It was only about a week ago when fan-created Halo Online mod, ElDewrito, launched for PC users. Being the only real way to play any Halo multiplayer on PC outside of Halo 2 via Project Cartographer. The mod allows player to join random games, host their own online games and host forge games as well within a handful of older Halo maps, a majority of which are from Halo 3.
Given that the Halo IP has been all but dead on PC (disregarding the Halo Wars games which were brought to PC), this came as a breath of fresh air for Halo fans on the platform.
This news broke with a blog post made by 343 Industries themselves (the current developers for Halo) stating “we want to let our community know that Microsoft has initiated actions to protect its Halo intellectual property in the wake of the recent “ElDewrito” PC release.”
Halo Online was originally a title that was being made exclusively for the Russian market. After being put on hold, modders managed to get their hands on the build for the game and continued development on the ambitious project and according to 343i this is when DMCA takedown notices were first issued.
“As time went by, Halo Online faded and fell off the radar until the recent exposure of the .6 update shined a new light on the current ElDewrito project. 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.” – 343 Industries via Halo Waypoint
They also take the time to clear up any confusion that might be caused by this, stating that community created content is very much embraced by the folks over at 343i and Microsoft, but ElDewrito crossed a few lines. When it comes to Halo Custom Edition, that was an add-on which was made to Halo PC and it was made to allow the community to go crazy with modding Halo: Combat Evolved. In terms of the other fan-made project which focuses on bringin Halo multiplayer to the PC market, Installation 01 is operated and developed very carefully under Microsoft’s Game Content Usage Rules, something which has allowed the project to receive the thumbs up from 343i as well. It seems that ElDewrito violated these terms which was what caused Microsoft to take notice and look towards taking action against it.
“More recently, Installation 01 has garnered some buzz and even made headlines for receiving a thumbs-up from 343. Installation 01 is an original work, built from the ground up in a separate engine, that abides by Microsoft’s content usage guidelines. With Halo Online, there’s a common misconception that once it was canceled, the assets were either turned over as “open source” or left for the community’s whims as “abandonware” – neither of which is actually true. Not only did Microsoft issue takedown notices at the time of the original leaks, but many elements of that underlying code and content are still actively being used today and will continue to be in the future.” – 343 Industries via Halo Waypoint
Unfortunately, for the team behind ElDewrito, it seems like Microsoft are well within their legal right to take such action. However, it also seems like even though development on the mod has to be halted, 343i want to partner with the ElDewrito team as well as other members of the mod and content creation community to learn what fans want in a Halo game.
Thankfully, it appears as if 343i are listening to the community about bringing Halo on to PC, stating “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. ”
If you would like to read the full blog post, click here.