Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary

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Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary
Haloceanniversary.jpg
Developer(s):
Publisher(s):

Microsoft Game Studios

Platform(s):

Xbox 360

Release date(s):

November 15, 2011
November 17, 2011 (Japan)

Genre(s):

First-person shooter

Mode(s):

Campaign

Rating(s):

ESRB: Mature (M) for Blood, Gore and Violence
CERO: (D) Ages 17 & up
PEGI: 16+ (Europe only)

 
"Heroes never die."
—Official tagline[2][3]

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, commonly referred to as Halo: Anniversary, is a first-person shooter video game and a graphical remake of 2001's Halo: Combat Evolved.[4] It was developed by 343 Industries in collaboration with Saber Interactive and Certain Affinity as part of 343 Industries' celebration of the original game's tenth anniversary. The game features remastered graphics and audio, using assets from Halo 3 and Halo: Reach.[4][5] Available with the game are six multiplayer maps from Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo PC and Halo 2, along with a Firefight map based on the level Halo for Halo: Reach multiplayer.[4]

An interactive overview of the game, the Halo Anniversary Digital Experience, was released on the day prior to the launch, and is viewable on Halo Waypoint.

Plot synopsis[edit]

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Halo: Combat Evolved begins with the UNSC Pillar of Autumn emerging out of slipspace after the Fall of Reach, only to find a huge ring world—a "Halo"—floating in space. Master Chief Petty Officer John-117, a SPARTAN-II, is aboard the Pillar of Autumn when the ship comes under attack by the Covenant, a religious alliance of aliens and the archenemy of humanity.

With the ship about to be overrun, Captain Jacob Keyes, the commander of the Autumn, orders John-117 to protect the ship's artificial intelligence, Cortana. She carries highly sensitive information about the United Nations Space Command, including the location of Earth, which would prove disastrous if captured by the Covenant. John-117 evacuates the doomed ship for the surface of Halo to protect Cortana. With the UNSC Marines by his side, Cortana providing direction, and his assault rifle ready and loaded, John-117 sets out to uncover the mysteries of Halo and fight the Covenant.

After meeting up with surviving UNSC forces under Staff Sergeant Avery Johnson, John-117 participates in a mission to rescue Captain Keyes from the Covenant cruiser Truth and Reconciliation. After rescuing the Captain, Cortana learns that Halo appears to be a weapon that holds great religious significance to the Covenant. Realizing that the Covenant cannot be allowed to control Halo, Keyes dispatches John-117 to secure Halo's control room while he leaves with Johnson to secure a Covenant weapons cache.

With UNSC Marines as support, John-117 leads an assault on the Silent Cartographer, a map room which holds information on every location on the ring, including the control room. Heading to the ring's control room, Cortana is inserted into the ring's computer system and learns that Halo was made by the Forerunners, an ancient alien race that the Covenant worship as gods. However, Cortana soon learns that there is something else on Halo, something that terrifies the Covenant. Frightened, she says that John has to stop Keyes from accessing the "weapons cache" before it is too late. John-117 leaves for the last spot where Captain Keyes and Sergeant Johnson's squad were seen, an underground facility in a swamp. He finds evidence of battle all over the facility, and soon finds a recording of one Marine, which details Keyes' squad encountering a new threat: the Flood.

The Flood is a parasitic species which received their name due to the way they assimilate all resistance with overwhelming numbers. Free for the first time in a hundred thousand years, the Flood sweeps across Halo, devastating Human and Covenant forces alike. The release of the Flood prompts 343 Guilty Spark, the eccentric AI Monitor of the ring, to activate Halo's defense systems. The AI instructs the SPARTAN-II to activate Halo by obtaining the Activation Index from the Installation's Library. The Chief does so, battling hordes of Flood along the way, and returns to the control room. Before Halo initiates its systems, Cortana intervenes and tells John the truth about the Forerunner structure and its purpose- Halo was designed to eliminate the Flood threat by starving the Flood of any life source large enough to sustain them; when fired, it would essentially wipe out all sentient life in the galaxy. Realizing the threat of Halo, Cortana instructs John-117 to detonate the Autumn's fusion reactor. This detonation would result in the destruction of Halo, which was against 343 Guilty Spark's protocol.

