Fall of 2014 was a promising season for Xbox and PlayStation fans, yet one where both Sony and Microsoft manged to fall flat on their faces. With the launch of Driveclub and Halo: The Master Chief Collection, the year will be remembered as one where massive, major first-party releases saw problems that made them virtually unplayable by those who paid money to do so. It was somewhat unprecedented. Sure, there have been many, many games in recent years that have had problems at launch, but these games, and Halo: The Master Chief Collection more specifically, were some of the most disappointing. Not only did this game not work as expected at launch, but the developers battled issues that persist to this day.
Public flighting is coming for MCC Insiders shortly
It’s been over three years since the release of The Master Chief Collection. A new Halo game has come out in the meantime, and a it was a pretty good one at that. The massive fumble by 343 Industries seemed like something that would be put in the rear view. Yet here we are, 343 Industries has dedicated a portion of its development team to righting the wrongs of the game and they’re doing it in a way that wasn’t really prevalent in 2014. That method is through a program that is essentially early access to alpha and beta builds of an improved version of the game that is being worked on actively, as we write this.
Very soon, those that have signed up to be in the Master Chief Collection “Insider Program” will get access to what are being described by the developers as “Public Flights.” These flights will allow the developers working on improving the game to push work-in-progress builds to a select group of MCC Insiders. If this sounds familiar, that’s because a ton of Early Access developers are using this exact same system. Some, like PUBG Corp. and their recent introduction of the Codename: Savage map to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, are taking a similar approach when they want to introduce new features into their game. They poll the community for testers and then develop the game in real time, getting invaluable feedback along the way.
The first test (flight), still doesn’t have a date on it. It’s been months since we first heard of Microsoft readying to give this collection of Halo classics the fixes they’ve needed for years, but apparently this date is closing in. According to Halo Waypoint, over thirteen thousand people signed up to be in the MCC Insider Program. When testing does kick off, developers say that they’ll first be looking at stress testing matchmaking updates and they will be limiting the tests to specific games within the collection and modes within those games.
It’s unclear what the motive is here for 343 Industries to head back into The Master Chief Collection and fix it. We could postulate that a refined Master Chief Collection could sell a lot of Game Pass subscriptions, or perhaps that it’s simply a blemish on the flagship series that must be removed.
Whatever the case, Halo: The Master Chief Collection may go down as one of the worst exclusive launches in history, but Microsoft still has a chance to finish the fight.