Why Halo: The Master Chief Collection needs to come to PC

Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Halo: The Master Chief Collection (Image credit: 343 Industries)

Offering four Halo games (including a remaster of Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2), The Master Chief Collection was expected to be a massive success when it launched for Xbox in 2014. However, due to the mountain of performance problems with the title, gamers grew to resent the Collection. Halo developer 343 Industries attempted many fixes, but for every problem solved, two more seemingly arose. With Halo 5: Guardians on the horizon, 343 eventually shifted its focus to that game. Ever since, the Master Chief Collection has remained broken.

However, hope was restored last year when 343 announced it was going to fix the game in 2018. With a testing program currently under way, things are looking up. As the game inches closer to stability, though, many are wondering if PC players will ever be able to play the game. Here's why I think they should.

Master Chief Collection won't sell consoles

Though The Master Chief Collection originally was a massive incentive to buy an Xbox One, the botched launch dealt a heavy blow to the reputation of both the Halo franchise and Xbox overall. To this day, many people wince at the mention of the Collection, and the entirety of the gaming community will be wary of a relaunch.

For these reasons, it's extremely unlikely that The Master Chief Collection will ever be a viable title for Microsoft to push as a console-seller. Considering the point of exclusives in the first place is to be exactly that, I see no reason why the game shouldn't be ported to and released on PC.

A starved community

Halo 2: Anniversary cutscene.

Halo 2: Anniversary cutscene. (Image credit: Windows Central)

People often forget that Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2 originally were released on PC. However, the multiplayer for both is offline, and it's almost impossible to get Halo 2 Vista to run on Windows 10. While these games are also difficult to play for the modern Xbox gamer, The Master Chief Collection offers them an out. Instead of breaking out an original Xbox console, they can just play the games on the Xbox One via the Collection.

PC players, though, cannot — and people who want to play an official Halo release on the platform are hopeless. Porting the Collection to PC would not only make it possible to do just that, but they could also play Halo 3, Halo 4, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, and Halo 2: Anniversary, all of which are experiences exclusive to the Xbox crowd.

The demand is there

Image credit: @VincentGat

One only has to look at the huge success of ElDewrito, a free Halo Online PC mod that aims to take the shut down game and use it to replicate Halo 3, to see that this is something people want. At one point, the mod was in the top eight most viewed games list on Twitch, and it routinely has thousands of people online at once.

Read: Halo Online officially declared dead


Recently, I spoke to Gamecheat13, one of ElDewrito's developers, about the reasons why they created the mod. Here's what he had to say:

We really wanted a classic Halo experience, so we decided to modify this game (Halo Online) to fit that vision. It's made by Halo fans, for Halo fans.

The dedication to take the components of an abandoned Halo project and use them to try and clone Halo 3 for PC players is incredibly impressive, and the response to it is staggering. If a mod created by community members with few resources garners the attention of over 20,000 people at once, imagine the buzz that would surround a polished Master Chief Collection PC release backed by 343 Industries and Microsoft.

You can currently get Halo: The Master Chief Collection for Xbox One for $29.99 on both Amazon and Xbox One.

Your thoughts

Do you think The Master Chief Collection should release on PC? Let me know in the comments.

Brendan Lowry

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.

