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At Long Last, 343 Industries Appears to be Listening: Some Great News for Halo Fans

Xbox's Showcase event on Sunday was amazing, but it was missing one thing: Halo. But thanks to a new report as well as leaks from multiple different sources, Halo may finally be back on the right track

Halo: Combat Evolved

Microsoft absolutely killed it with their Xbox Showcase event this past Sunday - from Gears of War surprisingly going back to the start for a prequel treatment in the form of E-Day, to Doom: The Dark Ages' gloriously violent unveiling, to impressive looks at the Fable and Perfect Dark reboots, Microsoft was firing on all cylinders and showed an impressive lineup to end this year and an absolutely packed 2025.

The new Doom's medieval setting is a match made in heaven - the brutality of that era mixed with the savagery the legendary series is known for creates a combination that is like the peanut butter and chocolate of violence.

A gun that grinds up skulls and spits out their molten fragments at your enemies? A shield that features a fully integrated chainsaw? A rideable mecha-dragon?

Shut up and take my money.

And then there's Gears of War: E-Day.

The unveiling of Gears 6 was all but official before the Showcase event started, and expectations were already high - but to then see a young Marcus Fenix in a brutal scrap against a rather imposing Locust drone, followed by Dom?

As good as the rest of the series is, the first game still stands above it as one of the greatest games of all time, and with E-Day, it looks like The Coalition is bringing back the original's horror vibe while still telling a fresh new tale to expand upon the Gears' storyline, exploring the early days of the Locust invasion that the games have often referenced yet up until now have never been shown on screen.

The only thing missing at Microsoft's grand showcase, unfortunately, was Halo - once Microsoft's biggest franchise, it didn't even get a mention at arguably the best E3-style showing Microsoft has ever put on.

The rumours that Certain Affinity's multiplayer Halo title would be ready for an unveiling bore no fruit as it was a no-show for the event.

The talented multiplayer-focused studio is said to have repurposed the Halo battle-royale game that was previously cancelled into something different and its been in development for several years now, yet wasn't shown off and it still has never been formally announced or acknowledged.

While we know for sure that Certain Affinity is still working on a multiplayer Halo game of some kind, what exactly that looks like is still unknown (rumours suggest it's a new iteration of Halo 5's popular Warzone mode which would make sense, but it certainly hasn't been confirmed) and when it's coming is anybody's guess.

It seems that there are two possibilities regarding the unnamed Halo multiplayer title; either it's still not ready to be unveiled and thus is likely not coming until at least late next year, or, and this is perhaps just wishful thinking, 343 is planning on a surprise launch.

The latter would definitely not be the norm for a franchise like Halo, but considering the previous executives in charge of 343 were regularly overhyping small content releases and did a very poor job of communicating with the fanbase which regularly drew their ire and caused more than a few players to leave for greener pastures, a surprise launch, particularly if the game is good and doesn't have predatory microtransactions or something of that nature, would go a long way in making it up to fans of the franchise who have been regularly disappointed in the studio.

A strong gesture like that would certainly instill confidence in the new leadership at 343 going forward, but as for now, that remains wishful thinking.

There are certainly some good developments for Halo fans this week however, even if none of it is official - instead, it comes in the form of leaks from rather trusted sources when it comes to Halo news, and these developments are also supported by job listings that have popped up at 343 over the past year.

Rumours have swirled around the possibility of Microsoft bringing Halo to PlayStation for some time now - Microsoft's recent change of heart when it comes to exclusives, eschewing the entire concept of exclusivity to instead capitalize on the massively expanded customer base when rival consoles are included - yet it doesn't appear that it will come in the form of simply porting the impressive Master Chief Collection over to the PS5 library.

Instead, it looks like another rumour, which has been corroborated by multiple Xbox sources, will lead the charge for this uncharted territory for a major Microsoft franchise.

A remake of the original Halo: Combat Evolved has been heavily rumoured as far back as January, with surveys sent to certain players in the community also supporting this idea.

It's now believed that 343 is leading development on a complete remake of Halo: Combat Evolved, with a firm target of 2026 for its release date - fittingly, this would mark the 25th anniversary of the original's release that began the legendary franchise.

This remake is reportedly being developed from the ground up in the ubiquitous Unreal Engine, which is also supported by recent hirings at 343, with many job listings mentioning the engine and the studio looking for expertise specifically in the use of Epic's extremely popular engine.

Unlike a simple remaster or the hybrid approach that the 2011 Halo CE: Anniversary Edition took, this would be a full on remake utilizing modern mechanics while staying true to the original design and aesthetic.

It's said that 343 was unhappy with the finished product that was the Anniversary Edition (which, although 343 did have involvement, it was developed and led by Saber Interactive) and want to give the beloved title the treatment its due, with 343 leading development and being supported by other studios in its development while the rest of 343 continues working on a sequel to Halo Infinite.

