Halo Fan Game for PC Seeks to Recapture the Series' "Classic Gameplay Style"
Microsoft hasn't yet commented on the project.
A group of fans are creating a new Halo game from scratch that seeks to be "an artistic tribute" to the series.
Installation 01 is a PC project being built by more than 30 Halo fans. The team behind it has showcased some of its work in a newly released video, which takes the form of a Bungie-style ViDoc. It's comprised of behind-the-scenes work and gameplay, providing a look at some of its weapons, levels, and a warthog.
"Our goal is to bring a unique Halo multiplayer experience to Windows, Mac, and Linux," the video description states. "We hope to combine the best elements from each Halo game, but will be focusing on the more classic gameplay style." That means things are being designed without sprint, thrusters, and other more recent additions to the series in mind. Those things will, however, be options for custom games.
The description describes Installation 01 as a "100% free Halo fan game" that it insists is "completely legal." It adds, "We are carefully following the rules set forth in Microsoft's Game Content Usage Rules. No content in our game has been 'ripped;' it's all handmade by our team."
The rules it's referencing stipulate that fans can "create derivative works based upon game content" from a variety of Microsoft-owned games (such as the first three Halo games). Among the restrictions are rules that you can't reverse engineer games to obtain their assets or profit in any way (that includes soliciting donations). You also may not be able to use soundtracks or sound effects. That's likely why the developers are careful to note Installation 01 has been built from scratch.
The rules note that these creations have to be for "noncommercial and personal use," describing possibilities as machinima, videos, and "other cool things." They don't specifically talk about building an actual, playable game (free or not), so it's possible Microsoft could take issue with the project. The rules note Microsoft "can revoke this limited use license at any time and for any reason."
Given the history of fan projects being shut down through direct cease-and-desists or DMCA takedown notices (see: Pokemon Uranium, Project AM2R), there's obviously some concern about that fate befalling Installation 01. Rock, Paper, Shotgun spoke with netcode lead Aiden Leeming about the prospect, and he said the Installation 01 team is hoping to get in touch with Microsoft.
"Well, we're fairly sure that we're covered by [the rules] as we're sticking well within them... we're creating all of our own assets and not making a single penny off the game," he said. "However we're currently trying to get some sort of contact with Microsoft to talk about how we can make sure we don't get shut down."
We've contacted Microsoft for comment regarding the project and will report back with anything we learn.
Installation 01 is not yet available for download, but you can follow along with its progress on its official website. You can also check out some photos of in-game assets and concept art in the gallery above, and see more here.
Microsoft, for its part, hasn't offered many Halo games on computer. The last core entry to launch on PC was Halo 2 in 2007, and that was three years after its Xbox release. More recently, it launched Halo Online, a free-to-play entry for Russia, and offered Halo 5's Forge tools on PC. The company's recent PC games will reportedly see future Halo games come to PC, but Microsoft hasn't announced any specific plans.