Halo: The Master Chief Collection needs LAN support

The original Halo on Xbox had no online support. More than 10 years later and The Master Chief Collection doesn’t have LAN support. Halo just isn’t the same without system link.

My fondest Halo memories occurred on LAN

My team winning the Games Wizards Halo 2 launch tournament at midnight. Beating our rivals Perfect Play in Team Slayer Lockout in our very first LAN match against them at the Microsoft Tsunami Charity tournament. Turning to my brother and saying “Only 5 more kills until Singapore!” just before winning the New Zealand World Cyber Games Halo 2 Grand Final. Practicing against the Canadians, Sad Panda Eh and GSpot at the WCG Grand Finals in Singapore.

What do all these moments have in common? They all took place over system link. Some of these venues didn’t even have internet access. We linked our Xbox’s together using switches, routers and ethernet cables and it was awesome!

Carbon competing at a Halo 2 MLG tournament. - Courtesy Major League Gaming

Carbon competing at a Halo 2 MLG tournament. – Courtesy Major League Gaming

Halo invented the console LAN party

Back in the glory days my brother and I would pack our Xbox’s into bags and ride our bikes over to my friends house so we could play Halo 1 together. Before Halo the best multiplayer experience you could get on console was 4 player split screen in Goldeneye. 16 players combined through split screen and LAN was unheard of. Friends that didn’t own an Xbox would come over to join in the fun and we’d spend all weekend laughing and trash talking each other.

Imagine my surprise upon setting up 2 brand new Xbox Ones when my wife and I tried to play through the Halo 2 Anniversary campaign together only to find that the current problems plaguing Halo: The Master Chief Collection prevented us from creating a party despite being on the same network. I was shocked to find that The Master Chief Collection doesn’t have LAN support. You must be connected online through Xbox Live to form a party.

I get that LAN support is unpopular from developers these days but surely 343 must realise that LAN support is what Halo so popular to begin with. You want to talk about word of mouth advertising? Any gamer that witnessed a 16 player Halo LAN back in the day would have gone to their nearest store, purchased an Xbox and come back with Doritos and Mountain Dew asking where to setup.

Some friendships forged through tournaments may last a life time. - Courtesy Major League Gaming

Some friendships forged through LAN tournaments may last a life time. – Courtesy Major League Gaming

Removing LAN support from Halo is sucking the soul out of what makes Halo so amazing. Yelling “BOOM, HEADSHOT!” at your opponent when you pull off a clutch head shot. Laughing as your team mate accidentally shoots you with the rocket launcher. Shaking hands with your rivals after a close series. Staying up all night and getting drunk with mates you met on Xbox Live the night after a big tournament.

While I’m sure many of us have awesome memories of playing Halo 2 on Xbox Live, none of them can even compare to the memories of playing in a room full of gamers that all shared a passion for Halo. To this day I’m still friends with people I teamed with for tournaments a decade ago.

Master Chief Collection needs LAN support

“Halo was one of the first console eSports titles to rise to popularity a decade ago,” – Che Chou

343 is trying to convince us they care about eSports. They’ve announced the Halo Championship Series, an official league for Halo and they acknowledge that the original Halo was a huge success for eSports. If this is the case then why have they removed LAN support from the game?

Surely we’ve seen enough internet hiccups at major tournaments to realise how important LAN support is for tournaments. Internet reliability is always going to be sketchy when you have hundreds of extra clients online at a venue such as a hotel or hall. It’s incredibly embarrassing for a developer when their game is being broadcasted live on Twitch to thousands of people and then the servers crash or the venue loses internet and people are chanting “LAN SUPPORT” in the background.

Halo 2 Xbox Live servers are no longer available. What happens in 10 years when Microsoft decides to shut down the Master Chief Collection servers? To this day I can still setup my softmodded Xbox with Halo NTSC and play over LAN or XBC, but for The Master Chief Collection we’re completely at the mercy of Microsoft who could shut down the servers whenever they feel like it.

The current online issues surrounding The Master Chief Collection are affecting people who just want to play with their friends in the same room. If this isn’t the best argument in the world for proper LAN support in The Master Chief Collection I don’t know what is.

Perhaps 343 could compensate us for this terrible launch by patching it in?