Halo: Micro-Transaction Wars

A Halo game is coming to PC! And it’s a handsome-looking top-down shooter called Halo: Spartan Assault. Excitingly it’s ah… ahaha. Oh, no, haha… Oh dear. Touch controls and micro-transactions, is it?

I’m not sure how to say this with a straight face, so I’ll just type it: It’s a Windows 8 exclusive. Microsoft made a game for Windows. But the other Windows. The one for phones and stuff. It’ll still work on your desktop, but… Oof, I suppose I shouldn’t laugh. There’s a trailer, ever so inevitably, below.

Thanks, VG247!

Yes, those are tablets flying through space. The game looks quite nice, I suppose. It’s being developed by Vanguard Games and 343 Industries (Vanguard made the excellent Gatling Gears and Greed Corp). It’s going to have weekly online events, and a shop for microtransactions, despite the game costing $7 to begin with. Hmm.


  1. Insidious Rex says:

    Don’t worry! They’re adding controller support after release!!!

    • P4p3Rc1iP says:

      Fear not! It’s also playable with mouse and keyboard!

      • karry says:

        Worry not, it will be cracked for Win7 10 hours after release.

        • Corb says:

          Don’t you mean 2 months before release?

          • P4p3Rc1iP says:


            It’s out in like 2 months!

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        • Apocalypse says:

          If it is what I think it is:
          No it won´t, no one will bother with converting the metro frame work for older versions of windows.

          If it is what I think it is, the word exclusive is also wrong. “Minimal requirements windows 8” would be more fitting. Windows 8 should run the game than just fine, at least if they do not kick out the whole metro support out of the next windows incarnation.

          • SuicideKing says:

            Since it’s now on Steam, you can see how funny this comment is to me.

      • povu says:

        That’s the sort of feature that should be advertised at the top of the store page.

    • pupsikaso says:

      It’s funny how the indie Win8 exclusive Skulls of the Shogun didn’t get this kind of scorn for being a Win8 exclusive.
      Am I sensing some bias here or am I sensing some bias?

      • karry says:

        What ? Oh, you mean that game that…honestly i have no idea, nobody covered it, and i dont believe anyone actually played it.

      • darkChozo says:

        Wasn’t that the game that was basically only mentioned because it was W8 exclusive, and produced comments sections full of predictably disdainful harrumphing?

        • derbefrier says:

          no it was the one everyone fawned over until it was announced as a win8 exclusive and then we all forgot it existed.

      • pupsikaso says:

        No, I’m saying that there were several articles here on RPS about it. Announcements, interviews, release trailers. Yet none of the authors of these articles ever scorned it for being Win8 exclusive so openly as Jim has done here with this Halo game.

        • Discopanda says:

          Skulls of the Shogun was made by a small indie team and published by Microsoft. They apparently had little choice in what platforms to release their game on. I think they deserve a lot of pity, but not scorn.

          We have plenty of room to scorn Microsoft, though! SCORN AWAY, RPS!

        • ShrikeMalakim says:

          You and I read different Rock Paper Shotgun, then. Two articles *solely* about the Win8 exclusivity of Skulls of the Shogun, in which Alec expressed disappointment and concern:

          link to rockpapershotgun.com
          link to rockpapershotgun.com

          No, he wasn’t as disdainful as Jim is being here, but he went into a lot more detail about why, and this was much earlier in the timeline of the Windows 8 debacle.

          • TsunamiWombat says:

            This. I recall quite a BIT of scorn for being Windows 8 Exclusive, and then lamentation because it was actually decently fun and doomed to die a horrible death of starvation on a platform no one has or wants.

      • LegendaryTeeth says:

        I think it’s perhaps a bit different because this is the SECOND time Microsoft has tried to use Halo to push an otherwise undesirable operating system. Halo 1 was a great PC game, if you remember, and Halo 2 was… Well, it required Vista.

        • Slurpy says:

          Yeah, but Halo 2 require Vista three years after we’d bored of it on the Xbox. Now they’re “innovating” by pushing a game that no one cares about when it’s new instead of when it’s old.

        • Hmm-Hmm. says:

          I still have a difficult time recalling that Halo 2 actually exists for windows.

  2. RedViv says:

    As with the news about PvZ2, I can only plant my face firmly in my hand. Then realise that this is not enough, and instead crash my forehead on the desk.
    Meanwhile, MS has Lionhead make an HD remake of the only “well okay I guess it’s sort of good” Fable game. But play it quick, before they abandon any possible support to completely focus on a console that you will not be able to play this on.

