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Modders want to offer Halo Online outside of Russia, but Microsoft is trying to stop them [Update]

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

103 Comments
  • Eldorito is almost as amazing of a name as Lizard Squad
  • Lizard squad is a very ugly name dude.
  • You're just jealous because you don't have as much swag as Lizard Squad
  • Lizard squad is the dumbest kids group around, it only has fake followers doing their job. Sony/ Microsoft did a good job getting every single one of them idiots arrested via FBI.
  • You can't arrest a lizard!
  • Well they did, or u can simply step on them. Their profiles are not that impressive.
  • They all got arrested? I didn't know that. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • ElMtnDew
  • Sounds like an Idiocracy name.
  • Not Sure would agree with this
  • ElLocosTacos
  • Go Microsoft. Jail those ass holes
    why pay old when u can play better
  • In fairness, Microsoft has brought this on themselves. Who's brilliant idea was it to take their biggest IP, make a compelling game and then only offer it to one country with no messaging on bringing it wider? You make dumb decisions, you get dumb responses. It reminds me of the music industry being shocked (SHOCKED!) that people wanted music in MP3 format, readily available, without jumping through hoops to purchase and use. Whoops, here comes bittorrent. The real world has checks and balances in the market. This is but one response.
  • Also in fairness, this isn't really a compelling game. It's some Free-to-play version of Halo based on an old engine that currently doesn't even have a campaign. I would argue that Halo 3 on the 360 would provide a better experience. To use your analogy, this would be like pirates going through bit torrent just to get a copy of Justin Bieber singing with food in his mouth.
  • To be fair, they could just play Crysis 3, which is very similar to Halo 3, except paced for the PC (much faster) and with much better movement and gunplay. Too bad that the game isn't free to play and has no cheat protection.
  • Microsoft seems to always release new features to a small few before eventually going world wide. I bet they want to focus on making halo 5/mcc & the new Spartan assault game work before trying to spend major resources on releasing this in the us.
  • Releasing it in Russia only was a gaffe on Microsoft's part but that doesn't give ElDorito the right to circumvent copyright laws. In other words, two wrongs don't make a right.
  • This seems more like having cd quality while being mad u can't listen to the song on A.M
  • Isn't Russia just a testing territory before it goes international?
  • Yep, closed beta test... which is why I don't understand why everyone is having a hissy fit about it not being released elsewhere when it HASN'T been released!
  • Why not just test it in one market, before rolling it out World Wide?
  • This game would be a very small niche in the realm of USA gamers.  I had been waiting for a Halo successor for years but eventually gave up .. (Halo 2 was so bad)
  • I agree Dan R. They were mad to do this. Had they not made such a hash of Masterchief Collection they could have released a version for pc as well instead. That's how I feel about it anyway. 343 have killed Halo within the last two years and MS don't seem too bothered about taking their biggest franchise seriously.
  • Killed Halo? You, dude, are out of your freaking mind.
  • Explain why I'm out of my mind. Barely anyone plays Halo anymore. 343 had the perfect opportunity with Masterchief Collection and they blew it. The hype for that game was actually quite big. Now barely anyone plays and most that I played with aren't bothering with Halo 5, mostly because of how let down they were with MCC and also because of playing the H5 beta and finding it to be everything Halo shouldn't. Good luck convincing anyone it is still a massive franchise. Nearly all of us have moved on to the other games it is now trying to be. Shame.
  • I'm not sure where your data re coming from. I play Halo MCC all the time and, now that matchmaking is fixed, find the servers to be very full. Furthermore, I know many people (myself included) who bought Halo MCC having never played any of the Halo games before, so it was a great introduction into the series and it has many people who never knew Halo before excited about Halo 5. Halo MCC is the best deal in gaming history, by far.
