News came up recently of 343 Industries beta testing a Free to Play Halo game in Russia entitled Halo Online. With the issues still surrounding Halo: The Master Chief Collection, anything that might imply that 343i are not focusing enough resources to fixing it are of course going to go down like a lead balloon.
The game itself seems promising in that it appears to be an enhanced version of Halo 3‘s multiplayer however the prospect of having to fork out money for weapons and armour disagrees with many gamers here. Which isn’t a bad thing; after all this isn’t the market it’s designed for.
If anything, I’m guessing it’s a clear response to Activision’s Call of Duty Online, which uses a similar model and is doing the rounds in China right now. In those parts of the world, there may be greater chance of making money through micro transactions than with full price console games.
I also wonder if basing the content on a earlier entry in the franchise is meant to reassure Western gamers that they aren’t missing out on anything and ensure this outlier game is not treading on any future paths for the franchise.
All of this might have worked out totally fine if Halo MCC wasn’t broken at launch. This game has probably been in development for a long time now and if we were living in a Halo matchmaking happy place this would just be a footnote in the lead up to Halo 5: Guardians.
So is it a big deal for us? Maybe not as it’s not going to change anything. But it if it makes other parts of the world interested in the franchise there will be long term benefits for everyone.