When it was released on the Xbox in 2004 (yes it has been that long), Halo 2
was the first real example of what Microsoft was talking about when it was bandying about its Live online play service. Bungie had created one of the simplest of interfaces for matchmaking – and one that remains pretty much unrivalled to this day; and countless Xbox owners around the world have taken to blasting Spartans time and time again.
With the advent of Halo 3
though to kick things off well and truly for the Xbox 360, where does that leave the PC, the undisputed king of online and FPS gaming? Microsoft hasn’t left the home computer out of the game with its new Live service for Windows platforms. The flagship for this service being… Halo 2
Well, considering the original Halo: Combat Evolved
took just as long to hit the PC and came with a myriad of additional features (such as online play), there has to be some incentive for keyboard and mouse players to bite. An involved multiplayer map creator and achievements are part and parcel of the Games for Windows experience. SPOnG spoke to Colin Riley, Technical Artist for the PC version, to explain some of the new features to us.
SPOnG: Halo 2
has already been available to Xbox owners for years. Why was there such a wait for PC gamers?
Maintaining the features in the multiplayer experience of Halo 2
was critical for its release on the PC. By aligning the release of Halo 2
for Windows Vista with the launch of Games for Windows – Live we were able to accomplish this.
SPOnG: Halo 2
uses Games for Windows Live. What was the decision to use Halo 2
as a poster game for the service rather than an all-new PC and Xbox release?
Colin Riley: Halo 2
was chosen because of its renowned online gaming experience with thousands of players still playing to this day. Games for Windows – LIVE was a perfect fit because it allowed us to keep core gameplay features, such as integrated voice, intact.
How successful do you believe the cross-platform play will be with users, considering a charge will be applied for the privilege and the differences in how the game will be played on console and PC?
We feel like this is a really cool feature if the game is built from the ground up with that in mind; something that FASA did well with Shadowrun
. With Halo 2
for Windows Vista we chose to go with features like the map editor, which required us to make some changes to the map files themselves. These changes made them incompatible with the Xbox versions.