  • Matchmaking just about works you mean. 5months on and we have no more ranked playlists and I can assure you barely anyone is playing. Most of my friends are serious Halo players and they only play occasionally now. A game that didn't work was a great introduction to the series for you? Wow. Some endorsement. Sure, great deal for something that didn't work lol. Enjoyed myself immensely resetting the game numerous times and looking at loading screens for long periods...
  • "I can assure you barely anyone is playing." First off, how can you assure that?  Do you have a realtime stat server that you can get numbers from? "Most of my friends are serious Halo players and they only play occasionally now." First off, "YOUR" friends aren't a complete representation of the Halo community.  Second, if they only play occassionally now, then they are obviously "Not" serious Halo players now are they. Sounds to me like you're just spewing hate. 
  • The amount of garbage you're spewing is hilarious. My friends are a wide range of Halo players from pros to newbies. You can argue all you like. You only have to look at news feeds/social networks to see what is popular and what isn't. When MCC launched I, along with many others were extremely excited for the release and it all went as badly as it possibly could have. I know people that got refunds too. Nearly did the same myself. Just because you play a bit of Team Anniversary and get a game fairly quickly doesn't mean the game is packed with players. I don't hate Halo. It's a franchise I've loved since the first game. Halo 4 was average at best then MCC put the nail in the coffin for me and many others.
  • Like it was told earlier, MCC is the biggest gaming deal ever. 4 games, 5-6 different engines, tons of maps, tons of DLC.. Give 343i a freaking break, with so much content, it's only natural something would go wrong. I'm starting a Halo marathon now and I'm as excited about it as ever.. This game is amazing and I can't wait for Halo 5..
  • Like it was said earlier, MCC is the biggest gaming deal ever. 4 games, 5-6 different engines, tons of maps, tons of DLC.. Give 343i a freaking break, with so much content, it's only natural something would go wrong. I'm starting a Halo marathon now and I'm as excited about it as ever.. This game is amazing and I can't wait for Halo 5..
  • IEhrgeizI  - Even if you have 1000 friends that play halo (which we all know you don't).  It's still not a complete representation of the entire Halo community, so stop speaking for the entire community like you are all knowing.  That's all I'm trying to say. And I stick with my comment that you are coming off as a hater.  Take it as you'd like. I don't really have any beef with you, just telling you how you look to me is all.
  • Daniel, This is the dumbest post I've seen in a while. Saying this is somehow partially Microsoft's fault is careless. It's the kind of stuff that in a small part fosters the justification of doing the crimes those folks do. I would have expected a different response from a person who I've read and agreed with on hundreds of articles. Microsoft is free to make games available when and wherever they want. The checks and balances are whether or not people play the game and pay for purchases within it. Those balances are not having someone stealing work you have done, trespass onto servers that are not theirs, using resources not theirs, etc. I'm floored that folks still see digital property differently than tangible material. I don't think anyone would suggest it's checks and balances if someone were to steal a car BMW built and sold only in one country just because folks in other countries wanted to drive it too.
  • If you read his response correctly, he isn't saying he advocates pirating and what this group is doing. He is saying Microsoft brought it upon themselves by only releasing it to one continent. Maybe you have never played Halo, but the PC gamers have been begging Microsoft to release the game on PC for literally years. What do you expect to happen when a group of gamers have been waiting for Halo to be released on PC, only to be playable in one region? You better expect someone is going to try and make it more widely available. Is what ElDorito doing illegal? Yes. But Microsoft definitely brought this one on themselves. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • You shut up and do nothing, that's what you do. Their game, their property, their right to do whatever they want with it. You're telling me if I smashed your car because you sold it to someone else and not me, then it's alright cause you brought it on yourself? Makes the exact same sense as your example does. If those PC gamers have been begging and have been so desperately patient, then NOW would be the perfect time to have some more patience.. Instead, they have to jump on the chance like a flock of seagulls and jeopardize the whole situation.. See what happens if Microsoft has a change of heart about this move or decides to unsuccessfully end the test.. Morons..
