Here's Why Halo: MCC's Recent Update Was So Huge

In March, Halo developer 343 Industries released a gigantic update for Halo: The Master Chief Collection. The update was 60 GB, which makes it much bigger than some brand-new games. Some people expressed frustration over this. After all, even a blazing-fast internet connection would require quite a while to download such a large update.

The studio has now shared more insight on why that update was so large and what fans can expect in terms of file sizes going forward. Design director Max Szlagor said said in a blog post that the studio is always trying to make file sizes smaller, but it’s not always possible.

“With such a large surface area of game, and the scope of changes that need to be made this can make them rather large,” Szlagor said. “Whenever core game data files are updated, this usually means a larger update. We manage this process very carefully to minimize the amount of times this happens. But it is one of those things that can come up.”

Thankfully, Halo: MCC has a system called “Intelligent Install” that allows players to choose which parts of the game they want to download. MCC comprises six different games: Halo: Reach, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2: Anniversary, Halo 3, Halo 3 ODST, and Halo 4. This latest 60 GB update was mandatory for everyone, but new players–or those who uninstall MCC to free up space–can use the Intelligent Install system to only install what they want to play.

Szlagor said Microsoft will try to be “as mindful as we can” about the size of MCC updates, but at the end of the day, the company cannot guarantee there won’t be other massive file sizes in the future.”

Activision’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare also has seen some truly massive updates, too, as the Season 2 update was 100 GB on some platforms. For its part, developer Infinity Ward apologized for the large file size, and said future updates could be smaller.

As games become more and more sophisticated and grow in terms of scope, file sizes are likely to expand as well with next-generation titles. With that in mind, Microsoft’s Xbox Series X will feature expandable storage, though you need to buy a proprietary card to do so.

As more and more people stay home from work and school amid the COVID-19 crisis, Xbox Live is experiencing “record” numbers. To help mitigate additional server strain, Microsoft is apparently asking its publishing partners to hold back their big updates until off-peak hours.

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