  3. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    Well, given how Halo 2’s Vista exclusivity helped both Halo and Vista cement their unquestioned dominance in the PC gaming space, I fully understand why they’re repeating it.

    • RedViv says:

      It certainly did prove that The People did not want a Halo game, or a shooter, or a DX10 game. Otherwise it surely would have had to be an immense success!

    • pupsikaso says:

      I understand that you may be living in an alternative-reality UK where time is still stuck in the 19th century, but prey tell in which universe did Vista ever have an unquestioned dominance in the PC gaming space?

      If I recall correctly all the Valve hardware surveys of our universe, XP continued to reign supreme until some years after the introduction of Win7, and Vista was always just a blip on the charts.

      • anark10n says:

        That was satire, dude

        • lordcooper says:

          Pupsikaso may be living in an alternative-reality UK where satire and sarcasm were never invented.

          • Blackseraph says:

            That is quite sad, i feel sadness and sorrow for their reality.

          • MacTheGeek says:

            That would be a UK without Swift, Orwell, Monty Python, or Tony Blair. I don’t think anyone would recognize it. Or even recognise it.

          • The Random One says:

            Swift does exist, but, like Machiavelli, his satire was considered to be sincere. In that alternate UK the word ‘swift’ means ‘cartoonishly evil’.

          • TsunamiWombat says:

            That would be England without SHAKESPEARE or OSCAR WILDE. Why in the world are you naming modern nobodies.

    • Caiman says:

      What’s also funny is that someone at Microsoft still believes Halo is a killer app.

      • The Random One says:

        And that someone at Microsoft is enforcing using ‘app’ for ‘executable’ and pretty sure it’s both working and making a difference.

  4. aymanpg says:

    I hate MS so very very very much

    • Rich says:

      That’s good, because apparently they hate you too.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Yeah! People need their myelin sheaths! What a dick illness.

      • TsunamiWombat says:

        Ever watched Lorenzo’s Oil? ALD is even rougher stuff than MS.

  5. SominiTheCommenter says:

    And It’s on steam apparently:
    link to rockpapershotgun.com!

  6. Revolving Ocelot says:

    Make it W8 only, watch as sales are “unexpectedly” low, use it as justification for why games shouldn’t be made for PC. Excellent.

    • derella says:

      This is exactly what will happen.

    • Phantom_Renegade says:

      That’s pretty much the reason why Ubisofts screws pc gamers over and over, filling it with restrictive DRM etc.

      • Jimbo says:

        Because companies need to justify not making something.

      • qwagor says:

        Truth be told, Ubisoft did a 180 on their PC malpractices quite some time ago.

        • MacTheGeek says:

          Ubisoft has done multiple 180s on their use of restrictive DRM. Their DRM policy seems to depend on whether or not the coin landed ‘heads’ or ‘tails’.

          If they release Watch Dogs with nothing more than Steam DRM, I’ll be stunned.

          • qwagor says:

            Oh, Ubisoft , you fickle mistress… CoJ Gunslinger is Steam only, so anything is possible.

  7. xGryfter says:

    Gatling Gears was a very cool game so hopefully all 23 people with Win 8 devices will enjoy this just as much.

    • TormDK says:

      Just a shy bit over 12.5% of Steam’s install user base is using Windows 8.

      Not half bad. If the growth continues the next two months, then it’ll surpass the combined userbase of Windows XP and Windows Vista. (Just about 15%) : link to store.steampowered.com

      Given that Steam has a bit over 40 million active accounts (Meaning accounts that log in at least once a month), you’re looking at about 5 million potential customers.

      I’d say this game earned it’s own cost in if it sells ~75K copies, which I could see happening. 7 dollars is peanuts.

      • tobecooper says:

        Still, the survey is completely optional, so I doubt anywhere close to 40 million users participated in it.

        (Though I do agree with your main point, the survey shows a significant amount of users of W8, and Valve isn’t going to just ignore that. So I wouldn’t be surprised if Halo: Spartaaa showed up on Steam.)

      • karry says:

        “Just a shy bit over 12.5% of Steam’s install user base is using Windows 8.”

        Not “install user base”, but users that took participation in the survey. So please stop saying things based on Steam SURVEY that is not mandatory, will ya love ? Thanks.

        • Koozer says:

          Psst, Mr. Representative Sample wants a word.

          • karry says:

            I do believe his real name is Mr. Disguised Liar.

          • aepervius says:

            Representative sample are done in a very specific manner, you select among the population using criteria which you know will match your general population. A self selected survey is seldom a representative sample. So. Yeah. The parents post are right to scorn it.

