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Halo The Master Chief Collection on PC: Everything you need to know

Artwork for the Master Chief Collection.
Artwork for the Master Chief Collection. (Image credit: 343 Industries)

Ever since the release of Halo 2 Vista in 2004, first-person shooter Halo titles have been completely absent on PC, with the sole exception of Halo 5: Guardians' Forge and Custom Games modes. Due to this, PC players haven't been able to finish the fight with Halo 3, continue the Master Chief's journey in Halo 4, and more. Thankfully, though, that's changing.

In the summer of 2019, it was revealed that Halo: The Master Chief Collection (MCC) (Halo: MCC) is making its way to PC, thanks to the efforts of 343 Industries and its partners, Splash Damage and Ruffian Games. The way that it's being released makes stability a priority, which is great news. In addition, you'll be able to buy the MCC from two different places, and there's new, unexpected content coming as well.

Here's everything you need to know about Halo MCC on PC.

Halo MCC on PC: Gameplay and what to expect

Halo: Reach.

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

Instead of bringing all of the Halo games into the PC ecosystem at once, 343 Industries and Microsoft are instead opting for a slower approach, in which each title is released one at a time — this is being done to ensure a stable launch for each title. In terms of content, each individual game will have Campaign, Multiplayer, and Custom Games, as well as Forge and Theater mode. In addition, official mod support is confirmed, but the extensiveness of it will vary based on the Halo game in question. There will be a new progression system for all of the games' unlocks, and there will be cross progression between both the Xbox and PC versions of the game. As an added bonus, 343 Industries is also currently planning to uncap the framerates of each game, too.

The Halo games will be released slowly, one at a time.

Fans will be pleased to know that every Halo shooter aside from Halo 5: Guardians is being brought to PC, including Halo: Reach, which is a fantastic surprise for players who enjoyed Bungie's last entry into the franchise. Just like the other titles, it will have all the modes it originally had, and on modern PCs people can expect the best variant of the game yet. Additionally, Halo: Reach has been added to the MCC on Xbox One, and will receive support for 4K HDR and 60 frames per second (FPS) gameplay.

Halo MCC on PC: Release date and price

Halo 2: Anniversary cutscene.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Due to the slow and methodical approach to releasing the Halo games on PC, most of the titles don't have release dates. However, Halo: Reach and Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary have been released so far. The order in which each game is released thereafter is based on when they chronologically occurred in the Halo universe timeline. Therefore, all of the Halo titles will be launched on PC in this order:

  • Halo: Reach.
  • Halo: Combat Evolved/Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary.
  • Halo 2/Halo 2: Anniversary.
  • Halo 3: ODST (Campaign).
  • Halo 3.
  • Halo 4.

When it comes to pricing information for the MCC on PC, we know that each game except for Halo 3: ODST will cost $10, while ODST will cost $5 (opens in new tab). On the Xbox One version of the MCC, though, Halo: Reach's multiplayer suite (Matchmaking, Forge, Custom Games, and Theater) are given to all MCC owners for free, while the Campaign and Firefight modes will be offered as a premium add-on DLC, just like Halo 3: ODST's campaign was. If you're an Xbox Game Pass subscriber, you'll get the full Halo: Reach experience at no cost.

If you'd like to assist 343 Industries test various builds of each Halo game, then make sure to sign up for the Halo Insider program.

Halo MCC on PC: Where can you buy?

Halo 4.

Source: 343 Industries (Image credit: Source: 343 Industries)

The MCC is coming to PC, but where will you be able to actually enjoy it? You'll be able to buy, download, and play each Halo game on both the Microsoft Store and on Steam, which allows players to choose their preferred platform. According to the Steam listing for the MCC you'll need an Xbox Live account; this is most likely so your profile is integrated into the Halo ecosystem that currently exists on console.

The freedom to choose between the Microsoft Store and Steam is wonderful.

This freedom of choice is excellent in a PC market that has recently been racked with exclusive release controversies, and speaking as an avid PC player myself, it's very much appreciated. Hopefully, the Halo titles end up running excellently on both services, and it would be cool if the MCC was integrated into each service's community features, too.

Halo MCC on PC: Final thoughts

Halo 3: ODST artwork.

Source: Bungie (Image credit: Source: Bungie)

The fact the Halo games are coming to PC is absolutely fantastic, and I can't wait for the PC gaming community to finally get their hands on the franchise after being hung out to dry since 2004. This is something that the community has practically begged for, and Microsoft and 343 Industries granting them their wish should be commended.

Your thoughts

What do you think about the decision to bring the MCC to PC? Let me know what your opinion is in the comments, and make sure to check back on this article frequently so you don't miss when we update it with new information.

Updated 3/3/2020: This article has been updated with information about Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary's release on PC.

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.

12 Comments
  • The only thing I didn't hear was Xbox Play Anywhere :'(
  • Hopefully it's considered! I was surprised to not hear about that either.
  • It has to be. It would be an insult by now if it isn't Play Anywhere. Might as well as close the brand if such first party games like these don't use it.
  • From the makers of console paid muliplayer : one less reason to own this pseudoconsole , xbox owner paid live many years for this enjoy this litlle mushy franchise before we drop INFINITE lootbox. please xbox fan dont forget to buy live, when everyone plays we are win.
  • Huh? You may not realize Gold offers more than MP features now, like free games each month.
  • yeah it offers one main feature: using xbox palyerrs as a tool for microsoft ambitions. Gone are days of fine dedicated platform, now its closed pc with payed muliplayer even for f2p games, meanwhile on pc its free. Trust in Phil. Hope it fails like windows phone.
  • I agree. It's quite funny how Xbox live can be used by PC, Switch, Android players and the only people paying for it are the one who invested in the Xbox ecosystem by buying the console. As soon as part of the console gamers decided that it was ok to pay to play online, this became a norm for console gaming.
  • Bringing it to steam is interesting. They are surely trying to get new players into Halo before release of the next halo and the next console. But it's also a way of bringing down the win 10 store. Giving their main franchise to the competition is really weird. It's as if Epic release Fortnite on steam. Or Sony release Uncharted on xbox.
  • No it's not. Not if it's play anywhere only on Windows 10 and with the new downloading procedure, the store accessing Xbox Live instead of Windows and download natively it adds alot
  • Agreed. If the game is going to be accessing services from MS, the Windows Store and native experience is a better option. Also it has more modern infrastructure. Steam is just Steam, more or less like it's been since it was created. People hate the Windows Store but it's better than they say. It's no Steam but that's not a bad thing in some aspects.
  • The thing is that people hate it for a reason.
    The Win10 store is way behind steam in popularity. Steam is a direct competitor.
    Why would someone who already has a big steam library move to Window store?
    They need to make it extra special. It's not by sharing your games with the competition that you'll win market share. This looks like they are looking for short term gains. Sure, they'll make more sales and yes more people will be introduced to Halo ahead of their next game, but they are also killing their own Win10 store.
  • I just DL'd the MCC collection on Steam. I'm stoked Halo is now officially available for PC play, but was disappointed after spending $50 to find only Reach is playable. If I understand correctly, the other versions will be released as they become available - and since I bought the MCC, I won't have to pay extra for them? I sure hope so... $50 is a waste for Reach, and one game isn't much of a collection. Very misleading - it seemed like I was buying Halo 1 through 4, but all I got was Reach - SMH.