Microsoft and 343 Industries ended online matchmaking services for Xbox 360-era Halo games, including Halo 3 and Reach, on Thursday. The shutdown, which 343 initially announced in late 2020, prompted fans of the Halo franchise to publicly mourn, but also celebrate the now-sunset titles.
In the days, hours, and even seconds leading up to the servers’ collective closure, players revisited vintage Halo titles to pay tribute to them. Several Halo fans on Reddit shared stories of how they spent their last moments of in-game time. One user stated they unlocked their final Halo 3 achievement on the day of the shutdown; another managed to achieve Halo: Reach’s highest multiplayer rank just one day before the server closure.
Several players also shared clips of ceasefires that were held during competitive multiplayer games. Reddit user ZacB_ uploaded a video of their final Halo 3 game, which showed players from both teams peacefully meeting up at the edge of the map before firing off their weapons into the sky in a makeshift 21-gun salute to Halo 3. Redditor ItzLateNight captured a video of a similar salute held on the Halo 3 map, High Ground.
Many on the subreddit reflected on the time they spent playing Halo on the Xbox 360. “I still remember beating Halo 3 on launch day [at] about 9 AM, after waiting in line at GameStop the previous night,” wrote Redditor exciter1.
Another Reddit user, Goatfellon, recounted how the game had personally impacted their life. “I still talk to a friend from the states I made through [Halo 3],” the Redditor wrote. “One of my friends is [still] dating a girl he met through it. It was a phenomenon.”
A screenshot of Halo 3’s matchmaking menu taken by Redditor rymouu post-shutdown added a sense of finality to the server closure. Ordinarily, the matchmaking menu displays how many players are online, and communicates their locations by lighting up parts of a global map. However, as evidenced by ryomouu’s screenshot, the map was blacked out following the shutdown, indicating no players were active — possibly for the first time in the game’s history.
The shuttering of online matchmaking services for Xbox 360 Halo games marks the end of an era for the series. Luckily, all of the affected games are still playable online via Halo: The Master Chief Collection, which boasts remastered versions of each title.