Halo Online has leaked and modders are working to make it playable all over the world.
Halo Online is a free-to-play PC multiplayer shooter based on Halo 3 and currently announced for Russian release only.
An early Halo Online build leaked within days of the project going public, and in the interim a group of modders called El Dorito has been working to make the game accessible to everyone.
Speaking with TorrentFreak, members of the modding group said their intent is to use the game's files to bring Halo 3 to PC players, without the free-to-play modifications Saber and Innova have bolted on to adapt the shooter for its intended market.
“The game was going to be free in the first place. The PC audience has been screaming for Halo 3 for years and years, and we saw the chance with this leak," a modder by the name of Neoshadow42 said.
"The PC audience has been screaming for Halo 3 for years and years, and we saw the chance with this leak. The closest thing to a Halo 3 experience as possible, but on PC. If we can manage that, I’ll be more than happy.”
"The fact that we could, in theory, bring the game that everyone wants, without the added on stuff that would ruin the game, that’s something we’d be proud of.”
By "stuff that would ruin the game", the team seems to mean microtransaction content that "would appear at first glance to have pay-to-win potential", according to another member called Woovie.
Microsoft has issued a DCMA takedown on the modders' work so far, but Woovie said the team won't be stopped by Github's forced removal of the files.
“In terms of DMCA/C&D mitigation, we have made redundant git backups on private and public git servers. This is to ensure we will always have one working copy," they said.
"These are being synchronized so that data is always the same. Further DMCAs may happen potentially, it’s not really known at the moment. Our backups will always exist though and we will continue until we’re happy.”
Neoshadow42 doesn't believe the team is doing anything morally wrong in bringing a free game to people who want to play it.
“I don’t particularly see this as damaging, as some people have said. I don’t believe it for a moment, honestly. We’re working to improve people’s experience, bring it to those who wouldn’t have been able to play it anyway. I’d see that as a noble cause," they said.
“This whole project would be completely different in an ethical way if we had taken a paid game and reversed it for everyone to access for free.
“At the end of the day, El Dorito aims to deliver exactly what everyone wants. The closest thing to a Halo 3 experience as possible, but on PC. If we can manage that, I’ll be more than happy.”