Now that the release of Halo: Reach is behind us, did you think that we were at the end of the Halo related posts? We’re not out of the woods yet, kiddies, because Microsoft has a bit of news for us. Hot on the heels of Bungie’s super-awesome swan song, Microsoft and 343 Industries (the folks taking over the Halo franchise) have announced that they have a few plans for Master Chief and pals, and the first step is to ramp up the number of Halo releases we’re going to see. Typically, it’s a fairly long length of time between Halo games, about three years, but the success Activsion has had with yearly Call of Duty releases has been a source of inspiration for MS and 343.
Corporate Vice President for Microsoft Game Studios Phil Spencer recently had a little talk with IGN about the future of Halo post-Bungie and what we can look forward to for the next few years. While Mr. Spencer did say that a yearly schedule wasn’t the rule, he did also state the the long delay between releases is detrimental for fans of the series. Out of sight, out of mind, that sort of thing (ignoring the fact that Halo 3 is still charting on the top ten played XBL games to this day, but anyways). Phil went on the explain exactly how their new business model got its roots from Activision and Call of Duty:
I’ll just, again, be honest as a gamer. I used to look at annual releases of non-sports games as people just trying to milk me. I figured nobody had enough time to do a good job, and all of the negatives that we would associate with those kinds of scenarios. Kudos to Activision because they’ve done a good job building a good game, continuing to release each year and I think the fans feel like it’s a good thing that they do that. I think there are some things to learn, some positives and some opportunities, in what they do with that. Obviously they’ve kept the quality extremely high, which I think is important.
While it is true that Call of Duty is consistently high in quality, that franchise has two (three including the newly-acquired Sledgehammer games) studios working on it, meaning that they get more time to polish their specific game thanks to the rotation. While 343 is probably filled with talented folks, the fact that they’re just one studio means that a yearly schedule will be tough on them, especially if they hope to match the high bar set by Bungie. What do you guys think of this new direction? Despite the fact that there are relatively few Halo games, there definitely seems to be a sort of fatigue setting in, especially with Halo Wars, ODST and Reach being released in such a short time frame. Are you down for more Chief, or would you like the series to have a little break?
Source – IGN