Halo Online mod ElDewrito taken down by Microsoft
Microsoft and 343 Industries have stepped in on the development of ElDewrito, a community-made mod for Halo Online, a cancelled free Halo 3 derived PC game for the Russian market. It was to allow the game to be played in player-hosted servers and aimed to restore removed features, fix bugs and glitches, and add mod support.
The mod authors have had to down tools since Microsoft contact the team, citing violatons of intellectual property, both confirmed by the team themselves and a statement released by 343 Industries.
ElDewritoWhile we are humbled and inspired to see the amount of passion poured into this project, the fact remains that it’s built upon Microsoft-owned assets that were never lawfully released or authorized for this purpose. As this project reverberated across the community, our team took a step back to assess the materials and explore possible avenues, while Microsoft, like any company, has a responsibility to protect its IP, code and trademarks. It’s not optional in other words.
The popularity of the mod caught the attention of Microsoft after it started to make waves in the gaming press, and as such this acton has been taken. 343 Industries, the developer of the game, released a statement on their community forum to address the situaton, explaining why this action was taken;
With Halo Online, there’s a common misconception that once it was canceled, the assets were either turned over as “open source” or left for the community’s whims as “abandonware” – neither of which is actually true. Not only did Microsoft issue takedown notices at the time of the original leaks, but many elements of that underlying code and content are still actively being used today and will continue to be in the future.
So it seems, while created with the best of intentions, Microsoft still view the work done on Halo Online as an active concern, and will take action against any community mods that are using assets from the leaked game.
While the mod has been taken down, the version that was released will remain playable, but as for the future of the project, the developer, RabidSquabbit, said he does not know what is next.
To be completely honest, we do not know the answer to this question yet. Our conversation with 343 was very brief. Since ElDewrito itself is simply an open source mod and not a Microsoft asset, the mod itself will not be taken down. However, it appears that any Microsoft assets required to play the game (MS23 builds, Full 0.6 game zips, ect) will likely be taken down by Microsoft. All we know is that have been told to temporarily halt development until more information is available, and we must honor this request. During this time, please do not make threats or harass 343 Industries.
In a further side to the story, several prominant Twitch streamers who had managed to get hold of the mod found themselves Temporarily banned from the service after playing the mod on a live stream, with Microsoft agressively issuing DMCA takedown requests on anyone using the mod.
One thing is clear, Microsoft are keen to protect the assets that were leaked and contained with in. Do you agree with Microsoft's stance on this, or should the community mod have been allowed to stand? Let us know in the comments below.