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

Monday, 11 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.

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24 Comments

  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 4 years ago
  2. osric90

    Halo for PS3!… Runs away.

    #2 4 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 4 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 4 years ago
  5. DSB

    Drinking peoples tears and anger is pretty goth.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. pukem0n

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

    #6 4 years ago
  7. revsouly

    @3.
    Funniest. Comment. Ever.

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

    @5, yeah, that is pretty goth

    #7 4 years ago
  8. Goliath

    @ 3

    Seems like someone forgot to take their happy pill today.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. Erthazus

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

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Gama_888

    @7
    haha i just watched that episode :)

    #10 4 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 4 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 4 years ago
  13. Gekidami

    Translation:
    “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 4 years ago
  14. Fin

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

    ODST was shit though.

    #14 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 years ago
  18. Kuwabara

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

    #18 4 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 4 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 4 years ago
  21. StolenGlory

    @20

    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 4 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 4 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 4 years ago
  24. Elrood

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

    Ahahahahaha!

    #24 4 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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  • Battle Chasers slated for PC, consoles; comic picks up where 2001 storyline left off

    Darksiders creator Joe Madureira and Vigil co-founder Ryan Stefanelli have confirmed a Battle Chasers game and a new comic are in the works at their new studio Airship Syndicate. Speaking to Polygon, Madureira and Stefanelli wouldn’t provide details on the the game, but did divulge it will be an adventure RPG with player-controlled Battle Chasers […]

  • Shovel Knight, Hotline Miami 2 discounted for Sony’s annual Spring Fever Sale

    Sony is hosting its annual Spring Fever Sale which runs for eight weeks and features a new title each week. The sale starts next week on March 3 with the launch of Helldivers. Here’s just a few items included in the sale: HELLDIVERS (PS4/PS3/PS Vita) March 3 Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number (PS4/PS3/PS Vita) March […]

  • The gold Super Mario amiibo is a Walmart exclusive

    The Super Mario Gold amiibo which surfaced via a CPSIA certificate earlier this month will be a Walmart-exclusive, Nintendo has announced. The gold-colored Mario amiibo will be released the same day as the Mario Party 10 game for Wii U and will run you $12,96 at 3,000 participating Walmart stores in the US. Along with […]

  • Here’s an overview trailer for Final Fantasy Type-0 HD

    As new gameplay overview trailer for Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, culled from the Active Time Report, stream has been sent over by Square Enix. The video provides a look at the history and environments of the Kingdom of Orience; the 14 memebers of Class Zero; the battle system with customizable magic spells; and the ability […]

  • Final Fantasy 15 video gives you a look at the game’s wildlife

    A new video shown by Final Fantasy 15 director Hajime Tabata during the latest Active Time Report, contains a look at the game’s wildlife and ecology. You can watch the full stream two hour stream through here, or a smaller clip courtesy of GamesHQMedia below.

  • Lionhead ventures into the free-to-play space with Fable Legends

    Fable Legends will be free-to-play when it launches on PC and Xbox One. According to Lionhead, the one versus four cross-platform title borrows from MOBA games such as Dota 2 and League of Legends as it will contain free, rotating heroes which will be added to a roster for a two week period. Once the […]

  • Win! 5 pairs of tickets to the Call of Duty European Championships

    We have five pairs of tickets to giveaway for the Call of Duty European Championships, taking place in London this weekend. The event takes place this Saturday February 28 and Sunday March 1 at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. Winners can watch teams will go head to head for a $10,000 prize pot […]

  • Republique Remastered has released on Mac and PC

    Republique Remastered, which was announced earlier this month, is now available for Mac and PC. The game is 20% off through Steam, GOG and the Humble Store for $19.99 until March 4. Thereafter, it will run you $24.99. The Remastered edition contains all five episodes of the game, with 1-3 available now and the remaining […]

  • LA Cops coming to Xbox One in March

    Isometric shooter LA Cops is coming to Xbox One on March 13. Already on Steam Early Access, the game looks like it’s been heavily inspired by Hotline Miami. Walk into a room, open fire, leave bloody puddles in your wake. It’s being published by Team 17. Check out the video below for some 70s cop […]

  • We have $500 of Steam Wallet funds to giveaway!

    We’re giving away 10 Steam Wallet prizes worth $50 each to VG247 readers, courtesy of Bundle Stars. All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning $50 Steam credit is to enter your details below. Join the Bundle Stars Steam group for entry in the sweepstake, and gain extra entries for […]

  • Lapsed Final Fantasy 14 players tempted back with 10 day freebie

    Square is offering lapsed FF 14: A Realm Reborn players a chance to come back to the game for 10 days worth of free adventuring. Provided you’ve already bought and registered an account you’ll be able to play free of charge from Feb 27 to March 9. Square wants you to sample the new content […]

  • Advanced Warfare: Sledgehammer looking at “opportunities” to recreate classic Call of Duty maps

    Sledgehammer Games has told VG247 it’s looking at opportunities to recreate classic Call of Duty maps in Advanced Warfare. According to co-founder Michael Condrey, players of the latest Havoc DLC are asking how Exo abilities and verticality can be added to classic franchise maps. “We’re taking a look at some opportunities to really highlight the […]

  • GTA Online reader playlist week 7: and the winner is…

    Stuff was shot. But only one player emerged victorious. GTA Online player e031271 won last night’s VG247 reader playlist, beating myself, Matt and regulars solidorwot and Revolting. Congratulations, Mr e031271. A deserved victory. We play a GTA Online playlist in an open session every Wednesday on PS4, because it’s both funny and fun. Anyone’s welcome […]

