Halo: The Master Chief Collection's public testing phase has been pushed back, but in the meantime 343 Industries and Splash Damage have revealed a great deal about what they're working on and their aims for the PC version. While the "core gameplay" is being left alone, there's still going to be plenty that's new, including an overhauled UI, lots of control options and a progression system inspired by Halo: Reach.
"Our philosophy is that a straight port from console to PC just doesn’t cut it," writes Tyler Davis 343's community support coordinator. "MCC needs to be authentic to Halo and the PC platform. The team has greater ambitions and we know PC gamers demand, and expect, more than that."
Transforming it into a PC game has, at times, proved to be more challenging than expected. It's one of the reasons testing has been delayed.
"Even though the games are older, there’s still a lot there: eight game releases, and over 7 terabytes of data," explains senior producer George Wright. "There are multiple game engines, even non-Halo specific engines, with their own differing programming styles, and contributions have been made by various dev teams over the years. This means that there’s a lot of complex content to analyse before we could properly get started."
A lot of progress has been made despite the complexities, according to the devs, with the input system and UI being a major focus. Expect remappable controls, minimal input latency, reworked menus and text chat, along with other new features.
One of these new features is a progression system. It will be straightforward, promises Wright, and will let players track their progress and unlock rewards. The team has more plans for progression, too, but it's not giving much away. Design director Max Szlagor adds a few more details, however, and says that the goal is to "deliver a system that captures the spirit of progression in Halo: Reach but delivers it in a more modern way." That will include levelling and seasons.
It's a meaty developer update, so give it a read while we wait for testing to begin. Unfortunately, there are no dates yet.