While Google celebrated Android's 5th birthday on Tuesday, Microsoft had a celebration of its own with the launch of the fourth installment of its popular Halo franchise. Now available on the Xbox 360, Halo 4 was developed by 343 Industries and kicks off a new trio of Halo games called the "Reclaimer Trilogy".
Penny Arcade, already knee-deep in the new console shooter, said on Monday that it's "one of the best-looking games of the current generation." That first impression led to speculation as to what Halo 4 would look like on a high-end PC with a higher resolution, a higher framerate (and additional exclusive DirectX 11 features). Speculation then turned into a quick email to Microsoft about the possibility of a PC edition.
Penny Arcade's inquiry is a legitimate one: after all, Halo was released for the PC back in 2003 once the original Xbox version hit store shelves. This port of Bungie's classic shooter was handled by Gearbox Software and was limited in its multiplayer offerings. PC gamers were even promised that they could create and share custom maps, but that feature was never added.
Halo 2 then arrived on the PC gaming scene in May 2007, but this time an internal team at Microsoft Game Studios handled the port of Bungie's Halo sequel. It was also a Windows Vista exclusive, meaning that many Halo fans were forced to use an unauthorized patch in order to get the shooter running on Windows XP. However this time Microsoft stuck to its promise and provided two exclusive multiplayer maps and a map editor.
With Halo 3 (September 2007), Microsoft ignored the PC platform altogether, and the Redmond company will reportedly do the same with the just-released Halo 4. "Halo 4 was designed specifically for Xbox 360, and while we’re always exploring new ways to expand the franchise and share the Halo experience with as many fans as possible, we do not currently have any plans to port Halo 4 to PC," a Microsoft spokesperson said.
Note the word "currently". Microsoft didn't say Halo 4 wouldn't hit Windows 8 in the future. After all, Halo 2 arrived on the original Xbox in November 2004, and didn't appear on Windows Vista until May 2007. The PC version was used to push the Windows Vista platform which initially launched just four months prior to the PC game's release.
That said, offering a Windows 8 version of Halo 4 with Modern UI-specific exclusives would have been ideal. But perhaps Microsoft is waiting for the whole 4-screen ecosystem to be established before it tackles a major title like Halo 4.