It was supposed to be the Xbox One's blockbuster release of the holiday season, and a victory lap for Microsoft and Halo fans alike. But Halo: The Master Chief Collection experienced a troubled rollout and has been dogged by persistent bugs and multiplayer problems ever since. To address these issues, Microsoft on Friday announced that it would make things right by fixing the problems and providing customers with a number of freebies.
"We as a studio can–and need–to do better for Xbox fans around the world," says Bonnie Ross, the Head of 343 Industries, the Microsoft unit that made Halo: The Master Chief Collection. "We are so grateful to our fans who have stood by our side and we appreciate all of your patience as we worked through these issues."
According to Microsoft, it has "been working around the clock" to fix the problems with Halo: The Master Chief Collection. It has addressed multiplayer matchmaking issues, fixed bugs, and deployed weekly content updates and numerous server-side adjustments. And it's added a ton of new content to the game collection, including SWAT and Halo: CE playlists, all 10 episodes of the "Spartan Ops" cooperative experience for Halo 4, and more.
To reward Halo fans', um, patience, Microsoft will be providing all Halo: The Master Chief Collection owners (who purchased the game through December 19) with the following:
- 1 month of Xbox Live Gold
- Exclusive In-game nameplate
- Exclusive In-game avatar
So, nothing serious. But going forward, Microsoft is going to add even more content to the game pack, and this kind of thing will probably be more pleasing to Halo fans. The firm will make the Halo 3: ODST campaign—which has nothing to do with the Master Chief character; hence it's absence from the original version of the game pack—available in 1080p/60 fps to Halo: The Master Chief Collection users (who bought the game through December 19). And it will "reimagine" the fan-favorite map Relic from Halo 2 "fully remastered and running at 1080p resolution and 60 fps."
"We regret the issues and the frustration you have endured," Ross concludes. "We are truly sorry and thank you for your continued patience and support of the Halo franchise."
I purchased Halo: The Master Chief Collection right up front and while I'm sure it's downloaded all the updates I've spent very little time playing it. I'm not sure why exactly older Call of Duty games still resonate with me where Halo, for now at least, does not. But this game obviously has a huge fan base and remains the crown jewel of the Xbox empire. So it's nice to see Microsoft working to get it right.