Before doing so, the two sabotage three generators needed to power Halo, which buys them enough time to locate Captain Keyes, now succumbed to the Flood, and steal his neural implants to operate the Autumn. After battling his way through scattered and disorganized Covenant forces, the spreading Flood, and the Sentinels under direct command of 343 Guilty Spark, John-117 successfully overloads the ship's engine, and he and Cortana evacuate from Halo in a Longsword before the Autumn's engine detonates and destroys Halo. The pair appear to be the only survivors, and John-117 realizes that they are simply beginning a harrowing battle.

Spoilers end here.

Features[edit]

Additional features[edit]

A graphical comparison of Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary and Halo: Combat Evolved.

The game features a graphics layer running on top of the exact Halo: Combat Evolved physics and gameplay engine.[6] As such, gameplay mechanics from the original game, such as the M6D Pistol's three-shot kill, are all present. The game also features the ability to play the campaign cooperatively over Xbox LIVE with another player. Pressing the 'Back' button allows the player to switch seamlessly between the graphics of the original 2001 title and the 2011 remake.

The game features skulls, including five that have never appeared in previous Halo games. Achievements are also available. As the multiplayer component is actually running on the Halo: Reach engine, Theater mode is available there, but not for the remastered single-player.[7]

Kinect integration[edit]

A Sangheili Minor as seen in the Kinect-exclusive feature The Library.

The game integrates Kinect to further enhance the game-play experience for the single-player component.[8] For example, players can reload their weapons, throw grenades, and switch between 'legacy' and 'remastered' graphics via voice commands.[8] A new feature to this integration is the Library. When the vocal command "analyze" or "scan" is given, specific characters, vehicles and objects can be scanned. The Library, which cannot be accessed at all if the player does not have a Kinect, is essentially an index of detailed information on the scanned items.[8] The remastered graphics are also available in 3D, provided that the player has a 3D television.[9] Kinect integration was not included on the disc; the feature was released as an automatic update on November 15th.

Terminals[edit]

Main article: Terminal/Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary

Terminals are found throughout the game, which, unlike the text-based terminals of Halo 3, contain full-motion video narrated by 343 Guilty Spark. These terminals link the game's story to that of Halo 4.[4][10] Anniversary also has subtitles available for in-game and combat dialogue.[11]

Multiplayer[edit]

Main article: Anniversary Map Pack
The multiplayer menu of Halo: Anniversary.

A result of a collaboration between 343 Industries and Certain Affinity, Anniversary's multiplayer component runs on the Halo: Reach game engine, and includes six competitive maps and one Firefight map. The maps can also be played on Halo: Reach itself via the Anniversary Map Pack, a downloadable add-on bundled with the game. Alternatively, the map pack is available on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace for 1200 Microsoft Points.[12]

The multiplayer maps are remakes of maps originally featured in Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2. Each map has both an exact remake (minus visual aesthetic details) and a "remastered" version that takes advantage of Reach-era gameplay options. Forge and Theater support is available.[13] The M6G magnum can be modified to function like the M6D magnum from the campaign.[14]

Multiplayer
Firefight

Development[edit]

Audio[edit]

Main article: Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary: Original Soundtrack

All non-vocal audio for the game has been been re-recorded by Skywalker Sound,[15] while the original voice-acting remains untouched.[4] The soundtrack has both a normal CD release and a 5,000-edition vinyl limited release.[16] Both editions were released on November 15, 2011.[17][18] Players have the option to choose between the original and the remastered score in the Options menu when pausing a campaign game.[19]

Design[edit]

Terminal cutscenes by Sequence

The game's ability to alternate between classic and remastered graphics in the Campaign was made possible thanks to a rendering engine developed by Saber Interactive.[20] The technology allowed the developers to update Halo: Combat Evolved's visuals while preserving the original gameplay at the same time.[20]

The graphics and audio for the Terminals were produced by The Sequence Group,[21] while most of the writing was done by 343 Industries Managing Editor Kevin Grace.[22]

Because of their previous contributions to the series - the Blastacular and Defiant map packs - Certain Affinity was approached once more by 343 Industries to streamline the multiplayer maps to take Reach's gameplay options into account.