  • Did you read what I said? Didn't I say that it was illegal what they were doing? Here's what you aren't getting: not everyone in the world plays by the rules. If you thought that this wouldn't happen, then you have your head in the sand. This whole situation is like waiving a piece of meat at a starving lion. I know what ElDorito is doing is wrong. You're acting like I'm the guy doing the hacking. All I said, and Daniel as well, was Microsoft brought this one on themselves. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Imagine there exists a cure for a very prominent type of cancer.  The treatment is cheap, and highly effective.  For internal reasons, company X patents the solution and produces small quantities for an isolated region of the world. You have the means to release this cure to the entire world, knowing it is illegal and highly sought after.  Would you decide not to because the cure is X's property, and has the right to distribute the cure as they please? ElDorito can be percieved as noble in their efforts, however, they must look ahead.  Most people resolve to piracy simply because it is "free" and neither understand nor care about the signifigance behind it all ...
  • Please ignore Wael.  Does not understand Robin Hood ;)  
  • @jeddo45 - So if you forget to lock your car door, and I steal your stereo, then you're probably cool with it being that you left your door open and thus brought it upon yourself to get robbed right?  Or does this analogy only apply to Microsoft?
  • You wouldn't have to worry about that. My car door is always locked. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Now, that didn't really answer the question now did it?
  • And your analogy made no sense. You say "what if you left the door unlocked..." Not the case. Microsoft chose to keep it to Russia, and there is nothing wrong with that. But, again I say, PC games have been begging for Halo to be released, so they are going to take any chance they get to be more widespread. Again I say, I never advocated this ElDorito groups actions. However, it was bound to happen because of how attractive Halo would be in the PC. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Copyright Infringment != Property Theft.
  • Couldn't have said it any better. People are also forgetting that a Russian game developer is helping with the project. That might be also why it's in Russia.
  • Yeah they couldn't trust 343 to make a decent game xD
  • Of course digital material is utterly different from tangible property. Things than can be replicated infinitely, without cost to replicate, are by their very nature completely different to something that requires resources and labour to produce. I know a lot of work goes into the original piece, but I'm talking about the copies that require no effort at all. Copyright infringement is NOT the same as property theft. It would be like someone 'stealing' your BMW but your BMW is still sitting in the driveway in the morning. What, exactly, have they "stolen" then? It would be just like someone taking a photo of your BMW - you still have yours in your possession, with no harm done to you. Also, I don't want to get into the whole "lost revenue" malarky - just because someone is happy to copy something for free, doesn't mean they were going to purchase it in the first place. There are many alternative, legal, ways to consume things without paying for them.
  • In your example, you are looking from the reference of the person who bought the BMW. In mine it is from the maker. Does the copied BMW have any value even though it is a copy? Of course it does. The value of the first one went down though because now there is one more. That value, among other things, is what was stolen, it doesn't matter if it cost nothing to reproduce it. The person receiving the copied BMW will never go buy one, they may have before. Plus it is irrelevant what it cost. It isn't their property. Leave it alone. You want the game so bad, go make one yourself.
  • I'm not talking about this game in particular, nor am I advocating piracy (I haven't pirated a game for 20 years). I'm just pointing out that the tired old argument "It's like stealing a car!!!!!!111!1!!" is completely false. Copyright infringement is not the same as property theft. It simply isn't. It is just like photocopying a book from the library.  I know quite a few people that pirate games to test them (yes, there are demos but they want a "better experience") and to listen to new music or watch new movies not available in the shops yet. Many of those have extensive media libraries, because they want to own the ones that are good and support the developers/studios/artists.  
  • Wow!?! so you think that because someone doesn't make a product available to your location when you want OR at a price you think is appropriate, it's ok to copy the product and give it out wherever or whenever for a smaller price or for free?
  • @zoom44 what are you talking about? The game is free to play.
  • Is ElDorito selling anything to make a profit, or are they just modding the game for more fun for all?
