Microsoft forced Ensemble into turning RTS title into Halo game, says studio founder

Bungie saw Halo Wars as ‘whoring out the franchise’

Developers at Bungie were concerned Halo Wars was ‘whoring out’ its leading franchise, the founder of Ensemble has said.

Speaking to GII, Tony Goodman said the Age of Empires developer had never intended Halo Wars to be part of Microsoft’s leading franchise, but was forced by the console giant into adapting the RTS into the series.

He said that Microsoft was nervous about the risks of creating a completely new IP, and subsequently delayed the development of the game by more than a year whilst changes were made.

“Microsoft was pretty risk averse and they said, ‘I don’t know if we want to take the risk of creating strategy games on a console, we’d feel better if Halo were attached to it’," said Goodman.

"The difficult part of that was it took the game back about a year in development, and I think it never quite turned out the same. They just said, ‘Why don’t you just paint over what you have with Halo stuff?’ But things aren’t quite that simple.”

He added that having been forced to make the changes, developers at Bungie were angered at the idea of another developer taking the reigns of its IP for a new genre, and viewed Ensemble as infringing on the franchise.

“Another problem was that Bungie was never up for it, Bungie was kind of sore about the idea,” he said.

“What they called it was ‘the whoring out of our franchise’ or something. Yeah, that didn’t create a great relationship between us and Bungie. They viewed us as someone infringing on their franchise.”

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