Microsoft: “We lost our way” with latest Halo releases

Monday, 11th July 2011 22:48 GMT By Johnny Cullen

Microsoft Game Studios head Phil Spencer has said, in a frank admission, that the company “lost our way” over recent releases in the Halo IP, such as ODST and Reach.

“The key question for me in managing the studio and the creatives is ‘what is Halo?’, making sure Halo lives up to what I think gamers fell in love with [playing Combat Evolved],” Spencer told OXM UK at E3, referring to Halo 4 and the next trilogy in the series from 343 Industries, as well as the upcoming HD reboot of Halo 1.

“What does that mean? Playing Master Chief. We kind of lost our way a little bit, I’ll say. And that’s why I wanted to make sure that at the unveiling of Halo 4, you knew you were playing Master Chief, that John was back. Because Master Chief is the John Wayne character of that universe, and that’s who you want to play.”

Spencer continued: “If you were a Halo fan for Halo 1, 2 and 3, Reach made sense to you, but fundamentally there are a ton of players on our box right now that didn’t start with Halo 1.

“What we said was: ‘let’s get back to what Halo is about’.

“I loved Reach as a game – as a fan of the fiction, I totally love the story in Reach, Reach is one of the best stories in the Halo universe. But it made more sense to you if you were a Halo fan.

“If you were new to Xbox 360, 360′s where you started playing on Xbox, you understood what Halo 3 was. ODST and Reach, maybe you weren’t as centred.”

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition will launch this November. Halo 4 will release in holiday 2012.



  1. OrbitMonkey

    Man has a point. Halo without Master Chief is like a doughnut without a sugar coating. It looks the same, but just isn’t as satisfying.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. osric90

    Halo for PS3!… Runs away.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. deathgaze

    And with a flourish from Bungie and a bow from Microsoft, Master Chief gets trotted out yet again for another contrived fight against the Covenant. The joke is on you, however, dear fans. Bungie decided to end his story after watching him do wheelies in a 4-by-4 and having him fight the equivalent of an AI core from Portal. Was it in any way not clear that they are completely and totally devoid of new ideas for this universe? And you think Microsoft can do better?

    I will drink your tears and your anger when Halo 4 is released. It will flow like sweet, blessed Sacramental wine, nourishing my justified hatred of this thoroughly overrated franchise.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. DirtEHarry

    @ 3

    Damn, you seem a bit depressed, bro. Do yourself a favour and get some relief. Hookers aren’t that expensive these days.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. DSB

    Drinking peoples tears and anger is pretty goth.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. pukem0n

    how can you hate a franchise?
    dont play it and shut up

    #6 3 years ago
  7. revsouly

    Funniest. Comment. Ever.

    You sound like Eric Cartman on the “Scott Tennerman” episode of South Park.

    @5, yeah, that is pretty goth

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Goliath

    @ 3

    Seems like someone forgot to take their happy pill today.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. Erthazus

    You lost your way since you created this atrocity of overrated franchise.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. Gama_888

    haha i just watched that episode :)

    #10 3 years ago
  11. CloneTro0per

    Funny, because Reach was infinitely better than Halo 3.

    But of course….why should people bother to grow a franchise when they can just keep trotting out the same main character over and over again.

    I guess 343 just doesn’t have the creative spark that Bungie has….to be able to tell the stories of other SPARTANs/ODSTs/etc in the Halo Universe.

    Noble Team was great.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. hitnrun

    Oh, come on. They didn’t “lose their way,” they did exactly what they set out to do. Namely, keep the franchise raking in dough without trotting out the same silent protagonist and wringing every last drop of blood out of the concluded story arc. Also, Bungie probably had a say, considering they were developing it.

    This is marketing for Halo 4, not a mea culpa.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. Gekidami

    “We really wanted Master Chief everywhere, but Bungie had other plans, something about being ‘original’? We at Microsoft dont recognise that word.
    Fuck them now they’re gone, ODST & Reach didnt sell as well as Halo 3, and we’re pretty sure its because the Chief wasnt in them.”

    #13 3 years ago
  14. Fin

    I loved Reach, it was my favourite Halo! (after 1)

    ODST was shit though.

    #14 3 years ago
  15. DaMan

    Reach sold less, really? I know it’s a crazy idea but I do believe it’s predecessor was out for a tad bit longer. I also think for a glorified expansion pack that was Odst it’s quite an achievement to perform that well.

    On a sidenote, fun fact: only people who hate the franchise are mental patients and ironic zealots.

    #15 3 years ago
  16. sb319

    I love all the Halo games including Reach but all the quasi military bullshit seemed so dull and charmless in Reach… I would welcome a return to some properly fantastical sci fi storytelling. Also, for goodness sake do something new with it. No one wants to see more of the Flood.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. Blerk

    So is he saying that he doesn’t think Reach did well? I find that frankly astonishing, because there’s always at least one person on my friends list playing it every night, even now.

    #17 3 years ago
  18. Kuwabara

    Halo was good on xbox, but shit on xbox 360.

    #18 3 years ago
  19. MadFingerz

    Yeah, they lost their way. They introduced recoil to a franchise which somehow became popular while being little more than a point-and-click bunny-hoping fest with good musical score. Yes I’m hating.

    #19 3 years ago
  20. Hunam

    To be honest, Reach was fine except for Spartans taking their helmets off. I preferred to think of Spartans as barely human anymore and when they all starting showing their normal, human faces it dulled it a little to me.

    #20 3 years ago
  21. StolenGlory


    Agreed. I kinda liken Spartan’s to Judge Dredd in that aspect in so far as it is completely unecessary to see their faces and that as faceless protagonists, they do just fine.

    #21 3 years ago
  22. Lewis247

    Ok, I will admit ODST was way off course to what the other halo games were like BUT it wasn’t necessary bad. In fact some of the parts are absolutely fantastic. Just too bad exploring the city was a pain a lot of the time but it was still a great game just not too much like a halo game.

    Reach however is amazing! I remember some of the parts like new covenant cruisers showing up and genuinely thinking ‘shiiiiiit’. Really, really great game but I do preffer the original 3 over the 2 newer ones in all honesty.

    The one thing I have wanted to know since the end of halo 3 was what the heck is going to happen next!? Halo 4 will be amazing.

    It’s odd writing ‘halo 4′, something about the 4 it’s just allways something I never thought would happen you know because of bungie slowly but surely moving on with the franchise. Cannot wait, far too excited for it.

    #22 3 years ago
  23. IL DUCE

    @3 Yeah maybe you’re talking about your anger or the anger of fans who constantly hate on the game…I’ve been playing Halo since the original when I got the first X Box at launch and I’ve loved every minute of it…so quite wasting your time hating, the only people that complain about Halo are either PS3/PC fanboys, or just people who have nothing better to do…the people who play it, don’t cry about it like you…

    @7 which makes him totally unoriginal and gives him no credibility whatsoever

    @15 Agreed.

    And to end it all, Halo started with Master Chief which means it should end with Master Chief, should they do another trilogy? Maybe not, but they’ve been successful with every entry in the franchise thus far, and I’m sure 343 knows what they are doing…it was started by an ex-Bungie employee anyway…and he was just the Franchise Director of Halo…but I’m sure he knows nothing about making a Halo game right?

    #23 3 years ago
  24. Elrood

    “Reach is one of the best stories in the Halo universe.”


    #24 3 years ago

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