343 Industries community director Brian "ske7ch" Jarrard held court in a Reddit AMA today to answer questions about Halo: The Master Chief Collection, which is expected to debut on PC later this year. Some of what Jarrard covered was already known: The games will be available for purchase individually or in a bundle, they'll be released in order of their fictional chronology (so Reach first, then Combat Evolved), and there will be public "flighting" tests prior to release. Unfortunately, the one thing we all really want to know—when we can start playing—has yet to be nailed down.
"Right now the priority is getting Halo: Reach ready for public flighting and work is underway almost in parallel for Halo: CE, which will be the second game," Jarrard wrote. "Ultimately we want to get these games into player's hands as soon as possible. We're hesitant to commit to a firm time frame because the truth is they're ready when they're ready. Flighting will be critical to help us get these titles to a great place and depending on how that goes, it could lengthen or extend the release cadence."
343 plans to support windowed mode, 21:9, 16:9, 16:10, 3:2, and 4:3 display modes and 144Hz displays across all games in the collection, but Jarrard cautioned that some of the features "could vary slightly by title." Different games in the series could have different FOV adjustability, for instance: "If adjusting the FOV causes significant player/weapon model distortion, we may need to put limits in," Jarrard wrote.
On a more granular level, Jarrard said that Halo Reach in the Master Chief Collection will have "the same level of 'mix and match' customization found in the original games," but added that 343 is "exploring a new and deeper progression system that retains the feel of the old systems and blends them with newer models for game progression." That progression system will be based entirely on gameplay, however, with "no type of monetization or anything of that nature."
The Master Chief Collection will feature a custom game browser, but community-hosted dedicated servers are currently not part of the plan. Mod support is possible in the future but won't be in place at launch, and you'll need a Microsoft Account (but not Xbox Live Gold) to play, even if you purchase the game through Steam. Jarrard also echoed yesterday's remarks by 343 studio head Bonnie Ross about the Master Chief Collection (not) supporting Xbox Play Anywhere, writing, "We are still exploring ways to recognize the continued support of our Xbox One players so they are also able to enjoy MCC on PC," and promising more details closer to launch.
Sadly, if you were hoping that the arrival of the Master Chief Collection on PC signals that Halo 5 is finally coming too, Jarrard has bad news: "Our focus is bringing MCC and Reach to PC, there are no current plans to bring over Halo 5."