While Halo fever may be at an all-time low, there is no doubting what the franchise means to Microsoft’s gaming brand, especially the original Xbox’s Halo 2. Since it’s inception, the game generated a cult-like following – thanks in part to the success of the initial entry in the series – for not only it’s single-player, but especially it’s multiplayer. So much so that despite the fact that the game was six years old, people were still playing it. Microsoft still had to pull the plug on the game at some point though, as the game was no longer in production for the original Xbox and it wasn’t worth continuing to run the server.
So on April 15, Microsoft turned off access to Xbox Live to anyone using an original Xbox. Dedicated fans would not give up though and a loophole was found. Players who had managed to not log out of Halo 2 were able to continue playing, despite the fact that the server was shut down. This meant that they never turned off the game or even left the lobby, as it was impossible to just load up the game and join him to increase the number again.
To those noble folk keeping halo2 alive: we see you, and we salute you. Http://bit.ly/bjcCCN
— Stephen Toulouse (@Stepto) April 30, 2010
A dedicated group of 14 players managed to keep the last ever Halo 2 Xbox multiplayer session open and the server up for close to an entire month. Microsoft could do nothing but wait, even though they did manage to entice a few of them with Beta codes for the upcoming Halo: Reach game. At the same time though, despite the fact that they were also trying to end the final server, Xbox Live’s director of policy and enforcement let the group know that not only would he not force them out, but was actively watching and appreciating their efforts.
According to Kotaku, the last two members left in the group, after a week in some change, were Agent Windex and Apache N4SIR. At 4:21 Windex wrote on the Bungie forums that he had been kicked, congratulating Apache on being the last man to ever play Halo 2 Xbox Live multiplayer. As the final member, he wondered what he should do without an opponent. Some suggested to play the campaign but not beat the final mission, as it would sign him off.
Around 11 p.m. PDT, May 10, 2010, was Apache N4SIR booted from the last multiplayer game on not only Halo 2 but the original Xbox Live as well. While Halo 2 multiplayer is available on PC to play currently, there will never be another game of SWAT or Capture the Flag in its original form. What a ride it was though.