As 2021 begins, so too does the end of Halo’s impressively long run on the Xbox 360. Microsoft plans to shut down all remaining Halo servers for its last-last-gen console by the end of 2021 at the latest, Thurrott reports.
In a new blog post, Halo creator 343 Industries writes that its teams are “wholly focused on the future of Halo.” The company says its responsibilities related to up keeping legacy versions of Halo have made it more difficult to finish next-gen versions of the game. So by December 2021, at the latest, all Xbox 360 versions of Halo will no longer support online functions or updates.
Sunsetting these online services will affect Xbox 360 versions of Halo: Reach, Halo 4, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Spartan Assault, and Halo Wars. You’ll no longer be able to play these titles online on the Xbox One or Xbox Series X/S, either — though offline gameplay won’t be affected.
This is bad news for any devout Xbox 360 Halo players out there — but refreshing news for anyone looking forward to the next-gen Halo Infinite.
You can definitely still play, though — In the nearly two decades since the launch of Halo: Combat Evolved on the original Xbox, the series has built a truly massive fan base. The fact that 343 Institutes feels the need to announce the sunsetting of games dating back to 2007 (Halo 3) is a testament to that dedication.
You can keep playing every aspect of these games that doesn't require an internet connection, though. The above graphic speaks to which features, in particular, will no longer be supported.
Making room for the infinite — Fans of the series have been eagerly awaiting Halo Infinite since it was first announced at E3 2018, so it didn’t exactly go over well when 343 Industries announced late this summer that the game would be delayed until 2021. Between the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges, the game’s developers just didn’t think they could match their vision by the game’s original launch date.
Leaving the Xbox 360 behind makes total sense at this point; doing so gives 343 Industries the extra space it needs to finish up Halo Infinite. Without Cyberpunk 2077 -sized launch bugs, at that.
Digital sales of the Xbox 360 Halo games have been suspended on the Microsoft Store, though you can purchase the majority of them as part of The Master Chief Collection — with upscaled 4K graphics and online services, too.