At a Gamasutra-attended E3 meeting this week, 343 Industries gave out more details about Halo Anniversary that is going beyond the typical nostalgic cash-in.
The studio, which has taken over Halo development duties from series creator Bungie, decided that Halo Anniversary is fit for a $39.99 retail release on November 15 this year, rather than as a downloadable title. Microsoft announced the game at its E3 media briefing earlier this week.
343 Industries executive producer Day Ayoub called the game a "labor of love," a project that is extremely focused on fans of the series, which played a major role in putting Microsoft's Xbox brand on the map when the game arrived nearly 10 years ago.
He explained that the game's remastered campaign has elements of the code from the original Halo: Combat Evolved from 2001, with an immensely sharper-looking graphics engine overlaid on top of the old code.
Ayoub said the use of the old code helps the new game play virtually exactly the same as the original game. Halo Anniversary also features a one-button in-game option to instantly switch between the original graphics and the new graphics.
The game adds a two-player cooperative mode to the campaign for splitscreen or Xbox Live. The classic competitive multiplayer maps utilize the Halo Reach engine, and Halo Anniversary owners will be able to install the multiplayer maps to their hard drives and seamlessly access them in Halo Reach, or play the maps straight from the remake's disc. 343 Industries is working with Certain Affinity on the multiplayer maps, which will also eventually be available to download for gamers who don't buy the remake.
343 Industries' Halo franchise development director Frank O'Connor also said that the seven remastered multiplayer maps of Halo Anniverary are all that are planned. "[DLC map packs are] not something we rule out ... but it's not in the current plan," said O'Connor, as 343 will be focusing fully on Halo 4 going forward.