Project Contingency Is A Fan-Made Halo Game

By John Walker on August 1st, 2013 at 1:00 pm.

“Halo” is a word we just don’t use on RPS. The last time it was tagged in a post was in 2009, and that was TF2. To find a time it was related to the game series you have to go back five years to 2008, and then it was to say that a cancelled, unannounced project was to have been a Halo MMO. In fact, we’ve never posted about a released Halo game, even if Kieron did post about a comic once. Which is to say, since 2004′s Halo 2, Microsoft has made sure the series has had nothing to do with the PC. That’s something a group of fans are now putting right, with Project Contingency.

As spotted by Kotaku, Project Contingency already has about 20 developers working on it. But they’re after more. They say that they’ve released a very early work-in-progress trailer to try to lure more developers on board.

Slightly confusing is a conflict of information as to how much of Halo itself they’re borrowing. The trailer begins saying that Halo assets are used under Microsoft’s “Game Content Usage Rules”, while their FAQ states, “All game assets are being made from scratch.” It’s relevant nitpicking, as you have to assume that Microsoft are already working out how to stamp this out of existence. The team have stated that it will be entirely free, and aren’t accepting donations, which gives them some leverage, but just writing “Halo” on their webpage seems likely to cause trouble.

Built in CryEngine 3, the tech demo looks pretty enough. But obviously this is very early on, and they’re avoiding discussions of a release date. But hopefully they’ll be able to see this one through. If anything, they’ll demonstrate to the goons at Microsoft that PC players are interested in buying their products, if only they’d let them.

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39 Comments »

  1. yhalothar says:

    Why would we buy Halo, though? The PC has had more than its fair share of mediocre first person shooters.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      The first halo was brilliant. The second was too, until they stopped you fighting the elites. ODST was strange and great also.

      • Deathmaster says:

        It was only ‘brilliant’ for console standards. PC has had tons of shooters surpassing any installment of Halo.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          While blueshift was also brilliant, I’m failing to see any other PC FPS’ that year which were anywhere near as good in the style that Halo is – RtCW was uninspired, AvP2 was good, but the feel of the weapons was insipid. I can’t think of any other really great FPS’ released that year in the same style – there was an old style rainbow six, operation flashpoint, tribes 2 which were all brilliant but entirely different in style.

          The genius of halo was the AI of the elites, that you were on an equal footing with them equipment wise and they fought well, the recharging shield, possibly the only time recharging health has made a game better, the imagination of the world was fantastic, the giant battles, the vehicles and the physics engine – did anyone else manage to get a warthog all the way down to the cartographer?

          For me, halo was a breath of fresh air in the genre.

          • Jenks says:

            It’s not on the PC or was ported to the PC late so we have to pretend it’s mediocre. In no way does that automatically flag us as butthurt tools.

            Halo is probably my second favorite multiplayer shooter of all time, behind Quake. It’s also probably my second favorite shooter campaign, behind Half Life. Besides the repetitive level design in the middle sections of the game, It was nearly perfect. I would be amazed to hear someone say with a straight face and without an elitist agenda that other than Half Life, there was a better FPS campaign as of 2001.

          • Devan says:

            I actually have Halo PC installed on my current gaming rig just because I liked it so much. After NOLF, it was the second shooter that I really got into and had a very strong presence in my early gaming years. I couldn’t say the same for Halo 2, and these days I’m not at all interested in the franchise, but that first game was magic and the Gearbox port was well done.

        • Dowr says:

          Firing water guns at purple blooded aliens isn’t fun.

          • misterT0AST says:

            As we all know, some things just “aren’t fun” objectively, it’s not like different people like different things.

          • Shodex says:

            How superficial you are, that the colour of the enemies blood and the design of your gun will off put you from playing a very well made shooter.

        • Moraven says:

          I found it as a good mix of CS/UT. I never got the obsession when it was just Halo. But I got Halo 2 on release and it was good fun online. I have not played anything quite the same on PC.

        • derbefrier says:

          no it was brilliant by any standard at the time it was released. Your prejudice is just blinding you to that.
          I was a PC gamer at the time and didn’t even own a console. I played tons of counter strike TFC etc… The first time I played halo I didn’t like it, i’ll admit but it was only because I didn’t have a mouse and keyboard to play it with. Once I got used to playing with a controller I fell in love. I loved the campaign and I cant even tell you how many nights me and a bunch of friends played system link death matches until the sun came up. It was a brilliant game and brought its own flavor to the FPS genre even today there is nothing else quite like it out there.

      • Prime says:

        The first Halo was interesting, but very far from brilliant. An exercise in simplistic combat and tedious, padded level design that delivered far short of what PC owners had been hyped to expect. Microsoft’s unvarnished contempt for our platform prevented me from trying any others. That it became as huge a phenomenon as it did has constantly baffled me.

