Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary (also referred to as Halo: Anniversary, or Halo: CEA) is a first-person shooter video game set in the Halo Universe and is a remake of 2001's Halo: Combat Evolved. Halo: CEA was announced at Microsoft's E3 2011 press conference, along with Halo 4.
343 Industries, in collaboration with Saber Interactive, plan on releasing Halo: CEA on November 15, 2011 - the 10th anniversary of the original title's launch. The game will feature 7 classic multiplayer maps, support for Xbox Live multiplayer matchmaking, a complete visual overhaul, achievements, terminals, other hidden easter egg goodies, and the ability to play Co-op campaign over Xbox Live. The campaign will run on the original engine, whereas multiplayer will be powered by the Reach engine. Unlike Halo 3: ODST, Halo: Anniversary will ship on one disc.
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary's campaign will be the same story as Halo: Combat Evolved, with the addition of achievements, terminals, and online Co-op. It will also have a new feature: when the player presses the back button on the Xbox 360 controller, the game will switch from the updated graphics engine to the original, and vice-versa. For the story, see Halo: Combat Evolved.
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary will support cooperative campaign and competitive multiplayer modes. The campaign mode will use a remastered version of the original Halo: Combat Evolved-engine. The multiplayer mode will use the Halo: Reach engine.
Seven maps will be updated and re-released utilizing the Reach engine. Multiplayer maps in Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary include:
- Battle Canyon
- Installation 04
- High Noon
343 Industries is utilizing the original Halo: Combat Evolved engine and the Halo: Reach engine to make the original Halo: Combat Evolved look and feel like a game created in 2011. They will be keeping some of the audio and replacing other parts entirely with faithful "re-orchestrations" of the original recordings.
The campaign will run on the original engine, whereas multiplayer will be powered by the Reach engine. 343 Industries will be graphically revamping the entire game and the level design in the campaign will be enhanced. This means that everything will be more detailed and include more assets to fill in the blank space that Halo: CE left behind. In addition, in 343's ViDoc on Halo: Anniversary, they stated that the player will have the option to switch between old graphics and revamped graphics with the push of a button. However, the developers will not be sacrificing the original feel of the graphics. Halo: Anniversary is simply adding an additional layer of graphics on top of the original game graphics, hence being able to switch between the old and revamped graphics, and thus keeping the original gameplay and physics of the game intact.
Halo: CE Anniversary will retain some of the original audio from Halo: Combat Evolved, though it will be remastered to sound cleaner, allowing it to work seamlessly in 5.1 surround sound. The score was re-recorded at Skywalker Ranch, changing from Martin O'Donnell's original soundtrack to a new "re-orchestration" by Skywalker Orchestra.
- Infinity, Death Island and Timberland are all rumored to make a return in Halo Anniversary's multiplayer.
- It has been speculated by the Halo Community that the lone Firefight map could feature the Flood as an enemy.
- It is rumored that a never-before-seen bonus campaign mission will be included in the game. This level is said to be set during the Forerunner-Flood War.
- In an interview with GameSpot, Vice President of Microsoft Game Studios, Phil Spencer, confirmed that Halo: Anniversary will ship with Kinect support. The extent of its Kinect functionality, however, has not yet been elaborated on.
- The Campaign will feature both the original graphics and a remastered graphics layered over the original, and the player will have the option to transition between both graphical layers.