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[Rumor] Halo 2 Anniversary Coming This November?

Master Chief lovers rejoice! According to a post by a verified user on the NeoGAF forums, Halo 2 is getting an HD re-release this November on Xbox one in honor of its ten year anniversary. Yes, you read that correctly.

The rumored game would be called Halo 2 Anniversary, just like its predecessor, however this game warrants much more excitement because it will reportedly feature its own multiplayer, whereas Halo: CE Anniversary just gave players access to pre-existing Halo: Reach multiplayer. I don’t care who you are, this (rumored) news is 100% positive. There’s no catch, no downside to this. I bet if you took a poll of 500 random original xbox owners, and asked them which game they would most like to see an HD re-release version of, 90% of them would say Halo 2. Guaranteed.

Halo 2 Anniversary
Even fake box art gets me excited

But if somehow you are between the ages of 0-9 or have been living under a rock for the last 10 years, allow me to enlighten you on why Halo 2 was one of the best games of its generation.

Multiplayer. Multiplayer. Multiplayer. Aaaaaaaaaaaand multiplayer. Back in Xbox Live’s infancy, Halo 2 came out and showed what Microsoft’s online service was truly capable of.  The scale of the incredibly fast-paced, chaotic online competition was unheard of at that time. If you’ve never played Halo, it isn’t like Call of Duty or Battlefield. No disrespect to those franchises, but the reaction time and hand eye coordination required to be successful at Halo is at a higher level than in any other first person shooter. There’s no “camping” in Halo. There are no cheap killstreaks or unfairly powerful weapons or perks. It’s man vs man, pure skill vs pure skill. It’s no coincidence the Halo series is Microsoft’s highest-selling gaming franchise of all time.

No Halo 2 discussion would be complete without talking about the maps. Oh god, the maps. And specifically Lockout. If you are somehow not over the moon about Halo 2 Anniversary, do yourself a favor and find a friend with Halo 2 and go play a couple matches on Lockout. I’ll sit back and watch as it slowly seduces you with its perfection. Straight up, Lockout rivals Crossfire from Call of Duty 4 as the greatest multiplayer map of all time. I won’t get too fanboy nerdy here, but just go check it out for yourself via youtube or the actual game.

 Halo 2 Anniversary

Now, I know it may be wishful thinking but I know I’m not alone when I say I would give anything for Bungie to incorporate its Halo 3 online multiplayer ranking system in this Halo 2 Anniversary. For those of you unfamiliar with how Halo 3’s ranking system worked, Halo 3 rewarded players for their skill, not for how long they played the game.

Each individual game type, such as Lone Wolves or Team Slayer, had its own rank beside it. These rankings were in the form of a number between 1-50, 50 meaning you were a Halo God at that game type, 1 meaning you’re either awful or had just started playing. In Lone Wolves for example, this is how it typically worked: Finish 1st, which sounds way easier than it actually was, and you typically ranked up (until you reached the higher levels, at which point it required 2-3 1st place finishes to progress in ranking).  Finish top 3, and you typically maintained your level. No ranking up, no ranking down. Finish between 4-6 (Lone Wolves only allowed for 6 players per match) and you’d get relegated to one level below.

I can’t be the only one who thinks this is the ideal ranking system for online multiplayer. It gives each match greater meaning. If you had some friends over and didn’t want to ruin your ranking system, Halo 3 conveniently offered an “unranked” section of its game types so you could play whatever you wanted with no negative bearings on your ranking in the “ranked” section.

Halo 2 Anniversary
Halo 3 multiplayer lobby

That perfect ranking system combined with next-gen graphics and the maps/overall awesomeness of Halo 2’s multiplayer would be a dream come true. Fingers crossed we get this or at least something close to it. No more Halo: Reach or Halo 4 style ranking system. Please Bungie. Distance yourself from the Call of Duty franchise, don’t duplicate its worst qualities.

Lost in all this Halo 2 Anniversary excitement is the fact that in that same forum post the verified user “leaked” that Halo 5 won’t be released until 2015. This gives credence to the Halo 2 Anniversary claims, as it makes since that Bungie will give fans something to be excited about to hold them over while they develop the next game in the Halo franchise.

Once again, these are all RUMORS, but it’s not like this user pulled this stuff out of thin air. We have been hearing about the possibility of a Halo 2 HD re-release for a while, personally I didn’t want to get my hopes up but oh well, too late for that now. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on any new developments or official announcements from Bungie or Microsoft. Until then, join me in the countdown to November. T-minus 10 months and counting…

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Nicholas Ashman

Nicholas Ashman

Nicholas Ashman is a sophomore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Gamer. Film lover. TV fanatic.