Halo Wars may not have been original, but it put a neat spin on Microsoft’s well-known franchise. For Ensemble Studios, it was never meant to be a Halo game. Founder Tony Goodman has spent time discussing the difficult situation faced by his team.
Goodman called Halo Wars a “really fantastic, under-recognized product,” but also had some harsh words for Microsoft.
“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.’ 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.”
Goodman also commented on the friction between Ensemble and Bungie. He suggests the Halo creators didn’t take kindly to its IP being used elsewhere.
“Another problem was that Bungie was never up for it… Bungie was kind of sore about the idea. 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].”
How Ensemble produced a game of Halo Wars’ quality under such pressure is baffling.
Goodman’s full interview is scheduled to go live on GI tomorrow.