          • darkChozo says:

            While that’s valid, discarding the Steam survey out-of-hand is a bit silly. Approach with caution (which is secret code for “realize that these statistics apply to a self-selected and self-reporting population and may or may not be valid when applied to the full PC gaming population”), sure, but don’t throw out a data set just because it probably wouldn’t float in a thesis defense.

          • The Random One says:

            That might mean there are actually more Steam users on Windows 8, because if you were using Windows 8, would you really want anyone to know?

        • mondomau says:

          I bet that sounded really cool and witty in your head.

      • fish99 says:

        How many of those people had Win8 forced on them when they bought a new desktop or laptop? Probably most.

  8. Paul says:

    ms is so clueless it is almost amusing

  9. barelyhomosapien says:

    Snrk! No wait, I ca- PFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA… Okay okay I can, I can make a s-s-serious commen- BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAA!

  10. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    It looks like you’re attacking an enemy stronghold.

    Would you like some help?

    (O) Pay for air support
    (O) Pay for reinforcements
    (O) Die alone and unloved

  11. jonahcutter says:

    What could be fun, is made not fun.

  12. FreshwaterAU says:


  13. DiamondDog says:

    “Explore a mysterious world.”

    The Metro UI?

    • Daryl says:

      I did laugh out loud at this comment.

      • Corb says:

        sssshhhhh if we use that term Microsoft could get sued and then sue us for getting them sued.

    • Tuor says:

      Marketing Drone: So… we tell everyone it’s a game, but actually its a tutorial for the Metro UI.

      Everyone at meeting: Brilliant!

      • Slurpy says:

        You forgot the part where someone realizes they are charging people for the tutorial.

  14. Seafort says:

    If only this was April 1st…

    This is getting beyond a joke and I hope someone at MS finds this amusing or it looks like they are going to troll PC gamers for the foreseeable future.

    Why can’t someone who creates games or has any influence over games we play actually have an interest in playing those games and has a clue what they are doing and talking about. I mean we got all these “suits” who couldn’t give a crap about the games and are only interested in the money they can nickel n dime out of us.

    If this is what MS thinks supporting PC gaming is then they have one hell of a rude awakening ahead of them. Their console is already getting the most bad press I’ve ever seen in my entire life. I don’t think MS gaming future will be smooth sailing…

    • Trithne says:

      They’re not supporting PC gaming and they’re not trying to support PC gaming. They’re supporting Surface gaming. And WinPhone. Note how everything shown was a tablet. This is to push the Surface, to try and fight the iPad. PC doesn’t enter into it.

      These things are not aimed at us, long-term die-hard PC gamers who’ve shed many a drop of blood on the jagged edge of a case. These are aimed at millenials, the new upcoming generation who don’t want to deal with the technical details. Who want their media stuff all there and following them around. Gaming’s not about appealing to the PC users, it’s about appealing to Joe iPad. So they’ll do fine.

      • Corb says:

        They’ll do fine only if people start buying windows 8 and their tablets….which probably won’t happen for another 2 years or until windows 8.5(oops we did the Vista/7 dance again) comes out.

      • Slurpy says:

        Halo was NEVER aimed at PC gamers.

        • dE says:

          Uh, yeah, except for that part where Halo was originally planned as a Windows/Mac franchise and is loosely connected to their Mac Franchise Marathon. But yeah, pretty much NEVER.

      • Hmm-Hmm. says:

        Exactly. I suspect it’s been around the time they started developing the X-Box that they left PC gamers by the wayside. It’s all about the profit, and if they believe they can get more out of a focused platform (X-Box iteration X, Y or Z) theyll happily abandon other potential customers. Profit-maximisation!

  15. Daryl says:

    I would buy this if they weren’t making it as a Windows 8 exclusive. As it is, I’ll pass. Windows 8 does have a bigger install base, so it may sell decently, but not as well as it could. When sales disappoint, no doubt piracy will be blamed, and thus the cycle will continue.

  16. RobF says:

    Gutted. I was hoping for an auto runner :(

  17. Demievil says:

    I have a windows phone.. but it doesn’t look like it would play well without a controller

  18. Tei says:

    Classic Microsoft. Making a product to create a Lock-in with his other products. So if some people on your organization “need” Exchange (maybe are idiots that don’t want to learn anything else) you must buy Windows, not because Windows is good (is a bad OS), but because Exchange runs on Windows. So Microsoft sell a lot of bad products, because people need this and that other Microsoft product.

