It’s the first day of October, and that means another Halo: The Master Chief Collection updates from 343 Industries. With the release of ODST late last month, it’s time to take a quick look at Halo: MCC Season 4 and what surprises they’re adding when it drops later this year.
To open up the Season 4 update news, Halo: MCC Technical Designer Dana Jerpbak noted that many players out there have discovered that the Acrophobia skull was not simply limited to Halo 3. And since the skull is “hooked up in other engines”, they are open to adding Acrophobia into other games as well. They’re also currently prototyping a brand new skull for ODST but it still needs time to be worked on and implemented. That’s yet another fun, probably-level-breaking thing to look forward to.
Regarding skull configuration and wave composition in ODST‘s Firefight, we’ll have to wait and see. The Halo: MCC team is still busy with Halo 4, previously planned upcoming features, and carefully looking at future additions without breaking compatibility with existing Firefight variants.
What to Look Out For in Season 4
As promised, Halo: MCC Season 4 is bringing unreleased Halo: Reach armor permutations back into the game. The most requested one (and you can see in this article cover image), referred to by the Halo community as “GRD”, was first shown back in 2011 with Defiant Map Pack screenshots. 343 Industries employee David Ellis confirmed that it was supposed to be released alongside the Anniversary Map Pack but was cut due to time constraints. The Halo: MCC team said that they also managed to “unearth, finish, and polish-up” other helmets and chest pieces as well.
In addition, armor effects are back for Elites along with new combinations of chest pieces paired with Kat’s prosthetic arm. Moreover, Design Director Max Szlagor added that they’re thinking about “expanding and building” MCC across customization. These include places to showcase our Spartans in pre/post-game, and even adding more armor permutation to Halo 3:
There are some additional areas we are exploring [for Halo 3] so investigations are definitely underway and we’re coming to it with a lot of ideas, including looking at unreleased content. But we are unsure of the technical feasibility of bringing that work into MCC like the [REDACTED] armor pieces. We’re excited, but we want to keep some of the [REDACTED] stuff close to our chest as we figure out just how realistic it is. We do not want to over-promise stuff, but we’re definitely taking a look.
Halo: MCC Season 5 and Beyond
Beyond Halo: MCC Season 4, 343 are focusing their manpower more on additional online features such as Input-based Matchmaking, Cross-Play, the Custom Game Browser, File Share, and Regional Server Selection. They see Input-based Matchmaking and Cross-Play as “co-dependent features” so those two are going to be tackled first and might be beta tested/flighted alongside Halo 4. Meanwhile, something bigger like the Custom Game Browser is most likely going to roll out in stages. When the MCC team feel that the feature is good enough for testing, they’d run a flight after Halo 4 is released and then roll it out for one game in the collection to evaluate.
Still, that doesn’t mean Halo: MCC Season 4 is going to be released only with Halo 4 and new armors. Halo 4‘s Forge is also getting a “Thorage treatment” just like Reach, where they are adding budget and quotas increase, new features, and objects to the Forge maps; either from the campaign, other multiplayer maps, or Spartan Ops. Unfortunately, while you do get more objects to play around with, making every single Forge items available on every map is quite tricky. Dana detailed:
[…] Making all objects available on all maps, that would require some more fundamental changes and won’t happen in the short term. […] If we did this for all 24 maps for a given engine, and across multiple engines, it would have a massive impact on the install size of the game (among other things). In the future, we’d like to share these palettes across all maps, […] Until then, we target specific maps where we can get the biggest bang for our Forge bucks. In Halo 4, that includes Ravine, Erosion, Impact, and Forge Island so players will have a lot of variety in the environments that received forge enhancements.
The MCC team is also looking into adding even more stuff into Halo 4 and Halo: MCC in general, such as missing skins and armors, new game modes, more modding support, and Halo Online maps. They also said something about “Campaign customization” but, somehow, I won’t hold my breath on it. Can’t wait to see what new armor pieces they’re adding to Halo: MCC Season 4? Tell me what you think in the comments.