Last week, as I mentioned in the weekly news recap, 343 Industries studio head Bonnie Ross released her own statement on the state of Halo: The Master Chief Collection. While the statement didn’t really offer up much in the way of specifics, the focal point seemed to be this idea that 343i will “make it right” to Halo fans after this debacle. They’ve said something similar to this in a couple of the most recent statements, and it’s got me and my group of friends thinking about just what they can do. Since we haven’t heard anything from 343i this week yet, and I’ve been enjoying playing Halo when I can manage to find games, I thought I’d talk a little bit about what I think 343i could do to “make it right.”
The first thing to look at is whether 343i is talking about making it right with MCC or if they are speaking in broader terms moving forward with Halo 5: Guardians. I think the beta coming out around Christmas might be even more important than ever before – not only from the backend side of things, but from a public perspective standpoint as well. I think no matter what their plan is, they have to look at the beta’s original plan and adjust it. I would extend it a week or two, mainly because the issues in MCC may have dropped the numbers too much – they need to have a strong Christmas showing in order to really populate the beta. Extending it would both help 343i hopefully have a more stable launch, although I think calling it a beta is a little odd since there’s no way it’s coming out before the fall. If they extend the beta, there’s also the potential to add more content into the beta.
The other likely option that 343i could go with is adding content to MCC. Since that title is the cause of all these issues, I think this is a more likely option. As for what they can do to “make it right” I think they really have two or three good choices. First – they add in Halo: Reach to the collection’s multiplayer side of things. While Reach isn’t really a Master Chief game, the multiplayer has a bunch of good maps, as well as good Forge content. I think it would fit in well, since Halo 4 took a lot from Reach‘s multiplayer. The second option I think is adding in Firefight/Spartan Ops as another co-op option. I don’t know quite what this would entail, but I think that it would be pretty fun to do – especially if they add in Firefight for Halo 2: Anniversary. Finally, they could take other Halo 2 maps and update them to the Anniversary engine. There are plenty of worthy maps – Midship, Turf, Headlong and Beaver Creek all jump to mind right away. I think this is probably the most likely of their options, the framework is already in the game, it would just be a matter of building the maps – no different than a normal map pack.
The most important aspect of all this though is that if they do go with adding something to Master Chief Collection, I think it has to be free content. Maybe they can go about charging for it for people that didn’t buy the game at launch, but those of us that have been dealing with all the issues in the game since day one, I don’t know that 343i could take the public relations hit for charging more. I would think that it’s in Microsoft’s best interest to make this as close to what the fans are asking for as possible too, since Halo is traditionally their breadwinner. It’s been a series that moves consoles in the past – and the idea that Master Chief Collection is going to be one as well is really in jeopardy right now. We’re right in the Christmas shopping season now, and to have Microsoft’s biggest and best franchise in dire straights right now is the worst thing that Microsoft could have going. Sony has tied their horse to Destiny – which has had its own issues, albeit far less serious on a gameplay front – and with “The Dark Below” coming next week, that looks to be the better option. We’ll see exactly what 343 Industries does going forward, but regardless of their next move, they are far from out of the woods yet.