Update: A Microsoft spokesperson has sent Windows Central an official statement on the efforts of modders to release Halo Online outside of Russia:
""While we're thrilled there's so much interest outside of Russia, the beta of Halo Online is a PC experience tailored specifically for the tastes, tech and infrastructure of the Russian market and furthermore, is still in an early state. As such, we want to ensure a quality experience for our beta participants within Russia which could be impacted through unauthorized use."
Original story: A group of PC game modders are trying to gain access to the source code for Halo Online so they can offer the free-to-play PC first person shooter game outside of its intended target country of Russia. However, as you might imagine, Microsoft does not take kindly to their efforts and has been trying to stop their progress.
Microsoft first announced their plans for Halo Online a few weeks ago, which uses the Halo 3 engine as the basis for its multiplayer-only game. However, a mod team called ElDorito has managed to gain access to at least some of the source code to the game, with the goal of launching it outside of Russia and without its microtransaction-based revenue system. They posted the code publicly to GitHub, but Microsoft got the site to remove the download with a DMCA request last week.
Torrent Freak reports they have contacted members of the ElDorito team to ask why they want to offer Halo Online for free. One of the team members, who goes by "Neoshadow42" stated:
"As someone involved in game development, I'm sympathetic with some developers when it comes to copyright issues. This is different though, in my opinion," the dev explains.
"The game was going to be free in the first place. The PC audience has been screaming for Halo 3 for years and years, and we saw the chance with this leak. The fact that we could, in theory, bring the game that everyone wants, without the added on stuff that would ruin the game, that's something we'd be proud of."
The mod team's opinion is certainly not shared by Microsoft and it's likely that ElDorito's efforts will continue to be hit by more copyright takedown notices for the foreseeable future.
Source: Torrent Freak