“Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary”
Credit: 343 Industries
Topline: One day after hinting at its imminent release with a visual teaser, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary got a surprise launch on PC for Steam, the Microsoft Store and Xbox Games Pass for PC.
- Halo: CEA, a remastered port of the 2001 original that launched the first Xbox console, is the second game added to the franchise-spanning Halo: The Master Chief Collection, following Halo: Reach back in December.
- Like Reach before it, Halo: CEA can be purchased for $9.99 individually on Steam or added for free to The Master Chief Collection, which costs $39.99 and includes all the mainline Halo games up until Halo 4.
- The Anniversary edition hit the Xbox 360 back in 2011, with the ability to switch between the remastered graphics and the original with the push of a button; the PC port brings with it 60 FPS, 4K gameplay and the community-requested option to switch between remastered and original audio in the multiplayer.
- The original Halo first made its way to PC in 2003 with a Gearbox-developed port, which overtime has built up a dedicated modding community, one in which 343 hopes to “empower” by building a licensing agreement similar to the one the Minecraft team uses.
Big Number: $5 billion. That’s how much the Halo franchise had made by 2015, with that year’s release, Halo 5: Guardians, bringing in $400 million in a single week. From day one, it’s been Microsoft’s most important gaming franchise.
What To Look Forward To: It’s a big year for Halo, as its sixth mainline entry Halo: Infinite launches in the holiday with Microsoft’s new console, Xbox Series X, though, it’ll still be playable on Xbox One and PC. Reception was a bit polarizing around its two previous sequels, Halo 4 on the Xbox 360 and Halo 5 on the Xbox One, both developed by 343 Industries instead of series creator Bungie. With so many competitors in the first-person shooting space now, 343 has a lot to prove with Halo: Infinite.