Microsoft and Halo developer 343 Industries have intervened in the development of a community-made mod for Halo Online, a free-to-play PC game based on Halo 3, over concerns that the project violates Microsoft’s intellectual property.
As 343 Industries says in a post on Halo Waypoint, Halo Online was developed for the Russian market in conjunction with studio Sabre Interactive. The game was put on hold, but “ended up in the wild beyond its intended audience and official scope.” Microsoft issued DMCA takedown notices in an attempt to scrub Halo Online’s unofficial spread across the internet.
The recent release of the ElDewrito mod’s 0.6 update caught the attention of Microsoft — thanks to its popularity with players — and the company similarly clamped down, but with a slightly different tack.
“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,” 343 Industries said. “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.”
Microsoft and 343 Industries contacted the ElDewrito team to “have an open discussion about the project and the admittedly difficult situation we all find ourselves in,” according to the post. The mod team has since “paused” development.
What does this mean for the future of the ElDewrito Halo Online mod?
“To be completely honest, we do not know the answer to this question yet,” ElDewrito team member RabidSquabbit said in their post. “Our conversation with 343 was very brief. Since ElDewrito itself is simply an open source mod and not a Microsoft asset, the mod itself will not be taken down. However, it appears that any Microsoft assets required to play the game (MS23 builds, Full 0.6 game zips, ect [sic]) will likely be taken down by Microsoft. All we know is that have been told to temporarily halt development until more information is available, and we must honor this request. During this time, please do not make threats or harass 343 Industries.”
RabidSquabbit said that the current version of the mod will remain playable. And in more positive news, 343 Industries is taking ElDewrito’s popularity with Halo players as a signal.
“One thing remains clear – the community really wants more Halo on PC,” 343 Industries said. “As we look ahead, we’re very excited about the prospects of an official classic Halo experience making its way to PC and we hope to be able to partner with the ElDewrito team and broader mod and content creation community to help inform the types of experiences and features our fans desire. 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.”
Since the announcement from 343 Industries and the ElDewrito team, Twitch streamers have reported that they’ve been temporarily banned from the streaming service after playing the Halo Online mod during a stream. According to multiple tweets and screenshots of emails posted by Twitch users, Microsoft has issued DMCA takedowns on ElDewrito streams, resulting in 24-hour bans from Twitch.