Microsoft to “explore not exploit” Halo

One thing that easily turns a quality game into something you’d barely want to touch with rubber gloves is when producers and developers start to milk the franchise into oblivion. When a game is released with no real thought behind it except the fact that it’ll make money because it carries a certain trademark, it’s called fooling the fans. Some would argue that sports games, only changing the year in the title without modifying very much game wise, are doing this. Others say that releasing tons of “hard-to-tell-the-difference” expansions is another example.

On the other hand, you can easily call it plain hard work. Hey, they’re pumping out new material, what’s to complain about? Obviously, it’s a thin line between good and bad, and some people have lately been pointing their judgmental fingers towards Microsoft and Bungie for pumping out new Halo games and commodities.

Microsoft have so far announced the RTS game Halo Wars, another undefined Halo game, Halo novels, Halo toys and some other other ones are yet to be made. But when Frank O’Connor, who oversees the franchise at Microsoft Games Studios, talked to Eurogamer at this year’s Comic-Con, he said that they “had only scratched the surface of what is possible.”

“The Halo universe is really, really big now,” he said. “Literally the Halo games have only covered one year; a couple of months within a year in fact. There are so many areas of the universe to explore, the real challenge is picking which is the most exciting area for people.”

O’Connor and other representatives, including Tobias Bucknell, author of upcoming novel Halo: The Cole Protocol, spent most of their session at Comic-Con answering questions from ecstatic Halo fans, and no real hints were made about the upcoming games. Microsoft do appear confident about their Halo brand, but also seem to realize that everybody wants a lot, but not everyone wants the same thing.

“We have a well defined, carefully orchestrated, properly planned universe to explore not exploit,” O’Connor added. “And that’s the tricky part: what are the things people want to do? We have to pick things that people want. Give them things they really want and make sure they’re high quality is the formula.”

We’ll keep our eyes open for any disclosures, and pray to the Gods of the circular planets that the Halo series are continuing on its way up, instead of sliding down towards awkwardness. Stay focused, Master Chief!