Within the next few years (after Reach MCC, PC MCC, and Infinite are all said and done), anniversary games are going to come back into the mainstream conversation. I’d like to kick around a couple of ideas and hear a few of yours as well.
343 did the right thing by focusing on Infinite and expanding support for MCC, but one of the casualties of this was no Halo 3 Anniversary. I think HCEA and H2A have showed us that a two-console generation gap in between the original and the remaster is much more meaningful: H2A is orders of magnitude more complete, beautiful, and true to the original than HCEA was, and it will age much better as well. So once the Xbox Scarlett releases, we will be poised for a graphics/processing jump that could make H3A something really special.
Who knows what’s in 343’s post-Infinite/MCC roadmap, but Halo 3’s 15 year anniversary will be in 2022. That’s two years after Infinite’s planned release, so the timing really seems perfect.
- H3A Campaign
The campaign should have the toggleable graphics, just like the others. HCEA really botched the entire aesthetic of the original and introduced a few inconsistencies which adversely affected gameplay, not just style. H2A did a much better job in this regard, though there are still a few gameplay interferences. H3A should seek to eliminate gameplay-affecting graphics changes entirely, while honoring the original aesthetic. And let’s not forget about some beautiful cutscenes by Blur Studios! Not sure how I feel about the idea of the terminals, when activated in remastered mod, being different experiences than the original, but it’s worth exploring. Would give some good replay (or at least “reload checkpoint”) value!
- H3A Multiplayer
H2A MP is simply stunning, and does a decent job of feeling like H2C MP while introducing concepts (like power-ups and interactive map elements) that aren’t too invasive to the original experience, like sprint might have been. I’d like to see H3A do something similar, utilizing the power and flexibility of the Slipspace engine. I think a Slipspace multiplayer experience that plays like H3 would be a massive hit.
I have to admit up front that I think this game actually happening is much less plausible than H3A, but there’s still a lot it could offer is 343 ever decided to go down this route. HCEA was only one console generation removed from the original game, and it shows. The graphical leap isn’t all that impressive. IMO, the art style is all wrong as well, but that’s just a result of poor taste on the newly-christened 343’s part, not technology. The 25th anniversary of CE’s release would be in 2026. While that’s over 7 years out, I think the timeline makes sense. Assuming H3A would come out in 2022 and that another mainline Halo title, Infinite’s successor, would come out in 2023 or 2024, this “reanniversary” game (I’ll call it HCEA2) could be a solid release to keep things interesting in between major releases. HCEA2 wouldn’t just rely on existing content and minor improvements over HCEA, however, but would introduce interesting new content that would make it successful.
- HCEA2 Campaign
The campaign would be 343’s big chance to get the remastered CE aesthetic right. Again, toggleable graphics (a mainstay at this point) are a must, but no more gameplay-affecting graphics changes. We’ve already gotten a taste of what the Pillar of Autumn might look like in a Blur cutscene from its short appearance in H2A, and I don’t think there’s a single Halo fan who wouldn’t like to see what Blur could do with Chief’s Mark V Mjolnir armor. There’s not much more to say here in terms of campaign. The task, though technically difficult (like all game development), is simple.
- HCEA2 Multiplayer
Like H3A, this would be a true new multiplayer experience powered by Slipspace that would seek to honor the CE’s sandbox feeling, but could make small, tasteful liberties to modernize the gameplay. Given that the maps would be mostly remasters of the originals, this game would introduce for the first time the ability to use Forge on official CE maps (outside of the blessed Custom Edition modders, may Yoyorast Island be forever praised). As is the case with every Halo game, if you put powerful tools in the hands of the players, they will create amazing things that keep the game going strong for years to come.
So what do you guys think? Is 343 going to call it quits on anniversary games altogether, or are we finally going to get H3A at some point? Where do Reach and H4 come into play here? Let me know below!