It was revealed today that Microsoft will have a Halo experience for players to sample on October 17th, the launch day for their Mixed Reality platform. The "experience" is called "Halo: Recruit" and it will be available for download for free from the Windows Mixed Reality Store. We knew Microsoft had some kind of VR experience planned for Halo, but we didn't know how soon it would come, and just what kind of experience or game it could be. The good news is that it's coming way earlier than anybody expected. The bad news? Well, let's just say, that if you're planing on running out and buying yourself a Samsung Odyssey Mixed Reality headset, just so you can try out this awesome Halo experience, well... you might want to reconsider that.
I have no doubts that we'll eventually have some amazing Halo experiences in VR and AR, but I'm not sure Halo: Recruit will be one of them. Off screen footage of the game has been seen, and by all accounts, the experience seems mild at best. The entire experience lasts only 10 minutes or so. You basically view a few of the classic Halo enemies up close, and then you shoot them on a gun range, but you're shooting 2 dimensional versions of them, on a 2 dimensional screen. There really isn't very much VR actually happening during this experience. It's as if Microsoft corralled a handful of employees at 343 industries, and had them try to whip something up over the weekend. Ok, maybe that was a wee bit harsh, but you kind of get the idea.
This isn't the Halo experience that you're looking for. It seems like a real wasted opportunity, and almost a head-scratcher if I'm being completely honest. Halo is one of Microsoft's most treasured IP, and for them to bring something so uninspired seems a bit shortsighted. I have no doubt that this experience is putting the T in Teaser, and that 343 industries is probably working on something much more significant for November 2018, but that doesn't change the fact that this less than ideal showing doesn't really bolster the Halo brand, nor reflect well on the content that Microsoft is bringing to the table for this suite of headsets. Where is Forza 7 VR? Where is Super Lucky's Tale VR? Microsoft has properties that make almost too much sense for VR, but we still didn't get those announcements. If I'm Dell, Acer, Samsung, Hewlett-Packard or any of the other 3rd party providers, I'd be pretty disappointed with what Microsoft is delivering on the software side. Of course, there is still time for more announcements before October 17th, so we'll have to see if maybe they're holding back some surprises a little closer to launch. We have to hope so.