Marketing promotions[edit]

Preorder bonuses[edit]

Customers who preordered the game received a code to download John-117's Mark V MJOLNIR armor for their Avatars. Preordering the game also gave access to the Grunt Funeral skull, which causes Unggoy to explode like plasma grenades when killed.[23]

Announcement trailer[edit]

Main article: Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary announcement trailer

The Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary announcement trailer was released on June 6, 2011. It showcases the differences between the original Halo: Combat Evolved and Anniversary.

Waypoint Exclusive[edit]

Main article: Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Exclusive

A video documentary in which various 343 Industries employees comment on the development process and features of the game.[4]

Terminals teaser[edit]

Main article: Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary terminals teaser

A short trailer which originally debuted during the Halo Universe panel at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con. It showcases the animation used in the terminals with a narration by 04-343 Guilty Spark.[24]

BTS: Anniversary Multiplayer[edit]

Main article: BTS: Anniversary Multiplayer

A behind-the-scenes look at the remastered multiplayer of Halo: Anniversary. Featuring exclusive interviews with 343 Industries employees, the video traces how the developers have chosen which maps should be remade for Halo: Anniversary, as well as the development process for the maps themselves. Integration with Halo: Reach's multiplayer component is also discussed.[25][26]

BTS: Anniversary Campaign[edit]

Main article: BTS: Anniversary Campaign

A behind-the-scenes look at the remastered campaign of Halo: Anniversary. The trailer feature exclusive interviews with 343 Industries and Saber Interactive employees, as they reveal the development process behind the campaign.[27][28]

BTS: Anniversary Music[edit]

Main article: BTS: Anniversary Music

A behind-the-scenes look at the remastered music of Halo: Anniversary, featuring exclusive interviews of Skywalker Sound employees as they discuss the recomposition of the original Halo soundtrack.[19]

BTS: Anniversary Terminals[edit]

Main article: BTS: Anniversary Terminals

A behind-the-scenes look at the new Terminals of Halo: Anniversary. The trailer feature exclusive interviews with 343 Industries employees and the motion design group Sequence, as they reveal the development process behind the terminals in Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary.[29]

Anniversary Campaign Trailer[edit]

Main article: Anniversary Campaign Trailer

A trailer for the remastered campaign, with a voice-over by Captain Keyes. It shows several aspects of the campaign, including in-game cinematics and scenes from the terminals. Footage from Halo: Reach was used to explain the story's background.[30]

Halo Living Monument[edit]

Main article: Halo Living Monument

The Living Monument allows fans to upload pictures that are composited into an image of John-117,[31] similar to the monument to NOBLE Team from the Remember Reach ad campaign. Heroes Never Die, a live-action short made to promote the monument, features an unidentified Navy commander presenting a eulogy dedicated to the men and women of the UNSC Defense Force who gave their lives during the Human-Covenant War.[32]

Pizza Hut tie-in[edit]

The American restaurant chain Pizza Hut offered a unique pizza tailored for the release of Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary. Those who ordered the pizza would receive a promo code for two free days of Xbox Live Gold membership.[33] The pizza itself was prepared with onions, pepperoni, chicken, and peppers as toppings.[34] This promotion was available from November 7th until December 19th 2011 and was limited to those who resided in the United Kingdom.[33]

Re-releases[edit]

  • 2013 - Re-released as part of the Halo Origins Bundle, which also included Halo: Reach.

Reception[edit]

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary received generally positive reviews. Among the features which were praised were the game's remastered graphics and initial price. The Guardian stated that, "It's a mighty fine game – for my money, the best in the Halo franchise – that deserves to accumulate a cult following. Microsoft should be applauded for having the balls (and the money) to exhume it in such a magnificent manner."[35] Official Xbox Magazine UK said, "The love that's gone into this HD remake makes it more than worth its budget price. If you've never checked out this series, don't get bogged down by details: Halo is about a big bloke shooting cool guns at cool aliens in cool places. Ten years later, that's still enough."[36]

