There might be DMCA takedown notices flying around, but the modders behind the efforts to bring Halo Online to a wider audience are refusing to stop in what one refers to as "a noble cause".
The free-to-play, Russia-only Halo Online immediately piqued the interest of PC owners hankering for a bit of Halo 3-like action on their rigs. We never did get that over here in the land of personal computers, after all. Modders got hold of Halo Online's files and released a hack allowing access to the game without georestrictions and so on.
Microsoft's DMCA means the 'El Dorito' hack isn't available - at least not where it was originally posted on GitHub - but the hackers tinkering with the Halo Online files haven't been scared off their fiddling, according to an interview with TorrentFreak.
The folks behind the El Dorito hack explain they have copies of the Halo Online files scattered around the interwebs, and that they see the continued experimentation with the game's files not as illegal activity, but as something that's good for all gamers.
One person involved with the hack, known as Neoshadow42, told TorrentFreak: "I don’t particularly see this as damaging, as some people have said. I don’t believe it for a moment, honestly. We’re working to improve people’s experience, bring it to those who wouldn’t have been able to play it anyway. I’d see that as a noble cause."
Part of the drive behind the continued tinkering is the worry that the F2P Halo game could become a pay-to-win experience, with the loose-knit team stating it has found 'potential' for Halo Online's mechanics to go down such a path. As such, that's being offered as part of the justification for the ongoing hack.
"This whole project would be completely different in an ethical way if we had taken a paid game and reversed it for everyone to access for free," Neoshadow42 said, "At the end of the day, El Dorito aims to deliver exactly what everyone wants. The closest thing to a Halo 3 experience as possible, but on PC. If we can manage that, I’ll be more than happy."
Update: We have received a statement from Microsoft regarding this story. “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," it reads. "As such, we want to ensure a quality experience for our beta participants within Russia which could be impacted through unauthorized use.”