Halo Master Chief Collection Gets Another Big Update 9 Years In

In an era when it seems games are killed off all the time, it’s impressive to see Microsoft and 343 Industries continuing to support and update Halo: The Master Chief Collection nearly a decade after its initial release. And its next update, out July 12, is huge, adding a ton of new content to the already massive collection of classic Halo games.

It’s easy to forget in 2023 that The Master Chief Collection didn’t launch to critical acclaim or cheering fans. In fact, its initial release in November 2014 was a giant, embarrassing mess that was criticized heavily for network issues, missing content, poor performance, and other problems. But over the years 343 added more games to the collection, like Halo: Reach, brought back cut content, and ported over maps from Halo Online. Now in 2023, MCC is probably the best way to enjoy the Halo franchise. And this great collection is about to get even bigger and better.

On July 10, 343 revealed all the details about the upcoming update via its official website. And there’s a lot being added to MCC. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Firefight will now support up to eight players and you’ll be able to find matches via the in-game browser. Firefight in MCC will also support “Join In Progress,” letting players hop in mid-game or return after a disconnect.
  • 343 is also adding options to Firefight that will let you recreate the 3v3 Generator Protection mode that was only available in Halo: Reach’s network beta test.
  • After the July 12 update, Halo 4’s campaign and Spartan Ops mode will support theater mode. 343 warns that things might be a bit wonky as this feature uses legacy code from an older, pre-release build of Halo 4.
  • Halo 3 is getting a new mode: Slayer Escalation, aka gun game, aka that mode from Counter-Strike and Call of Duty in which each time you kill someone you get a new gun. 343 had already added this gametype to other Halo games in MCC so it’s nice to see it come to Halo 3.
  • 343 has also added three pieces of equipment—Invincibility, Active Camo, and Auto Turret—from Halo 3’s campaign into its multiplayer sandbox. These will be available in Forge and other Halo 3 custom game modes.
  • The Acrophobia Skull can now be activated in Halo: Combat Evolved. This in-game modifier, which is already available in other Halo games in MCC, lets players fly around freely in single-player. Perfect for people looking to explore for Easter eggs or wanting to experience the original campaign in a brand-new way.

Cut content from Halo’s past is coming to MCC on PC

Finally, a ton of cut content from Halo and Halo 2 is being added to the MCC on PC via mods. 343 worked alongside modders for the past year to help unearth and reimplement all kinds of cut content from these classic Bunige-era Halo titles, including cut enemies, weapons, vehicles, and maps.

343 published a separate blog post going into more detail about all the cut stuff being added back into the game and how that process worked, which you should definitely check out if you care about this kind of stuff.

A screenshot shows some cut creatures from Halo Combat Evolved.

Just some of the odd creatures modders are adding back to Halo: Combat Evolved on PC.
Screenshot: Microsoft / 343

Just remember that all of this cut content is, at least for now, implemented via mods, and so only available on the PC version.

And that’s not even everything this update is adding. It’s wild to see a game that is nearly a decade old continuing to get such fantastic, free support. The Master Chief Collection is an incredible playable archive for Halo fans. I really wish more publishers and devs would copy Microsoft’s work here and create similar, all-encompassing collections for other great video game franchises. Also, where’s my Gears of War: Marcus Fenix Collection, Microsoft?

Halo: The Master Chief Collection’s next big update goes live July 12 on Xbox and PC.

Metal Gear Solid Locked At 30FPS In Master Collection

The Metal Gear Solid Master Collection website shows box art of the first three games.

Screenshot: Konami / Kotaku

Part of the appeal of video game remasters and remakes is the prospect of playing an old game on better hardware that can, ostensibly, run it better than your old console did back in the day. That is the hope, at least. Unfortunately, not every “remaster” is an improvement over its source material—just ask the Grand Theft Auto Trilogy collection. Now, eyes are turning toward Konami’s upcoming Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1., with fans hoping it doesn’t run into those same issues. On that front, today saw the emergence of one new slightly disappointing tidbit.

The original 1998 PlayStation Metal Gear Solid ran at 30 frames per second, and Konami has now confirmed that will still be the case for the newly remastered edition launching in the Collection on October 24. News of this comes from a graph on the compilation’s official website, which says the first MGS adventure will run at 30fps on all platforms, while Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater will run at 60fps on all systems except for the Nintendo Switch.

To be clear, the original Metal Gear Solid ran at 30fps when it launched in 1998, but it being locked to that lower framerate across the board seems odd in 2023, especially when its sequels will apparently have some scaling depending on which platform you buy them on. (For reference, MGS2 originally ran at 60fps, while MGS3 was originally a 30fps game.)

