Footage from the cancelled Halo Mega Bloks game surfaced online this weekend, in a video on game archivist and enthusiast Andrew Borman's YouTube channel.
From casual video game fans to experienced players, nearly everyone is familiar with Halo, one of Microsoft's biggest and most successful game series. As with nearly all franchises of this scale and popularity, Halo has received multiple sequels, spin-off games, expansions and merchandise. Perhaps the most contentious of these is the collaboration between Microsoft and Mega Bloks.
The multinational technology company and the Canadian toy company were joining forces to create a Halo Mega Bloks game for the Xbox 360. Operating under the prototype name "Haggar," the project was cancelled after the now-defunct American game developer n-Space had been working on it for quite some time.
With the cancellation of the collaboration in 2013 and with developer n-Space closing its doors just last year, it once seemed that the Halo Mega Bloks game would never see the light of day. All hope is not lost for those who had been anticipating the Halo Mega Bloks game release, however. Footage from the cancelled game leaked on video game enthusiast Andrew Borman's YouTube channel, Preserving Gaming History.
As the founder of Past to Present Online (also known as PtoP Online), a gaming e-zine, Borman is no stranger to uncovering and discussing retro games and projects that have fallen by the wayside. In the twelve-minute video posted on his channel, Borman begins by laying out some background information on the Halo Mega Bloks game.
The Microsoft/Mega Bloks collaboration was actually the result of a failed 2008 LEGO Halo initiative, Borman explains in the video, likely because of LEGO's aversion to realistic depictions of military-grade weaponry. He then dives into a vertical slice of footage, commenting on the customization options for vehicles and weapons, as well as the solid graphics the footage features, due to the apparent Unreal Engine 3 upon which the game ran.
The leaked footage of the Halo Mega Bloks game also features classic Halo-style elements such as the first-person single campaign; classic weapons like the Needler, Energy Sword, and the Battle Rifle; and the infamous Covenant players battle against. Based on the vertical slice in Borman's video, the game seemed to promise a bit of humor as well as a co-op play and a Horde-style mode called "Besieged."
The Halo Mega Bloks game footage clears up at least a few questions Halo fans had regarding the title. What is left unanswered, however, is why the game was cancelled in the first place. Some speculate Microsoft pulled back for fear that the Halo Mega Bloks game would be a step backward, since releasing a more "kitschy" spin-off might not have been as successful as they had anticipated. Regardless of reasons for cancellation, the leaked footage of the Halo Mega Bloks game seems to indicate that the title was authentic to its source material and could easily have been a solid release.
Neither Microsoft and its Halo series nor Mega Blok are suffering due to the cancellation, however. The most recent Halo release, Halo 5: Guardians, broke records as the biggest Halo launch in history. Mega Bloks recently partnered with Bungie game Destiny to produce a line of figures, as well as with Assassin's Creed to release an official toy line. Not too shabby.
Halo 5: Guardians is the latest installment in the Halo series. It was released on October 27, 2015, and is currently available on Xbox One and Microsoft Windows.