—I assume this work started many months ago—but that small bit of good news is hiding an underlying disappointing: That work updating the Halo games will not be completed in time for the Xbox One X launch next month.
The Xbox Wire blog provides more information.
“Halo: The Master Chief Collection will receive enhancements for Xbox One X, as well as fixes, improvements and upgrades to the core game to help bring it forward and modernize many of the game’s systems to take advantage of Xbox platform advancements since its original launch,” Microsoft’s Brian Jarrard notes.
So that is interesting. The games in Halo: The Master Chief Collection–Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2: Anniversary, Halo 3, and Halo 4—aren’t just being remastered for 4K resolutions and HDR. They’re also being updated in other important ways, and I think that may help explain the time needed for these updates.
And Microsoft is trying to take the sting out of this news by providing even more good news: 343 Industries, which now oversees the Halo game series, will publicly roll out updates to Halo: The Master Chief Collection via “iterative patches and updates” that will let it test the changes at a large scale.
“Right now, 343 Industries is targeting kicking this off next spring,” Jarrard explains. “When the time comes, we’ll need the support of our community to help test and provide feedback as we work to update and improve Halo: The Master Chief Collection. We’ll share additional details and timing as plans are locked.”
In addition to the games in Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Microsoft also plans to remaster the more recent Halo 5: Guardians release in 4K and HDR, of course. There’s no word of a delay on that work, fortunately, so perhaps we’ll see that update soon.
“The team at 343 Industries has been working closely with Skybox Labs (longtime Halo development partners on various projects including Halo 5: Forge for Windows 10) on enhancements to Halo 5: Guardians for Xbox One X,” Jarrard writes. “This update takes advantage of the extra power of Xbox One X to deliver higher visual fidelity for players who have compatible hardware.”
And in related news, Halo Wars 2—which is also being enhanced for Xbox One X—is getting two exciting additional features: Xbox Arena support and crossplay between Windows 10 PCs and Xbox One.
“The team has worked hard to deliver crossplay for Xbox One and Windows 10 PC and final testing indicates it’s ready for release into the wild,” Microsoft notes. “Cross-play and Arena support and the Xbox One X visual enhancements are all targeted for release in late October.”