Something that Halo fans have been asking for over the past few years is finally happening as Microsoft has revealed that they are releasing a brand new game from the series onto PC. Halo Online is a multiplayer only game that will pit players against each other. There is a catch though, as the title is only set to release in Russia.
Built upon a “highly modified” version of Halo 3, the game will be free-to-play and will feature the ability to make purchases through an in-game store. However, neither Microsoft or 343 Studios have revealed what these purchases will affect. According to the official statement from the Halo website, the title is a chance for Microsoft to learn what audiences expect from a PC Halo game and how they should make it different from the console versions of the game.
“Halo Online is powered by a highly modified version of the Halo 3 engine and optimized for smooth performance on lower-end PCs. While there’s no campaign mode, Halo Online is set on a secret UNSC space installation called Anvil, where Spartan-IV soldiers train together in war exercises to sharpen their battle skills and test experimental technology.”
Although it will be exclusive to Russia when it releases in closed beta during the Spring, a release in other markets has not been entirely ruled out. In the statement an acknowledgement is made that Halo Online could possibly release in other markets, saying: “Theoretically, any expansion outside of Russia would have to go through region-specific changes to address player expectations.”
Halo Online is being developed by Saber Interactive in partnership with Innova Systems. The Saber Interactive have plenty of experience working on the Halo franchise as they were responsible for the remastered version of the original title with Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary. They were also in charge of the issue ridden Halo: The Master Chief Collection under the direction of 343 Industries.
The Halo franchise has become Microsoft’s biggest gaming property and is seen as the killer app for the Xbox. Very few titles from the series have been released on other platforms. In fact, the only two full titles have made their way to PC in the form of Halo: Custom Edition and Halo 2 Vista. Microsoft were also working on a proposed Halo MMO several years ago but cancelled the project to focus on the console versions.