        • HermitUK says:

          As with most FPS games, the multiplayer. Very little else on the XBox at the time, and the multiplayer is very good fun to boot. Not as polished as UT2004 was, but I still put a good number of hours into MP on the PC, back in the day.

        • Reapy says:

          Halo baffled me as well, because as a long time pc gamer at that time I had all the same observations as you, yet for some reason could not put the god damn game down, it was pure fun to play. I think it was just a nice use of enemy ai, weapon design, and great feeling physics.

          For a lot of other people, it was their forst exposure to a fps, their first taste of steering one like PC gamers had been for a while, and the game they played in dorms all over their school. It proved fps works on consoles and set a standard there as well.

          For all it’s bland level design and offering of nothing new, it still is a very significant game for a lot of reasons.

          • SuicideKing says:

            I can agree with this. It wasn’t my first FPS (which was Quake II) but after growing up it was…and it was a ton of fun, and i still play it today.

          • JavJav says:

            To say that despite all the aforementioned flaws, Halo still went on to be as successful as it was is saying a lot already. It even had a small but steady cult following on the PC version for a long while (a whole lot longer than the shelf life of it’s console counterpart).

            Halo CE had, above all, great Game Feel. And it’s saying a lot that there is a consensus on that the sequel lost much of that original game feel to the point most of the following entries can be traced as a long and dreary effort to bring back the original’s freshness, with varying results.

            Halo did a lot for manshoots when there were still plenty of things to say about the genre. Through modern eyes it certainly feels passe, but it’s still iconic through the echoes of how much it stuck in everyone’s mind’s during that first romp into the gaming world.

          • SuicideKing says:

            Not to mention that Halo CE probably had the tightest control scheme of any FPS i’ve played post 2000.

          • drewski says:

            It’s only bland in the Library. The outdoor levels are anything but bland.

    • jonahcutter says:

      I played the hell out of Halo on pc. The SP levels could get annoyingly repetitive. But the enemy AI was a standout for the time. Still is compared to some current games.

      The MP was just pure fun. Smooth controls. Great vehicle design. Satisfying physics. Simple, balanced weapon design. Health packs/shield regen combo system is a good medium. And slightly slower pace made it not completely punishing for the less skilled. It was an excellent, approachable package.

    • gunny1993 says:

      I’d buy Halo 3 on PC for sure, i mean that game has the highest number of replayable levels that i’ve ever seen and the multiplayer is more fun than UT2004 as far as i’m concerned and no super anoying competitive like all other fps online play.

      Sure it’s story and characters are stereotypical, the combat easy and not exactly groundbreaking … but it’s not trying to be (well halo 4 is, and lol at that)

      Halo 4 however was shite … the series is dead… let it lie.

      • Baines says:

        Halo ended with Bungie. What Microsoft is releasing these days is itself just a fan game spin-off, with a fanfic storyline and made by dev groups that may or may not be in over their heads.

      • drewski says:

        Halo 4′s better than any of the Bungie Halo’s except for Reach, frankly.

        Mostly because it doesn’t have the [expletive deleted] Flood.

      • Deadly Sinner says:

        I liked the Halo 3 campaign, but the multiplayer was fantastic. I played it so much on my roommate’s Xbox. There was just a wonderful variety of game modes and ways to play. The ability to set up custom games where you could fiddle with a bunch of different settings was great. And it was one of the very few games to do matchmaking well. The number next to your name symbolized your skill, not the amount of time you have played, and that was what you were matched based on.

  2. HermitUK says:

    MS’s Game Content Usage Rules are a bunch of rules that govern fan creations (comics and the like). This sort of project could probably fit under those rules, though lawyers could still choose to crack down if they decided this was likely to harm sales (MS wouldn’t want to lose all that potential Halo 2 PC revenue, after all)

  3. Gap Gen says:

    The flash back and forth at the end seems a little comedic. But sure, as with all these projects it’s worth waiting until they have some gameplay to show. Otherwise it’s just a fancy tech demo.

    • Ernesto25 says:

      Or dear esther zing!

      • Gap Gen says:

        “Dear John 343. I sometimes feel as if I’ve given birth to this ringworld. Somewhere, between the galactic latitude and galactic longitude, a split opened up and it became tidally locked here. No matter how hard I correlate, it remains a singularity, an alpha point in my life that refuses all hypothesis. I return each time leaving fresh nav beacons that I hope, in the full glare of my hopelessness, will have blossomed into fresh insight in the interim.”

        OK so I had to change that depressingly little.

        • Ostymandias says:

          Have you actually read the Halo backlore, all the terminal and ARG-things? It’s exactly like that

          I mean exactly.

