Halo is one of Microsoft’s biggest franchises, there are a very few games that can move consoles the way Halo does. With every release of the Xbox, Halo has taken the centre stage in it’s promotion.
The franchise started it’s journey with Halo: Combat Evolved, which launched on both PC and Xbox. The game received terrific reviews from the critics as it felt like a very fresh experience at that time. The levels were very dynamic and the story was contagious, you just couldn’t put it down, the multiplayer was also fun. Consecutively Halo:CE sold millions of copies and helped establish Xbox as a big console brand.
Then we saw the launch of Halo 2, which continued Master Chief’s story arc. There was a standard launch on the Xbox, but the game was locked to run on Windows Vista on PC. Microsoft basically used Halo to promote their new software release. Windows Vista which is still regarded as the worst Windows version by many.
After that we had Halo 3, 4 and 5, all of which were heavily promoted on Xbox, but didn’t see a launch on PC. Microsoft used Halo aggressively as a way to sell their consoles, by keeping it exclusive to their Xbox platform.
Since then, there have been many petitions and requests by fans, asking Microsoft to bring back Halo on PC. We did get a very striped down version of the Halo 5 multiplayer on PC, but it wasn’t really a good experience.
Xenia – Xbox Emulator On PC
Xenia is actually an open source research project for emulating Xbox 360 games on modern PCs. During it’s early days it was only able to emulate simple games, but it has added some support overtime. Games like Lego Batman and Wik Fable of souls are playable as of now and more games are being added with time.
Developing an emulator is very challenging and hard, Xenia still struggles to run most games even after being in development for a long time. But good progress is being made.
The Halo games are still highly anticipated and Xenia recently made a big breakthrough. A few months earlier, Halo 3 did manage to boot up on Xenia and the campaign tutorial was also accessible. But the renders were completely off and the game crashed after a few mins.
Now, the Halo 3 game menu is completely accessible and the renders are a lot better. Not only that, Halo 4 has also started rendering. The team at Xenia attributes a lot of the recent success to a developer named Train3le, who has been working extensively on Xenia for the past few months.
The emulation software has also seen huge gains from shifting to Vulcan from OpenGL. This means it will be exclusive to DX12 on Windows 10. With this rate of progress, we might see a payable version of Halo 3 in the next few months. You can download Xenia here.