Legendary first-person shooter Halo: Combat Evolved has finally arrived on PC. Well, the “Anniversary Edition” of the storied game is on PCs now through Steam and the Windows Store, as well as Xbox Game Pass.
The updated version of the game includes upscaled HD graphics and runs in the “Master Chief Collection” ecosystem, meaning that matchmaking and multiplayer options are all handled through the MCC launcher.
Legendary Shooter Returns to Spotlight
When it first released in 2001, Halo: CE was a phenomenon. The game was a momentous hit for the fledgling Xbox console, a killer app that was instrumental in skyrocketing the Xbox brand to global recognition. Master Chief, the game’s stoic, space marine protagonist, remains synonymous with the Microsoft brand.
In fact, Chief’s holographic ally, the sassy and hyper-intelligent Cortana, is the now the name and voice of the digital assistant for all Windows devices. Halo: CE became a massive phenomenon due in large part to the mythical storytelling, incredible attention to detail, and absolutely pitch-perfect gunplay. The masterful voice over work and addictive multiplayer didn’t hurt, either.
Why Is This a Big Deal?
The Master Chief Collection arrived on PCs in December 2019, though the only game available on it at launch was the remastered Halo: Reach, Bungie’s final outing with the series before giving the keys to 343 Industries. However, 343i promised to bring the entirety of the MCC to PC, including all three original titles in the series, ODST, Halo 4 and all of the downloadable content included with those games.
This is a big deal for PC gamers, as Microsoft’s support of Halo on PC has been spotty in the past. With the new initiative of Game Pass proving to be a huge hit for the company as they struggle to stay relevant in the gaming landscape, their sudden support for PC is as welcome as it is surprising.
Xbox Is Changing
The ability to play classic, beloved games like Halo via Game Pass or on PC has been instrumental in something of a late-period Microsoft renaissance ahead of the launch of next-gen consoles later this year. Microsoft, who has struggled to keep up with Sony and Nintendo this console cycle, seems to be aiming to make Xbox as much of a games ecosystem as a specific console.
Microsoft’s interactive division has been snapping up smaller game studios, like Obsidian, left and right. The company seems dedicated to creating an attractive stable of exclusive games, and they appear to now be dedicated to making your Windows PC as much of an “Xbox” as the one sitting in your living room.
And, frankly, gamers should be ecstatic. Giving players the choice of where and how to enjoy their games is the best move Microsoft has made in years.