In response to concerns about the 20GB day one download that accompanies Halo: The Master Chief Collection, developer 343 Industries has said that a second disc “simply wasn’t practical.”
Development Director Frank O’Connor wrote in a NeoGAF post that the game was “designed to run as a single, unified product.” He added that “digital is seamless obviously, but we also wanted disc users to have the same experience,” the ability to play without interruptions.
O’Connor tries to make the situation sound less negative by explaining that the bulk of the update is multiplayer material, so it makes sense to have that as a download. He says that any updates to the single player are a small part of the download. The patch will be available to download ahead of time if you’ve pre-ordered the game via the Xbox One marketplace.
“Do I understand the inconvenience for and annoyance for some users?” he asks. “Of course. I’m not going to blow smoke or ignore it.”
This is where I have to call O’Connor out, however. Since Forza Motorsport 3 on Xbox 360 and even including the massive hit Grand Theft Auto V, games have been including installation discs. A secondary disc meant simply to install from, while the other disc holds the bulk of the data and provides the disc-based authentication. Unless there’s something I don’t understand about the Xbox One, it should be able to handle installation discs just the same way. The team could’ve included the content on a second disc without the need for swapping.
There are two more likely (speculative) explanations. One is the simple cost of a second disc. With a release this big, though, that’s not terribly likely. More likely is that the team had a hard deadline to hit and wasn’t quite finished with what is, admittedly, a massive undertaking. Rather than delaying the title out past the holiday season, it’s likely using the time between when the game went to production last week and when it actually releases three weeks from now to put finishing touches on the multiplayer aspect of the game.
Whether it’s a matter of cost, unfinished work, or disc swapping, Halo: The Master Chief Collection and its 20GB patch release on November 11 for the Xbox One.