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Microsoft has “lost its way” with recent Halo releases

Ben Parfitt
Microsoft has “lost its way” with recent Halo releases

In a surprise admission, the boss of Microsoft Game Studios Phil Spencer has claimed that the platform holder has “lost its way” with the smash hit Halo franchise.

The statement comes as Bungie makes an emotional farewell to fans, having officially stepped away from the series that it helped make into one of the most popular console IPs in the world.

As Microsoft’s own studio 343 Industries takes the helm of the next Halo trilogy, Spencer says that the anonymous stars of both Halo: Reach and Halo: ODST will be a thing of the past. The Master Chief is back.

“Playing as Master Chief, the ‘John Wayne character of the universe’, was a key part of what people loved about the franchise,” he said in the August 2011 issue of OXM.

“We really spent time thinking about the story arc that we want to tell, in the world, to get back to Master Chief. Make it simple. It’s not Halo-anything, it’s Halo 4. It’s the beginning of a new trilogy.

“That’s the role I want Halo to play. It’s not about re-enacting previous wars, it’s not the kind of comic-book pulp that Gears of War is which I obviously love. Halo is a very story-driven, immersive experience, centred around Master Chief.” 

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Tags: Microsoft , spencer , halo 4 , master chief , halo anniversary

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1 comment

As a die-hard fan of the franchise, I would like express that playing as Master Chief is not significant to my enjoyment. Master Chief is a step away from the silent protoganist with his terse dialogue of one-liners--he's very similar to the Rookie (ODST) and Noble Six (Reach)--and although he is now a beloved character, it is the surrounding fleshed-out universe and the mystery of the unfolding story that empower the compelling campaigns of the classic games, in tandem with the weapon/vehicle sandboxes and enemy A.I./encounters.

I'm sure Mr. Spencer has a lot of market research behind his claim that "playing as Master Chief" is a "key part", but it's really nothing on its own. I want to know where the story goes next. I want to know more about the Flood and the Forerunner and the Gravemind. I want revelations, and I want to be surprised. John could die at the beginning of the game and I could continue the story as another silent-protagonist-type just as well.

I will say that having John + Cortana is something that has been missing from the franchise for far too long.

Richard Welsh

Richard Welsh ELITE GAMER
Jul 11th 2011 at 7:23PM

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