The many faces of Halo explored: The Master Chief Collection, Nightfall and Halo Channel
With Bungie's first post-Halo console game, Destiny, imminent it seems fitting that we'll also soon get a chance to replay the developer's former finest moments, with Halos 1, 2 and 3 making up a significant part of the Halo: The Master Collection Xbox One release.
However, the collection is also a showcase for the undoubted talents of 343 Industries, because since Bungie's departure from the Microsoft partnership, not only has the replacement studio continued the great work, it has now firmly made it its own.
From our Gamescom demo and chat, Kiki Wolfkill and the 343 team have stamped their mark on the entire franchise (the ones starring Master Chief anyway) and have produced something far more than a "remastered" experience.
The first Halo game already got its own overhaul thanks to the anniversary edition released a couple of years ago, but of course now runs in 1080p and 60fps. But the collection now includes a similarly bejazzled Halo 2, with all the sumptuous beauty afforded by far superior hardware. Its soundtrack and audioscape have also been dramatically brought up to date. And from what we saw is simply magical.
But little has been said about Halo 3 or 4 in the past. They are relatively more recent titles (released in 2008 and 2012 respectively) so surely didn't need as much of an update. But that's not necessarily true, 343 Industries told us. Not only has the developer changed the resolution and frame rate - again to 1080p and 60fps - for both, new lighting technologies and other graphical tweaks, most prominently in definition, have been made.
We saw a segment of Halo 3 running and there is considerably more detail in the vistas. It naturally runs smoother and looks more crisp, but the visual aesthetic is on a par with modern first person shooters, not ones that are a few years old.
The Xbox One Halo 4 will be equally as improved too, jumping up a generation.
Of course, much will also be made of the Beta invite included for Halo 5: Guardians, which will run for a few weeks at the end of December, and yes, that's nice, but we're more impressed by the creation of the Halo Channel and the fact that the Master Chief Collection will give access to all episodes of the Ridley Scott executive produced Halo: Nightfall live action series.
Halo Channel will be the go-to place for fans of the franchise for sure. But we feel that science fiction fans generally will always get something from it too.
Roll on 14 November, as that's when the celebration package hits UK stores.