Yesterday, we reported on Microsoft's move against the popular Halo Online mod ElDewrito. At the time, Halo developer 343 insisted Microsoft's lawyers hadn't shut down the mod, rather, they were working to scrub any Halo Online assets required to play the game from the internet and insisted the ElDewrito team pause development.
"While we are humbled and inspired to see the amount of passion poured into this project, the fact remains that it's built upon Microsoft-owned assets that were never lawfully released or authorised for this purpose," 343 said in a statement.
"As this project reverberated across the community, our team took a step back to assess the materials and explore possible avenues, while Microsoft, like any company, has a responsibility to protect its IP, code and trademarks. It's not optional in other words."
343's Frank O'Connor took to ResetEra to explain further, saying: "BTW, we're not 'shutting down the mod' or going after the Eldewrito crew - we're enacting action to remove the Halo Online code and packages from places it's being hosted.
"I hope nobody on this site thinks anyone is happy about this - at one end of the spectrum, it's sad to see folks' hard work and effort be sunsetted, and on the other, all the people who do this stuff are human. Nobody takes joy in this kind of work or responsibility. It's simply a necessary part of being a publicly traded company in the US."
Despite this, Microsoft's legal team has submitted Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown notice requests to Twitch relating to streams labelled Halo Online - and Twitch has obliged with 24 streaming hour bans. Here are just a few examples of Twitch streams that have been affected.
O'Connor addressed these Twitch bans, calling them "overzealous". But he did suggest fans stream Eldewrito under a game name different to Halo Online to avoid Microsoft's gaze.
... We're currently trying to help undo some overzealous streaming bans (we don't control Twitch's ban policy obviously, but we are reaching out to them) - Streamers should probably not title their streams "Halo Online" if they don't want to get got...— Frank (@franklez) April 25, 2018
ElDewrito saw an impressive 8000 concurrent players at one point, signalling huge interest in playing a Halo 3-type experience online.
Last night, Xbox boss Phil Spencer hinted that a new official Halo experience will hit PC - and suggested 343 may work with the people behind ElDewrito to make it happen.
This point is important "As we look ahead, we’re very excited about the prospects of an official classic Halo experience making its way to PC and we hope to be able to partner with the ElDewrito team and broader mod and content creation community" https://t.co/KVJbH5PfJI— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) April 25, 2018
Until then, people - many people - are still playing Halo Online online via the ElDewrito mod. The team has removed links to the version of Halo Online the mod requires, dubbed ms23, but in a post on the Halo Online subreddit they point out it can be found in all the usual alternative places. Clearly, this one's going nowhere.