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Halo 2 for PC, commonly nicknamed Halo 2 Vista, is a Windows Vista port of Halo 2. The game was ported to Windows by the video game developer, Hired Gun, who also created the game's Map Editing Kit. In addition, this was the first Halo game to include Achievements for both the campaign and multiplayer.

The game's original release date was May 8, 2007 in North America. However, Hired Gun said the team needed "to make some improvements to the installation experience and address other technical issues," so the game was delayed to May 22. The game was delayed a final time to May 31 when Microsoft found partial nudity in the Map Editing Kit. For unknown reasons, Australia began selling the game in stores on May 17.

With the 2014 release of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, the multiplayer component included for Halo 2 was that of Halo 2 PC, including all previously PC-exclusive maps, weapons and vehicles.

On January 16, 2013,[1] 343 Industries announced that online multiplayer for Halo 2 Vista would be discontinued on February 15 due to a declining online population (consistently 20 or less players). However, this was later extended to June so the team could discuss the feasibility of keeping the servers online. The shut down of the servers was extended again to early 2014, however, they eventually went offline in July 2015.



Halo 2 Vista, being a release for the Games for Windows (GFW) service, included support for Xbox Live for Windows system. It intertwined with the Xbox Live system, allowing communication with someone who has an Xbox. However, cross-platform play was not supported, despite being planned, initially. The GFW Live interface was similar to that of the Xbox 360 dashboard. Instead of using peer-to-peer matchmaking, players were able to create dedicated servers that were created with a program that came with the disc.

Gamertags, which are used on Xbox Live, were also used on Live for Windows. If a player were to have an Xbox Live gamertag, they would be able to log into Halo 2 Vista using that. Otherwise, a free account could be registered for a player. Players could also match up in parties, and the party leader could specify maps and game types to play on the go.

Exclusive to Halo 2 Vista were two new maps, "District" and "Uplift." However, Halo 2 Vista did not include the maps "Desolation" or "Tombstone" from the Halo 2 Blastacular Pack, which were released in the prior month of the PC version's launch. Modders managed to eventually port the maps into the game.

Map Editor[]

The "Halo 2 Map Editing Kit" was exclusive to the PC version of the game and was based on the original "Halo Editing Kit" in Halo: Custom Edition. The kit consists of cut down versions of Bungie's own internal development tools, a tutorial, and commonly used data and tags for map development. A premade map named "Example" was included by default and was created by the developers as a reference aid to assist users in the creation of their own custom maps.

Tray & Play[]

Halo 2 Vista is the first and only commercial game known to use Microsoft's "Tray & Play" technology.[2] It is an attempt to emulate the ability of consoles to instantly play games from an optical disc drive. When the game is launched, data begins streaming from the disc while simultaneously being installed in the background during a once-off process.

System Requirements[]


  • Operating system: Windows Vista
  • CPU: 2 Ghz Pentium 4 class processor (or x64)
  • GPU: DX9 graphics card: WDDM driver, PS 2.0/32BPP, At least nVidia 6000 or *ATI x700 or above
  • VRAM: 128MB
  • RAM: 1GB
  • HDD: 7GB
  • DVD-ROM: required


  • Operating system: Windows Vista
  • CPU: Dual Core processor
  • GPU: DX9 graphics card: WDDM driver, PS 3.0/32BPP, At least NVidia 7800 or *ATI x1800 or above
  • VRAM: 256MB
  • RAM: 1GB
  • HDD: 7GB
  • DVD-ROM: required


Halo 2 Vista was considerably less popular than the Xbox version of the game. Besides selling incredibly low due to the negative reception of Windows Vista, it also was far less highly rated than the Xbox version. The game netted a mere 72% from Metacritic, a site which regulates and moderates reviews from other websites. Game Informer cited the outdated graphics and lack of innovation, which they said made the game feel "too outdated for a next-generation PC game, especially compared with how stunning Halo 2 had been on Xbox."

The game lacked features such as online cooperative play, and while the Xbox version never supported this feature, compared to Halo 3, which launched on the Xbox 360 also in 2007, this lack of parity between both games released only months apart contributed to its lackluster reputation. Halo 2 Vista's dedicated server functionality was also severely downgraded in comparison with Halo: Combat Evolved's dedicated server commands.


  • Achievements were included with the PC version of Halo 2, though they could only unlock while players were logged into Games for Windows Live. These achievements were shown on the player's Live profile and go towards their Gamerscore, just like Xbox 360 and Xbox One games.
  • Halo 2 Vista is the first and only Halo game thus far to feature Tray and Play. In addition, no other Games for Windows Live title implemented this feature.
  • It is suspected that the Halo 2 Editing Kit had many features disabled or deleted, which would disallow all types of custom tag creation, such as custom player models, vehicles, scenery/objects, scripts.
  • Halo 2 Vista is the only game prior to Halo: The Master Chief Collection that is able to truly run at 60 frames per second in all game modes, not just including the menus, which also ran at 60FPS in the Xbox version. Halo: Combat Evolved for PC is also technically capable of running at 60FPS, but all animations for characters, vehicles, effects, etc. are locked at 30FPS, like the Xbox and Xbox 360 versions of the games.
  • Halo 2 Vista was rated M for violence, language, blood and gore, and also partial nudity, which the Xbox version lacked. It turned out that a bug in an .ass error appeared to show the butt of a naked man. This could be removed simply with a patch downloadable from the Halo 2 Vista website.
  • This is the only Halo game that gave achievements that were not tracked on Halo Waypoint.
  • Through the use of third party, unauthorized patches, Halo 2 Vista was able to work on certain versions of Windows XP.
  • Although the Example map did ship with the game, there were several similar maps intended to be included to further-demonstrate the modding toolset available.