    Its a evil strategy, and sometimes illegal. But Microsoft get fined, and continue, because the fines are maybe 2 or 3 days or profit, and Microsoft can continue breaking the law.

    • Grygus says:

      Your rant feels dated; while it was true for a while, Windows hasn’t been a bad OS for quite some time now.

      • Slurpy says:

        Grygus is right, it’s been almost nine months! That’s two whole OS cycles in dog years!

  19. darkChozo says:

    Meh? I don’t want to play the not-news card or anything, but this is Microsoft publishing a moderately-casual game targeted at mobile devices but also appearing on Windows. Worth noting, but hardly unique.

    I mean, I guess they’re trying to push Windows 8, but that’s hardly surprising or particularly sinister.

    • pupsikaso says:

      Haha, this is a moderately-casual game you say? Not according to Matt Booty, general manager of Redmond Game Studios. You remember what he said a few weeks ago about their strategy for Win8 gaming, don’t you? Here, I’ll put it below just in case:

      “We have got everything from very, very casual games, like our very much improved and reimagined Solitaire, all the way to graphically complicated games like The Harvest,”

      Yah. So on that kind of scale, this Halo game is the top shit on their hardcore scale.

      • darkChozo says:

        I tend to prefilter PR statements into real words in my head. I think that one translated to “platitude platitude platitude”.

  20. darkChozo says:

    Wasn’t that the game that was basically only mentioned because it was W8 exclusive, and produced comments sections full of predictably disdainful harrumphing?

  21. Bhale7 says:

    This game looks like it could be fun. I won’t be able to play it on my desktop, but I’ve got a laptop with 8. Windows 8 really isn’t as bad as people make it out to be. Ultimately, this isn’t going to be a game that changes the gaming industry, so I think non-Windows-8-owners really won’t miss out too much…

    • WrenBoy says:

      I think non-Windows-8-owners really won’t miss out too much

      They surely will not.

    • riverman says:

      I fix computers for a living. trust me when I say that windows 8 is, in fact, a fetid turd. god forbid you lose the ability to boot in normal mode, try booting into safe mode. just try. forgot your account password, or one of your shitty children accidentally passworded your account? reload. get a virus (seriously, I have no idea how or why, but 8 seems to be a virus sponge)? reload. look at it the wrong way? throw it out and buy a new one.

  22. OddsAgainst says:

    Well to be fair, I think the ideal RTS game would be touchscreen, just on a massive LCD touch board in the middle of my low lit war room with a bunch of deeply thought struck general sitting around me nodding in approval as I send every single soldier to their death. But with my finger tips!

  23. Danda says:

    This and the Fable 360 remake are a great combo of “I could care less” news.


    • N'Al says:

      What exactly is it you could care less about than this then, pray tell?

  24. pupsikaso says:

    You know, sometimes I wonder just how much money would RPS lose if they did NOT cover these kind of “not-news”, and how much I’d have to pay for some kind of premium subscription or some such nonsense that would add simple convenience features such as browsing by categories or perhaps being able to set a filter instead.

    RPS has been growing quickly past few years – new writers, new columns, new annoying ads, blocky quotes in the middle of the text that is a copy+paste of a sentence in the paragraph immediately following. And yet the website design itself has failed to keep up.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      I have designed the precise piece of softwar and hardware solution you seem to want. It can be your’s for all of 5$ and that’s cutting my own throat, really.

      I have dubbed it Don’t-Click-On-Articles-That-Don’t-Interest-Me-Tron-2000-Mk.VII. It’s a remarkable solution that allows me to ignore and not click on and thus read the occasional post that doesn’t really tickle my fancy.

      • darkChozo says:

        Buyer beware: I tried this, and it turns out you need to have a biological computer in order to get this thing to work. Cost me and my family several years and tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.

      • Nicodemus Rexx says:

        No thanks Mr. Dibbler, but I will take one of those lovely sausages in a bun. [/reference]

  25. Tams80 says:

    Hahahahahaha!!! Is that enough?

    On a related note; I love how fingers and hands are almost never shown in these trailers.

  26. Luffy07 says:

    I love how everybody complains about how bad Windows 8 is… but nobody has it installed

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I do. It’s awful.

      • mondomau says:

        So do I, and it really isn’t. I’d like them to merge the search results and put some actual thought into providing mouse and keyboard alternatives to touch gestures, but apart from that it’s superior to 7 in almost every way.

