Halo Online… we barely knew ye. The game was a short-lived, free-to-play multiplayer PC game developed for the Russian market. The game was cancelled in 2016, yet it still existed due to the ElDewrito mod/plugin.
A team of community members and developers continued working on Halo Online and ElDewrito, making various enhancements and changes. In fact, the recent 0.6 update (which dropped this past Friday) brought several major updates including content additions, UI improvements, and multiplayer enhancements.
A surge in popularity over the weekend had Halo fans rejoicing: Halo 3 was back! And on PC! Whatever could go wrong?
Late Monday, it was announced that Microsoft would be pursuing legal remedies to protect their intellectual property (the Halo franchise).
Per 343 Industries:
While we are humbled and inspired to see the amount of passion poured into this project, the fact remains that it’s built upon Microsoft-owned assets that were never lawfully released or authorized for this purpose. As this project reverberated across the community, our team took a step back to assess the materials and explore possible avenues, while Microsoft, like any company, has a responsibility to protect its IP, code and trademarks. It’s not optional in other words.
While this came as a disappointment to many players, it is no surprise. Microsoft likely didn’t mind or wish to spend the legal effort on a small, community project. Once there was a surge in activity and there was more visibility to the project, Microsoft was bound to take action.
The good news from this is that 343 has announced that they are seriously looking into ways to bring Halo to the PC:
One thing remains clear – the community really wants more Halo on PC. As we look ahead, we’re very excited about the prospects of an official classic Halo experience making its way to PC and we hope to be able to partner with the ElDewrito team and broader mod and content creation community to help inform the types of experiences and features our fans desire.
This is certainly awesome to hear. While I think the Halo experience will always be best for me on console, I would love the opportunity to play my classic Halo games in buttery smooth 60+ fps in ultrawide resolution. Traversing the Library for my 50th time would be a joy to try on my system.
One thing is certain: with the focus on revamping the Master Chief Collection, the inevitable announce of Halo 6 in the future, and now the talk of classic Halo on PC, both Microsoft and 343 Industries plan on keeping us playing for years to come.