Lines have been drawn in the sand between Microsoft and the modding community hell bent on getting Halo Online out to the PC gaming public around the world. The Russia-only, free-to-play game has been leaked to the public, and the modders have vowed to continue supporting the leak with promises of full support.

Halo Online, which is based on the multiplayer portion of Halo 3, features micro-transactions and other added components in its home country of Russia that the modding team believes breaks the game. Not only does the team plan to make the game available worldwide, it also wants to remove these options to keep the game fair and balanced.

“The game was going to be free in the first place. The PC audience has been screaming for Halo 3 for years and years, and we saw the chance with this leak,” claims a modder by the name of Neoshadow42 speaking to TorrentFreak.

“The fact that we could, in theory, bring the game that everyone wants, without the added on stuff that would ruin the game, that’s something we’d be proud of.”

It doesn’t seem that the team will be monetizing from the project. Microsoft has still issued a DCMA order to take the game down, but the modding group will not let up.

“In terms of DMCA/C&D mitigation, we have made redundant git backups on private and public git servers. This is to ensure we will always have one working copy. These are being synchronized so that data is always the same. Further DMCAs may happen potentially, it’s not really known at the moment. Our backups will always exist though and we will continue until we’re happy.”

How about it? Fans have been wanting Halo 3 on the PC for a very long time, and Microsoft has done a good job of leaving those cries unanswered. Halo Online was also only going to be free-to-play in Russia regardless, so possibly Microsoft just doesn’t want this version cannibalizing the time you spend on games it wants you to pay to play for. That’s the only way it can lose money from this unless it has its own unannounced plans to finally put Halo Online in the States.

Is this piracy or fighting the good fight? Gamers have proven that they are willing to pay for games, but they have to be made available first before they can be paid for. This situation doesn’t seem that different from the fan-translation scene which allows plenty of lost Japanese classics to be rediscovered.

Halo Online’s situation has a lot more gray area in the morality behind it considering it’s not that old of a release, and cannibalization can be an issue. This is a far cry from the likes of 7th Dragon where the market is negligibly small and nobody was publishing the series anyway. On the other hand, millions of fans have already paid for the Halo 3 multiplayer portion several times now in packages like Halo 3 and The Master Chief Collection.

Too many mental gymnastics here to keep track!