Gamers are eagerly anticipating the release of Halo 5, on the back of several successful releases for the franchise, such as Halo Reach and Halo 4. Did you know, however, that there’s a PC-only Halo game in the works?
Yes, 343 Industries are working on Halo Online, a free-to-play multiplayer game that will be exclusive to the PC. Being free-to-play, the game will support microtransactions, but more interestingly, it is only slated for release in Russia, having been “tailored specifically for the tastes, tech and infrastructure of the Russian market,” according to a statement from Microsoft to Eurogamer.
These two details have gotten the worldwide PC community a bit riled up, as the Halo series, with the exception of the very first game, has notoriously been exclusive to Xbox platforms.
Somewhat inevitably, an internal build of Halo Online was subsequently leaked to modders, who went to work examining its innards well before Microsoft had even announced an alpha stage. Microsoft went ballistic and issued a Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown that removed ElDorito, a launcher that allowed anyone to run the leaked Halo Online code.
In spite of this, the modding community has somehow managed to get their misappropriated Halo Online code working and video of a fully functioning multiplayer match has found its way to YouTube:
If you can’t watch the above video, it’s likely because Microsoft has found it and taken it down. It depicts the players, all of them Spartans, screwing around in a desert map with Warthogs, VTOL aircraft and even Covenant vehicles. The game is running off a modified version of the Halo 3 engine, so its visuals look rather dated.
It is, of course, a very, very early build, so it doesn’t look very impressive, both visually and functionally, but it’s still amusing to see the modding community one-up Microsoft at the first inkling of a PC-only Halo release.