For many fans of the Halo franchise and of video games in general, the news that Bungie would finally be leaving the series after a decade of work was a sign of the impending apocalypse. In the months since the announcement though, Microsoft and Bungie have voiced their support of 343 Industries – the developer being given control of Master Chief’s future adventures. Now one Microsoft executive is going even further, claiming that the future of Halo is something to be excited about, not just in terms of games, but in the franchise’s universe as a whole.
The new development team at 343 Industries isn’t oblivious to how much is now riding on their shoulders, and while they may be preparing themselves for heavier criticism with Halo 4, it’s not as if these people are strangers to the series.
Aside from working on Halo: Reach‘s map packs over the past few years, several members of the new development team count the original Halo series among their past projects. But whether you like it or not, without Bungie at the helm, the entire Halo universe is resting on much less solid ground than usual.
That’s apparently a worry that Microsoft isn’t feeling, at least not to Corporate VP Dennis Durkin. It’s never a good idea to throw a mammoth project onto an unprepared team, and when speaking with IndustryGamers, Durkin voiced his confidence in the creative minds being entrusted with all things Halo:
“I feel great about the future of Halo. The team that we built inside 343 industries – a lot of them have been working on Halo at some point throughout their careers and those teams are kind of… as you know, development teams are very, very fluid. So if you went and looked at the pedigree of a lot of those people, at some point over the course of the past 10 years, they’ve been on Halo products.”
While Halo may be first and foremost seen as a video game series, the more serious fans are aware of just how much fiction of the world is explored further in books, graphic novels, and various types of online databases. The Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary remake and the recently revealed Halo 4 will be getting the lion’s share of attention, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only incarnations of Halo‘s mythos in the works.
343’s Creative Director has even suggested that video games aren’t the best way to tell Halo‘s story, and while Durkin wouldn’t go into detail on what other experiences the team is cooking up for fans, Microsoft already seems to be counting on fan support going forward:
“There is a huge, rabid Halo fan base out there that’s really excited to consume more great Halo experiences. I think this holiday is going to be great with the 10-year anniversary and sort of that gift of being able to play Halo 1 again, remastered. I think that will wet people’s whistle again for the new Halo 4 that’s coming the following holiday. So I actually really feel good about the cadence and sequencing of building up that team.”
Bungie is without a doubt responsible for where the franchise currently sits, but their departure doesn’t have to mean the end of Halo. A science fiction property in possession of as rich a history and internal mythology as Halo is capable of carrying itself, if the creative minds guiding it are even half-aware of what fans are hoping for.
Microsoft and 343 Industries will be giving fans an idea of the future they see with next year’s release of Halo 4, but the Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary will be arriving first, on November 15 for the Xbox 360.
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