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Russian free-to-play Halo Online canceled

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Full release is never coming after months of delays

A free-to-play, Windows PC version of Halo exclusively for the Russian market will no longer receive a full release, according to a post on the social media platform VK. Halo Online was originally scheduled to launch sometime this year, but several delays from series publisher Microsoft led to its cancelation outright, a member of the development team wrote.

"Over the past six months, our colleagues from Microsoft failed to make decisions on the future of the project," wrote a staffer known as Fogeyman on the Halo Online VK page. "Now we know only one thing — the current form of the game will not be released."

"The Halo Online closed beta test represented a great opportunity for us to learn how to deliver a great Halo experience to PC players," a spokesperson for Microsoft told Polygon. "We recently concluded the closed beta and are grateful to all the players who participated in Russia. We look forward to applying the beta learnings to future Halo PC experiences."

The social media channel for Halo Online is set to close as a result, and players have until Aug. 30 to redeem any of their in-game rewards. That marks the end of what’s been a long hiatus for the multiplayer shooter, one that came after both an alpha and beta testing phase.

343 Industries, lead developer of the Halo franchise, announced the Halo Online project early last year, launching it in closed beta in April. The game drew from Halo 3, taking the engine from that game and reprogramming it as a multiplayer-only, PC experience.

Although it was only meant for Russian audiences, some stateside players found a way to get into the game themselves. Microsoft kicked out these unauthorized players early into the testing phase, however, including modders who attempted to make Halo Online more widely available.