As is the case for about a year when most new consoles launch, PS4 and Xbox One are in the midst of a dry spell, especially in terms of exclusives. Sure, the PS4 just saw a visually polished re-release of a masterpiece in The Last of Us, but there aren’t any newly acclaimed titles to speak of. For both consoles, their best days are yet to come. Xbox One users, especially, won’t have to wait long with the upcoming release of two Halo gaxmes: Halo 5 and Halo: The Master Chief Collection.
Even since Xbox One’s November release, there has been buzz surrounding Microsoft’s big-time exclusive franchise: Halo. A new Halo game on Xbox One was a no-brainer, of course, which was why current Halo developer 343 Industries announced Halo 5 at E3 2013. “Certainly there are some core elements carried over from prior games, but we’ve invested a huge effort in retooling our tech to take full advantage of the Xbox One’s hardware and ecosystem to create worlds and experiences worthy of next-gen,” was what 343 Industries wrote in a blog post earlier this year.
The Halo 5 Beta
At E3 2014, a year after Halo 5 was announced, 343 Industries announced that a beta invite for Halo 5 will be included with the purchase of the upcoming Xbox One release Halo: The Master Chief Collection, which will feature the campaign and multiplayer modes of Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2, Halo 3, and Halo 4.
Just recently, details regarding the beta were revealed. “The focus of the beta is going to be 4v4 arena gameplay,” 343 Industries’ Josh Holmes said. For the beta, the eight players in the arena will have the same loadouts, which is similar to the first Halo. The beta will also include seven maps, all focusing on small-scale combat. Beta players can also play with seven armor sets, which help show off Halo 5’s customizable character options. Yet another perk is that Halo 5 beta players will be rewarded with some type of unspecified bonus content that will carry over when the game launches sometime next fall.
The Ranking System on Halo: The Master Chief Collection
343 Industries has listened to the pleas of fans and included Halo 2’s much-beloved multiplayer ranking system and matchmaking across all the games in the collection. This means that Halo 1, 2, 3, and 4 will all run on Halo 2’s multiplayer ranking system, which had players ranked from 1 to 50, with 50 being the best. The cool thing was, the number fluctuated based on wins, losses, and other variables, instead of just remaining the same. Players who reached level 44 also received a special emblem.
Also Announced: The Halo Channel
In addition to the news above, 343 Industries also revealed the Halo channel for Xbox One users. The channel will provide video clips, streams, behind-the-scenes materials, and live-action web series Halo: Nightfall. One can expect the press for Halo to ramp up as the release date for Halo: The Master Chief Collection, the arrival of which should surely satiate those waiting in anticipation for Halo 5 next year.
Will Sony Have a Response?
Both upcoming Halo releases are indisputably exciting titles for Xbox One, and perhaps one of the first “wow-worthy” exclusive on either console. PS4 gamers are waiting for Sony’s big answer to Halo, or a first-person shooter that will have a similarly passionate multiplayer community. Unfortunately, Killzone: Shadow Fall wasn’t it. Also, although Battlefield 4 is a quality multiplayer game, it’s available on all major consoles. As a result, one has to wonder what Sony’s answer will be for PS4 users clamoring for a Halo-esque online gameplay experience.
Xbox One users can purchase Halo: The Master Chief Collection on November 11th. The release also includes the aforementioned Halo 5 multiplayer beta and will include access to Halo: Nightfall.
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