If you thought Halo: The Master Chief Collection was a 100% complete compilation of the first person shooter series’ Xbox and Xbox 360 titles, then 343 Industries have got news for you: it’s not. The MCC team will be flighting (testing) a new update for the game that adds a new multiplayer map to the Halo 3 collection. The map actually comes from the short-lived Halo Online spinoff, which was cancelled before it could be released.
The map in question is Waterfall, which has never really been seen in public before now. It was never featured in any of the public beta testing builds of Halo Online, and so the only information for the game came from text strings found by data miners, and some concept art that described the map as being a hidden UNSC base.
Its addition to Halo: The Master Chief Collection’s Halo 3 multiplayer queue technically makes it the first new developer-made map for Halo 3 since the Mythic Map Packs in 2009.
The test flight will be going live next week on 18th February with the following tweaks and features.
- Custom Game Browser: a new way to play with each other in MCC
- Season 6 content
- A new map for Halo 3 from Halo Online
- FOV slider support for all Xbox One consoles
- FOV slider will no longer be locked when Xbox Series X|S devices are set to 120hz
- Double Keybindings
- Mouse & Keyboard support for consoles
- Advanced Audio options
- View Model Customization options
Last week, 343 Industries teased that Halo: The Master Chief Collection is getting “a new place and way to play” this month, leading to speculation that the collection could come to Epic Games Store, Nintendo Switch or (the most likely option in our opinion), to iOS via Xbox Game Pass Game Streaming with new touch controls.
This new map announcement blows a fascinating avenue wide open for more content to be added to MCC’s multiplayer through 2021, while the majority of 343 Industries is hard at work on Halo: Infinite for a Fall 2021 release. Halo Online had six original maps in development for it: Diamondback (admittedly a desert-based remake of the Halo 3 map Avalanche), Reactor, Icebox (a remake of Halo 2 map Turf), Edge, and Sky Bridge.
Outside of the remakes, none of these have really been seen by Halo fans up until now. Halo Online was a multiplayer-only game in development by Saber Interactive and Innova Systems, built off the Halo 3 engine and intended to tap into emerging markets where lower-end PCs were dominant. The game was announced in 2015, with a Russia-exclusive closed alpha and closed beta testing. However, that testing led to the decision to first send the game back to an earlier development phase, and then shut down the project.
The game was brought back into the public eye when a group of modders revived the game in the fan project ‘ElDewrito’ in 2018. The intention was to take Halo Online, make it playable again, and then modify the game to play more like Halo 3. Stopping short of sending a cease and desist, 343 Industries asked the modders to cancel the project, but it’s generally seen as being one of the catalysts for Halo: The Master Chief Collection being ported to PC in the first place.
In a nice and cyclical fashion, now that the main body of Halo: TMCC is out on PC as of the end of 2020, 343 Industries are going back to Halo Online for some inspiration over their long-term plans to support the game. With a seasonal form of multiplayer progression, Season 5: Anvil includes twelve armour permutations that have come across from Halo Online, and we’re now seeing one of Halo Online’s maps being revived for the game as well.