343 Industries is bringing the Halo 3 spin-off ODST to the Xbox One and it will be free for existing players of the Halo: The Master Chief Collection. The game is being made free as a way of apologizing for problems plaguing The Master Chief Collection’s online matchmaking service. 343 Industries will also be giving players a remastered version of the Relic map from Halo 2 with both scheduled for release in Spring of 2015.
Players need to have played The Master Chief Collection online between the game’s launch on November 11 and this offer’s announcement on December 19 in order to qualify for the offer. In addition to remastered versions of ODST and the Relic map, players will also receive one month of Xbox Live Gold, an in-game nameplate and an avatar item.
Bonnie Ross, 343 Industries’ studio head, issued a lengthy explanation in an apology Friday. “This has been a humbling experience and highlighted how we as a studio can – and need – to do better for Xbox fans around the world,” she wrote on Xbox.com.
Halo 3: ODST is one of the high points in an already stellar game franchise. ODST might have been underrated for its time but it has a fantastically deep campaign with a fully fleshed out multiplayer component that complimented Halo 3’s offerings. With a cast of characters led by Nathan Fillion, ODST had a degree of charm not often found in the numbered entries. Taking the role of a Orbital Drop Shock Trooper the player had to really rethink their approach without the skill set of a Spartan at their disposal. It was a thoughtful shooter in a world where such strategy is rarely rewarded.
Unfortunately, 343 Industries said that they have no immediate plans to remaster ODST’s Firefight mode, which was Halo’s version of Horde mode. I do hope they reconsider, because Firefight is a spectacular mode, unique to ODST.
This is good on 343 Industries especially with all the negative attention games have been getting lately, with many being accused of being incomplete. With major releases like Assassin’s Creed: Unity and DriveClub having rocky launches this year, it is good for 343 and Microsoft to get in front of the issue before it burns too many bridges. Who knows, maybe the avatar item will be a T-shirt that says “My bad.”