Halo 2 Multiplayer Is So Back

Spartans exploding sideways while a Sangheili runs away with a flag

Image: Microsoft

In 2010, Microsoft shut down Xbox Live servers for the original Xbox. That meant the online components of titles like Phantasy Star Online, Star Wars: Battlefront II, and Halo 2 were completely unavailable to play. While not everybody in 2024 still has access to an original Xbox and is mourning the inability to play online games, there are some folks who fit that description. Which is where Insignia, an Xbox Live replacement (that’s in no way affiliated with or endorsed by Microsoft), comes in. Thanks to the project, plenty of multiplayer games are getting a new lease on life, and as of today that includes Halo 2.

Announced on Insignia’s X (formerly Twitter) account on March 13, the project is launching Halo 2 multiplayer servers on March 15 at 4:00 p.m. EST. To access those servers, players who still own an original Xbox need to install Insignia and sign up for a Gamertag. The project has a lengthy instruction guide on how to do that, and while it does require some patience, the reward will be worth it. On launch, Insignia’s Halo 2 servers will include 10 multiplayer playlists, including classics like Team Slayer.

However, even if you do own an Xbox and Halo 2 and want to play with others through Insignia, you may still have troubles. According to the project’s website, close to 200 Xbox games are supported and over 10,000 users have registered, though at the time of writing less than 20 users were online. Still, perhaps news like this will result in an influx of dedicated fans and make finding matches easy in the future.

2004’s Halo 2 remains one of the most important Xbox and multiplayer games ever made, heralding a new era for the original Xbox Live which would change console multiplayer gaming forever. Insignia’s ability to revive the game’s multiplayer functionality isn’t only a fun bit of tech for people to play with, but also an important act of games preservation. Of course, there is an easier way to play Halo 2, including its multiplayer. That would be through the Master Chief Collection, which includes Halo 2: Anniversary, the 2014 remaster of the seminal title. But it’s good for gamers to have access to playable builds of both versions of the game, just in case you want to revisit the nostalgia of the original.

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