It's official: Halo is coming to PC and Mac (next summer)

MEDIA ALERT

July 12, 2002

MICROSOFT GAME STUDIOS ANNOUNCES THE DEVELOPMENT OF
“HALO: COMBAT EVOLVED” FOR THE PC AND MAC

Agreements with Gearbox Software and Destineer expand platform options
for best-selling first-person shooter

Microsoft Game Studios announced today development of the PC and Macintosh
versions of the critically acclaimed Xbox* first-person shooter, “Halo*:
Combat Evolved.”

Initially developed for Xbox by Bungie Studios, “Halo: Combat Evolved” is a
science-fiction first-person shooting game that takes place on a mysterious
alien ring-world. The PC adaptation is being developed by Texas-based
Gearbox Software and based on the game’s original concept. Gearbox has a
strong reputation for bringing triple-A gaming franchises to multiple
platforms.

“PC gamers worldwide will soon be able to dig into the addictive gameplay
of ‘Halo,’” said Stuart Moulder, general manager, Microsoft Game Studios.
“By combining the success of ‘Halo’ on Xbox with Gearbox’s proven talent in
the first-person shooter genre, PC gamers are guaranteed a lively and
‘up-all-hours’ single and multiplayer experience on the PC.”

The award-winning “Halo: Combat Evolved” for Xbox earned the distinguished
honor of being the fastest million-unit seller ever for any next-generation
console according to NPDFunworld SM. Statistically, this means that more
than six copies of “Halo: Combat Evolved” were sold every minute of every
day between the launch of Xbox on November 15, 2001 and April 8, 2002.

“We’ve been dying to play Halo online with a PC ever since its spectacular
launch last year,” said Gearbox Software President Randy Pitchford. “The
team at Gearbox has the experience and the talent to not only bring Halo to
the PC, but also to add enhancements that exploit the multiplayer
capabilities that PCs are known for.”

The Macintosh version of “Halo: Combat Evolved” will be developed by
Westlake Interactive and published by Destineer, which has brought other top
Microsoft games to the Macintosh including “Age of Empires* II” and “Links*
Championship Edition.” Development of the Macintosh versions of “Halo” will
occur simultaneously with Gearbox’s development of the PC version.

“Our goal is for Mac and Windows users to battle each other on foot, in
vehicles, and in the air next summer when the best first-person shooter ever
created comes to both Macintosh and Windows,” according to Destineer
President Peter Tamte.

Halo for PC is expected to be available in summer 2003. The Macintosh
version is also expected to be available in 2003. Additional information
regarding game content, features and enhancements will be announced at a
later date.

BAH !

At that point it’ll be a 2yr old port… sorta like playing a port of … an old game. Hope its upgraded!

etc

And no doubt Halo2 will be on the radar screens by that point, and it will be Xbox-only.

Is MS going to publish an interim version of Halo for Xbox Live? Because the problem is that the existing version doesn’t have the necessary software on it; unless MS is planning to make the Halo Xbox-Live software downloadable on the network.

Also, it didn’t say Xbox in the multiplayer paragraph of this press release. Is MS going to balklanize the Halo multiplayer communities? So you can only play Xbox Halo Multiplayer against other Xbox users, and PC and Mac users can only play against PC and Mac users, but there will be no Xbox vs PC vs Mac user games?

In a way, that would make sense if MS wants to herd people toward Xbox Live. Plus, the Xbox Live folks wouldn’t have to worry about non-headset wearing, 56K-modem playing PC gamers crashing their party and ruining their ping.

I noticed that, too. But it’s just a press release. I wouldn’t read too much into it. :)

The more I think about it, the more I think that MS will balkanize the communities…

The basic premise of Xbox Live is that everyone has the same hardware… so you can be sure that you can use the Xbox headset (which eacy player will automatically recieve when they sign up for Xbox Live) to talk to all your teammates in real-time. Also, you know that everyone has a broadband connection, so you don’t have to worry about someone with a modem coming in and seriously screwing up everyone’s pings.

Plus, why bother signing up for Xbox Live if you can just buy the PC versions of all these games? Ooops, why bother buying the Xbox at all then? Well, I bought one to play Halo. Ooops…

You absolutely can not play an Xbox game against any other console or PC.

