If someone had told the gaming world that Microsoft would release a brand new Xbox console and the Halo series wouldn’t even be a topic of conversation, it would have been nearly impossible to believe. But the Xbox One sits on store shelves, and little is known about Master Chief’s next adventure.
The surprise E3 trailer promised that Halo 5 was still in development, but an ongoing adjustment of 343 Industries‘ highest ranks show that Microsoft is gearing up for much, much more than another video game.
The developers have confirmed that Halo 5 – or whatever the game ends up being called – is still going to make its 2014 release, meaning Microsoft isn’t taking too much time off from the franchise since acquiring the rights from Bungie. The studio that created the Halo series is preparing itself for the launch of Destiny, with 343 having largely proven that their assembled team can continue to carry the banner.
It was just days ago that Bungie’s lead story and design director Joseph Staten confirmed he would be returning to Microsoft, leading many to believe that he was being recruited to help shape the next Halo title. But 343 maintained that he was set for more than game design, and a new set of promotions, reassignments and changing job titles show that he’s not alone.
The changes in job titles was confirmed by CVG, with former Creative Director of the series Eric Holmes shifting to a role as the studio’s Executive Producer, tasked with “heading up the internal development team.” The role left vacant by Holmes has been filled by Tim Longo, having cut his teeth at LucasArts in the early 2000s before returning to Crystal Dynamics as Creative Director of the most recent Tomb Raider reboot, a game largely praised for its story and cinematic presentation.
As for the former Executive Producer at 343, Kiki Wolfkill – who stands as one of the most senior and experienced members of the studio – has taken on an unspecified role that, according to the studio, has her “developing exciting new stories, experiences and technologies that will transform the way that you experience Halo.” With the announced Halo TV series planned for Xbox One still in the works, and the most recent word that Ridley Scott is producing a new Halo movie, the possibilities are endless.
Microsoft has made it clear in the past that where Halo goes, so goes the Xbox as a system. But is it possible that the relationship works both ways? Microsoft took plenty of heat by emphasizing an always-on Internet connection for its first incarnation of the Xbox One, eventually bowing to consumer concerns. But as Titanfall approaches – a game relying completely on multiplayer connectivity, and still one of the most coveted next-gen titles – is it possible that Microsoft is looking to create a Halo experience that is every bit as dependent on an Internet connection?
With senior leaders of the Halo franchise assuming new roles, hopefully some official plans or even rumors will be coming soon. But with Microsoft moving to create a shared experience across all of its mobile and hardware platforms, there’s no piece of first-party entertainment sure to gain more attention than that of the Master Chief.
We’ll keep you up to date on all Halo news, regardless of whether it comes in video game, TV or movie form. What do you hope for from the next generation of the franchise? Are you excited to see Microsoft expanding on the series, or would you prefer they focused on Halo 5? Sound off in the comments.
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