Halo MCC on PC could bring the game back to esports royalty
The world of esports was transported back a decade or more this week, with the news that Halo: Master Chief Collection will be released on PC later in 2019, presumably. The Halo MCC release date is not easy to come by at present, but the entire collection and Halo: Reach will eventually be available on both the Microsoft store and Steam, and it’s safe to say the esports community are pretty happy about that.
For those not in the know, the early Halo games are some of the best console shooters ever to be released, and in a different universe both Halo 2 and Halo 3 are still played today on the level that CSGO and Dota 2 are. Developers killed the scene, as is so often the case, by pushing new products out when the existing game was close to perfect for competition, something very few scenes are fortunate enough to avoid.
Now, with the PC market bigger than ever, and many FPS games available, Microsoft have decided to drip-release MCC, with the games being released in order rather than all as a single package, and eventually Halo: Reach. Dates are not confirmed yet, but there was an announcement teased at the forthcoming SXSW Invitational, where we could at least be given the dates for the first titles set to be released.
Not the first MCC rodeo
For all the excitement across esports, there must also be a caveat or two, and the most obvious one is that this is not the first time MCC has been released. The original console launch had so many fans excited about what might be, as the legendary games returned in shiny new HD, but it quickly became obvious that was a pipe dream.
To understand what Halo meant, you really need to speak with people who lived the game, so that's exactly what happened. We spoke with former Halo pro and Nightfall/Demonica Esports founder Michael ‘ViableManatee’ Krafczyk about the console release of MCC, and why it ended up being such a let down, and how the publishers 343 Industries ended up being renamed 4v3 Industries by the community.
“It was because MCC was very obviously unfinished at launch, glitches and disconnects were about as frequent as you could get, so in a typical 4v4 playlist, it would be very common to get lopsided teams. Sometimes it even got as bad as 5v3 in a 4v4 playlist…”
Excitement is real
However, it is fair to say Manatee and his Halo brethren are excited about the concept of MCC being revived again, this time on PC, after the release of Halo 5 fell somewhat flat and news about the next title, Halo Infinite, went a bit dry. “It's definitely a bright spark to bring some life back into Halo. It's been stagnant for a while now, and 343i have been very open and honest about Infinite's development cycle and how they're really taking their time to make sure what they're releasing is really up to scratch.”
As a former Halo: Reach competitor, Manatee is hyped to play the remake of his most beloved title, but it’s clear the community are thirsty for news of how the esports side will be configured. “I loved Reach when it was "The" Halo at the time, and even to this day, both from a casual and a competitive standpoint and knowing it's coming to MCC with 1080p/60fps support is definitely something I'm excited for.
“The real questions for me are around the competitive side, mainly will MCC Reach be the competitive focus for Halo until Infinite releases, and if so, are we getting ZBNS settings (Zero Bloom, No Sprint) and all of the competitive forge maps to go with it? We're itching for something to compete in over here in EU Halo, we haven't seen an EU major since September and we're all desperate for something to play.”
The main hurdle for 343i will be that very same love the community feels for the title, with many former obsessives feeling the company that owns the franchise (originally developed by Bungie) is out of touch with what Halo is supposed to be. Matt Cooper, former COO of Reign, and Halo competitor described the release of MCC on console, and the optimism that came with it. “It could have been one of THE best games in terms of a collection of story and multiplayer but most of us have fell out of love with Halo due to 343 and their lack of understanding what real Halo is.”
Still, the impact of Halo cannot be underestimated, and it wasn’t just the FPS guys who made their feelings known, with star players and talent from multiple games and genres tweeting about the release. PC gaming is a different place to console a lot of the time, but news like this just illustrates how tightly we are all knit together as gamers, and how many of the formative experiences that we think of as our own are actually shared between millions of like minded folk.