  • what gives them the right to do that?
  • @zoom44 The game it self is FREE-TO-PLAY with IN-APP-PURCHASES. All that was going to happen was that the iap element was going to stripped and game offered for FREE as is with no changes. I can understand why they (MS) locked it down to one region however PC gamers have been waiting years for this and so of course people are going to make it widely available for all to enjoy. If this was any other franchise then this would be a non-issue.
  • i understand it's free to play. why rip out the IAP? but even before that what gives them the right to break into the server  and take the intellectual property in the first place?   would Daniel be so flippant in his response if someone decided they didnt like paying for the Windows Central app for phone, copied the code, rewrapped it and distributed it as a free app?
  • zoom44, I do agree with that they didn't have the right of access and that they shouldn't have posted it on GitHub... That was just wrong. As any one could use that code for malicious intent. However if they weren't going to do it, somebody else will. Plus this being "Halo" garners much more attention then your day-to-day free-to-play.
    If you post anything on the internet and think you still have any sort of ownership of that data? Think again lol, legal ownership? Yes. Enforceable? No, unless you have a mountain of capital for legal expenses.
  • @Daniel - I think this is the first time I've disagreed with you. How is having a closed Beta test in one country "unfair"? IIRC many of the developers are Russian and they want to iron out the bugs before releasing it elsewhere. I would agree with you if this was a released game restricted to one market (especially Halo!), but it's not and so I don't ;)
  • The game was never planned to be released outside of Russia.  Why on earth would MS release a F2P solution for their best selling franchise in the US?  XD  
  • The original news story said it was a closed beta, restricted to Russia. I didn't hear anything about it never being released after the beta ended.
  • And if they wait, game is going to end up outside Russia anyways... Its not Exclusive to one country as this is a test for Microsoft, a response to see how this plays out.
  • They have to wait like everyone else.
  • You know its going to end up here anyway.
  • Exactly
  • Sorry MS Russia was a bad place for this to release, nothing against Russia just a hell of a lot of hackers and now this
  • Russia: Test zone for the game.
  • That's the "master" race for ya.. And then they wonder why they're being ignored by some developers.. Getting to play GTA V almost 2 years later is exactly what they deserve. The majority is just going to pirate it anyway.
  • Ahh GTA on 360 and PS3 was really a beta test.
  • If you truly believe that, then you're as smart as your username.
  • Ever heard of Steam?
  • You're as smart as the guy above if you believe all PC gamers have a steam account and obtain their games legally.
  • People like you make me laugh. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • You're fucking welcome
  • Do one idiot.
  • Eldorito is Spanish for..... Eldorito!!!!
  • TheDorito*
  • Hey I thought c.o.d online was in Russia yet not released here.... So..... ?
  • Cod online was china? Just saw some recent gameplay of it, I hope a world wide version of cod 4 will be made.
  • Forget Halo. It's a console shooter. Proceed to GTA or Titanfall or Borderlands or whatever, as long as it's on the PC.
  • I oppose unauthorzied modding, which is akin to copyright theft. If the developers give their blessing (e.g. Minecraft), then go for it. If they don't, then modders are just thieves. That said, Microsoft should launch Halo: The Master Chief Collection as an Xbox for Windows 10 games, worldwide, when Windows 10 launches later this year, with cross-buy and cross-play with the Xbox One version. Problem solved. PC gamers get all the Halos they've ever wanted in one nifty package.
  • Keep dreaming chances are if they did that it would cost double
  • Even if it cost double it would still be an amazing deal. Microsoft needs to completely unify Xbox One and Xbox for Windows 10. It's their trump card: kill Steam, kill PS4. Microsoft wins. Gamers win.
  • Lol how does killing Steam have "Gamers win"? That is one of the biggest troll comments I have ever seen. Steam is a god-send.
