Last week, one of the biggest gaming news in recent memory was announced -- Master Chief is returning and Halo 4 will hit shelves on November of this year. It's been five years since Halo 3 war released and the announcement that a new Halo game was a few months away made every fan of the series rejoice. But lingering worries about the 3rd sequel, especially around new developer 343 Industries, were brought back to the fore.
Fans who've become invested in Halo's history fear that 343 Industries might decide to go with a reboot. Perhaps a subtle one, but a reboot nonetheless. One that would erase the rich tapestry that Bungie had put together and one that fans had grown accustomed to.
It would be understandable if 343 Industries decides to go this route. The expectations around Halo 4 are massive, to say the least. Halo is a series that has helped define the FPS genre, the game that's put the Xbox on the map and the franchise that produced one of the gaming world's most iconic characters. All this was achieved under Bungie's tenure and some would say that to even just try to continue this legacy is a daunting task. A fourth game, and one developed by a new studio at that, would be placed under the weight of so many many watching eyes. Every facet of the game will be analyzed and scrutinized. Its success will be measured against incredibly high standards that were set by its predecessors. Hitting the reset button would just make it easier for everyone. Will 343 Industries be taking the easy way out then?
Speaking with the Toronto Sun, Creative Director of Halo Development John Holmes gives a resounding no for an answer:
"Unlike Batman, we're not resetting the state of the universe, we're not starting the story over. This is not the origin story of Master Chief. This is a very deliberate continuation of a story that's already in motion."
They make it clear though that there will be changes. It would be silly for 343 Industries to not try and put their own mark on a game that is now, at least by title, their own. But they say that all these changes, from the "emotional range of the characters to creating a weekly episodic online component to supplement the story," are all very well calculated ones.
|No word yet if some of those changes include hot Super Soldier-A.I. coupling.|
Frank O'Connor, Franchise Development Director, says that their plans for Master Chief and Halo are all long-term as he sees this series lasting for 20 more years. While things may change during that time, he promises that their intent is to "grow and nurture the franchise for as long as it makes sense."
It sounds like 343 Industries wants to honor Bungie's legacy. And in the long run, I think that's a smart move as it will show that they not only respect the property but also the fans who have shown so much devotion to the franchise. We'll all find out together on November 6th if this is enough to make Halo 4 a success.
Are you excited with 343 Industries' plans for Halo 4? Would you have wanted a reboot? Sound off in the comments below!