Is there something about the internationally popular, American-made Halo series that speaks to Russian gamers more than anyone else? Is there something inherently Russian, something we’ve missed, that permeates throughout the sci-fi odyssey? These are questions I’ve been asking myself in the wake of the announcement that the first Halo PC exclusive, Halo Online, would also be a Russian exclusive.
The situation is an odd one and, unsurprisingly, some modders seen the regional restriction as a challenge. A group calling themselves El Dorito have got their hands on a build of the game, and they’ve been working to make it available to all. Microsoft would rather like them to stop.
Halo Online is free-to-play anyway, the modders say, so they’re just making it free for people outside of Russia, too. Of course, the regular version will also make Microsoft and chums money through microtransactions.
While Microsoft has issued a DCMA takedown and managed to get a video of Halo Online’s assets removed, El Dorito continues its work. The enthusiasm for the game hasn’t moved Microsoft, either. It’s being designed with a Russian audience in mind, tailored to their tastes.
“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,” Microsoft told IGN. “As such, we want to ensure a quality experience for our beta participants within Russia which could be impacted through unauthorized use.”