  • I've been saying this for four years. https://twitter.com/xd1936/status/492777922839990273 I bought an Xbox One S pretty much exclusively to play through Halo, something I've always wanted to do. After I work through the Halo games, I'll probably sell it. If MCC comes out for PC before that day... I'll probably sell right away. Ha.
  • "People often forget that Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2 originally were released on PC. However, the multiplayer for both is offline" I hope you meant that they were released on PC, but not originally released, as they both came to console first. Also, both are still very much playable online.
  • That is what I meant. And when I tried to install H2V on my W10 PC it wouldn't work, even after doing several of the suggested fixes I found on the 'net. You need to go through the process of getting Games For Windows Live, and even then your chances of getting it to work are pretty slim. And yeah, Halo: Combat Evolved can be played online today, but you need Custom Edition and it's often pretty laggy. I was referring to the original GameSpy servers.
  • https://www.cartographer.online. Works out of the box and gives Halo 2 multiplayer
  • I wholeheartedly disagree with bringing The Master Chief Collection to PC, and here’s why: the Xbox One brand needs some sort of exclusive in order to validate its existence. If there’s nothing on the console that can’t be gotten elsewhere, what validation is there for buying one? I can own a PC, PS4, and Switch and miss nothing on an Xbox. Stupid. People need reasons to continue supporting the Xbox brand of consoles, and that means games that can’t be played anywhere else.
  • That's what Halo 5: Guardians and newer Halo games can be for. The fact that the Xbox is completely reliant on Halo for success in the exclusives department exposes a broader problem for the console - the fact that there is a massive lack of first party exclusives available. Plus, as I argued in the article, I heavily doubt that the MCC will ever be a strong console-seller ever again after the original launch fiasco.
  • You don't actually need many exclusives to justify the purchase of a game console. Xbox is currently putting all 1st party titles on PC, so Xbox is creating their own problem.
  • This has been a problem even before they were doing Play Anywhere commonly, though. Go back a few years and the exact same problem was still occurring.
  • But here's the thing Xbox itself is not a console anymore, but a gaming platform that extends to both PC and Mobile as well as a games console so therefore the "... Xbox One brand needs some sort of exclusive to justify its existence." is not a valid argument anymore, Xbox as a gaming platform needs exclusives to justify its existence.
  • Also a good point. Xbox has definitely pushed far into multimedia.
  • @PLPW77
    Well, that's the direction MS have taken for sometime now. All future MS games will also be on PC.
    Will having MCC on PC make such a difference?
  • I, like I’m assuming all of you, am a fan of the Xbox brand, but to me, that means keeping it real and holding Microsoft to task. The whole reason the Xbox One flopped at launch is because it tried to be a multimedia platform in a gaming console marketplace, and that’s straight up what people don’t want, which is why Phil Spencer has backpeddaled and said he wants it to be about games. Well, then the Xbox needs games that can’t be played anywhere else if consumers are to be incentivized into investing in the product. If every game is given to PC, what remains for anybody that owns either of the competing consoles and a PC that can’t be had elsewhere? Nothing, and there needs to be something in order for consumers to be compelled into purchasing something like a new system. Take a look at the PS4’s sales. What’s driving those sales? Games. The 360 was successful because it had all the games, same as the success the PS4 is enjoying at the moment. The Xbox has been my preferred platform since the original took the place of the Dreamcast. I consider this generation the dark ages for the brand, as it’s been one fumble after another, and all because of one thing: Microsoft has forgotten that gamers are compelled by games.
  • But the MCC won’t sell consoles anymore anyway I don’t think. As I said here, the things that need to be in place for it to really sell consoles are just not there.
  • I think you're right that bringing MCC to Windows 10 would be good, but you're overstating the success of the Halo Online mod. It only reached that viewership level (which isn't even that high because Summit streamed it, and that is way down from Summit's usual numbers, which suggests most of his viewers were not interested in it).
  • His viewers don't represent the broader community though. They're used to watching him play a set number of things, of course a "variety stream" wouldn't be as popular - its not the usual content they go to him for. Also, as of last night there were 9000 people online the game at once. For a project with zero marketing budget or power at all, that's huge. Plus, the Windows 10 Store has proven to be quite an unreliable platform in my opinion. Constant bugs and glitches are a common sight across most games on it. Would much rather it go to Steam personally, though going to both would probably be the best.
