This morning, Halo fans were treated to some good news thanks to a Halo Infinite livestream detailing that game’s campaign. On the flip side, 343 Industries also reminded players of its plans to shut down the Xbox 360 online services for a slew of Halo titles, pushing back its original December execution to January.
343 originally announced plans to do this in December of 2020. The plan is to cease the 360 online services for the following titles:
- Halo 3
- Halo 3: ODST
- Halo Reach
- Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary
- Halo Wars
- Halo: Spartan Assault.
This was supposed to take place this December but will now occur on January 13, 2022. When this happens, features such as online matchmaking will either be disabled or severely limited for each game affected. Yes, this includes playing them on Xbox One or Series X/S via backwards compatibility. According to the Halo Waypoint post (which you should read for a full breakdown of how this all works) owners of these games will still be able to play them offline “indefinitely.”
343’s reason for doing this is to focus on the future of the Halo series. In addition to launching Halo Infinite this December, it also plans to continue updating Halo: The Master Chief Collection (including its gradual migration to PC). According to 343, juggling Halo Infinite and the MCC while maintaining online services for several legacy Halo titles “requires significant time and resources, which directly impacts the studio’s ability to support current and future projects like Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Halo Infinite.”
“Every cycle spent maintaining and supporting Xbox 360 legacy services is time and energy not spent on the future of Halo,” reads the blog post.
343 began rolling out the sunsetting in four phases, starting in 2019. Last December, it halted future sales of Halo games on 360, for example. We’re currently in the third phase, which is updated messaging, with the fourth being the shutdown next year, naturally. Earlier this year, the original Halo.Bungie.net website went offline for good, so this year has been an end of an era of sorts for longtime Halo fans.