It has been an up and down year for fans of the Halo franchise. First gamers were finally treated to footage of a next-gen Halo with Halo Infinite. Infinite was initially set to release alongside the Xbox Series X/S back in November, but just weeks before launch 343 Industries had push the game into 2021. That initial delay was then followed by another, pushing the game to Fall of next year.
While fans can still get their fix of Master Chief in the remastered Master Chief Collection or with his recent cameo in Fortnite, some gamers will be losing the chance to play Halo their way in the not so distant future.
It was announced on Halo's official Twitter today that Xbox 360 online services for legacy Halo games would be going offline in December 2021. In a blog post expanding on the initial tweet, the team at 343 Industries said that:
Today we are announcing our intention to sunset our Halo Xbox 360 legacy services to fully focus on the future of the franchise. In approximately ONE YEAR, December 2021, online services for legacy Halo Xbox 360 titles will be discontinued. Owners of these titles will still be able to play these games indefinitely, however, certain online features and experiences, particularly online matchmaking, will be limited or disabled.
Games included in the sunsetting are Halo 3, Halo ODST, Halo Reach, Halo 4, Halo Spartan Assault, Halo: Anniversary, and Halo Wars.
WHAT THIS MEANS
Of course, it is upsetting to see these once great online communities being sunsetted, but this should not upset too many people. Most gamers who want that classic Halo fix have already migrated over to The Master Chief Collection, and by the time this actually happens a whole new Halo adventure will be out in the wild (hopefully). This is just something that sadly has to happen in the online space that games see themselves residing in. Servers cost money!
Most of these games are still playable in one way or another, be it on PC or the new consoles, and 343 is giving the most nostalgic among us plenty of fair warning. It's going to be a year until the switch is actually flipped.
What fans should expect to see is a celebration of these games next December. If it is going to be anything like when they did the same to Halo 2 a few years ago, some of the best memories for die hard fans will be made in those final days.