343 Industries have announced that they will be sunsetting online services on for games in the Halo franchise 3 on the Xbox 360 by December 2021.
The franchise developers released a lengthy blog post outlining the process of discontinuing the Xbox 360 Halo titles over the next years.
Chief among the titles, Halo 3 was released back in 2007, and as such player numbers are lowering. 343 says that “Maintaining these legacy services today 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.
Owners of these titles will still be able to play these games indefinitely, however, certain online features and experiences, particularly online matchmaking, will be limited or disabled.”
A tweet was also posted summarizing the titles which are being affected: Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, Halo Wars, Halo: Reach, Spartan Assault, Halo 4 and Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary.
Halo Xbox 360 services are going offline in December 2021. Games remain playable indefinitely, but some experiences will be impacted.
— Halo (@Halo) December 18, 2020
An in-depth FAQ at the end of the blog post contains the more in-depth coverage of the ins and outs of the sunsetting process. Interestingly matchmaking appears to be expected to remain live for both Spartan Assault and Halo Wars.
343 Industries have highlighted that these changes are being made as resources are moved over to current and future projects. Halo Infinite is planned for launch in Fall 2021 after being pushed back from its Series X|S launch title slot.
This delay came after the gameplay demonstration in July this year was received poorly by fans of the series. The graphics were the main aspect that was criticised, with fans focussing on the overall art style and the visual fidelity of the footage.
Until Halo: Infinite’s release, the next chance to play as Master Chief well be in Fortnite, after Epic Games released a skin based of the character earlier this month.