The plug gets pulled tomorrow on the original Xbox Live and with it the influential Halo 2 - but before it goes, Bungie is giving it a slightly silly sendoff.
It's difficult to overestimate the impact that Halo 2 had on modern console gaming. These days, the PS3 and Xbox 360 are all about the online experience, with some games (that begin with "M" and end with "odern Warfare 2") getting literally millions of people playing online concurrently. But while online console play existed before 2004, it was Bungie's landmark shooter that cemented it as something that was to be central going forward.
Tomorrow marks the end of an era, as the original Xbox Live - and Halo 2 with it - goes offline for good. With just one day of play left, though, Bungie is putting the "Did You Know?" box on the match intro screen to good use. Usually used for tips and tricks, the Did You Know? box is now home to a host of jokes and references as Bungie bids the game and its community a very fond farewell.
Perhaps the most touching is the one seen here on the right: "Thanks for playing. Seriously? More than five years after launch? You're awesome." But there are also some more tongue-in-cheek ones, poking fun at the game and its community alike.
Some of my favorites:
"Trouble Spot? Having problems playing on Xbox LIVE? If it's after April 15th, we've got a good idea why!"
"Admit it, the first time you boarded a vehicle it was pretty awesome."
"Title Update 4 adds Theater support, screenshots, and Forge to Halo 2! Coming: NEVER."
"SMG Starts! Okay, we admit it, it was a bad idea."
"Superbouncin'! Even from waaaaaay down here, you still look like a douche!"
"Honky Tonk! Honk your horn while driving the Warthog to alert your team mates that a ride is available! Or, you know, just to be irritating."
There's also the requisite teabagging joke, that I won't reproduce here out of vanity and because it makes me feel dirty.
Well played, Bungie. You made a game that people played to the last, five years and one whole console generation later. That's something to be proud of, and it's nice to see the developer having fun with people who have stuck with it to the end.
There are screenshots of all of Bungie's (known) farewell messages over at Joystiq.