Installation 01, as it is described on its website, is a fan-made “artistic tribute to Halo that recreates the multiplayer experience of the Bungie-era games.” It’s also the sort of thing that tends to fall afoul of cease-and-desist letters issued by the legal departments of major game publishers, something the project developers said in August 2016 that they were hoping to avoid by scrupulously following Microsoft’s “Game Content Usage Rules.”
At the same time, the team was also trying to get the official go-ahead from Microsoft, because those rules contain a clause that allows it to revoke the non-commercial license “at any time and for any reason.” After “several months” of contact with current Halo studio 343 Industries, that effort, according to an update posted yesterday, has apparently paid off.
“Over the past few months, we’ve shared details of our development plans with 343: our release schedule, planned content, and more. Up until very recently, this was a one-way street, with us sending them information and them thanking us for maintaining contact and keeping them informed. This changed recently. 343 Industries gave us an opportunity to participate in a call with a few company higher-ups to engage in a meet-and-greet and involved discussion about the future of our project. They also gave us an opportunity to ask a lot of questions about the ongoing legal status of the project,” the Installation 01 team said.
“We are happy to announce that the outcome of the call was both incredibly informational and very positive! Through these interactions we have been ensured that Installation 01 is not under imminent legal threat, provided we remain non-commercial in nature and scope, and continue to follow Microsoft’s Game Content Usage Rules to the letter.”
This means that the developers will “never” accept donations, nor will it offer any merchandise related to the game for sale. The developers also emphasized that neither 343 nor Microsoft are involved in the project in any way, and noted that “these rules and assurances from 343 are specific to Installation 01 as a project, and should not be interpreted to apply elsewhere.”
Even with 343’s assurances, the studio is clearly treading very carefully. Which is no doubt wise: The approval is obviously very conditional (“not under imminent legal threat” is awfully flimsy) and even if it wren’t, the “any time and for any reason” clause that governs the usage of Microsoft’s intellectual property will always loom large. But it’s as happy an outcome as can be expected in cases like this. “Through ongoing communication with 343 Industries we hope that we, as a fan project, can continue to be a positive driving force within the Halo community,” the developers said.