PC gamers are still waiting to help determine the fate of the Earth in Bungie's Halo 2, which is expected to be released sometime after Microsoft's new operating system, Windows Vista, hits shelves.
By now, every PC Halo fan knows that they'll need Windows Vista to play Halo 2 on their platform of choice, and they also know that Microsoft Game Studios is handling the development internally. But there are still some specifics up in the air. Some of those details were previously announced on Bungie.net, and a few more were posted yesterday.
Jo Clowes, the Halo 2 PC project lead, answered a few questions on Bungie's Web site, and while most of the talk reconfirmed what was already known (Halo 2 PC will NOT be playable with the Xbox version), there were a few new (albeit not surprising) nuggets of info.
Online play will be configured differently on the PC. Those who play the Xbox version know that the Matchmaking system is the cornerstone of online fragfests. Searching for a game on the PC version will come with more customization options, allowing gamers to find games that suit their taste, rather than having game parameters chosen for them. Online matches will also be maxed out at 16 total players.
Clowes also makes mention of dedicated servers, keyboard and mouse support (obviously not a surprise), and text chat. The specific mention of text chat has led some to wonder whether voice chat has been excluded, forcing PC owners to use a third-party voice over IP program to let others know they just got owned.
Bungie also further explained the reason cross-platform gaming couldn't work. The PC version will have exclusive features, as well as a mapmaking tool and possibly some new maps.
"We wanted the game to be the best it could be on Windows Vista and did not want to be limited by backwards compatibility with the Xbox version," said Clowes.
The article also posted this confusing quote: "If you have a friend who is playing on the Xbox, you will be able to invite them to your game on Windows Vista, or send them messages, just like you can today on the Xbox 360."
In the article, "your game" appears to refer to Halo 2. It's unclear why an invite would be able to be sent from a Vista user to an Xbox user, as cross-platform Halo 2 gaming has been confirmed as impossible. However, it could have been a general recap of the Live Anywhere service, introduced by Bill Gates at Microsoft's pre-E3 press conference, which Bungie confirmed will extend to Halo 2.
Speaking of Live Anywhere, which aims to unite mobile phones, consoles, and PCs, Bungie does not currently plan to make a mobile phone version of the game. However, gamers will be able to access their Halo achievements info on cell phones.