  • I think releasing the game on Steam would be a huge mistake for Microsoft. It gifts one of your biggest competitors your preeminent IP and simultaneously undermines your own Store, essentially putting the nail in the coffin. No one would buy anything from the Windows 10 Store anymore once they knew that they could get it from Steam instead, and a profitable Windows 10 Store is far more valuable in the long-term than the short-term gains of more sales. It would be far wiser to leverage their exclusive content to draw users to their own platform. Might as well release it on PS4 once you go down that road.
  • Maybe, but given how unorganized Microsoft is (their various apps and devices have over 20 different user interface styles for example - nothing is streamlined) I can't see the Windows Store being improved any time soon. Halo Wars: Definitive Edition sold extremely well on Steam last year, even outselling PUBG (which was at the time an absolute juggernaut) for 3 straight days as well as staying in the top 10 for a week. While it's true that Halo Wars is a spin-off and not a main game so you could argue they should keep the main games closer to their chest, MCC has already had a huge history with performance problems as we all know. I think trying to bring it exclusively to the Windows Store is a MASSIVE risk. At this point, I would say Steam is the best option simply for stability purposes. The Windows Store can barely make regular games work - putting a beast like the MCC, which combines 6 game engines into one product is asking for trouble, I think.
  • For those with the exclusives argument. I'm not the biggest fan of playing on PC. I guess it's probably the fact that I don't want to mess around with having it on my TV and whatever may come with it. On the other hand I love playing on the Xbox. I'm not the biggest fan of walling people off from games because they didn't buy the same black box as you and am glad the exclusives are now on PC. Microsoft wins either way. And so do customers for that matter.
  • This is exactly why the MCC needs a PC release. We already have cross platform play on a number of titles so why not.
  • 100% agree
  • Halo cross play with mouse and kb PC players??
    I think that's a bad idea.
  • Yeah, maybe make co-op, customs, and Forge cross play and then make the matchmaking platform-limited? I think that's the best route.
  • @Copiondor
    MS wins either way? I'm not sure about that one. It's debatable...
  • Halo can stay on the Xbox with all its stupid bugs that still havnt been fixed 5 years later
  • Perhaps it's time to release it as a uwp xbox play anywhere title?
  • That would be interesting to see. I think cross play would have to be limited to just social stuff like customs or campaign, wouldn't want M&KB players destroying console users in ranked.
  • Gears of War 4 does just perfectly fine being cross platform.. It's all about the developers on how much aim assist on Xbox and weapon recoil on PC. It can be done. They can make it as easy or hard no matter on the input device.
  • Yes take my money, however it has to be on the Microsoft PC Store so that we can use our Xbox accounts. It's the game that should have been released at launch on the Windows Store.
  • Make it "Play Anywhere" with specific playlist that allows Mouse&Kb/Controller to be optional.. 👍
  • I would kill for that.
  • A good candidate for Xbox Game Pass then, so I can play it on my PC. I would play it, otherwise I don't think I'd buy it. But yeah, bring it out for PC.
  • My wife bought the MCC for me when it launched, I played through most of it and sold it on.. I`ll probably buy it again to try it on X1X and 4K TV
  • IT DOESN'T NEED. XBOX ONE NEEDS A TRUE EXCLUSIVE GAMES, SO THE BETTER IS IF HALO: TMCC WILL STAY ONLY ON XBOX ONE. So shame that they made Xbox Play Anywhere. Console exclusivity is not a true exclusivity. It should be and it has to be like on PlayStation. That mean "Only on Xbox One", like Forza Horizon 2, Forza Motorsport 5, Halo 5: Guardians, Halo: The Master Chief Collection or Sunset Overdrive. But unfortunately Microsoft won't give up with XPA. Maybe in next generation. Hopefully...
  • Publishing the Master Chief Collection for PC alongside the Xbox version would‘ve been Microsoft’s Chance to double down on their promise they‘d be all in on PC gaming, which happened to be occuring at the same time. They didn‘t and there we have the answer: Microdella still doesn’t give a rat‘s ass about PC gaming/gamers.
  • I am an old fart, compared to most of you, and I only have a PC and will never purchase an Xbox. Why? Because I'm an old fart and play PC games. I played Halo 1 and 2 on my PC and was SO sad that Halo 2 left me with a cliff-hanger and then I was never allowed to find out what happened. :-( Over the years I've read how Halo was "exclusive" to Xbox and would never come to PC. Well, that may be, but there ARE old farts like ME that only have and only WANT a PC but do like to play games, and we would like to play out the Halo games beyond 1 and 2. I would be EXTREMELY happy to purchase the MCC for PC if it were ever to happen! :-) I don't know about or even care about "exclusive" games. If they want my money, they'll have to have a PC version. Either way, life goes on, but if they want my money and a happy Halo fan, they'll have to offer MCC for PC. ;-)