          • Upper Class Twit says:

            I dunno, I always kind of liked Halo’s wierdo sci-fi poetry crap. Its dumb, for sure, but at least it sets it apart. No other game, or movie, that I can think of, has spaceships with names like Forward Unto Dawn, or In Amber Clad.

  4. tnzk says:

    What are ‘console standards’, and to which particular titles do we apply them? There was nothing gimped about Halo: CE back in 2001. In fact, it was downright a thing of envy for it to be released on Xbox and not on the PC. The only other PC title in that year to rival it in scope was Operation Flashpoint, and in hindsight, it took 3 years for the PC to show its still king with Half-Life 2. No, I have not forgotten about NOLF 2, but you guys forgot about Unreal II: The Awakening. I suppose there’s CoD. Anyway, Halo: CE is always the butt of a joke when it comes to PC gaming, but without any reason or rationality. It was as good as FPSes were getting.

    In all honesty though, the only major PC FPS in recent memory to delineate the notion of ‘console standards’ was Crysis in 2007. It could not be replicated as it was on the 360 or PS3. Even HL2 didn’t need to compromise too much for the original Xbox, except graphics.

    All this only highlights to show that the FPS genre as a whole really hasn’t evolved in any meaningful way since the early 2000s, and the ones we allegedly enjoy are the multiplatform releases (Bioshock, Borderlands 2, Far Cry 3 etc).

    There will be a revolutionary FPS sometime in the future, however, and it will be a PC exclusive, at least for a long time. No, it will not be Half-Life 3. It’ll be like if Carmarck and Romero were in the same room making the same game. It’s only a matter of time.

    • Henke says:

      Whenever someone disparages console FPS’s as being only “good by console standards” you can pretty much translate it to “I suck at using a gamepad to play FPS’s, therefore console-FPS’s suck”.

      • Ernesto25 says:

        No i wouldn’t say that as auto aim is a big feature in console fps so i find it hard to suck at them. It’s like saying people find it hard to ride there bike with training wheels soem fps games don’t work well on consoles imo. Just like how i wouldn’t be too thrilled playing super meat boy or limbo with a mouse + kb

    • Ernesto25 says:

      What about swat and brothers in arms? FEAR 1 should have pushed fps AI to new heights but it didn’t. As much as i hate to say it the future of fps will probably be more about MP than SP.

    • Kaira- says:

      Yeah, Halo was pretty tops, and I think it still holds up rather well (except for the tedious space ship levels in the middle). That’s why it’s one of the few FPS games I’ve ever got around playing through on the hardest difficulty.

    • WoundedBum says:

      I agree with these things that you have said. I remember playing it with a friend back on the Xbox, and I was still a reasonably big PC Gamer back then, and driving around the pretty large open levels in the Warthog, or one of us zooming around in a Ghost while the other is in a dogfight in a Banshee just wasn’t really like anything else I’d experienced back then. I get that there were good FPS’ out too, but even so, it was a fresh and quite interesting game.

  5. subedii says:

    I think the general angst surrounding Halo has more to do with its reception. Which personally I thought was kind of ridiculous. Game was overhyped to the nth degree.

    I liked Halo, it was a good game. The problem was that being the first decent console FPS since Goldeneye suddenly elevated it to mythical status where all of a sudden everyone in the gaming press was touting it as a masterpiece, the pinnacle of gaming and a true gaming revolution when it was just, you know, a very good game. I think a big part of that was also simply the fact that it was the XBox’s Killer App.

    It was a good game, but nowhere near the revelation it was touted to be. I played it and I just remember thinking how much more fun the AI soldiers in Half-Life were. Still dug the sci-fi setting and stuff though.

    Also, whoever made “The Library” needs to be sent to the back of the class. Seriously.

    • Master Realtor Marklew says:

      ” first decent console FPS since Goldeneye”: Perfect Dark

      But I pretty much agree with the rest. It’s good, just not as much as it was painted as.
      Bet Microsoft will try to shutdown Project Contingency anyways…

  6. Baines says:

    I assume that they are citing the Game Content Usage Rules simply to make a Halo fan game at all, and not from using actual models or the like. It is debatable whether or not this is a valid use of the Usage Rules, which were made to cover stuff like machinima and videos, not fan games. But the distinction really doesn’t even matter, because by agreeing to the rules you also agree that Microsoft can revoke your usage rights at any time for any reason.

    One of said conditions of using the rules is that you have to include that specific disclaimer text. Project Contingency is actually violating the rules already, though, because another condition is that they also have to provide a link to the official rules page, which isn’t present in the video.

  7. cowardly says:

    But… I thought this site had been around since 1873! You mean you wer lying to me?

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