A group of Halo fans are creating a free multiplayer-only tribute and say they are following all of Microsoft’s legal rules for doing so. The game, called Installation 01 [official site], will combine parts from each game in the series but focuses on the classic style of multiplayer. “Halo 3 is what we’re aiming for,” said one of the developers when asked how it will ‘feel’ to play. You can see some footage of the game in action here, as well as commentary from the developers about how much love they are putting into it.
While fan-made games like this tend to get the axe from The Man fairly quickly, the creators of this one say they aren’t breaking any rules.
“Our work is completely legal,” they say in that video description. “We are carefully following the rules set forth in Microsoft’s Game Content Usage Rules. No content in our game has been ‘ripped,’ it’s all handmade by our team.”
The content rules they mention are listed here. “So long as you can respect these rules,” the document says, “you can use our Game Content to make your Items.”
The game itself is made in Unity and obviously features a lot of recognisable things from the Halo universe – warthogs, grenades, that familiar sniper rifle scope. Even the sound effects are recreated. Meanwhile the maps will be a mix of loyal reproductions and refreshed versions of older levels. They’ve made an map called Iskaldr which is a revamp of Valhalla from Halo 3, for example, but they’re also making a 1:1 reproduction of Hang ‘Em High from the original Halo.
We asked the netcode lead, Aiden Leeming, if he was worried, given the habit of corporations to clamp down on things like this (a remake of Metroid 2 was recently shut down by Nintendo, for example).
“Well, we're fairly sure that we're covered by them [the rules] as we're sticking well within them... we're creating all of our own assets and not making a single penny off the game. However we're currently trying to get some sort of contact with Microsoft to talk about how we can make sure we don't get shut down.”
That's because those rules do not guarantee the tribute game's safety. Microsoft can still send orders to the team, telling them to stop what they are doing. To many, this would be a pity, but who knows what The Corporation's plans are? Previous fan projects have already proven there's some demand for Halo's return to PC (there hasn't been an official game since Halo 2). Project Contingency, another fan-made game, is also still in development, having switched from using CryEngine to Unreal Engine 4. Microsoft seem to be realising that the love for Halo is there and have confirmed Halo 5's Forge, the map-editor and mini-game making mode, is coming to PC (still no official word on Halo 5 itself though).
There’s still a long way to go with Installation 01, as the creators say in the video, with animations to polish and more stuff to add. But they are hoping to get some sort of playable alpha ready for the end of the year.