After the release Halo 2 and RTS title Halo Wars, the Halo titles all but stopped appearing on PC – favoring being a console-only flagship series for the Xbox family.
The last game in the franchise to appear on platforms other than consoles was the twin-stick shooter Spartan Assault, which was decent but not exactly the full-fat Halo experience that people wanted.
However, that pattern looks as though it may change, with the announcement of newcomer Halo Online as a free-to-play, online-only game in the Halo series, which is currently in closed beta.
Halo Online has no campaign – unlike previous Halo releases – but hosts a rough narrative to explain the skirmishes. Set on a secret space installation, Anvil, Spartan-IV recruits train in war exercises to test equipment and technology while honing their skills for combat.
Developed by Saber Interactive (who collaborated on Halo: Master Chief Collection), Innova Systems, and Microsoft, Halo Online appears to be an additional part to the Halo franchise. According to the Halo Waypoint post on the subject, the game is built on a modified Halo 3 engine optimized for smooth performance on lower-end PCs. Further, the post goes on to say that an Xbox One release is unplanned, making it the only PC-exclusive Halo title.
Unfortunately, the game only exists in closed beta, with the closed beta limited to Russia. Further, there is no official launch date or other regions releases planned or announced.
Opinion: The Halo games have never been enormously popular on the PC, compared to other multiplayer shooters, so it isn’t entirely unsurprising that it’s taken so long for more PC-based Halo games to arrive on the platform – and Microsoft has been a little neglectful when it’s come to supporting their flagship gaming franchise on home computers. The fact that there is a new PC-based Halo game at all is surprising, and good news.
The Waypoint post suggests that it would take “region-specific changes” to move the game to new territories doesn’t bode well for release outside of Russian territories. However, given enough fan demand, there’s always the potential that we may see the game released in some form elsewhere.