There will be two online communities for HALO, though everyone is assuming that Microsoft will do a minor rev for HALO on Xbox to include multiplayer, which is by no means certain. It could be that HALO 2 is the first opportunity to play online for Xbox.

Besides that, matching up PC gamers vs. Xbox gamers would be completely unfair. There is no way an Xbox gamer with a gamepad could even hope to keep up with a PC gamer using a keyboard/mouse.

PC vs. Xbox ain’t gonna happen. Ever. With any game.

From the press release posted here:

“Additional information regarding game content, features and enhancements will be announced at a later date.”

As for Halo 2: I’ve got this “save the date” email advisory, which I assume went out to all media, that says -

XBOX MAKING APPEARANCE IN NEW YORK
THURSDAY, AUGUST 8, 2002

In addition to the exciting Xbox Holiday line-up and Xbox
Live demonstrations, get a sneak peak at games in development for release in 2003 and be the first to hear about new partnerships and some highly anticipated sequels that everyone will be talking about (yes, THAT sequel).

Which I assume is talking about Halo 2. MS revealed at E3 that Halo 2 is definitely in development with an Xmas 2003 target date and lots of online involved. It’s exclusivity to Xbox is in question, but I assume that if it does make it to PC and Mac will depend on the success of the port of Halo 1, and even then, it’ll be Xbox only for at least a year again.

You cannot play Halo online. The best you can do is cobble your Xbox up to your PC and run a progam that, like the Kali of old, tricks your 'net connection to look like a LAN.

There will be no “update” to the existing Halo to let it play online with Xbox Live. The hooks aren’t in there for the game to even know how to look for additional content.

Microsoft has also confirmed that they are NOT producing a new version of Halo that will include online multiplayer through Xbox Live. They’re not going to waste their time with it, and instead will go with Halo 2. Halo 2 will have big-time online.

And as Adam said, no game will ever let PC and Xbox play together. Xbox Live’s network is going to remain closed off completely for compatiblity and security reasons, at the very least.

Adam has it right. You can’t mix console FPSs with PC shooters. The PC players will destroy the console players. Halo on the PC will be a faster game because of the configuration. It won’t simply be a port as that would make a terrible PC game. Personally, I am REALLY looking forward to finally playing Halo. I don’t play FPSs on my consoles as I can’t stand it after playing PC shooters. So I want to see what Halo is all about.

I had that same problem… until I tried Halo.

Believe me, somehow Bungie came up with a control scheme that not only works brilliantly, but it feels natural too. I could never play a console FPS game, I tried and failed miserably, but then I played Halo and it just blew me away. Yes, a keyboard/mouse combo would allow a lot more “twitchier” movements, such as quick snap shots at targets of opportunity, but the gamepad setup for Halo still friggin’ rocks.

I only have two games for my Xbox still, and Halo is the one I keep playing. Seriously the best action game since Half-Life, and I say it blows Half-Life’s doors away. Halo manages to keep Half-Life’s creepy atmosphere and it builds on it with non-stop combat gameplay that just never gets boring. The sheer combination of the physics, AI, weapons, and aliens make it an insanely fun experience. You can play the same battle 10 times and it will unfold 10 completely different ways.

Just played a game an hour ago with my brother, we were in the Library trying to get to the Index and all of a sudden a rocket flies past my head, missing me by a couple of inches and leaving my head in smoke. I screamed at my brother (who had a rocket launcher) and asked him if that was him, and he screamed No and popped a rocket at the guilty alien on the far side of the room. Meanwhile I used my assault rifle to keep him clear. It was insane.

I only have two games for my Xbox still, and Halo is the one I keep playing. Seriously the best action game since Half-Life, and I say it blows Half-Life’s doors away. Halo manages to keep Half-Life’s creepy atmosphere and it builds on it with non-stop combat gameplay that just never gets boring. The sheer combination of the physics, AI, weapons, and aliens make it an insanely fun experience. You can play the same battle 10 times and it will unfold 10 completely different ways.

Halo is a great game, but I disagree: it definitely gets boring. Or at least repetitive.

