Halo 5's Forge level creation tool is coming to PC for free, but it's unlikely that Halo 5 itself will follow. The next Halo, however—which we'll call Halo 6—is all but officially confirmed for Windows 10. It's happening.
At this year's Xbox E3 Conference, every first-party Microsoft game—including Forza Horizon 3, Gears of War 4, and Scalebound—was announced for Windows 10 as well as Xbox One. Microsoft's plan for Windows 10 and the Xbox brand also involves making digital purchases apply to both Windows 10 and Xbox, so there's no buying a game twice, and allowing for cross-play between platforms. It seems we're looking at future of nearly identical Microsoft libraries for both PC and Xbox.
Still, we wondered if Microsoft might keep certain special franchises Xbox exclusive as a weapon in its battle with Sony for the console market. According to Xbox head Phil Spencer, however, that's not the case. Speaking to PC Gamer yesterday, Spencer said he's "not about putting content only on console to manipulate Windows gamers to go buy an Xbox."
"The reason somebody wants to go buy an Xbox—or I’ll just say a game console, yes I’d love if they bought an Xbox—is they want to sit 10 feet from their television screen with a controller in their lap looking at a television playing a videogame," said Spencer. "It’s a different experience from playing on PC. I’m not saying it’s better or worse, it’s just different. Halo 5 absolutely could be played on a PC. There’s nothing about that gameplay mechanic that doesn’t work."
So why no Halo 5 on PC? Spencer says that Microsoft and 343 Industries are looking to the future. "Honestly the answer with Halo 5 is, I can go take last year’s game, rework it to go on PC, or I can have 343 look forward in what they’re going to go do," said Spencer. "You could say I’m cheating a little bit by doing a half thing with putting Forge on PC, because we kind of have the tools working on PC to see what happens, but this is what we did with Forza, with Apex. I said, 'This isn’t a full Forza game. Going forward, we’re going to bring our Forza games to PC complete.'"
Replace 'Forza' with 'Halo' and you have your answer. It sounds pretty clear that nearly every first-party Microsoft game going forward will release on Windows 10, at least where it makes sense, which it does for Halo. As further confirmation, when asked if there would be any ideological reason Microsoft might not release the next Halo on PC, Spencer gave us a firm "Not at all."
We also spoke with Spencer about the troubles recent Windows 10 launches have faced—Gears of War Ultimate Edition and Quantum Break being the prime examples—and how Microsoft plans to get better at shipping PC games, as well as the closure of Lionhead. The full interview will be posted soon.