Halo is a franchise synonymous with gaming, and the Xbox brand in particular.
When you think of revolutionary First Person Shooters, you more than likely think of Halo.
When you think of sci-fi gaming, you think of course of Halo.
When you think of innovative console multiplayer gaming, you think naturally of Halo.
The franchise becomes a decade old this year, having concluded a dramatic trilogy, including the underrated Halo Wars strategy title, an excellent Halo 3: ODST and of course the final touch which came in the form of Halo: Reach… but the final nail is not even within eyesight of the coffin.
But wait, there’s more…
We have all been wondering what would be the future of this fantastic franchise, whether it being one that really is just too big to let die, or one that falls behind a dusty shelf in some corporate office block. It’s now known that there are two more imminent titles in the franchise that were announced at Microsoft’sE3 2011 keynote.
And, as ecstatic as I am because of the huge Halo fan that resides within me, I shall endeavor to put my love for the series aside for just a moment to objectively look at this whole situation.
The question that remains? Is more Halo a bad thing?
The beginning of a NEW trilogy!
To quote Bungie‘s Frank O’Connor (now part of Microsoft’s 343 Industries) on the Halo 3 Legendary ending, “We’d be the biggest a-holes on Earth to not continue that story.”
To prevent them from being the obscenity listed above, Halo 4 is coming.
It can only be a good thing… right?
We’re continuing the story of the Xbox’s definitive hero, and one of the biggest names of the past decade, the Master Chief.
The team behind it, 343 Industries, is a collection of some of the most talented people in the industry, many of which are converts from well-renowned Halo creators Bungie.
What bothers me the most is that upon the E3 reveal, it was described as “the beginning of a new trilogy.”
Is this a last-ditch-effort by Microsoft to stay on top in the console war by milking a famous exclusive franchise, or is this the legitimate sequel to Halo 3?
Microsoft has been flaunting the return of their flagship exclusive of late. To begin with, they recently stated that the “franchise direction was lost after [Halo] 3″ and even went so far as to compare Master Chief to John Wayne.
Now, while John Wayne is the definitive hero of the Westerns, I wouldn’t quite define Chief as THE definitive hero of shooters (although he can and does come very close to that, being the icon of console first person shooters).
Microsoft promises that the series will return to its roots, and that with 343 Industries at the helm, it couldn’t be in a better position to do so. From my standpoint, however, as a budding indie developer, I can understand why they’d continue the franchise; as I stated above, it’s one of the biggest names in gaming.
Halo 4 will be entering a market vastly different than that of Halo: Combat Evolved‘s. Halo entered a time and place where it was destined to shine, with no real competition. Halo 4, on the other hand, will be entering a market flooded with similar games copying the very same formula it created. How much more new could Halo 4 possibly employ?
But what I really can’t help but feel is that the story will be pulled out of their asses. The point of the Halo 3 Legendary ending was evidently to simply tease the fans to want more, even though [at the time] there would seem to be no more.
For the corporations, this is 2011; and if there is any possibility of making a buck, you can swear on your great grandmother’s grave that it will happen!
Speaking in terms of the storyline, what could possibly happen? I do believe (but don’t quote me on this) that it was confirmed that the planet Chief was hurdling towards in the Halo 3 Legendary ending was in fact the Forerunner homeworld.
The planet in the teaser trailer (at least to my knowledge) does not appear to be the same one. Maybe they floated past the planet at the end of Halo 3, and it was all just an elaborate ruse to tease us?
We won’t know until probably this fall or sometime early next year, but we certainly won’t have a shortage of Halo to keep us busy.
Coming November 15, the same day as Assassin’s Creed: Revelations and Saints Row: The Third, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary edition is a full high definition remake of the original Halo, with all but the original audio being revamped, so that you can still tear your arms off to prevent yourself from playing The Library again.
Along with that, there is full four-player cooperative play within the campaign, along with a fully revamped multiplayer that improves seven of CE’s maps.
It’s all running off of a modified version of theHalo: Reach engine.
Golden formula? Possibly. It’s been proven that nostalgia does sell, and this will undoubtedly be more than a standard remake cash-in; I’m surprised it’s going to be selling for $40USD!
Microsoft is tending to put all of their eggs in one basket, versus trying to search for new IP. The industry of 2011 is a much darker place than that of 2001; while it has always, at its core, been about money, it’s more so now rather than then. It’s far easier to say “Halo 4!” than a new series, most likely by a studio that is unproven (similar to how Bungie was before Halo, although I LOVED the Marathon series).
All in all, I’m excited for both titles and will eagerly anticipate both, but the question remains: is more Halo a bad thing?
Dust and echoes
Every single Halo title has, to some degree, set records, broken boundaries and did something surprisingly largely new, fresh and innovative.
Not only that, but each one has swallowed up far too much of our social lives.
Can more Halo titles possibly continue to do that, or will a whole other trilogy milk, ruin Halo to the annals of the hall of overdone video game series?Tags: Microsoft, money