These sentiments regarding the Anniversary Edition are certainly echoed by the community, as the 2011 "remake" frankly didn't look nearly as good as other games at the time and changed the aesthetic drastically in many portions of the game - even the Master Chief's character model didn't look good - and no new mechanics or polish was added to bring the title up to modern standards or more akin to later entries in the trilogy (not to mention it introduced new bugs as well).

It felt like a rushed, slapped together project and given the game's significance not just to Halo fans but to gaming as a whole, it deserved something far better.

With this new version however, it looks like not only will it be a complete remake that will bring it up to modern standards, but it's said that cut content which Bungie originally had to remove due to time constraints in releasing the original, may also be included, which may include cut levels, weapons, vehicles, and more.

If that's true, 343 may not only be listening to the fans (and former developers like the legendary Marcus Lehto, AKA the "father of the Master Chief", the art/creative director on the original trilogy; given that he recently left EA, hopefully he is hired by 343 to return to the franchise he co-created and help bring this remake to its full potential), but making it even better than we envisioned.

It doesn't stop there however - if rumours are true, and again, multiple different sources that are typically accurate all seem to be saying very similar things - 343 is going to be giving this treatment to the entire original trilogy, with all the campaigns launchable through the same interface (kind of like how the Master Chief Collection currently works).

For those of you that haven't read my other gaming articles, I've been begging Microsoft and 343 to do something like this for a long time, and it seems they've finally listened.

Halo 2 of course also included plenty of cut content, famously including a mission that was initially shown off at an E3 conference back in the day that ended up being scrapped entirely from the final game because of the technical limitations of the time.

In fact the live demo they showed off at that conference which included the level in question, had to be played in virtually the exact same way in order not to crash, with any little deviation in the path they took or they order they performed their button presses risking an incredibly embarassing blunder for both Bungie and the Xbox brand.

It ended up simply not being feasible to pull off their intentions with that level on the Xbox hardware at the time, though modders have since been able to recreate much of it (on much newer PC's of course).

With the power of modern consoles and the Unreal Engine, not only can Halo 2 be remade to look and play better than ever before, but that cut content, such as the E3 level or the planned warthog run reminiscent of Halo: Combat Evolved's legendary mission, can be included for players to experience the game, in full, as it was initially envisioned.

Halo 2 of course did already get the remake treatment, with an Anniversary Edition launching with The Master Chief Collection back in 2014, and unlike the rather poor remake/remaster of the Halo title that started it all, it was done very well.

It didn't however include any cut content or modern mechanics, which if the new remake does, will really make it stand out and be a blast for old fans who not only can revisit the classic game, but can also play new sections that never made it into the original, and for new players they can experience the game through a modern lens at its absolute best.

And then of course there's Halo 3, who many feel is the pinnacle of the epic original trilogy - unlike the other two games, it has never gotten the anniversary treatment despite fans begging for it for years, and thus a remake would certainly be welcomed by all.

If this news is accurate, and it looks like it is, 343's new leadership certainly looks to be righting the ship and seeking to deliver what we Halo fans have been dreaming of.

Assuming it performs well, which if it does release on the PlayStation as well, it certainly will given that many have missed out on the franchise due to exclusivity for over two decades, there's potential for 343 to continue the remake treatment with the fan-favourite Halo 3: ODST as well as Halo Reach, which would certainly be well received by fans.

Even 343's Halo 4 would be a welcome addition to such a project in the long run - telling its engaging story but keeping the original trilogy's aesthetic and removing the Call of Duty-inspired mechanics would certainly be an awesome way to turn the entire franchise into a fully cohesive whole.

Halo 5: Guardians of course would be a trickier one to pull off as its story was not nearly as well-received nor was its level design - but it would give 343 the chance to right its wrongs with the divisive title.

The overall outcome and story wouldn't have to change, but certainly the level design could be reworked (and like a Halo 4 remake, would utilise the original trilogy's aesthetics and get rid of the hero-shooter and COD-inspired mechanics that drew the ire of many fans) and its story beats rewritten in a more satisfying way - perhaps not having Spartan Locke as playable at all would be a good choice, instead focusing entirely on the Master Chief's story during the events the game covers.

Of course, I'm getting ahead of myself - the Halo: CE remake hasn't even been officially announced or acknowledged, let alone the full trilogy or anything after that.

But with such a great legacy and the potential to experience the classic games in a new light, as well as play through content that never made it into our living rooms, if 343 is indeed dedicated to these plans gamers are in for a treat.

343 may finally have the blueprint down for getting Halo back on top where it deserves to be - but there's still plenty of potential for more, which is why you should keep a look out in the near future for my next article, where we will explore the best spinoff ideas for the Halo franchise.


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