  • Leaked screens reveal The Reef as Destiny’s new “social space”

    A handful of leaked Destiny screens seem to confirm that The Reef location will be the new social space in Destiny. The new addition is likely to be revealed as part of the upcoming House of Wolves expansion. Reddit user Megamanexe4 dropped the screens on the site earlier this morning, along with grabs that reveal […]

  • Darksiders creator teases Battle Chasers game

    Joe Madureira, creator of Darksiders, has released art that strongly suggests a Battle Chasers game is in the works. Battle Chasers was a comic book from the late 1990s that suffered notorious production problems between issues and was never finished. Madureira formed Airship Syndicate after the collapse of THQ, where he co-created Darksiders. His latest […]

  • Infamous video nasty Axe recreated in GTA 5

    The trailer for notorious horror movie Axe has been recreated in GTA 5. The shot for shot remake is the work of gigerbrick who has previously recreated exploitation flicks like Machete and Hostel using Lego. The original Axe movie was banned in 1984 in the UK but passed with cuts in the late 1990s. Movie […]

  • Payday 2 for PS4 and Xbox One includes “a year’s worth of paid DLC” for free

    Payday 2: Crimewave Edition will include a year’s worth of paid DLC from the PC version of the game for free. The new-gen version of the game will be available June 2015, and includes almost all of the paid and free DLC released so far for Overkill’s popular first-person shooter. That DLC includes The Big […]

  • Yes, Mortal Kombat X will require Xbox Live Gold or PS Plus

    Mortal Kombat X won’t bypass Microsoft and Sony’s premium online play requirements. Reports that Mortal Kombat X wouldn’t require PS Plus or Xbox Live Gold started circling earlier this week thanks to a communications error. Answering fan questions on Twitter, producer Shaun Himmerick accidentally gave the impression that premium console subs would not be required […]

  • This is what Destiny players most want next

    Destiny patch 1.1.1 has resolved or at least addressed a number of complaints voiced by the community, but there are plenty more. des Destiny community manage David “Deej” Dague has put out a call for Guardians to share their concerns – or rather, what they think the community is most concerned about. “Set aside your […]

  • Google AI can play games now, so we’re probably all going to die

    Google has brought us one step closer to our inevitable slaughter or enslavement by machine overlords. Google has developed an AI that can learn to play video games and devise brand new strategies. Let me just rephrase that: Google has created an AI that can teach itself new skills, including how to play video games. […]

  • First footage of Renowned Explorers: International Society surfaces

    Renowned Explorers: International Society is a turn-based strategy game from the team behind Reus, and it looks great. Renowned Explorers was announced almost a full year ago, but has been pretty quiet since then. Developer Abbey games has now announced that the game has hit alpha, and will be open to select testers soon. You […]

  • Cities: Skylines developer commits to mod support

    Cities: Skylines will fully support the modding community. Hailing from famously mod-friendly publisher Paradox, Cities: Skylines is a no-brainer for mod support – especially as a lack of mod support is one of the things SimCity was so heavily criticised for when it firts launched. In the developer diary below, Paradox’s Jakob Munthe is joined […]

  • Nosgoth update adds Vanguard, many fixes

    Nosgoth, the free-to-play multiplayer brawler set in the Legacy of Kain universe, has been given a significant makeover. The major feature of the latest Nosogth game update is a new playable human character called the Vanguard. “Equipped with mighty throwing axes and a shield, the Vanguard can take more punishment than any human class that […]

  • Xbox Live Gold 12 month sub $40 on Microsoft store

    Microsoft is offering $20 off 12 month Xbox Live Gold subscriptions at the moment. An Xbox Live Gold 12 month subscription will normally set you back $60, but a Microsoft Store promotion has it on offer for $40. The offer is restricted to the US store. Although you can opt to grab your sub as […]

  • Tomb Raider movie script to be penned by TMNT writer

    Tomb Raider will be Evan Daugherty’s second reboot of an established universe. The Tomb Raider movie reboot has signed on a writer and a distributor. Deadline reports Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Divergent, Snow White And The Huntsman and G.I. Joe 3 writer Daugherty will write the film. Additionally, Warner Bros. has signed on to distribute, […]

  • Shelter 2 pre-orders open, launch trailer debuts early

    Shelter 2 is a game in which you are a mother lynx and must protect a den of kittens. Yes, it’s delightful. Shelter 2 is coming to Mac and PC on March 9. Pre-orders are now available on Steam at 10% off or on GOG.com with a free skin and soundtrack, or 20% off if […]

  • That Batman: Arkham Knight trailer is full of codes

    Batman: Arkham Knight’s trailer is like a Transformer – there’s more than meets the eye. The new Batman: Arkham Knight trailer contains a number of codes. Eagle-eyed users have spotted four so far, and work on cracking their meaning is progressing. According to an /r/games thread rounding up results so far, the codes pertain to […]

  • Assassin’s Creed haystacks won’t save you from a fall

    Assassin’s Creed fans, don’t try this at home. Assassin’s Creed characters can survive falls of almost any distance as long as they aim for the haystacks scattered handily throughout the environment. As you probably deduced from your familiarity with common sense, this isn’t a real thing: falling from heights kills you, the same way a […]

  • Why are people buying PS4 and not Xbox One?

    PS4 is outselling Xbox One – but why? A new report may have the answer. Last month, the PS4 outsold the Xbox One in the US again, returning it to the top of the charts after just two months away. Why? What has caused this reversal in fortunes in Microsoft’s home territory? According to a […]