In 2014, Microsoft and 343 were working on Halo Online, an online client based on Halo 3 assets that was intended exclusively for the Russian market. The game eventually didn’t come to fruition, but the code and assets made it out into the wild. A group of fans created “ElDewrito,” a mod that filled out the game, fixed bugs and allowed for player servers. As a big new update approached, Microsoft stepped in to enforce its IP rights. Now ElDewrito is on hold, but there may be more brewing under the surface.
The strange thing is that this isn’t the usual shutdown of a fan project as you’d see from Nintendo or someone else shutting down a fan game. Microsoft generally supports fan works, within certain parameters. Instead of issuing a DMCA or Cease and Desist, Microsoft and 343 contacted the ElDewrito team and spoke to them about it.
Development has been halted, and while the mod itself isn’t a legal problem, the Halo Online code and assets are. The game is still playable at the moment, but it seems like 343, based on its own statement, wants to have further conversations with the ElDewrito team. What this could mean or lead to is anyone’s guess, but it’s a situation worth paying attention to.