File this under “What the Hell?”. Halo Online is finally happening and it has nothing to do with the canceled MMORPG of the same name that was in development by Ensemble Studios with a $90 million budget and the intent of competing with World of Warcraft. We all know how that turned out – the Halo MMORPG was canceled in 2007 and Ensemble Studios was closed down in September 2008.
But now Microsoft has announced Halo Online, a free-to-play shooter in development at Saber Interactive, the studio that developed Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary and Halo: The Master Chief Collection, among other less known shooters. Oddly enough, the game is going to enter closed beta in spring as a Russia exclusive, and there are no plans to bring it to other regions. For that to happen, the game “would have to go through region-specific changes to address player expectations.”
Halo Online is powered by a highly modified version of the Halo 3 engine and it is optimized to run smoothly on lower-end PCs. There are no plans to bring the game to Xbox One since it was built specifically for the PC. There’s no campaign mode, so it’s purely a multiplayer shooter “set on a secret UNSC space installation called Anvil, where Spartan-IV soldiers train together in war exercises to sharpen their battle skills and test experimental technology.” Matches will handle 4 to 16 players.
Halo Online is going to be published and operated by Innova Systems, a Moscow-based company that is used to run MMO games.
This is just another game to enter the exquisite group of weird exclusives, where we can find games like Call of Duty Online, Borderlands Online and Monster Hunter Online, all of them exclusive to China. Dragon’s Dogma Online is also apparently an exclusive to the eastern regions.
What do you think of Halo Online and the increasing exclusivity deals to the east?