Coming in from an confidential “developer source” earlier this week, industry insiders claim that Microsoft Studios are making a new decision to release more of their games, as well as other properties, on PC as well as their own Xbox One platform, including new entries into their famed flagship franchise Halo.
Windows 10 Store
Some sources on the topic referred to Windows 10 specifically following the announcement for the release of Halo 5’s Forge map editor on Windows 10, suggesting that any releases of Microsoft-published games will be sold on their Windows Store marketplace. Quantum Break, released earlier this year, as well as the Gears of War: Ultimate Edition re-release are both being sold exclusively on Microsoft’s marketplace.
It is currently unknown if any of the games released will be backwards compatible with older versions of the Windows operating system, albeit it is most likely that there will be no Mac or Linux versions available, given Microsoft’s reputation for exclusivity within the industry, as well as their reluctance for cooperation with other large tech companies and game publishers.
Halo and Personal Computers
Even though the first game in the series, Halo: Combat Evolved was ported to PCs in 2003, following the huge success of the game’s 2001 launch on the original Xbox console. The Halo franchise as a whole has had a very tumultuous relationship with PC gaming. The last Halo game to be released on the PC has been the top-down spin-off Halo: Spartan Assault, which even broke Microsoft’s standard pattern of selling their games only through their own stores. However, the last main-series Halo game that appeared on PCs was Halo 2 Vista in 2007, which was not very successful commercially, presumably because of Windows Vista’s bad reputation.
There was some excitement back in 2013 after rumors spread of products with “Halo” in their titles being spotted in the Steam Database, but so far not much has come from them besides for Spartan Assault, so we can assume that Microsoft has most likely dropped or put on hold any plans they had to re-release older Halo games on Steam.
All in all, if the rumors hold up to be true, many of us would be delighted at the opportunity to play (or replay) both classic and newer Halo games on our PCs, as well as the obvious financial potential that exists for Microsoft to bring one of their most beloved franchises to another gaming market.
It would be wise to wait for an official word from Microsoft before jumping to conclusions at this point, but we have good reason to believe that the rumors will hold up to be true. Josh Holmes, the executive producer of 343 Industries, made this statement after announcing the PC release of the Halo 5 Forge editor, so we can probably expect more information on Halo coming soon.