An update on Bungie.net is giving hardcore Halo fans some new tidbits of information on the developer's upcoming projects, primarily the PC version of Halo 2.
First and foremost, Bungie has confirmed that even though gamers will need to upgrade their operating systems to play, they might be able to keep using their old graphics cards. While Halo 2 will require the upcoming Windows Vista operating system to play, it won't need a card compatible with Vista's 3D-graphics-generating counterpart, DirectX 10.
On top of that, it appears that cross-platform Halo 2 fragfests will remain a pipe dream for now. According to Bungie, Halo 2 PC will not be compatible with the Xbox version of the game for a few reasons. For one, the PC version of the game will include new maps and a map editor, which raises questions of how to handle play against Xbox players that have neither of these features.
Another reason to pass on the cross-platform play is because "a level playing field would be impossible." In addition to the Xbox players having more than two years' head start on the PC players, Bungie says that the controls and aiming have been fine-tuned for each system, and that matches between the systems would be "lopsided at best." However, the PC version of the game will support other options beyond the keyboard-and-mouse combo, should players feel more comfortable with another control method.
Another development that came to light in the posting is the elimination of Halo 2's clan playlist from the game's matchmaking. The developer cited low usage among players as a primary reason for the removal of the playlist. Clans still function for the most part as they did before, but players will no longer have a clan rank.
"Essentially, the reason some higher level clans are unable to find matches is because players aren't using clans as they were intended to be used," the posting explained. "By starting new clans so you can 'pwn noobs' again, you're defeating the purpose of having clan ranks in the first place. Not all users abuse the system in this way, but the vast majority does [sic] and it has caused the clan ranking system to lose its purpose."