343 has posted a Summer news drop that focuses on two major upgrades coming for Halo players. The first and most exciting is that the Xbox 360 versions of Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary and Halo 4 will be joining Halo Reach in the Xbox One backward compatibility program soon. As a bonus, every Halo DLC pack from the 360 era will be given away for free once the games hit Xbox One, ensuring that players will be able to enjoy the full range of multiplayer madness for each title.
These are the games that are technically already available on the platform via the Master Chief Collection, but that game has proven to be an albatross around the neck of Halo for a long while and it's good to see that new Xbox One owners will be able to play their old games without having to purchase a new disc or the various issues the Master Chief Collection has.
In addition, in a move that was expected by all, the Xbox One's premiere exclusive game will be getting the 4K treatment in a future update timed to the release of Microsoft's new console. 343 states that the team wasn't ready to make the announcement during E3, but now feel confident that the game will be ready to go onto big screens along with Halo Wars 2 in November.
As far as other Halo 5 updates go, 343 would only promise that playlists would continue to cycle in and out throughout the year. New types of playlists will emerge alongside old favorites like Warzone Turbo, Mythic Shotty Snipers, and Multi-Team. One of the new playlists will be Halo 3 Anniversary Throwback and feature community Forge maps and classic gameplay settings.
Of course, 343 is also still hard at work on Halo Wars 2's Season Pass, which still has two new commanders to go before it ends next month. Once those characters have been added to the game, strategically minded Spartans will then have this Fall's premium expansion to look forward to. Awakening the Nightmare will feature a Banished campaign, AI controlled Flood enemies and a Firefight co-op mode.
I truly am happy that the Halo 360 games are coming to backward compatibility, as this also means that Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2 are most likely going to be included in the OG version of the program. If nothing else, it will hopefully allow Halo 3 players to go back to that game's fully functional multiplayer modes and let me get into MCC Pistol duels on Hang 'em High in peace.
Sadly, there is bad news along with the good. I'm devastated that Halo 5 is seemingly being put out to pasture with the bare minimum of playlist rotations. I feel like this game's shooting is the best the series has ever seen, and releasing a sequel with new mechanics will only hurt the franchise further. There are already just about 100 guns in Halo 5, and I feel like they've just scratched the surface of what this game can offer.
How do you think the rest of 2017 looks for Halo? Are you looking forward to popping back into Halo 3 multiplayer one more time on a new console? Let us know in the comments below!