Halo’s strong association with Xbox has been a threat to the franchise, Xbox hardware developer and one-time Microsoft Games Studio boss Ed Fries.
“In the later years [the association of console and franchise] was almost a curse from my point of view, because it had becomes so important to Xbox that it started to affect Halo,” Fries mused in an interview with OXM.
“When people think that the most important part of the Xbox is Halo, then Halo has to be there for the launch of Xbox 360 or it can’t miss its date [even though] that’s gonna make a worse Halo. It’s like Halo becomes more important than the Xbox, and I never wanted it to be that way.
“For me it was always about trying to make sure every game could be the best it could be and that the platform was a place where we could have lots of successful games like Halo, not just Halo.”
Fries said if Microsoft had thrown itself too hard at Halo it would have missed other platform-exclusive gems like Gears of War, and commented that he didn’t expect Halo to become the major player it is today.
“You know, honestly we didn’t know. I think anyone who tells you that they knew that was going to happen isn’t telling the truth,” he said.
“There was a small set of games we had decided to spend all of our TV money. And Halo was one of those, so that’s proof it was one of the games that we decided to make a bet on.
“But honestly if you’d asked me ahead of time I’d have said we’re going to sell more from Lorne Lanning, an established console developer with a continuation of an existing console franchise that had previously been successful.”
The first Halo game is seeing re-release nexct month as halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition. For more on the birth of the first Xbox, read Pat’s awesome four-parter.