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Starting today, Microsoft will be sending out early builds of Halo 2 to beta testers
When Microsoft announced that the complete collection of games that make up the Halo Master Chief Collection would be coming to PC, they also said that they were going to take their time to get it right. The collection originally released on Xbox One way back in 2014, but it had long been plagued with technical issues hampering performance and making the multiplayer particularly unstable.
Then in 2018, they announced that the game on Xbox was going to be getting a huge overhaul, seeking to address many of these technical issues, and bringing it up to a standard that players reasonably expected from Microsoft’s flagship game series. They were able to deliver on this promise, and the collection is smoother than ever now on Xbox.
Then in 2019, they took the next step and announced that the collection would be coming to PC. They were very clear that it would be a more gradual release than games typically have, where they would be running extensive betas, a process they refer to as “flighting”, where each individual title in the collection will be thoroughly tested internally and externally before it’s considered ready to go. These games were originally intended just for consoles, but when converting them to PC there are many other factors to consider. Multiple different hardware configurations, including different processors and graphics cards, different input mechanisms rather than the standard controller input on consoles, and different displays with varying aspect ratios, resolutions and supported framerates. By running these extensive tests, they are hoping to ensure full compatibility for a wide range of players, across a broad range of systems.
As of today, they have completed the beta flighting process for Halo: Reach and both the original Halo: Combat Evolved and the remastered Anniversary Edition, with both now fully available and no longer in beta. We’re still waiting for the releases of Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST and Halo 4.
Hopefully, there should not be too long left to wait for Halo 2, as Microsoft has announced that the beta flight is starting for Halo 2 today.
Halo community manager Tyler Davis took to Twitter to announce that the beta flight for both Halo 2 and the remastered Halo 2 Anniversary Edition is starting today, with the early work in progress build of the game going out for testing immediately.
In order to participate in this beta, you can sign up to the Halo Insider program, and you may be selected to participate. They’ll gradually add more players as the beta gets closer to ready for release.
For the previous beta flights, there have typically been about two to three months between the launch of the beta and the game being ready for full release, but who knows if that timeline will be identical for Halo 2 or subsequent games.
It’s great to see these games finally get a proper release on PC, and even if it would be nice to get them released in a more timely manner, it’s absolutely for the best that Microsoft are taking their time to get it done right. It seems like they’ve learned their lesson from originally trying to release this comprehensive collection in a hurry, rather than taking the time to ensure it is fully polished and up to player expectations.
For me, Halo 2 was a pretty interesting title. The single-player campaign had some brilliant locations, with really creative architecture, and some excellent atmosphere. It also had some fairly repetitive levels and a few sections that somewhat drag on. It’s not my favorite game in the series, but it is still one that I think is worth revisiting, and I am glad to see it find a new lease of life with this new PC release.
Are you going to be participating in this beta flight? Do you have a favorite entry in the Halo series? Are you waiting until this entire collection is out before jumping in?