  • I guess you are right, my comment was ignorant. I just hate the Idea of renting guns and play to win type games, but I don't really know that much about it. Micro transactions actually work pretty well for some game types, like hearthstone for example, but in hearthstone you keep the cards forever after paying, you aren't renting them. I don't feel entitled to anything honestly, so it has nothing to do with my generation, I would just rather buy the game than pay for ingame content. 
  • I don't think it kills Steam. Healthy competition yes. PS4 i think its going to take alot more than that to kill.
  • There are reasons why its not here we don't have to know them either
  • So why do they want it Russia only?
  • Why it is Russia only in first place?
  • They're testing it there first
  • it will come to other regions when they come... it's stupid to try to "we will give it to others" it's an online game anyway.... where are the servers? Russia, imagine playing against russians and all the lag and all. I know clowns always exist, but there is a reason why online games are locked, or when they are not locked people complain about other's lag. Apparently some people don't understand how "online games" work... then they it's just put it on a server and let people log in. but then... there is a reason why big companies, like NCsoft still have to do alot of crap to bring Blade and Soul (or when Aion released) to NA. Same with Tera (even if it was a terrible game it has beautiful graphics) and million other online games. I remember Russian Aion servers having updates faster than NA (and EU server by gameforge) I don't know why, but Russian have previliges and like it or not, it will always happen. some reason will get game first and others will wait.   Oh but of course we loved all the Europeans and Asians that joined Aion for being truly free to play and being the best server... that surely made a great experience with an amazing lag (and their language not many understood, you know, they didn't even try to speak english even if it was from a translator and then they were asking for help) /s
  • Go, Moders, Go! They are almost awesome as torrent seeders :)
  • In both cases, those words are stand-ins for thieves.
  • These are hackers, not modders. What they are doing is wrong. They are assuming that the game is going to be P2W, instead of F2P. They know nothing about the games micro-transactions behaviors. They are self entitled pricks.
  • I didn't think I would day it but would the Netflix USA dns hack work for Russia? Lets spoof Russia.
  • Well good they deserve this for using micro transactions.
  • The nerve of these complanies making money!!!!   They should give everything away for free to the self entitled generation such as yourself.
  • I guess you are right, my comment was ignorant. I just don't like the idea of "renting" weapons or pay to win type games. But I don't really know that much about it. Microtransactions actually work pretty well for some games, hearthstone for example, but in hearthstone you keep the cards forever, you aren't renting them. But that doesn't give the modders the right to steal their property, I just hate that I'm seeing more and more games use microtransactions, as it's gaining popularity despite other more favorable methods. Also,  I'm not asking for the game for free, I don't feel entitled to anything, so it has nothing to do with my generation. 
  • How DARE they put micro-transactions in a FREE TO PLAY game!?
  • Simple way to solve this issue. Pull the game and shut down the servers. Send a message to those who truly follow the rules.. Send them a message apologizing and throw it back to the hackers..
  • This is why publishers shy away from PC. Then gamers say, "Why don't they make a PC version?"
  • Well in this case, fuck Microsoft, for abandoning PC gamers
  • Good luck Microsoft but once a pirated copy is out its out forever
  • I couldn't buy credits on Spartans Asalt, though I had paid for the game on ms store! In purchase on some of the games is not open to all buyers in other regions. You buy the game but they won't let you buy the credits.
    Just like Cortana, it's now several months down the line, those in US have already forgotten the excitement about Cortana, yet in other parts of the world, others are still eagerly waiting! And don't forget that everyone has paid for the phones in full.
    though using the same language but just becoz you are in another region, you are denied the application 'unless you change your region?'
    On android and IOS there is no discrimination like this keeping customers in suspense for years waiting!
  • I think, Obama's sanctions don't wirking properly. xD From Russia with Love) PS. I won't play that shit... Are you kiding XD Im downloading GTAV while play dota2.
  • "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,"
    So essentially, it's okay as long as it doesn't affect your revenue. Typical.