Bungie's shed some more light on the PC version of little known FPS Halo 2, including the fact that you'll be able to track your Xbox 360-style achievements using a mobile phone thanks to Microsoft's Live Anywhere technology.
Fielding a few questions on the Bungie website, project-lead Jo Clowes said that the PC version, which will run exclusively on Windows Vista, will support up to 16 players in multiplayer with dedicated server architecture to back things up.
As you'll know if you've been following the game's progress, Halo 2 Vista won't actually enable you to play against people on Xbox or Xbox 360, but that doesn't mean it won't include Live Anywhere functionality, says Clowes. "Live Anywhere extends the Xbox Live service beyond Xbox. Anytime you are logged in with your Gamertag, your friends can see you and you can see them, no matter what device you are using," he told the Bungie website.
And yes, that does include mobile phones, even if there isn't a Windows Mobile version in the offing. "Once Live Anywhere launches on cell phones," said Clowes, "you will be able to access your friends list and see their achievements in Halo 2 Vista."
As for why you won't be able to play against people, it's apparently down to the PC version's exclusive features, map-making tools and so on. For example, the PC version will have customisation options for matchmaking that the Xbox version - widely celebrated for its own multiplayer versatility - doesn't even have. "We wanted the game to be the best it could be on Windows Vista and did not want to be limited by backwards compatibility with the Xbox version," Clowes explained.
It's not just that though - it's also down to the controls and the nature of the game's development, which differs from other Live Anywhere games, Bungie said in an update at the end of May. At the time we were told "a level playing field would be impossible" due to the gulf between Xbox and PC, and because "both versions have their controls and aiming system balanced and tuned for that system's abilities and you would have a lopsided situation at best".
"Add to that the fact that we will have new maps built specifically for the Vista version and a map editor, and cross-platform matchmaking becomes even more complex and less realistic."
Halo 2 is due out whenever Windows Vista launches, although that's TBC. Vista is due out in early 2007.