Halo: The Master Chief Collection finally supports mouse and keyboard on Xbox

Halo on Xbox
(Image credit: Microsoft)

A common complaint among competitive Halo: The Master Chief Collection players is that PC players have a big edge over their console brethren. That’s because PC players can use either a controller or a mouse-and-keyboard setup, the latter of which is more precise and customizable. As of this week, however, console players will have to start thinking of other excuses if they lose a match. The most recent Master Chief Collection patch has added official mouse and keyboard support.

Information comes from the support section of the Halo Waypoint website, in a post detailing the April 2021 patch for Halo: The Master Chief Collection. There’s no special trick to it. Once you download the patch (which the game should do automatically, especially if you try to play online), you can simply plug in a wired USB keyboard and mouse to your Xbox One, or Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S, and use them to control the Master Chief Collection. You can also modify key bindings in the game’s settings menu.

While just about any USB mouse and keyboard function with modern Xbox consoles, wireless models are a bit of a crapshoot. The Razer Turret is a good, albeit expensive, choice. Otherwise, you’ll have to check on a model-by-model basis. Gaming mouse and keyboard manufacturers are pretty good at listing which devices are compatible with Xbox systems; productivity peripherals are a much more hit-or-miss proposition.

Mouse and keyboard controls aren’t the only way the April 2021 patch has expanded the Master Chief Collection’s accessibility. Players will now also be able to activate text-to-speech and speech-to-text features, as well as enabling or disabling menu narration. These features should make the game easier to navigate for sight- or hearing-impaired players.

In gameplay terms, the April 2021 patch offers two notable new features: the Halo 3 “Waterfall” map and the “Escalation Slayer” multiplayer variant for Halo: Reach, Halo 4 and Halo 2: Anniversary. The former is pretty much what it sounds like: a multiplayer map where players duke it out in a futuristic facility near a waterfall. The latter lets you earn better weapons depending on how many kills you rack up.

The patch also draws attention to the Season 6 “Raven” multiplayer challenges, which will let players unlock new customization options in multiplayer. There’s a more detailed blog post on Raven options. But if you’re interested in the Master Chief Collection’s ongoing multiplayer challenges, you’ll probably be pleased to know that Raven is getting underway.

There are a few other small changes, but the bottom line is this: PC and console players in the Master Chief Collection should now be on equal footing when it comes to input devices. If you’re looking for a peripheral to help get you off on the right foot, consider our best gaming mouse and best gaming keyboard lists.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.