Microsoft’s Halo is one of the largest gaming series, with the upcoming Halo Infinite announcement. But perhaps just as fascinating is Microsoft’s attempt to revive the series’ legacy. Join in and take a look back at how long it took and what to expect from this new re-release of the classic game.
The path to Halo 3’s PC
Halo 3 was originally released for Xbox 360 in 2007. Until Microsoft decided to bundle all of the main games together for a comprehensive series collection for the new console. The Master Chief Collection was originally released on Xbox One in 2014 and served as a collection of all previous games in the series that have been updated with improved graphics and performance. It has had a variety of technical problems, large and small, with some of the biggest problems related to the stability of the multiplayer experience. There have been some updates to minimize these problems, but it didn’t achieve the level of polish you’d expect from a major game manufacturer’s flagship series, at least not much later.
When Microsoft went through the process of updating its back-catalog games in 2018 to take advantage of the new updated Xbox One X version of Xbox One, Microsoft also took the opportunity to finally address the main issues with the multiplayer code for games in The Master to solve main collection. Going back and repairing something the players had long given up generated a lot of goodwill from Halo fans, which should continue when they later announced that not only the Master Chief Collection would be coming to the PC, but the players too could buy either from Microsoft’s own Windows App Store or from Steam. The updated version of 2018 with all the additional fixes formed the basis of the PC version, but they also did a lot of work to implement PC-specific features and functions in the games.
In an effort not to repeat the technical issues associated with the original version of The Master Chief Collection for the PC version, Microsoft has decided to gradually introduce the games and give each entry an extensive beta phase before moving on to one full publication is ready.
We’ve already seen Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary and Halo 2: Anniversary on PC and Halo Reach, but for many, Halo 3 will be what they were waiting for. Technically speaking, Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2 had PC ports years ago. The port of the original game developed by Gearbox was released in 2003, and Halo 2 received an exclusive Windows Vista port in 2007 under the “Games For Windows Live” banner. These ports had their own shortcomings, but were mostly maintainable and functional versions of the games that many people played and enjoyed at the time. For people who have never played Halo on Xbox, the story ended there, as Halo 2 was the last main Halo game on PC up to these recent releases.
There have long been rumors that some kind of version of Halo 3 would come to Steam. As early as 2013, files were found in the Steam backend that refer to Halo 3. Developer Certain Affinity, which was a support studio for most of the main Halo games, was shy when asked about their involvement in porting Halo 3 to PC in 2013 and chose the fifth.
@vipespienaar We argue for the 5th 🙂
– Certain affinity (@CertainAffinity) June 24, 2013
For some reason, the port of 2013, which seemed to be under construction at some point, never showed up. It’s not uncommon for projects to start and then stop when you look at companies like Microsoft, although it would be interesting to hear what they thought at the time.
What can we expect from this new PC version?
But now, after all these years, players on PC can finally end The Fight. The third entry in the series concludes the original trilogy. Developer 343 Industries presented the new PC version of Halo 3 in this long live stream if you want to delve deeply into the game and the process of developing this new version.
Given the age of the game, it’s not the most demanding game on modern systems, but it’s designed to take advantage of high-performance current gaming PCs, with support for 4k resolutions, Ultrawide support, FOV customization, 7.1 surround Sound and of course full keyboard and mouse support in addition to controller support. Microsoft and the various teams associated with this project have done the work to make it work the way you expect it to from a modern port of the game.
Where does Microsoft generally stand with PC games these days?
Microsoft has been making a lot of noise about how committed they really are to playing PC games for many years. For the longest time it felt like hot air. By keeping their flagship series away from the PC, they undermined their own statements. Now that initiatives like Game Pass are becoming available on PC, the vast majority of their first-party games appear on Steam, and series like Age of Empires and Flight Simulator are returning, it seems to Microsoft that PC games are no longer just an afterthought to play. They also had PC-focused initiatives like Gears Tactics, which is currently only available on the PC, and Minecraft RTX functionality, which targets high-end GPUs on the PC. I think they have shown that they can actually tap into their PC gaming potential, and I hope it stays that way for a long time.
Will you dive back into Halo with this new version of the third entry in the series? If you’ve already played the first two games, you can only purchase Halo 3 for just $ 9.99 / £ 6.99 or the entire Master Chief Collection for $ 39.99 / £ 29.99. You will get the games currently available immediately, the rest will be available later this year.
One of the strengths of the PC platform is that games can easily find a second life under the right circumstances. In some cases, this can even be used to revive a particular game series. Titanfall 2 finally made it to Steam and now has more players than ever. I wonder if Microsoft hopes that a bonus for the good release of previous Halo games on PC will increase interest in the upcoming Halo Infinite sequel. Only time will tell, but in the meantime we can all enjoy a classic shooter that finds its way to the PC.