Just over a week after the announcement of Halo Online, an upcoming Russia-only online version of the popular Halo videogame franchise, modders have already obtained a leaked copy of the game and created their own tools to allow access for those in other regions. Microsoft was quick to act and issued a takedown demand to Github, the site where the tools were hosted, but in an interview with TorrentFreak, one of the modders involved with the tools’ creation admits that even though the files were removed from their initial location on Github, they already have backups of the files on private and public servers and have no intention of ceasing development on tools to allow illegal access to the game.
“I don’t particularly see this as damaging,” the modder says in the interview. “As some people have said. I don’t believe it for a moment, honestly. We’re working to improve people’s experience, bring it to those who wouldn’t have been able to play it anyway. I’d see that as a noble cause.”
One of the reasons the modders claim what they’re doing is justified is the fact that Halo Online is free-to-play in Russia so any access to the game abroad wouldn’t necessarily affect the developers or Microsoft financially. “This whole project would be completely different in an ethical way if we had taken a paid game and reversed it for everyone to access for free,” he says.
Something not discussed is if Halo Online is even worth playing by non-Russian gamers anyway. The game is specifically designed for the Russian gaming market which is traditionally PC-based over console and uses the engine used in Halo 3 (an 8 year old game) so it can run on the lower-end PCs which dominate the Russian market. Halo Online won’t even have a campaign mode and so far only one map, Anvil, has been announced.
With the recent release of The Master Chief Collection on Xbox One which included HD remasters of several Halo games with updated online modes (including Halo 3) and the upcoming release of Halo 5 which promises to take the franchise’s graphics and gameplay to the next level, it seems an odd choice to pursue what is essentially an inferior entry in the Halo series.
What do you think? Are you interested in playing Halo Online? Let us know in the comments below.Further reading: Halo, Halo Online, Microsoft, Modding, PC Gaming, Russia, Xbox One