How to use Forge for Halo: Reach on PC before it officially releases

Halo: Reach Forge art.
Halo: Reach Forge art. (Image credit: Bungie)

Halo: Reach on PC is here, and the game plays wonderfully on the platform. However, some may be disappointed to hear that the beloved Forge mode wasn't ready for launch, and is instead going to be coming in the near future. However, if you want access to the Forge mode right now ahead of its official release, you can get it with some simple file manipulation. Here's a guide to the full process of getting Forge working.

What you'll need

Before starting, you're going to want to make sure you have the latest version of the HxD software installed. This program is a Freeware Hex and Disk Editor that you'll need in order to open and edit the necessary .pak file that allows you to get your hands on Forge.

If you have the Windows 10 Store version of Halo: Reach on PC, you'll also need the UWPDumper program in order to get access to that versions files.

Finally, you're going to need an Xbox One Controller to use with your PC, as the version of Forge you're able to access right now doesn't allow you to use a mouse and keyboard to edit.

Getting started

The first thing you'll need to do is find the MCC-WindowsNoEditor.pak file within your Master Chief Collection directory. For most players, the directory will be on your regular C drive, but if you've installed your game on an SSD like I have, make sure to select that drive instead.

  1. Open your File Explorer.
  2. Select whichever drive you installed Halo: Reach on PC on.
  3. Select the Program Files (x86) folder.
  4. Select the Steam folder.
  5. Select the steamapps folder.
  6. Select the common folder.
  7. Look for and find the Halo The Master Chief Collection folder, and go into it.
  8. Navigate to the MCC folder.
  9. Next, select the Content folder.
  10. Finally, go into the Paks folder and the file will be right there.

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

For Windows 10 Store users

If you own the Windows 10 Store version of Halo: Reach on PC, make sure to follow this guide from the helpful Halo community on how to get access to your files. I don't own this version of the game so I can't make a step-by-step process of how to utilize UWPDumper, but just from reading the community's guide I can tell that the process is easy and quick. Once you've got your files, the process of getting Forge working is the same as it is for the Steam version.

Editing in HxD

Now comes the editing of the .pak file. It looks scary, but it's actually pretty simple. Just follow these steps:

  1. Open HxD.
  2. In HxD, open the MCC-WindowsNoEditor.pak file.

Source: Windows Central The HxD software with the .pak file open. (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Press Ctrl+G. This will open up the HEX search menu. We need to search for two strings of code.
  2. In the "Offset" box, paste in this series of characters: 1E302110.

Source: Windows Central Here's what the box that opens when you press Ctrl+G looks like. (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click OK. The program will move your cursor to the first line of code we need.
  2. Select the first two 0s in the code and replace it with the number 27.

Source: Windows Central Here's what editing the code looks like. (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Repeat steps 3-6, but for this series of characters instead: 1E2F52D0.
  2. With both strings of code edited, Save the edit and allow the program to finish its work.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Launch Halo: The Master Chief Collection on Steam in Anti-Cheat Disabled Mode.
  2. At the main menu, select the Create option (see above) to start Forging.

Optional: Get new Forge objects and a higher build limit

You're good to go as is, but if you want access to the new Forge objects and higher build limit that's coming to Forge when it releases, you'll need to do an additional few steps.

  1. Download and extract this special version of the Forge World map.
  2. Navigate to your Halo The Master Chief Collection folder again by following the process you used to get to the .pak file.
  3. Select the haloreach folder.
  4. Select the maps folder.
  5. Drag the file you downloaded into the maps folder you have opened.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Windows will ask if you want to replace the regular file of the same name with the new one. Click Yes.

And with that, you're done!

Your thoughts

What do you think of the fact you can get access to Forge ahead of its official release? I think it's awesome.

Halo: Reach on PC is available now for $10 on both Steam and the Windows 10 Store.

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.