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What To Expect From The Master Chief Collection's Next-Gen Upgrade

Microsoft announced details on Halo: The Master Chief Collection's upgrade for the Xbox Series X and S on Twitter. The collection will be fully optimized for the next generation of XBox consoles and will bring some meaningful additions to the games. Fans get to "dust off the ol' Needler" (as Xbox puts it) and jump back into the franchise on November 17 — seven days after the Xbox Series X launch.

The upgrade includes 120 FPS for both multiplayer and the single-player campaigns and cross-generation gameplay for the Xbox family of consoles. Crossplay for PC players is still up in the air, but it's likely to happen since it's planned for the current edition of the anthology. The next-gen upgrade will also allow players to adjust the game's field of view and enjoy split-screen improvements. The Master Chief Collection players will get to experience all of this in up to 4K on the Series X. The update will be free for anyone who already owns the game or is an Xbox Game Pass member. 

Halo: The Master Chief Collection is a nearly six-year-old bundle that is continually supported by Xbox. Originally, the compilation released with Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2 Anniversary, Halo 3, and Halo 4, running at 60 FPS in native 1080p (except for Halo 2). It also launched with multiplayer for each game, further fueling gamer nostalgia.

The collection boasted a wealth of issues upon release, but it has been continually updated to a better condition. With that said, there are still reports of broken challenge progression and co-op disconnection issues. The compilation has also expanded to include Halo 3: ODST and Halo: ReachThe quality of each game has been significantly increased over the years, reaching up to 4K UHD resolution at 60 FPS on Xbox One X. These graphical upgrades can be fully appreciated by switching between the versions presented in The Master Chief Collection and the original games.

Thanks to the power of the Xbox Series X and S, Halo: The Master Chief Collection will continue its trend of upgrades since the Xbox One launch. For the most part, fans seem pleased with the news and excited to play older Halo games at 120 FPS. One Twitter user said: "Here's me thinking I got my money's worth from this game when paying full price when released — superb collection. Even got my kid into halo now, too. Top news." Another user continued the praise by saying, "The amount of continuous love the team gives [The Master Chief Collection] is amazing. Can't wait to see these upgrades!" One gamer, however, expressed concern about cross-play functionality across the different frame rates: "Concern would be disadvantages for cross gen players who either can't get a new console due to availability or price. Other than that it's [exciting] to see how devs are supporting this next-gen with a ton of titles."

The Halo: The Master Chief Collection upgrade partially fills a Halo-sized hole in the Xbox Series X and S launch window since Halo Infinite, originally a launch title, was delayed until 2021. The presence of Halo near the systems' release could somewhat justify Microsoft's next-generation Master Chief-focused marketing strategy. Halo Infinite will continue Master Chief's story in a soft reboot of the franchise. Gameplay for the highly anticipated title was shown at the Xbox Series X Game Showcase and met with criticism among the fan base. The game was delayed after the reveal, but an update announced that the multiplayer will run at the same 120 frames per second as the optimized The Master Chief Collection

The Halo Infinite delay was attributed to COVID-19 and "development challenges," according to the tweet announcing the delay. An unconfirmed August 2020 report identified a more specific reason for the setback: communication between developers. Reportedly, 343 Industries outsourced the game's development to third-party developers, and the different teams are facing communication issues. This could certainly slow down the development process, but 343 Industries has not commented on the report.

While Xbox players wait for Halo Infinite to hit the next generation of consoles, they can dive back into the best version of the Halo franchise. They can also check out the 30 optimized Xbox Series X and S launch titles and take a look at Xbox Game Pass, which will soon add Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege to the collection — not to mention the thousands of backward-compatible games from four generations of the Xbox console.