Today, you can fire up an Xbox game console and play Halo with a mouse and keyboard. It’s hard to believe I’m writing those words.
Five years ago, I asked a small room of first-party Xbox devs how they felt about supporting mouse and keyboard (now that their boss Phil Spencer had confirmed they were on the way), but they were seriously skeptical. It took two more years for the Xbox One to get even a handful of keyboard and mouse titles in a November 2018 update. Even though games like COD: Warzone and Fortnite have paved the way for controller parity, the industry is still understandably wary about mixing console and keyboard players.
But now, keyboard and mouse is a native part of Halo: The Master Chief Collection (including Halo CE, Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, Halo: Reach, and Halo 4) as of a new April 2021 patch, and it’s not alone: every Xbox that can play the game will let you adjust your field of view, crosshairs, and bind controls across multiple inputs, like any good competitive PC-grade shooter should.
Not only does that mean parity with PC, but it might actually make the Xbox version of Halo: MCC preferable for some. As my colleague Tom Warren points out, it’s easier to avoid cheaters in console games:
seeing mouse and keyboard support in Halo on Xbox makes me wish Destiny 2 had this. I’d switch immediately from PC, which is full of hackers, aimbots, and other exploits that ruin the PvP experience
— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) April 7, 2021
The full patch notes also mention new accessibility options, a new “Escalation Slayer” game variant, a new map for Halo 3, and you can easily set your in-game chat and audio devices separately now on PC. And of course, there’s a new season of content dubbed “Raven.” More info on that here.
Me, I’ve played Halo with a mouse and keyboard almost since the beginning. The first copy I owned was the Gearbox port for PC. It’s been a longtime favorite at LAN parties. Ah, do I miss LAN parties.