However, the decision to integrate Halo: Reach's multiplayer within Halo: Anniversary instead of remastering the original Halo's multiplayer mode received criticism from various publications. IGN criticized such a decision, though they noted that, "If you can approach the experience with an open mind and are willing to take a few frustrating old-school design choices, and you're fine with a 'best of' map pack versus a full redo, then this is a great way to bide the time before Halo 4."[37]

Trivia[edit]

Main-Superintendent.png Browse more images on this article's gallery page.
  • The game was internally referred to as "Spark" during development.[38]
  • The Marathon logo is removed from the original Halo: Combat Evolved logo and is replaced by the outline of a Forerunner monitor. This is because the Marathon intellectual property is owned by Bungie, not by Microsoft Studios or 343 Industries.
  • According to Frank O'Connor, John-117's abnormally proportioned helmet from the announcement trailer was being fixed prior to the trailer's release, though it was not completed in time to appear in the final E3 trailer.[39]
  • The pistol John-117 was wielding on the cover of Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary was the Halo: Reach M6G. The Reach skin was used as a placeholder for the original M6D pistol seen in Halo: Combat Evolved. Although the Halo 3 skin is now used, the Reach version is still featured on the cover.

Gallery[edit]

Logos[edit]

Box Art[edit]

Promotional images[edit]

Concept art[edit]

Screenshots[edit]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b IGN.com: E3 2011: Microsoft Announces Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary
  2. ^ Halo Waypoint: Halo: Anniversary
  3. ^ Xbox.com, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary
  4. ^ a b c d e f Halo Waypoint: Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Exclusive
  5. ^ VideoGamer: Halo remake does not feature original audio
  6. ^ GameTrailers: E3 2011: Halo Returns Interview (Stream)
  7. ^ OXM Special Edition - Halo: The Game That Changed The World, page 116
  8. ^ a b c IGN: First Halo Kinect Details Revealed
  9. ^ Halo Waypoint: "343 Guilty Spark" Level Demo
  10. ^ IGN.com: E3 2011: Halo CE Anniversary - New Secrets for an Old Friend
  11. ^ YouTube: SDCC 2011: Halo Universe Panel Part 3
  12. ^ The Halo Bulletin: 11/9/11
  13. ^ Halo Waypoint: 343 Sparkcast #5
  14. ^ Halo Waypoint: BTS: Anniversary Multiplayer
  15. ^ IGN.com: Halo Fest: Halo Anniversary Campaign Discussion
  16. ^ Xbox360Achievements.org - Frank O'Connor Interview
  17. ^ Gamestop.com - Halo: Anniversary soundtrack
  18. ^ Gamestop.com - Halo: Anniversary soundtrack, limited Vinyl Edition
  19. ^ a b YouTube: BTS: Anniversary Music
  20. ^ a b Computer and Video Games: The man who's rebuilding Halo: Combat Evolved
  21. ^ Sequence - Terminals Teaser
  22. ^ IGN: Halo Fest - Halo Universe
  23. ^ Halo Waypoint: Special Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Pre-order Bonuses
  24. ^ Halo Waypoint: Anniversary Terminals Teaser
  25. ^ YouTube: Behind The Scenes - Halo: Anniversary Multiplayer
  26. ^ Halo Waypoint: BTS: ANNIVERSARY MULTIPLAYER
  27. ^ Halo Waypoint: BTS: ANNIVERSARY CAMPAIGN
  28. ^ YouTube: BTS: Anniversary Campaign
  29. ^ YouTube: BTS: Anniversary Terminals
  30. ^ YouTube: Halo: Anniversary Campaign Trailer
  31. ^ Halo Living Monument.com
  32. ^ YouTube: Halo: Anniversary Tribute
  33. ^ a b Gamepro.com: Pizza Hut's Halo Pizza is a Real Thing
  34. ^ Kotaku.com: Halo Anniversary Edition Pizza Unboxed, Eaten, and Unappreciated
  35. ^ Guardian.co.uk: Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary – review
  36. ^ OXM.co.uk: Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Review
  37. ^ IGN.com: Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary Review
  38. ^ Halo Waypoint: 343 Sparkcast #4
  39. ^ Halo.Bungie.Org: Frankie's Back. With an update ;-)