Microsoft issues DMCA takedown notice against Halo Online modders

Halo Online

Remember the Halo Online gameplay trailer we told you about last week? If you go to watch it now, you'll notice that it's no longer there: Publisher Innova Systems had it taken down over a copyright claim. And we're unlikely to see another one anytime soon, as Microsoft has issued a DMCA takedown notice to Github, forcing it to remove access to the game files and a new launcher.

Modders have been poking at Halo Online ever since two of them, Gamercheat13 and Lord Zedd, got their hands on it and helped YouTube user Noble create the aforementioned video. One group was even working on a launcher called ElDorito, which provided "a framework for the game to be playable, as well as a custom console with a plethora of features we believe are necessary to the game," according to a team member.

But yesterday, Microsoft dropped the hammer. "We have received information that the domain listed above, which appears to be on servers under your control, is offering unlicensed copies of, or is engaged in other unauthorized activities relating to, copyrighted works published by Microsoft,” it wrote in a DMCA notice sent to Github. Github, understandably, has complied with the demand to remove the files, while the ElDorito team is "a bit spooked" and has put the project on hold.

Interestingly, while the launcher has been deep-sixed, the actual game files were, at last check, still available. The Halo Online Wiki notes that it can't post the link to the download, and so interested parties will have to look for it elsewhere. But "elsewhere" is a hyperlink that leads to Pastebin, which contains another link leading to Mega; and on Mega is a 2.1GB file called Halo I can't verify its contents (and, for the record, you dick around with it at your own risk), but it's reasonable to conclude that it's the unauthorized build of the game that started all this business.

Halo Online is hardly the hottest thing to happen to online shooters since 2Fort. In fact, it's built on the old Halo 3 engine so that it can run on lower-spec machines. But it's also, for now at least, only planned for release in Russia—and as we all know, nothing makes people want something quite so much as not being able to have it.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.