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Why Halo: Reach and Halo 3: ODST aren't in the Master Chief Collection

"If you're going to cut things, you should be trimming the fat."

Is it churlish to ask for Mars, when you're already getting the Earth on a platter? Perhaps, but then again I've never pretended to be anything other than hideously self-entitled. Case study: Halo: The Master Chief Collection. It contains all four numbered Halo games, overhauled and updated to run on Xbox One, and is thus among the bigger bargains ever concocted by the Hand of Man, but two things it doesn't contain are Halo 3: ODST, Bungie's celebrated spin-off, and Halo: Reach, the developer's final Halo game for Xbox 360 and the first Halo prequel.

This has caused my inner zealot to grumble, because I rather liked ODST and Reach's Firefight Mode - in which teams of Spartans hold out for as long as they can against waves of Covenant. So what's the story, franchise director Frank O'Connor? The story, apparently, is that there's such a thing as over-ambition.

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"The honest reality is that we had to cut it off somewhere, so what we needed was for the near-narrative of the Master Chief saga to be there," O'Connor told us after this week's Microsoft E3 press conference. "ODST is a side-story, Reach is a prequel, they didn't need to be there. So if you're going to cut things, you should be trimming the fat. I wish we could have done it all, but it would have been impossible in the timeframe we had."

There's no question of Firefight appearing as a standalone mode type, either. "Well Firefight is ODST and Reach only, but Spartan Ops is there. So Spartan Ops is fully replicated, every Spartan Ops mission."

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