A good video game sequel is like a shark: it's got to move forward, or it'll die. At least, that seems to be the philosophy at 343 Industries. Halo: The Master Chief Collection already gives fans a way to enjoy classic traditional Halo gameplay on the Xbox One. When Halo 5: Guardians comes out next year, what's going to set the new title apart from older, proven classics?
According to a CVG interview with 343 Industries founder Bonnie Ross, the answer lies in enhancing Master Chief's abilities and making players feel even more powerful:
"I look at what fans love and what we love, and I think we're very loyal to Halo's very specific feel to its multiplayer. I think a lot of fans would call it that 'dance'. We want to make sure that we retain that, because that is what the Halo feel is. Then, for us, really making you feel like this 900-pound super soldier, what's the natural evolution of keeping that special formula and making you feel more powerful."
Ross uses the word "dance" multiple times in the interview, which fits nicely with the agility-heavy focus of Halo 5's new Spartan Abilities. Halo multiplayer has always been about movement. With the addition of skills like Clamber and Spartan Charge, or new tools like the Thruster Pack, 343 Industries hopes to take Halo's fluid kineticism and kick it up a few notches.
In addition to the new abilities, Ross also teases Breakout, one of Halo 5's new game modes. Previous reports described Breakout as a four-vs-four multiplayer match in which each player only has one life per round. That's right: no respawning. Breakout changes Halo by increasing the emphasis on communication and teamwork. However, Ross remains confident that Breakout "is basically about staying true to what Halo is and also moving it forward."
Change is hard, especially when it comes to something as beloved as Halo. Leaked footage of Halo 5's multiplayer met with a decidedly mixed reaction; with all these new features, is Halo 5 losing what makes the series unique? After all, if it's not broke, don't fix it. On the other hand, a sequel that offers gamers nothing new doesn't seem worth either the effort or the money. New movement abilities seemed to work out just fine for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Maybe they'll be okay for Halo 5, too.
That's assuming that the multiplayer even works. Halo: The Master Chief Collection faced a number of issues after launching earlier this week. Hopefully, Halo 5's upcoming beta will help 343 Industries iron out all the wrinkles before release; new abilities are great, but they won't matter if nobody can get online to use them.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection is now available on Xbox One. The Halo 5: Guardians beta begins December 29, 2014 and runs for three weeks.