In the longest and most unrewarding slow tease since the movie Prometheus, Microsoft announced this week that it would bring Halo 5, sort of, to the PC. Well, not Halo 5 so much as the Halo 5 Map Editor, called Forge.
“From the very beginning, community creations have been central to the Halo experience,” a new post to the Xbox Wire blog explains. “From stacking up grenades underneath an unsuspecting Warthog to multiplayer movie-making, the Halo sandbox has always been fertile soil for millions of moments and memories created for, and by, the fans.”
I’m pretty sure that “actually playing the game” is central to the Halo experience. But here’s what is happening.
Microsoft is bringing the Halo 5 version of the Forge map editor to Windows 10 “later this year.” Forge debuted with Halo 3 back in 2007, but it was updated significantly in last year’s Halo 5 release on Xbox One.
The Windows 10 version of the Forge editor—awkwardly named Forge – Halo 5: Guardians Edition for Windows 10 because, well, Microsoft—will be free. And it will include some features that will only be available on Windows 10. These include:
Keyboard and mouse support. In a dramatic move to 1980’s technology, “Forgers” (sigh, yes, those who use Forge) can use a mouse and keyboard to design levels, allowing a new level of precision that should result in some interesting designs.
Support for higher resolutions. The Windows 10 version of the Forge editor will support multiple resolutions, including 4K, Microsoft says. Your levels will continue to run at 1600 x 900, or whatever sub-Full HD resolutions the Xbox One is capable of, of course.
Test and play with friends. You and your friends will be able to “build, test, and play” your Forge creations … on Windows 10. Which is interesting, since you can’t actually play Halo 5 on Windows 10.
Build on Windows 10 and publish to Xbox One. No surprise here, but the levels you build on Windows 10 can of coruse be published to and played on Xbox One. I assumed that was the point.
As you may be able to detect—I know, I tried to keep it subtle—I believe that Microsoft’s decision to keep its Halo franchise locked to its Xbox consoles wrong. And is of course tied directly to the out-of-date need for console exclusives. But the software giant has been dancing around this policy for months, with several high-profile Xbox Live games shipping on both Xbox One and Windows, some even offering cross-play capabilities.
Microsoft, tear down that wall. Stop teasing your fans and just bring Halo 5—andHalo: The Master Chief Collection for that matter—to Windows 10 now. You know, while there are still some people who actually care.