Unlike Gears of War 4 which was confirmed to have cross-platform play at Microsoft’s E3 press conference, 343 Industries Studio Head Dan Ayoub confirmed Halo Wars 2 will not be enabling cross-platform play. Speaking with Eurogamer, Ayoub had this to say about not including this feature:
“Cross-play is something we were looking at early on in development,” said Ayoub. “We’ve been in development since 2014. But as we looked at our timing and our design decisions, we focused on some different things that basically became Xbox Play Anywhere.”
“Cross-play is something we’re excited about potentially down the line and we’re looking at that for the franchise, but in the Halo Wars 2 timeframe, we’re focusing on Play Anywhere.”
This will be unsurprising to anyone who has ever played a cross-platform FPS, such as Shadowrun back in 2007. The developers of Shadowrun had to make console players extremely overpowered just to make the game equal.
Of course, that is a completely different genre but the point still applies: in a cross-platform game where keyboard and mouse are the standard input, PC users almost always win. Halo Wars 2 being an RTS would arguably be a lot worse than FPS games, the amount of actions you can do on a keyboard/mouse is much higher than on a controller.
Halo Wars 2 is scheduled for release on February 21st 2017 for PC and Xbox One.