ODST and One Month Xbox Live Free for beleagured Halo Master Chief Collection early adopters
Originally planned as a celebration of all things Xbox and to be the system seller to push millions of Xbox One units, Halo: The Master Chief Collection launched with a number of online bugs that took some of the shine off the offering.
Not something that is limited to Microsoft's flagship title, recent AAA launches have had similar issues: Assassin's Creed Unity (Ubisoft), Driveclub (Sony) and Battlefield 4 (EA) to name but a few. Launching a game and patching it later seems to be the biggest advance in 'next-gen' console releases.
Microsoft are keen to quickly make amends and restore fans faith in the series before the much anticipated Halo 5 releases this time next year.
Speaking directly to the faithful of the process to repair any damage and repay their 'patience' while the studio been working around the clock deploying weekly content updates and numerous server-side adjustments, Bonnie Ross head of Halo studio 343 industries said: "This has been a humbling experience and highlighted how we as a studio can – and need – to do better for Xbox fans around the world. We are so grateful to our fans who have stood by our side and we appreciate all of your patience as we worked through these issues."
The studio head had promised last month to concentrate on getting the game working and then make restitution for the fans. With the content update that launched on 17. December, the online component seems to be fairly stable across the board.
With that goal accomplished, just before the all-important Christmas Day explosion of new players, Ross addressed the restitution that would be made. Anyone who played Halo: The Master Chief Collection online during the troubled period (11. November to 19 December) will receive:
One free month of Xbox Live Gold
Halo 3: ODST Campaign
Halo 2: Anniversary Multiplayer Map "Relic"
Exclusive In-Game Nameplate
Exclusive In-Game Avatar
This is a huge offering for the fans, as ODST was a surprise fan favourite, moving away from the Spartan super soldiers of the main games and bringing more of a story to the campaign and featuring a great voice cast. However, the popular 'Firefight' mode is not planned as part of this release.
Of course, work has only just begun on the converting the ODST campaign to the updated engine at 1080p and 60 FPS and the Halo 2 map using the Anniversary engine, so these will only be available in spring 2015.
It is good to see a Publisher the size of Microsoft and 343 industries own up to a mistake and move to appease fans. You can be sure that ODST and further Halo 2 Anniversary maps were all part of a DLC plan for the Master Chief Collection, and Microsoft will be taking a financial hit on this by giving it away, but hopefully it will lead to more focused releases in the future and letting a game out when it is done, rather than push it out for a specific date.
Ross agrees that this experience is something that they will learn from, "The satisfaction and joy of our fans is absolutely critical to everyone at 343 Industries and we regret the issues and the frustration you have endured. We are truly sorry and thank you for your continued patience and support of the Halo franchise."
Source: Halo Waypoint Thank you FAQ