Microsoft shuts down popular Halo mod ElDewrito

Streamers attract tech giant's ire as multiple DMCA takedowns issued

Microsoft has brought the hammer down on a fan-made mod for the cancelled Halo Online, causing a flurry of outrage within the community.

Originally a PC only, free-to-play release planned exclusively for the Russian market, Halo Online was "put on indefinite hold" in 2016 after two years of development.

The source code was leaked into the wild shortly before the game was cancelled, eventually re-appearing last year as the ElDewrito mod.

Franchise caretaker 343 Industries says it is not shutting down the mod, but action is being taken to remove the Halo Online code and packages from wherever it is being hosted.

The developer issued a statement praising the modding community -- and making vague noises about a Halo PC launch in the future -- but ultimately saying that Microsoft "like any company, has a responsibility to protect its IP, code and trademarks".

"With Halo Online, there's a common misconception that once it was cancelled, the assets were either turned over as 'open source' or left for the community's whims as 'abandonware' - neither of which is actually true," said 343 Industries.

"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."

According to the ElDewrito team, "there was no cease and desist, no DMCA, just a brief conversation about what they suggest we do."

Since ElDewrito is an open source mod and not a Microsoft asset, it will not be taken down.

"However, it appears that any Microsoft assets required to play the game will likely be taken down by Microsoft," the modders said. "All we know is that have been told to temporarily halt development until more information is available, and we must honor this request."

While 343 Industries did its best to quell the upset community, Microsoft set about issuing DMCA takedown notices on streamers who had been playing ElDewrito.

According to one streamer, the platform holder even issued notices to people who hadn't streamed since before the drama began to unfold.