343 Industries is bringing another sneak peek for Halo: The Master Chief Collection‘s upcoming season contents and updates. As they always do every month. After they’re done with Halo 3 ODST and Season 3 just last month, that means we’re getting closer to Halo: MCC Season 4 and Halo 4‘s release. Guided by 343 employee Postums, Halo: MCC Design Director Max Szlagor, and Technical Designer Dana Jerpbak, the MCC Development Update – September 2020 blog post highlights interesting stuff coming with, and after, Halo: MCC Season 4.
From new armor and helmet for Halo Reach, updated Forge maps for Halo 4, to many more promises for future seasons. Let’s take a quick look at them right now.
1. New Halo Reach Armor Permutations
Halo MCC Season 4 is finally adding the fan-requested unreleased Halo Reach armor permutations back into the game: the “GRD” helmet. They also found other helmet and chest pieces that didn’t manage to see the light of day. Plus there will be new combinations of chest pieces paired with the prosthetic arm and armor effects are back for the Elite models. AKIS helmet, or Halo community used to call it as GRD, was first shown in 2011. But it vanished into thin air. Later, 343 Industries employee David Ellis confirmed that the AKIS armor is indeed supposed to be released together with Reach’s Anniversary Map Pack but ended up cut due to “time and resources constraints”.
2. Halo 4 Thorage Update
Just like Reach, Halo 4‘s Forge is also getting a “Thorage” treatment. New customization options, objects (from other maps, campaign, or Spartan Ops), and Forge quotas are increased. Still, Dana admitted that the team is having trouble making all Forge objects to be available on all maps since it would add “many, many gigabytes” into the whole MCC. So for now they’re focusing on Ravine, Erosion, Impact, and Forge Island instead.
. . .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.
3. More Halo 4 Armor and Maps
And honestly, for now, that’s all they have shown off for Halo MCC Season 4 in the blog update. But after Halo 4 is released, 343 is investigating for more ways to add even more stuff into the title. Such as missing skins and armors that came at the tail end of Halo 4‘s expansion packs, new game modes, more modding support, and maybe Halo Online maps.
4. More Skulls in Campaign and Firefight
343 have noticed that people discovered ways to use Acrophobia skull not just in Halo 3 but for other titles as well. Thus, they are open to officially adding Acrophobia into other games. And as a surprise, 343 is also currently prototyping a brand new skull for ODST. Although regarding ODST‘s Firefight skulls configuration and wave composition to make it as customizable as Reach‘s, we’ll have to wait and see, since 343 is still busy with Halo: MCC Season 4 and trying not to break the compatibility with existing Firefight variants.
5. Additional Online Features
Although they can’t promise that additional online features such as Input-based Matchmaking, Crossplay, Custom Game Browser, File Sharing on PC, and Regional Server Selection are coming with Halo: MCC Season 4, 343 is working hard on them.
First, Max wrote that Input-based Matchmaking and Cross-play are “co-dependent features”, so they’re going to tackle those two first and hopefully could run a beta test alongside Halo 4. And then PC File Sharing is next since it’s tied with how they handle “filtering, banning, and reporting players”. Regional Server Selection is going smoothly and is expected to be ready in time for Halo 4 beta test. On the other hand, bigger features like Custom Game Browser are most likely going to roll out per title basis to evaluate their usage and performances.
6. More Armor Permutation for Halo 3
As MCC‘s most popular title (thanks to its timeless gameplay and Forge), 343 is still planning to add more stuff into Halo 3 with future updates. With Max teasing these supposedly secret new contents as “redacted”.
There are some additional areas we are exploring 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.
7. Campaign Customization
Last but not least, Max and their team also want to expand Halo MCC in general with more seasons — and said something about Campaign customization.
We are also looking into Campaign customization. What can we support there? Things like snazzier nameplates – can we put animations on ’em? Is there an opportunity to bring over some of the Halo Online maps? There’s a lot of options out there and it’s all dependent on what’s feasible and everything takes time and has to be measured against the bug list, backlog, and feature priorities. All in all, we are definitely looking towards more goodness and continuing with more seasons.
Sound fun? Tell us your hopes and dreams about Halo: MCC Season 4 and future updates in the comments below.