Microsoft decided to revive one of the critically acclaimed but commercially underwhelming RTS games for the Xbox 360 for PC and Xbox One gamers. I'm talking about Halo Wars. The early access to the Definitive Edition of the 2009 strategy title has begun.
Over on the official Xbox website, head of strategy for games development at the Xbox division, Dan Ayoub, wrote a piece explaining that those who pre-ordered the digital version of Halo Wars 2: Ultimate Edition from the Microsoft Store will be able to gain early access to Halo Wars: Definitive Edition right now.
Now keep in mind that this is a pre-order bonus not a pre-purchase bonus. So this means that you don't actually have to pay money to gain access to the Halo Wars: Definitive Edition. You simply have to pre-order, download the game and you'll have it in your library. Some gamers have been suggesting that you cancel the pre-order after you gain access to the Halo Wars code through the Xbox Live messaging app, but there's no telling if Microsoft can retroactively disable the game.
After you pre-order Halo Wars 2: Ultimate Edition, they state that it will take between seven and 10 days for them to deliver the code for Halo Wars: Definitive Edition. So after pre-ordering you'll only have to wait a week or so before you can play the newly improved re-release of the 2009 RTS title.
This will also mark the first time that PC gamers will be able to play the game, given that Ensemble Studios and Microsoft only released the original Halo Wars on Xbox 360 back in 2009. The game sold okay, but it wasn't up to par to what Microsoft had wanted out of it, especially coming off the huge sales of Halo 3.
After coming out from under Microsoft's wings, Bungie had mentioned that they saw Halo Wars as "whoring" out the Halo franchise. I thought it was an interesting way to expand the universe and it was far less whorish than say Halo 4 or Halo 5. In fact, at least the original Halo Wars managed to create a very compelling storyline following the crew of the Spirit of Fire in their do-or-die mission. They had some good stakes and characters that were pretty easy to like right from the get-go, something that they had a hard time managing to get across in Halo 5: Guardians.
For the definitive edition of Halo Wars, they've gone back and remapped some of the key features to make it more palatable for PC gamers. For instance, there's now a new server browser that they've added for the multiplayer portion of the game, including being able to easily find matchmaking for co-op campaign, skirmish matches or standard PvP.
They also mention that Halo Wars: Definitive Edition is a legitimate, bona fide Play Anywhere game. This means that you can use a single code between the PC and Xbox One versions of the game and play it whether you're on Microsoft's console or Microsoft's Windows 10 OS.
For those who pre-ordered Halo Wars 2 back in early December, they mention in the post that the codes for Halo Wars: Definitive Edition are going out now, and you should receive them soon.
You can expect the RTS sequel to go live starting February 21st in 2017 for the Xbox One and PC.