Amid the seemingly relentless shutdown of fan projects by big publishers, here's one game that's not just thriving but has the blessing of its IP-owning overlord.
Most had suspected that Microsoft would take down Installation 01, a fan-made Halo game that aims to bring the multiplayer Halo experience to all PC platforms.
Installation 01, which is built on top of the Unity 5 engine, is pitched as the best parts of the classic Bungie-era Halo games. While it mostly focuses on recreating the Halo 2 and 3 experience, there are also elements of Combat Evolved and Reach in there.
The developers stressed they had operated under Microsoft's Game Content Usage Rules, and said all assets used were either created from scratch or obtained through the Unity Asset Store. The developers thought this would mean they'd have no trouble distributing the game at launch.
But that didn't stop many from expressing concern that Installation 01 would soon suffer the wrath of Microsoft's IP lawyers. That concern, it turns out, was unfounded.
In an update on the Installation 01 website, the developers said they had a Skype (of course, this is Microsoft) call with 343 Industries.
"Through these interactions we have been ensured that Installation 01 is not under imminent legal threat, provided we remain non-commercial in nature and scope, and continue to follow Microsoft's Game Content Usage Rules to the letter," Church, project manager and lead, said.
"We are now able to say with certainty that Installation 01 will never be accepting donations. We also will not be selling i01 or Halo related merchandise. This is to keep a respectful distance between us and Microsoft's intellectual property. It is also important to note that these rules and assurances from 343 are specific to Installation 01 as a project, and should not be interpreted to apply elsewhere. Through ongoing communication with 343 Industries we hope that we, as a fan project, can continue to be a positive driving force within the Halo community."
We've seen big video game companies crack down on fan projects in recent years. In August 2016, Nintendo, which has a reputation for taking a dim view over fan games based on its intellectual property, shut down a Metroid 2 fan remake. In April this year, Take-Two put a stop to a fan project to port Red Dead Redemption into GTA5. Microsoft, at least when it comes to Halo, perhaps has different ideas.