Microsoft Plans to Take Action Against Halo Online Mod

Microsoft Plans to Take Action Against Halo Online Mod

ElDewrito, the player-made Halo Online mod, released its 0.6 update last week, but Microsoft is fighting back to “protect its Halo intellectual property.” 343 Industries announced the legal action on Halo Waypoint this week.

In the post, 343 also mentioned an “open discussion” between the publisher and the current ElDewrito team, saying the team is “understandably upset,” but that they also understand the legal implications that are at hand.

Halo Online was meant to be a free-to-play Halo 3 spin-off, but was officially canceled in 2016. That’s where the ElDewrito mod comes in, offering multiple server browsers, player customization, stat tracking, ranked social servers, and more online features.

As time passed, Halo Online kind of faded into the background, until the recent exposure that the 0.6 update brought to the current ElDewrito project. 343 discusses some of the complicated issues that have arisen because of this.

“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.”

The post goes on to address a few areas of confusion that 343 had seen throughout the Halo community recently, including ElDewrito and other fan-made projects.  For example, the original Halo Custom Edition was a specific add-on to Halo PC to “officially empower the mod and content creation community” so that they could go crazy with Halo: CE. It even required a valid Halo PC retail key.

Additionally, Installation 01 has been said to have received a green light from 343. The developer says Installation 01 is an original work that has been built in a separate engine that follows Microsoft’s content usage guidelines.

343 goes on to shed some light on a few common misconceptions about Halo Online. There was some belief among the community that after the game was canceled, the assets were either turned over as “open source” or left to the community’s whims as “abandonware.” But neither of these are true.

Microsoft issued takedown notices at the time of the original leaks, but those were essentially shrugged off by modders, who even referred to their actions as a “noble cause.” In yesterday’s post, 343 said that many elements of the code and content from Halo Online are “still being actively used today and will continue to be in the future.”

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. 343 concludes its post on a positive note that addressed the community’s desire for a Halo experience 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. While we have nothing to announce today, please know that the PC community is very important to us and top of mind as we work towards the future.”

343 seems pretty serious about this point, with Xbox head Phil Spencer even tweeting about it. This is encouraging for the Halo community because it means that, hopefully, 343 will be working on bringing some form of the Halo experience to PC gamers in the future. Maybe ElDewrito’s popularity surge was what the developer needed to get that ball rolling.

The only official Halo releases for PC since Halo 2 in 2004 have been Halo 5: Forge and the RTS Halo Wars 2 (not including the Spartan twin-stick shooters). However, perhaps PC fans can look to the next installment in the franchise with optimism. Though there are few details right now about Halo 6, or whatever the name of the next game will be, Spencer has suggested it will be available on PC.

From the post, it seems the ElDewrito team understands the legalities surrounding the situation and is having an “open discussion” with 343, but for right now the website is still up and running.

Source: Halo Waypoint

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