Fan games are a dubious prospect in the video game community. If you're not careful, the fan game you've worked so hard on could get smacked down with a legal notice. It's why when a fan game does make it to release—or in the case of one Halo fan game—your game gets the blessings of the legal proprietors of the fan game's IP, it's a reason to celebrate.
Installation 01 is a Halo fan game project that managed to get the approval of current Halo stewards, 343 Industries. As detailed in a new blog post, the development team behind Installation 01 recount how—in order to avoid any legal SNAFUs—reached out to 343 Industries themselves in an effort to be both upfront about the project, as well as having a few questions answered by Microsoft and 343's legal departments.
In a statement on the official blog, the Installation 01 team laid out how they approached 343 Industries and Microsoft:
"Installation 01 has been maintaining a level of contact with 343 Industries over the past several months. We initially reached out to a company representative and spoke with him about getting into contact with Microsoft/343's legal department to answer a few inquiries we had about the legality of our project. This representative has acted as a kind of liaison between our team and 343 since then, and we have maintained a level of transparency with 343 Industries (through our contact) regarding Installation 01's plans, the scope of the project, our goals, and how we as a team aim to meet and support those goals long-term."
This one-way contact went on for a couple months apparently, with the Installation 01 team regularly updating 343 with their release schedule, content plans, and other logistics. It wasn't until recently that 343 called the fan game team back to have a meet-and-greet phone call, as well as an update on the legal status of the project. All of that apparently ended in a pretty good meeting.
"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."
As a result of keeping with Microsoft's Game Content Usage Rules, the Installation 01 team will not be accepting donations, nor sell merchandise related to either its fan game or Halo. All this to maintain a non-commercial relationship with the Halo IP.
Installation 01 is built using the Unity 5 engine and aims to recreate the best of "classic Bungie-era Halo games." The team's goal is to create a multiplayer experience that combines the Halo 2/3 multiplayer experience with bits of Combat Evolved and Reach. 343 Industries contributions to Halo can be accessed in Installation 01's custom modes, but not part of the standard matchmaking. You can watch a cinematic trailer the team recently put out above.