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Halo: Master Chief Collection

343 Details Halo 2’s Changes And Additions

At PAX 2014, a large Halo panel from 343 Industries dove into the the future of the Halo franchise, including Halo 2’s myriad changes as it makes its way to Xbox One.

The panel included 343 Industry’s Frank O’Connor, Certain Affinity president Max Hoberman, Halo series executive producer Kiki Wolfkill, senior director for publishing Paul Lipson, and Halo: Master Chief Collection executive producer Dan Ayoub.

The panel began with a showcase of impressive Halo cosplayers where one (dressed as the comical Mister Chief) proposed marriage to another Spartan cosplayer. “Thanks for saying yes,” O’Connor said after she said yes to the proposal, “That could have been awkward.” After the romantic opening, the panel moved onto Halo.

This year is the 10th anniversary of Halo 2, which is why its release on the Master Chief Collection is so timely. Some details showcased during the panel were previously revealed, like the instantaneous switching from the new to old visuals, but a new detail is that the game’s music and sound will also switch from new to old.

Halo 2’s soundtrack has been completely adapted and re-orchestrated. The sound effects have also been overhauled, and they played some of the new music and sounds for the audience. The new music is familiar but much fuller, as it was recorded in surround sound. Steve Vai has returned to re-record guitar for the soundtrack and it sounds as good as ever. They showed off (or rather sounded off) on some of the new sounds for the guns, and they are all deafeningly loud. Every weapon is much more intimidating, even the pistol which was famously nerfed for the Halo sequel. The energy sword in particular booms when it is brandished. It makes the old energy sword’s original brandishing effect sound like you flipped on a malfunctioning light switch.

An official Halo 2 soundtrack will release alongside Halo: Master Chief collection on November 11.

After breaking down the game’s sound, the panel dove into some of the multiplayer updates focusing specifically on the recently revealed Lockout. I played the game yesterday, but the game felt so familiar that I didn’t notice some of the changes, or in other cases, I just didn’t get a chance to interact with them. The corner of the ramp leading from the area with the darkened hallway up to the sniper perch, for example, has been pushed out a little bit, creating a point of cover on the way up and a new place from small skirmishes.

Other changes include the glass in the middle of the battlefield can now be broken, though it must take a significant amount of damage first. A clip of the new Lockout showed a Spartan tossing four grenades on it before it broke. Also, a handful of stalactites now hang above a few key points in the map, and they can be shot down to kill people camping on the sniper perch, for example. Using Forge, these new additions can be removed if you so choose.


Here are some of the updates and changes coming to Halo 2's Forge.

We also got chance to see some of Lockout’s original design documents, which were revisited when rebuilding the game. You can see them in the gallery below. Lockout was one of the first maps created for Halo 2, and it apparently played very poorly at first. It took a number of small adjustments to make it ultimately become one of the game’s most popular maps.

After Halo 2 (which was the majority focus of the panel) we got to see a bit of the updated Halo 3 in action. The game runs in 1080p at 60 frames per second, and it looks very smooth. We got to see the opening cutscene and a little bit of the first level. Small details like the water and leaves stood out as looking cleaner and more distinct. Seeing them in higher detail reminded me of putting on a pair of glasses for the first time. The game’s lighting effects have also been overhauled, but without comparing it directly to Halo 3’s original release, it’s hard to say if it made a big difference.

Unfortunately, no details were offered regarding the changes made to Halo 1’s multiplayer. 343 did say that switching between the new and old graphics in the campaign will be instantaneous as opposed to the fade of the Xbox 360 version of Halo 1. 343 is promising more details coming in the next month for Halo 1’s multiplayer.

Finally 343 acknowledged their fandom for Halo: Reach, but confirmed that there are no current plans to similarly update it for Xbox One.

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Comments
  • I was kinda hoping they'd have more details on the Halo 5 Beta or even Halo Nightfall. Oh well, still excited for the Collection to release.
  • Does anyone else feel that despite the 1080p and 60fps, this game looks decidedly graphically inferior to a certain other sci-fi shooter coming out in 10 days? The weapons and characters seem way less detailed to me. Perhaps that is to make sure that it pulls off the 60fps without a problem?
  • If it wasn't for Bayonetta 2 this would be my most anticipated GOTY. I haven't played Halo 2 in such a long time and to be able to go back to all of these is just awesome. I can't wait!
  • This game is the reason I will be going with Microsoft's online service rather than Sony's. I won't pay for both.

  • This is the only game thats saving the Xbone this holiday
  • I do have to say that I am a little disappointed that they replaced the Breaking Benjamin songs. I think ill just jump into classic for that Easter egg...
  • I cannot wait for The Master Chief Collection. So much nostalgia.

    Also Kyle, during the section about Halo 3, there's a teeny typo: "We got to see the opening cutscene and a little *but* of the first level"

    Just in case you missed it :)

  • This was a system seller for me, while I bought PS4 day 1 MS just turned me off with all there decisions. Once this was announced I immediately added an XBO to sit by my PS4. I'm so stoked for this!
  • Not for pc means not buying it, as for Halo 5... one word. Enough. It ended with 3.
  • They should do a Halo Origins Collection that couples Halo Reach, Halo Wars and add Halo ODST as a bonus. Do that price it at $39.99 and you have a best seller.
  • I think this is a great collection but I wouldn't buy a Xbox One to play a collection of games I've already played. It's great fan service, though. I really hope this collection finds its way to Steam, or some PC platform in a year or so. Once Halo 5 comes out it will be XO only for this generation, at least. So what's the harm in having this on PC? They should do that with Gears 1-3, also. Once Halo 5 releases, the PC will be a better platform to keep those games relevant than the 360 will be.
  • I'm not sure what "Skybox-only maps" means, but if means what I think it means, it will be amazing.
  • I remember the first time I put on my correct prescription of glasses. It was so beautiful, glad that an hd update for a game is that good.

  • I feel like I'm actually stealing from MS/Xbox with this collection! To me it's the best deal I've ever seen from a video game. Can't wait to once again jack some warthogs from ppl and run them over with it.

  • Thanks for the details, Kyle. I was hoping to see Halo CE's multiplayer in action, but I guess Halo 2's still the star of the show for now.
  • I preordered a CoD Xbox just for this game. And Halo 5 of course.

  • I'd appreciate the ability to tune the damage dealt by weapons on an individual basis in Custom Games.

  • More value than The Orange Box!
  • they better have not touched the glitches
  • All publishers take note...this is how you do a proper anniversary/HD remake!
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