As we walked into the 343 Industries panel for Halo:The Master Chief Collection, we heard a very familiar soundtrack fill the giant hall. We made our way to the front and took our seats. Pulses racing. Trigger fingers itching….
The panelists on stage were 343’s Dennis Ries and Max Szlagor, along with Certain Affinity’s Max Hoberman and David Mertz. Moderating the Chief’s panel was 343’s Andy ‘Bravo’ Dudynsky. The audience erupted in a thunderous round of applause as the panel kicked off. First up was talk about the game’s menu system and music which led into talk about the cross-platform playlists. Though at this point we hadn’t seen any gameplay (yet) there lots of cheers by the fans, especially when they were talking about playlists. As loyal Halo multiplayer fans, Sully and I couldn’t believe the enormous amount of options we would have! Do you want to play all the end missions from all the campaigns? Done. Or do you want to play all the vehicle missions from all the games? You got it. What about playing Swat in multiplayer…..across the Halo universe? They have you covered. Literally, over a 100 different multiplayer playlists are available to choose from. Now we don’t know if changes will be made but from the way 343’s Dennis and Max were talking, it looks like we were seeing a pretty close rundown.
The next commentary was from Certain Affinity’s Max Hoberman. We saw people actually leaning forward in their chairs hanging on his every word! Max discussed what it was like putting together an informal LAN party among his office mates……before anyone really even knew what a multiplayer Halo experience could be! He discussed rough concept sketches for the “Ascension” and “Midship” maps, along with a few others. He passed the commentary onto CA’s Dennis Mertz and this is what the crowd was really waiting for. Dennis asked “so do you guys wanna see some gameplay?” Umm YES PLEASE!! We were treated to a remastered version of the “Ascension” map. Oh wow!!! The map was beautifully rendered as he moved around showing off where the remastering really stuck out. If you remember that map, just wait until you see how background atmosphere looks! It’s like looking out of the space shuttle! He pointed out one the coolest new features was a huge dome-like shield that you can activate right smack dab in the middle. Not bad! Dennis also demonstrated the “leap of faith” to drop down to the rocket launcher. Score! The panelists were super informative and played with the fans really well, even letting a few “teasers” slip out. We didn’t mind! Here are a few more highlights from the panel…
- When in the new menu system- scolling through the Halo games/maps changes the background music to reflect that particular game
- Cross-game multiplayer playlists with “over a 100” to pick from
- 343 Industries will have rotational playlists where the fans have a say in they want to see more or less of
- Complete co-op campaign for the entire Halo series from start to finish
- Universal control schemes- you can customize your controls for each game or across all of Halo
- Halo 2 Anniversary Edition- completely remastered, over 30 Skulls have been implemented and will be ready to play (old skulls are able to be found all over again), Blur Studios used for the remastered of all the cinematics
- We got to see the most current build of “Ascension”…..and it looked crazy good
- “Coagulation” is one of the remastered maps in H2
- Theater mode will be back
- The ‘Mongoose’ gets an upgraded version called the ‘Gungoose’ – complete with firepower