There were times in Halo when I was having an absolute blast, particularly with the vehicles in co-op-- but at the end, I had mixed feelings about the overall experience. Granted, my expectations were sky-high due to all the hype. Halo has only two things that make it unique, as I see it.

First, the triggers for instant grenade throws, making grenades far more relevant. I didn’t pay enough attention to this because it felt so intuitive during gameplay, you hardly notice it. But you’ll be throwing more 'nades in this game than you ever have in all the other FPS games you’ve played, combined.

Second, of course, the vehicles. Best vehicle implementation in any FPS to date, hands down. That is the number one reason to play this game. Halo is a solid FPS game by itself, but add the vehicles and there are definitely moments of brilliance.

In retrospect, Halo needs more: more weapons, more varied environments, more enemies, more use of vehicles. And dare I say: it felt rushed to me? The stuff Halo lacked is just your run of the mill CONTENT, not engine rewrites. Content is the first thing to get cut in a title with a deadline. Remember how Serious Sam was supposed to be 3x larger?

After the 5,232nd pass through “Generic Corridor #5”, while picking up the same weapons, and seeing the same enemies… it’s still fun, but the game definitely loses its edge without variety. Halo is quite good, but Goldeneye can rest easy on its throne of best console FPS ever.

Wumpus,

I don’t think I’ve played an FPS that didn’t get boring at some point. Even the best ones fall prey to it. The limitations of the form, I suppose.

Peter

I don’t think I’ve played an FPS that didn’t get boring at some point. Even the best ones fall prey to it. The limitations of the form, I suppose.

I don’t remember ever being bored in Half-Life. Or Doom, for that matter. The first Doom anyway. I don’t play games that bore me. If I wanted to be bored, I’d just… I dunno, go to work, or something.

Halo has a good half-dozen stretches that are… essentially filler. And LONG stretches, not just little detours. I don’t work for Bungie, so I have no idea what’s going on over there… but I’d swear they just ran out of time to flesh those areas out. I’m thinking of the interminable lookalike corridor crawl sections. If you played Halo, you know what I’m talking about. I don’t think, like Penny-Arcade does, that this stuff ruins Halo. The brilliant parts made it worth suffering through the tedious parts. But truly great games don’t have tedium.

As complaints go, mine is a relatively mild one. And it bodes exceptionally well for the sequel, don’t you think? Just slap in more content-- lock and load. And for God’s sake, more vehicles. More more more. Absolutely, unequivocally the best part of Halo. And for the marketing folks in the crowd: think GTA3 in space. That should perk up some ears.

Weird, one of the testimonials for Xbox Live at E3 was by Bungie’s Jason Jones, who specifically stated that they’re finally going to get to do what they always wanted to with Halo - make it a great online multiplayer experience. All indications were that they were going to get Halo into the Xbox Live service somehow.

Maybe they will add all those extras you want on the PC version. I hope so. I have heard other people complain of repetitive gameplay in Halo. If they just tweak it a bit though and add some content they could easily make the PC version better. I wouldn’t be surprised if Halo was released a bit early to help sell the XBox, and it did help, though not enough I think. I won’t buy the console to play two games, but I might within the next 6 months or so as some of these newer games come out. Then I will certainly get Halo and give it a try. It’s still a good ways off for the PC, and could still be delayed further.

Halo would be the most popular game on earth if they just added old ladies and hookers wandering around the levels, ready to be beaten up, run over, or shot.

That, and add a baseball bat to the weapon selection.

First, the triggers for instant grenade throws, making grenades far more relevant. I didn’t pay enough attention to this because it felt so intuitive during gameplay, you hardly notice it. But you’ll be throwing more 'nades in this game than you ever have in all the other FPS games you’ve played, combined.

Do you mean for console FPS games? Because I learned quick to map grenades to the third mouse button for games like TFC after all those engineers emp’ed my ass.

Of course now in AA they want to make it “realistic” and not allow me to prime and throw a grenade while actively shooting an M16. Damn Army, trying to tell me what to do!

And while I found the console controls for Halo to be as good as they could be for a console, and still pretty good, I couldn’t help but think any PC gamer (in an alternate future where pcs play against consoles and nothing is as it seems) would win handily in the control department.