        • riverman says:

          it is definitely great at acquiring rogue trojans, putting things that were one click away three-five clicks away, making the horrid charm bar a frustrating thing to grapple with on shitty touch pads, removing the f8 boot menu timer so that a machine that won’t boot properly is, essentially, fixed only with a clean install, having different instances of IE between the disgusting metro interface and the desktop mode, etc.

          but what do I know, I’ve only fixed the stupid things for a living for the past decade

        • Slurpy says:

          I did, then I rolled it back to 7. Because it was terrible. Kind of like how you buy new drapes at the store, unbox them when you get home and find that a family of wolverines has made a den inside the box, and mama wolverine mauls you for your assumption that something new would be *better*.

    • Misnomer says:

      I do. It’s good enough that I am considering upping my laptop from 7 to 8 to get some features.

    • Dan says:

      You know how we all have a friend or three who rely on us for tech support? My neighbour’s like that. He got a new machine with Win8. It’s borderline unusable. I told him that the only thing I can help him with until he switches back to 7 is installing Start8, because I refuse to deal with this tile bullshit on a PC.

    • aliksy says:

      I used it in a VM. Was consistently mildly annoying. Probably less annoying if you can actually hit the edges of the screen.

    • bleeters says:

      I feel like the two might have something to do with one another.

    • asret says:

      I do. It’s full of annoyances.

    • Barberetti says:

      I did.

      Not anymore.

  27. buzzmong says:

    This is what Halo has been reduced to?

    She’s dead Jim.

  28. mrmalodor says:

    Haha, Windows 8.

  29. PC-GAMER-4LIFE says:

    This game looks alright some of the Guerilla games team behind Killzone PS3 series made this so cannot be all bad but Win 8 only fuck off MS you cannot even launch this with gamepad support & its a top down twin stick shooter I wonder how that will play on mouse+kb…..not very well I guess but let me sell you a poxy MS Surface Pro Tablet sir thats only £750!!!

    Essential gamepad support is probably the first microtransaction DLC!!!! This is part of the new wave of small budget games MS is making for Win 8 devices only & no chance to backport either as the new Dev tools & Framework libraries (the old ones are being phased out apparently to force OS upgrades sooner or later) only work on Win 8 & the App store has to be present along with all the other DRM its riddled with so it would be very complex for anyone to get this working on Win 7 unless they took most of the game functionality away which is very unlikely.

    At least when it fails to see MS cannot internally blame GFWL anymore although some of the Xbox For Windows LIVE Games are selling several 100 copies (check out the leaderboards) ouch that must hurt when they port from XBLA to Win 8 only & sell a few 100 downloads!!!

  30. MadTinkerer says:

    What I’m hoping and praying for is that Valve reveal not only the Steambox at E3, but that the (first) Steambox is the Playstation 4. Time and again folks have “hacked” the PS3 to run Linux. It’s not like the technical side wouldn’t be relatively easy.

    It would send a tsunami through the whole industry. Microsoft would never allow anything Linux-based on the Xbone. But a new Playstation, that’s actually also secretly a Linux PC that’s actually easy enough for the casual consumer to use? It could turn the tide of corporations attempting to wall everything off into closed systems and force everyone to make open systems or whither on the vine. And Sony would be riding the crest of that wave, which is why it’d make sense to do it.

    • The Random One says:

      Conversely, it would mean that the execs at a major corporation understand what is happening at their field and reacted properly, which doesn’t make any sense.

      • Slurpy says:

        Not only “a major corporation,” but *Sony*. That’s like expecting Microsoft to understand what’s going on.

  31. Jraptor59 says:

    HAHAHahahahaha…I would rather enjoy the intimate “company” of a dog than play this pitiful attempt at selling Win8, losers edition.

  32. HisDivineOrder says:

    What makes them think anyone on a PC wants a Halo game? PC gamers don’t want Halo games. I mean, otherwise, they’d bother to release their older ones on PC. Especially since they’re on an Xbox system that will soon not even be current gen and WILL be absolutely incompatible with what will become current gen.

    So if they’re not bothering to port those Halo’s, then …well, I must conclude that the Halo franchise is judged by them to be completely uninteresting to PC gamers.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      What makes you think they’ve taken PC gamers into account? I think they thought of the following:

      1) small free-to-play games are popular and can actually generate quite a bit of income.
      2) We want to boost our Windows 8 sales. How can we attract more people to Windows 8?
      3) Let’s make this new game in a familiar and well-loved franchise! That’ll draw attention!

      This points more to them wanting to attract console gamers (Halo franchise) and/or iPad/smartphone users rather than PC gamers.

      then again, this is all conjecture.