You know what’s fun? Downloading things. Sometimes, amidst the undeniable euphoria of staring doe-eyed at a progress bar, agonising its way across the screen and looking like it’s trying to drag a sack containing a to-scale model of Eric Pickles’ lunch along with it, I find myself gnawing away at the keyboard out of sheer blinkered delight. Out of uncontrollable exaltation. Or perhaps in the vain hope a bit will snap off, shimmy its way down my throat and ultimately prevent necessary respiratory circulation, killing me. Ahem.
Of course, for some, the progress bar is a symbol of their people; a shining jewel that sits atop the gaming experience. A long-standing favourite of PS3 owners since 2006, watching the progress bar can be mesmerising, emphatic, a tiny digital pilgrimage with its very own mecca at the end. If any of this rings true for you, then you’ll definitely want to pick up Halo: The Master Chief Collection on Xbox One, and prepare to bask in its many hours of progress bar based fun! I’m sure there’s a Steam forum post somewhere already hailing it as Progress Bar Simulator 2014.
Why? Because developer 343 have announced, and subsequently apologised for, a Day One patch for the Halo medley; a Day One patch that’s going to afford the player a whopping, gargantuan, skyscraper-sized 20GB download before you even open your mouth and hum along with the theme tune. Aahhh ahhh ahhh ahhhhh ahhhhhh. etc.
Actually that’s not strictly true, and in fairness to Halo franchise development director Frank O’Connor, who, upon delivering a pleading apology to Neogaf that went along the lines of “[…] it will be straight up annoying and I […] apologize unreservedly for the irritance”, he also stated that “The game will launch (including digital version) before installation is complete, so there is plenty of content to play around in while the red installs.” That ‘plenty of content’ he’s referring to is actually the single player campaigns as, rather sensibly, that chocking-great download is almost entirely multiplayer focused.
So quick is O’Connor to cast aside those treasured moments of progress bar bonding replacing it with GAME CONTENT; in such a hurry is he to see those moments in which we contemplate lunch, the weather, and whether this fucking download is going to finish before we die, torn straight from us. Cuh. Still, even with the main campaigns to be going on with, there’re many of you who’ll just want to get to stuck into multi, and I don’t know about your internet, but mine isn’t going to rocket through 20GB of data at peak times on a game’s release day.
If you’re looking for a direct culprit responsible for this deluge of day one data, you can blame your incessant desire to not have to get up off the sofa. Yes, O’Connor explained that the download was specifically so the game could ship on a single disc. Because install discs are, naturally, the most deal-breaking slight any player has to face. Over-priced on-the-disc DLC? Fine. Microtransactions? No problem. A second disc; what are you, deficient!? Hopefully this trend won’t catch on any time soon. I don’t want to see on-the-disc content limited exclusively to a picture gallery of adverts for BT Infinity (which, by the way, is dreadful, don’t bother with it).
What will you do while the mammoth download begins? Make a sandwich? A tea perhaps? Make a day-plan for your weekend? Consider Dostoevsky’s take on Ivan’s existential crisis in The Brother’s Karamazov, weighing up the necessity of the reigns the presence of a perceived Deity exerts on humanity? Or maybe you’ll just play the campaign while you wait. Let us know eh.