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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.

In a statement issued to PCGamer, Microsoft said: "We've reached out to several content creators who may have been impacted while streaming Halo Online as we don't want to see people getting banned.

"Streamers should not broadcast Halo Online gameplay because as previously shared, the code for Halo Online was never lawfully released or authorised for this purpose and would likely violate Twitch's community guidelines."

With over 200,000 hosted games, ElDewrito is still live and the modding team are encouraging fans to "play the hell out of it" while they still can.

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Ivy Taylor avatar

Ivy Taylor


Ivy joined GamesIndustry.biz in 2017 having previously worked as a regional journalist, and a political campaigns manager before that. They are also one of the UK's foremost Sonic the Hedgehog apologists.