343 Industries is currently flighting—Microsoft's terminology for testing builds—the upcoming release of Halo 3 for PC. The game is coming to Halo: The Master Chief Collection on PC, but 343 wants to ensure that every bit of the Master Chief's armor is up to code. In a post on Halo Waypoint, 343 Industries community support Tyler "Postums" Davis said the most recent Halo 3 flight had over 4,000 tickets submitted and 100 different bugs fixed.
While the studio was working on Halo 3, they realized there was also room to expand the game a bit. "We have been interested in doing some new skulls in the later games for a while but have never had a clear need to do so that also justified the risk of the changes required," explained 343 software engineer Sean Cooper. "I ended up taking the evening to figure out how I could extend Halo 3 to support new skulls without breaking the existing ones or systems that assumed they were the only skulls. To my surprise, it was actually pretty straightforward."
So Halo 3 will be getting a brand-new skull when it launches on Halo: The Master Chief Collection! Skulls are collectible items that you can find hidden in each level, and once you've found them, you'll unlock gameplay modifiers. Some are extensive, like making shields only regenerate by melee-ing enemies, while others are for fun, unlocking new dialog during the campaign.
The new skull is the Acrophobia skull, and it's actually based on a developer cheat related to a feature cut from Halo: Combat Evolved. The first game in the series had jetpacks at one point, and while they were removed in the final product, the dev cheat allowed the team to rocket around maps. Halo: Reach brought jetpacks back into the mix, but this is the first time they'll be available in Halo 3. Cooper admitted that he probably could've ported Reach's jetpack sound files back, but the inclusion of the new skull was a speedy affair.
The rest of the blog post covers several other changes and fixes to Halo 3 and the Master Chief Collection as a whole. There's improved character customization in Halo 3 and the first Halo, some audio updates, and more discussion about Halo 3: ODST's Firefight mode, which is next on the docket after Halo 3 launches.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection started as an "embarrassment of riches" when it launched on Xbox One and it's only gotten better since its launch on PC. Halo: Reach was the last game in the series to come to the PC version of MMC, and at the time of its release, it was a great port that was only missing a few features. At the same time, 343 Industries is working on Halo Infinite, the next entry in the franchise that we should be seeing at Microsoft's Xbox Series X showcase in July.