The holiday season may be swinging in the Xbox One’s favor, what with today’s news of the $50 Xbox One price drop and the release of the must-own Sunset Overdrive (read our Sunset Overdrive review). And then there’s this little nugget of good news: Halo: The Master Chief Collection pre-loading has now begun for anyone who pre-ordered the game digitally.
Although Halo: The Master Chief Collection pre-loading has begun, you won’t be able to play the game early. As with all pre-loaded games on any system, it simply means gamers can download Halo: The Master Chief Collection early and then begin playing it immediately upon its release.
The Halo: The Master Chief Collection release date is November 11. Microsoft says a few countries will see a slight delay due to holidays. In Europe, Belgium will get the game Nov. 12 while France gets it Nov. 14. Japanese gamers will get to play Halo: The Master Chief Collection for the first time on Nov. 13.
News of Halo: The Master Chief Collection being available for pre-loading coincides with the game going gold. That doesn’t preclude the game from having any updates between now and its release date. If that happens, those updates would simply be applied via a patch that would automatically download when players first try to play the game.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection is truly a collection or compilation, not a single game. The Collection contains complete versions of all four Halo games featuring Master Chief, plus every multiplayer map ever released. That includes all the DLC from console and PC releases for each game. The version of Halo 2 included in The Master Chief Collection is a remastered version with all-new audio and cinematics.
Not surprisingly, Halo: The Master Chief Collection takes up almost an entire 45GB Blu-ray disc. Microsoft will also release a content update at launch “that is estimated to be 20 GB.”
In other words, start emptying your hard drives now.
The only piece of Halo content that won’t be included at launch and in the pre-loaded version is Spartan Ops. Spartan Ops is an episodic co-op experience from Halo 4. That content is now slated to release in December while Microsoft makes some additional tweaks.