Halo 5 isn't the only new Halo game on the way. Series developer 343 Industries has announced a new, free-to-play PC game called Halo Online, which is due to launch in closed beta this spring. The twist? It's only coming to Russia.
"Halo Online is a learning opportunity."
Developed in conjunction with Saber Interactive and Innova Systems, the game will be multiplayer only, and is based on a "highly modified" version of Halo 3 that's designed to work on low-end PCs. "Halo Online is a learning opportunity for us as we explore ways to welcome new fans to the Halo universe," 343 explains. The studio says that the game will have an in-game economy, though it's not clear what kind of purchases players will be able to make. The game will be set "on a secret UNSC space installation called Anvil, where Spartan-IV soldiers train together in war exercises to sharpen their battle skills and test experimental technology."
There are currently no plans to bring the game to the Xbox 360 or Xbox One, and 343 isn't saying anything about releasing the game in other countries. "Right now our focus is on learning as much as we can from the closed beta period in Russia," the studio says.
Of course, this is far from the first time that a Western developer has created a modified, free version of a popular franchise in order to appeal to a new market. Most recently, Activision partnered with Chinese internet giant Tencent to bring Call of Duty Online to PCs in China.