Halo 2 Vista - New Details

Halo 2 Vista - New Details

Bungie has revealed a few more of the facts surrounding the Vista-only, PC version of Halo 2. The company has answered a few questions on its website about how the game is coming along, how the online multiplayer experience will feel and where XBox Live Anywhere will fit in.

The first issue regarding Halo 2 for PC that Bungie has, yet again, stressed is that PC Halo 2 players will not be able to compete online against XBox and XBox 360 players. Bungie explains: we are adding Vista-specific features to the game that will not be compatible with the original Xbox version. We wanted the game to be the best it could be on Windows Vista and did not want to be limited by backwards compatibility with the Xbox version. If you have a friend who is playing on the Xbox you will be able to invite them to your game on Windows Vista, or send them messages, just like you can today on the Xbox 360.

Vista owners however, will be able to use the XBox Live Anywhere service and keep track of friends whatever platform they may be using. Bungie describe the Vista online experience as being much closer to that found on the XBox consoles but they do mention some differences such as: ...dedicated servers, and the ability to configure online games how you want them rather than having them chosen for you as in the Xbox version, support for the keyboard and mouse, text chat, etc. There are loads of really cool things we are doing in this area, and we will let you know about them in future developer diaries.

Bungie also explain their reasons for not increasing the player number in the online modes. We are going to have all of the original multiplayer maps and the map pack. These were all expertly tuned by the folks at Bungie to work for up to 16 players. We do have the addition of a Map Editor and may ship with a few new maps, we have chosen to make these 16 player max as well to keep the game experience as consistent as possible between the original maps and the new ones and to help keep groups together between games by not having huge variances in map sizes. This is especially important with Playlists in dedicated server sessions.

Some aspects of what Bungie and Microsoft are planning for Halo 2 seem to have an eerie similarity to Valve's Steam service and the Halo developers mention that a game browser will be created which will also act as a server management tool for players, keeping all their preferences easily accessible from one location.

Finally Bungie confirmed that there are no plans for a mobile version of Halo but that mobile users will be able to use the Live anywhere from their mobile phones once the service launches.

Halo 2 is expected to be a launch title for Windows Vista although that information won't help you pin down a release date. For the time being Q1 2007 seems to be the best estimate we can offer.