Even though Halo: Reach is still clearly visible in fans’ rearview mirrors, it’s never too early to start thinking about what’s going to happen with the next Halo game. The fact that this will be 343 Industries’ first swing at the franchise just adds that much more anticipation and a bloodthirsty need for new details. Will 343 leave the formula alone? Will they make big changes?
Luckily for devoted Halo-ites… Halothians? Luckily for Halo fans, 343 Industries creative director Frank O’Connor was able to answer those questions with a resounding, and excruciatingly ambiguous, “both.”
Here’s what he had to say regarding their approach to the series:
"Ultimately the core game mechanic and strength of the universe doesn't need to be changed, it just needs to be taken deeper. We want to make Halo games - we don't want to make Call of Duty or Ridge Racer. We want to make Halo games because we understand what's special about Halo.
… the next Halo is going to contain improvements. Some of them are going to be dramatic innovations while others will be slight tweaks. You've got to say 'what can we do to make this better?' It doesn't matter if that is a giant innovation or a small tweak, you've got to do it all over the board.”
Got that? It'll be the same but different. Now that that’s all cleared up, there’s no need for any more Halo questions until the new game comes out. In all seriousness, even though O’Connor didn’t go into specific details, his comments do shed some light on how they are looking to handle one of gaming’s biggest properties. On one hand, there is a clear respect there for the work put in by Bungie, but on the other, it’s good to hear that they won’t be just sitting on their hands and cashing in on the name.
Use of the phrase “dramatic innovations” is certainly enough to get the Internet guessing at what they have in mind. In all reality, the first-person shooter genre in general could use a few dramatic innovations to give players who’ve grown tired of going through the motions of usual shooter conventions a reason to take a second look. It would be fitting for Halo to be the franchise to fan those flames.
How do you think 343 Industries should handle the next Halo installment? Should they just leave well enough alone and kindly thank Bungie for giving them all careers? Or will these “dramatic innovations” and “slight tweaks” be exactly what Halo needs, and what do you think they might be?
Gamers will just have to wait and find out when the next entry into the Halo universe comes out for the Xbox 360.