Following news that Halo 4 creative director, Ryan Payton, had left 343 Industries a few months back, the Halo development team has been a little more forthcoming about what players can expect from the upcoming title (in an effort to quell fan-fueled concerns).
First, franchise development director, Frank O’Connor reassured Halo-gamers that Payton's departure wouldn't affect the game's development in any significant way - and now O'Connor has taken to the virtual airwaves to clarify another rumor that is steadily building momentum across the wilds of the internet: that Halo 4 is actually an Xbox 720 launch title.
Unfortunately, for gamers who are ready to take a leap into the next generation of video game hardware, or fortunately, for gamers who are content with the tech currently available in the Xbox 360, O'Connor has flat-out debunked the possibility of a Halo 4 exclusive launch on the the Xbox 720.
O'Connor was prompted by the following post on NeoGAF: "This is what I've been wondering ever since 343 Studios declined to talk about the engine Halo 4 runs on when asked about it at E3."
In response the franchise development director responded:
Halo 4 will be on Xbox 360 and use a modified core of the Halo engine(s). Not really a singular engine since it goes through fairly radical evolutions all the time.
Some hopelessly optimistic readers might claim that O'Connor's phrasing is too vague for an all-out denial of Halo 4 on the Xbox 720 - he does only claim that the title will run on the Xbox 360 and doesn't flat-out debunk the Xbox 720 rumor - by asserting that 343 Industries could be working on two versions of the game: one to satisfy Xbox 360 fans and a second premium version of the highly-anticipated title, to launch the next generation system with a bang.
That said, speculation that there will be two versions of the title is laughable - since Microsoft would, if the Xbox 720 was actually ready, no doubt want to use a new Master Chief Halo title as a system-selling incentive. Instead, while O'Connor doesn't deny that Halo 4 is coming to Microsoft's next hardware - it's easier to read his ambiguity as just candid forum talk rather than a veiled attempt at hiding some larger agenda.
It's an interesting development - and considering an expected 2012 launch for Halo 4, as well as the annualized stream of holiday Halo releases (Halo 3: ODST, Halo: Reach, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 4), could mean that the earliest we'll see the rumored Xbox 720 may be as far down the road as Holiday 2013.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick.
Halo 4 releases Q4 2012 exclusively for Xbox 360.