The Halo series history with the PC community is a bit spotty. The original Halo: Combat Evolved initially released on the XBox in 2001 exclusively, but was eventually ported to the PC thanks to Gearbox Software. This same deal happened with Halo 2 which released exclusively on the XBox in 2004 and was then ported to PC as a Games for Windows LIVE title, for Windows Vista, in 2006. The Halo series would then skip the PC platform for the next 10 years. Aside from the failed Halo Online which was only in beta and even then only in Russia, Halo’s presence on the PC was limited to modding community’s keeping the old games alive, like the SPV3 mod for Halo Custom Edition, and the upcoming fan game Installation 01.
In the fall of 2016, the PC community finally got thrown a bone when 343 Industries and Microsoft, in collaboration with SkyBox Labs, release a sliver of Halo 5's multiplayer on the Windows Store for free. Called Halo 5: Forge, or alternatively Forge - Halo 5: Guardians Edition, the game included Halo 5's entire Forge mode and custom games support, complete with a custom games browser to replace the matchmaking system. It did not, however, contain the Warzone game mode or the campaign. Due to the lack of REQ Points in this version of the game, you could only obtain new armor by buying REQ packs on the Waypoint website. You also could not customize your Spartan in-game and had to do it through the Waypoint website. Aside from that, Halo 5: Forge contains every map and weapon that the original game does and has been updated consistently to match. But Halo 5: Forge may soon be obsolete.
Spotted by multiple fans and news outlets(Comparison image courtesy of AllGamesDelta on Twitter), Halo 5: Guardian’s box art has seemingly been updated. Originally it just said “Only on Xbox One” as seen in the left image. Now, however, it says “Xbox One Console Exclusive.” This may seem like a minor change that means nothing, as it’s still exclusive to Xbox One, but this isn’t the first time this has happened. Before Quantum Break officially came to PC, it too shared the “Only on Xbox One” header, but then changed to “Xbox One Console Exclusive” followed shortly thereafter by the PC release of the game on the Windows Store and later Steam.
So if the new header means anything, it’s that the full Halo 5: Guardians experience will be coming to PC, likely exclusively to the Windows Store. Whether or not that means the return of matchmaking is up for debate, but it will mean the inclusion of the games campaign as well as the Warzone mode and probably proper in-game character customization.
You may be asking why they would even bother porting the full game after three years and the release of a truncated version of the game. Well, the answer to that is two-fold. For one, Microsoft’s renewed push into the PC gaming space requires that they release more games on the platform. Halo is their biggest IP and the most requested one from PC gamers, so naturally they’d dig into their more recent back catalog for games to port that they haven’t already. The second reason is that Halo Infinite(aka Halo 6) is already confirmed to be coming to PC at launch alongside the Xbox One version(Signs point to a 2020 release, which means it will also probably launch on the next-gen Xbox hardware.). Since Halo 6 is a continuation of the story established in Halo 5, it would make sense for 343 Industries and Microsoft to release a version of the game on PC that includes the campaign in order to get players up to speed.
Perhaps, however, this isn’t the only Halo goodness coming to the PC platform. Back when 343 Industries announced that they would be patching the Master Chief Collection after all these years, they gathered fan feedback and compiled a list of things that fans most wanted to see. While the addition of Halo: Reach to the collection topped the list, trailing not far behind that was the desire for a PC port of the entire collection. If Halo 5 is being ported for the reasons I believe it is, then it would also make sense to bring the MCC to PC down the road before Infinite launches as well. Of course, I also believe that such a port will not happen until at least Reach, as well as Reach & ODST Firefight(And maybe proper character customization), are added to the MCC so that 343 can bring the entire feature complete Halo series to PC in one fell swoop.
Until that’s officially confirmed, it should only be a matter of time before we get a proper PC version of Halo 5: Guardians.