Halo The Master Chief Collection (Halo MCC) released almost nine years ago and is still going strong with massive updates. While Halo Infinite is struggling to retain its playerbase, The MCC is constantly releasing more content to keep fans around.

A new update arrived this week, bringing new features for both console and PC players. Some of the biggest changes include adding the Acrophobia Skull to Halo CE, as well as a bigger Firefight lobby. Let's break down everything new in the July 12th update.

Every game in the Master Chief Collection is receiving something, whether it's new modes, a new skull, or features that didn't come with the original games. Let's dive right in.

Halo FireFight Supports Up To Eight Players Now

The Firefight game mode is perhaps receiving the most improvements. Since the mode's return, we've already seen some incredible things, like Flood Firefight added in last year. But now it gets even better.

Players can now drop-in and drop-out of a firefight match. Now you no longer need to wait for a friend to be in your lobby when starting a game. Instead, players can join your session in the midst of combat. Additionally, players can drop-out without affecting the match. This is great, especially if you disconnect from a match and want to join back in.

Considering how long Firefight matches can take, it's great to have this feature. Because of it, Firefight now joins the Custom Games Browser. Now you're able to join any match in case you don't have friends to play with.

In case that's not enough, Firefight supports up to eight players now. Enemy count and difficulty won't scale because you have more players. However, players won't just be able to join during match and start fighting right away. You'll enter an observer mode until the next wave begins, ensuring that people won't take advantage of the new drop-in drop-out feature.

Additionally, the “Network Test 1”, a PVP generator defense mode from the Halo Reach Beta also makes its return.

In case you don't know, Firefight is a survival mode introduced in Halo 3: ODST. It's a simple yet addictive mode that won the hearts of Halo fans back in 2009. It didn't make its debut on the MCC until 2019 for Halo: Reach and Halo 3: ODST the year after.

Halo 4 Campaign & Spartan Ops Receive Theater Mode

Since Halo 3 released back in 2007, Theater mode became instantly became one of the most popular modes in the series. It made life easier for those creating Halo machinima, and made it possible to share your cool clips and screenshots to the Halo Community.

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When Halo 4 released, fans were upset to find out that only Multiplayer got the Theater mode treatment while Campaign and Spartan Ops didn't. You're now able to save clips or screenshots throughout 343i's first venture into the Halo series.

Since this is the first time Halo 4 is receiving theater mode for campaign and Spartan Ops, expect there to be issues. The developer notes indicate that it's possible for playback issues to occur. The mode is currently labeled an “experimental feature”.

Halo 3 New Mode: Escalation Slayer & Controller Re-Map

Escalation Slayer

A Escalation Slayer has been added to Halo 3. It's a mode similar to Counter-Strike's Arms Race mode (inspired by the Gun Game mod). You start off with one weapon, with each kill getting you a new one. The next weapon can range from anything like A plasma-rifle and SMG combo, to a Shotgun or Silenced SMG. Moreover, if you don't get a kill within a certain amount of time, you'll receive the next set of weapons that you were meant to receive.

The mode initially released on MCC back in 2021 for Halo 2: Anniversary, Halo: Reach, and Halo 4. Now it joins Halo 3's massive multiplayer sandbox.

There's both a free-for-all and team-based version of this mode, the latter syncing teams to the same tier. Your team must collectively earn three kills with one tier to move on to the next.

Additionally, a “Fiescalation” mode has been introduced. This variant of the mode contains 32 tiers of random primary, secondary, backpack weapon, and random equipment items. All players are synced to the same tier. So you won't have to worry about spawning with a plasma pistol while your opponent spawns with a beam rifle.

Three equipment pieces exclusive to campaign join Halo 3's Forge and Escalation Tiers: Invincibility, Active Camo, and Auto Turret.

Controller Re-Map

MCC players are now “allotted a single custom preset for each game”

Players can custom map their their controller for the full suite of games.

A new controller preset's been added too, with controls as close to Halo Infinite as possible. So in case you like to go back and forth between the two games, it should be easier to adapt with the new controller pre-set.

Acrophobia Makes Halo CE Debut

Halo Combat Evolved, the first game of the series and the title that sold Xboxes everywhere, is finally getting the Acrophobia Skull.

In case you haven't played MCC in some time, the Acrophobia Skull allows players to literally fly around the map. It was first added in Halo 2: Anniversary before being added to Halo 3 & 4. Now all four main-line games in the series offer this feature.

Unlike Halo's 3 & 4, Halo CE's Acrophobia allows for almost unlimited travel. It's similar to H2A's Acrophobia, which lets the player go almost anywhere they want with no repercussions. Unfortunately, Halo 3 & 4's Acrophobia Skull is limited due to the map sizes being much smaller in those titles. That being said, you're now able to fly your way through all four campaigns in quick succession.


Golden Moa Statues have been added to Halo 2's campaign. Finding them gives you rewards and points you can use to spend on items on the game's multiple season passes.

Three Halo Online maps join the game's massive roster of maps. Halo Online was a free-to-play multiplayer only game tested exclusively in Russia. The new maps are Lockout, Reactor, and Skybridge.

Grifball makes it's way to Halo 2. Inspired by the legendary Halo Machinima series Red vs. Blue created by RoosterTeeth. The mode also gives players access to the Gravity Hammer similar in appearance to Tartarus, Chieftain of the Brutes.

The mode was created by RoosterTeeth founder Burnie Burns was subsequently created as a game mode in Halo 3.

To better understand the rules of the game, here's a totally serious video explaining the rules of the game:

And that wraps it up for this update. You can read the official notes from on Halo Waypoint for more insight on what they've been working on and what may come next. In the meantime, it's certainly going to be fun playing firefight on Legendary with eight friends while flying around on Halo: Combat Evolved.

Halo The Master Chief Collection is still going strong with new updates that just keep adding more content to the game. Who knows what is coming next.


Halo The Master Chief released on November 11th, 2014 for Xbox One before subsequently being released on PC and Xbox Series X. When the game first came out it was criticized for issues with its online matchmaking coupled with bugs and glitches all across the board. Since then, it's received nothing but TLC from the developers, who've been working around the clock to deliver more content for fans.

While Halo Infinite is struggling to bring new content, Halo fans can take comfort in knowing the MCC is delivering all sorts of things constantly.

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