Halo 5 itself doesn’t seem to be coming to PC, but the developers have said they’d be bringing the sci-fi shooter’s sandbox editing mode, Forge, to Windows 10. Yesterday they announced the date: September 8. This mode will bring with it map editing and minigame-making using Halo’s bits and bobs, and has already been responsible for things like D-Days and mega beer pong on the Xbox Machine. But crucially, on the PC version, you will also be able to play 16-player custom multiplayer.
Forge has been re-worked a little for PC, says 343 Industries, the idea being that mouse and keyboard will make the level creation process much easier. You’ll be able to host and play matches, share your levels and weird game modes with other players (both on PC and Xbox One), and download and customise other people’s silly Rocket League knock-offs. What it doesn’t seem to have is any matchmaking system, like there is on the Xbox. But the developers are also releasing a Halo PC app which “lets you quickly and easily find, download, and launch Halo games available on Windows PCs”. Precisely how that works, we don’t know, but it is launching alongside Forge in September.
While tools like this grew out of the desire to give machinima makers more freedom when making silly videos set in the Halo universe, they have since come a long way. Now people are making whole game modes. Although I’ve yet to see the minigame which involves firing the Arbiter from Halo 2 into the sun.
It’s interesting to see something like this come to PC but also frustrating that the base games of the series remain absent. Although the custom matches of Forge are promising, it seems like this is more for the benefit of those who already fight their battles on Xbox Live – map-makers who can fiddle with the PC's improved UI to create a beach head, then publish it to Xbox and stride back over to their telly for the real fight. Or do you think that’s a bit cynical of me?
Nonetheless, the Halo 5 campaign or matchmaking multiplayer is still nowhere to be seen (not to mention other games in the series – Halo 3, 4, Reach or ODST). While Sony are at least bringing their streaming service PS Now to PC, allowing us to play some excellent old PlayStation exclusives, Microsoft still won’t set their flagship series free from the shackles of their console box. And as someone with his fair share of dusty Killtacular medals, that is a damn shame. No wonder unofficial fan remakes are popping up.