April 14 will mark the end of an era for Bungie. Halo 2, the game that launched the studio into triple-A status and made headlines worldwide, will no longer be playable online. Microsoft is disconnecting the original Xbox Live servers as part of an internal restructuring, thus preventing games built on the original Xbox Live from functioning online. The last day for Halo 2 and several other games is April 14.
Bungie reacted as you might expected: they were bummed out but thankful for the fans.
"We're all saddened at the realization that an era is coming to an end," said the studio in a brief statement on their official website last Friday. "But looking back we're incredibly fortunate to have had such a great run and such strong support from our fans. Halo 2 has been at the top of the Xbox Live charts for original games since it launched over five years ago. We're extremely thankful to everyone who has played, enjoyed and supported Halo 2 over Xbox Live. We've had some great fun together, including far too many Humpday [where fans could fight it out with Bungie] losses to even recount."
The studio will be organizing a communal celebration for Halo 2's final hours online, but details haven't been worked out just yet. But it will involve "one final opportunity" to take down Bungie.
Fans were much more vocal about their disappointment, however, taking to the official Halo 2 forums on Bungie's website to swap memories about their time spent battling each other online.
"Damn, I wanna cry, Halo 2 is the reason I'm aiming to design game sin the future," said Sonic343.
"My first online gaming experience was Halo 2," responded Duardo. "The first time I played was November 9, 2004 at about 1:55 AM. I played one game of Basic Training on Ivory Tower and ended up in first place. Then I joined my friend for a custom game on Lockout."
Other users will be returning to the same spot as Duardo.
"It started out on Ivory Tower for me," said nashkid91. "That's where it's going to end."