Here’s the full rundown:

A graph shows the resolution and framerate breakdown for the Metal Gear Solid Master Collection.

Screenshot: Konami / Kotaku

There’s been chatter about the games’ graphical resolutions as well. It’s a bummer to see that none of these games will run at 4K resolution, even on PC, PlayStation 5, or Xbox Series X/S. This lack of 4K support was confirmed back in August.

All of this comes ahead of Konami’s separate, upcoming Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater remake. That’s titled Metal Gear Solid Δ: Snake Eater, presumably so the number doesn’t scare anyone off from playing the game. MGS3 was a prequel in any case, so you didn’t need to know everything going in to understand it.

5 Disappointing Things About Metal Gear Solid Master Collection

Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 gathers some of the best games ever made and puts them all on modern platforms in one convenient package. Unfortunately, a laundry list of weird caveats and shortcomings at launch make the new anthology hard to celebrate. Why is one of the best franchises in gaming history not pulling out all the stops?

Out October 24 on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Switch, and Windows PC, Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 has been stalked by controversy for months now, with questions about subpar performance on Nintendo Switch and a lack of bells and whistles on “next-gen” platforms like PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. The anthology features five main games—Metal Gear, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater—and includes the oddball Snake’s Revenge and the NES and Famicom ports of Metal Gear as bonuses. But now that it’s finally here, it’s hard not to be disappointed by how publisher Konami has gone about assembling it.

An operator badgers Snake about missing features.

First up is the lack of a visual upgrade on new platforms, or parity with the original versions on Switch. As shared prior to release, Metal Gear Solid still only plays at 30fps across all versions (it was never remastered for 2011’s Metal Gear Solid HD Collection by Bluepoint Games). The Switch version of Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 are also locked at 30fps (MGS2 originally ran at 60fps on PlayStation 2). All three games max out at 1080p as well, with no 4K resolution options for the stronger hardware versions.

Read More: Kotaku’s Metal Gear Retrospective Series

Even without any big improvements, Konami notes that the launch versions still suffer from various bugs and performance issues it plans to patch sometime in the future. A full list of the shortcomings was provided to IGN. “Across Metal Gear Solid 1, 2, and 3, bug fixes are also planned, specifically on MGS2,” the site noted. “Konami warned the game may significantly slow down in certain cutscenes, which sounds worrying. A patch to reduce processing load is planned.” Visual options like CRT scanlines and the ability to switch between windowed and full-screen mode in the options menu in the two MSX games are also MIA at the moment.

There’s also the laggy pause button. Konami added the option to pause during cutscenes, a long-requested feature for the story-heavy stealth series. Footage from copies of the game that leaked early, however, showed that it can take up to 10 seconds for the game to register the pause after the button’s pressed, taking some of the shine off the new option. It’s still unclear if that’s intentional or will be patched down the road.

The Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 is, perhaps less surprisingly, encountering issues on PC as well. Initial Steam reviews are very mixed, with players complaining about unintuitive keybindings, poor UI, and a lack of aspect ratio options. “Take this with a grain of salt, the game literally just launched, but damn the video settings, button mapping, and poor UI/UX for the collection is pretty sour,” wrote one player. “I am sure it will improve over time, but yikes.”

Most galling for me personally are the games altogether missing from the physical Switch version of the collection. In North America at least, only Metal Gear, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, and Snake’s Revenge are actually on the game card. The three Metal Gear Solid games, which are the main ones advertised on the front of the box, must be downloaded separately. As someone who treats their Switch like a physical repository for retro remasters and re-issues, it’s frustrating to have to rely on an internet connection and a temporary online storefront to have access to all-time classics. It sounds like the Japanese physical release at least also includes the first Metal Gear Solid on the game card.

Many of the initial reviews for Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 have noted these shortcomings while still pointing out that at the end of the day these games still play great and remain some of the most profound meditations on geopolitics, war, and the military industrial complex the medium has ever produced. “I think it’s great that such a huge swathe of Metal Gear history is now readily available and easily playable on modern systems,” writes The Verge’s Jon Porter. “But there’s also a part of me that thinks Konami missed an opportunity to give Metal Gear Solid in particular a fresh coat of paint and update it for a modern audience.”

The video game industry is generally so bad at preserving its past I wish it would go all out when it decides to finally take the opportunity to repackage old games and sell them again. If that means charging more so be it. I’d gladly pay $100 for the definitive edition of all of these games. Maybe we’ll eventually get that one day. In the meantime I hope Konami’s planned post-launch updates give the collection some of the additional love it deserves.

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