343 Industries Wants to Inject New Mysteries and Questions into Halo

343 Industries Wants to Inject New Mysteries and Questions into Halo

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Enigmas and awe is at the heart of the Halo story, says its new custodians, 343 Industries.

The Halo games are famously the work of developer Bungie, but the studio released its last Halo game, Halo: Reach, last year, and has now handed the reins of the series over to 343 Industries. 343's franchise development director Frank O'Connor, who previously worked for Bungie on Halo 2 and 3, says that 343 plans to build on Bungie's work, and create new epic stories for fans to enjoy.

O'Connor said that 343's mandate was the support and maintenance of the Halo franchise. That included a variety of tasks, like publishing titles and supporting DLC, but O'Connor said the sky was the limit as far as 343's involvement with the series ran. He thought that mystery and awe were integral parts of the Halo universe. That meant that while 343 would be answering a lot of the questions that fans had asked over Halo's ten-year history, it would also be posing a lot of new questions to replace them.

O'Connor indicated that there wasn't going to be any new adventures for Master Chief this year, nor were there any side stories or prequels like Reach or ODST in the works - at least, not in game form. It was a different matter when it came to books however, as 2011 would see the release of the first in series of books by veteran sci-fi writer Greg Bear, which would explore the Forerunner universe. There would also be more information about the more "contemporary" Halo novels by Karen Traviss, who - among other projects - worked on the story for Gears of War 3.

Taking responsibility for Halo is a pretty mammoth task, but as O'Connor notes, many of the staff at 343 have worked on Halo games before, so the transition won't be as rough as it could have been. There's a lot of Halo content coming out - besides the novels, there are map packs for Reach to come - but it looks like it's going to be a while before we get to see what 343 itself will do with the series.

Source: OXM

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Oh good Karen Traviss, the books should be good at least then. Just wish she'd return to finish Imperial commando 2.

I'm still a little dubious about the whole handover thing. Though I'm not sure why. 343 (which is a nice nod to 343 Guilty Spark) is a fresh, unproven studio which will be made or broken on it's first release. Let's just hope that they don't try to milk the cash cow, and do this as a labour of love instead - slowly, if necessary, but properly.

As long as they are good go for it, if your just beating the cash in cow then fuck off.

I'm curious if they'd keep Halo as an FPS, or if they'd bring in more RPG elements into the world. I say this because comeon, after 5 FPS Halo titles, what more can they do? What more can they add to keep it fresh? If it's simply an FPS, it runs the risk of being unremarkable compared to it's back-catalogue, which will anger fans. Conversely if they do try something new, it will anger some fans who would be loathe for them to mess with a "winning" formula.

Personally I'd like them to bring it towards a more RPG inspired direction. If they could do that without full-out copying Mass Effect I'd be likely to buy it.

As long as they do it properly and not milk the cash cow then I'm perfectly fine with this. I love Halo and I would gladly like to see more content and backstory of it.

Also yay! New Reach map packs coming soon.

In before the predictable stream of comments about how Halo is boring and generic and that nothing they'll do will ever make it worthwhile, etc.

But yeah, 343's first game will pretty much be all-or-nothing for them. I personally think the Halo universe is a potentially fascinating one, so I'm glad to hear that they'll be showing some initiative and exploring the possibilities. I'm interested to see what they come up with.

They already raised a huge "wait, WHAT?" type of question in Reach. Anyone else read those datapads? Holy hell...

Im pretty sure 343 industries will do a good job, I mean if they don't they risk getting torn apart by fans like myself who won't stand for anything less than a brilliant halo experience, we shall have to see what comes out of this though...

I like seeing Karen Traviss attached to this, that at least suggests that they are going in the right direction, I like her work.

I've always thought that the storylines and lore of the Halo universe lended itself very well towards a 2D fighter. I'd be curious to see what sort of combos and super attacks they will include. Although, to avoid an M rating, they might not be able to have Fatalities, which is a shame.

I'm a bit more sanguine about the future of Halo than some, given that 343 Industries is helmed by people who are either ex-Bungie employees who've had hands-on experience with the IP or veterans in their respective fields. When you look at the outside talent they've worked with (Greg Bear, Studio 4C, Moebius, Peter Jackson, Todd McFarlane, etc) it's clear they're not just farming out work to make a quick buck.

However I do agree that the quality of the next game title they put out will determine the future of the Halo franchise; a good one will guarantee continued success, but a bad one will probably wreck it. No pressure, Frankie, no pressure...

-- Steve

Please let it be in the eyes of the Covenant or the Forerunners! I would like to see more in the history of both of those. Also, if it's the Covenant, let's kill some marines and spartans!

As long as it doesn't become Microsoft's Call of Duty, we should be good. I don't want them to keep releasing game-after-game endlessly and running it into the ground. Either way, I would love to see what kind of stories we could explore, but they should start off on a great note with fans.

Re-release Halo: Combat Evolved on the Xbox Live Arcade on Halo's tenth anniversary with a brand-spankin' new engine (Reach's engine, namely), new weapons, new levels, and online multiplayer. Release for 1200 (or 1600.) points, BOOM. Instant success with fans. Now you can move on from that and make a brand new Halo game about what really happened to the Chief right after the events of Halo 3. Just so long as they don't pull stupid shit with the lore of the franchise.

I thought they were remaking Halo: CE this year...or is that next?

Anyway hope they do a good job, nice to see a familiar name in 343 as well :) with Frank there, Halo should still have it's feel :)

It sounds like there are some very big interesting things ahead for the Halo franchise.

I only hope ONE of those things is a game focusing on the rise and fall of the Covenant from the perspective of the Elites... it could be great you know.

Dear god i thought we were done with the Halo franchise... *sigh*

rockingnic:
Please let it be in the eyes of the Covenant or the Forerunners! I would like to see more in the history of both of those. Also, if it's the Covenant, let's kill some marines and spartans!

Now THAT would be interesting. But while it worked for Warcraft 3, giving multiple perspectives, some people might rage at that concept. (Those fans shallow enough to see only good guys vs bad guys)

hansari:

rockingnic:
Please let it be in the eyes of the Covenant or the Forerunners! I would like to see more in the history of both of those. Also, if it's the Covenant, let's kill some marines and spartans!

Now THAT would be interesting. But while it worked for Warcraft 3, giving multiple perspectives, some people might rage at that concept. (Those fans shallow enough to see only good guys vs bad guys)

If they keep it on the human side, they should make it an FPRPG. Customizing your spartan from armor to abilities and skills with certain weapon types.

ZeroMachine:
They already raised a huge "wait, WHAT?" type of question in Reach. Anyone else read those datapads? Holy hell...

That was odd. The datapads detail the story of some poor bastard hacker that stumbled upon a conspiracy of secrecy (I can't believe how tacky that sounds) by some AI's to manipulate human affairs so as to better maximize the chances of humanity surviving into the future, come hell or high water because they, uh, needed us meatbags to ensure their survival. It oddly lays down the series as some kind of twisted machination where humans are unwitting pawns of a bunch of incorporeal, somewhat benevolent, dictators who are the ones that are actually the ones doing war with the covenant since they're the ones in command and all that. It's not like they answer any kind of lingering questions, really, but they make a revelation that comes out of nowhere and without warranty that pretty much shakes the foundation of the whole series in a strange way--kinda like someone coming out of nowhere in the Terminator universe and saying "Guess what? SKYNET is my FRIEND!...I think. He never invites me to parties though, but he does help me with my taxes sometimes..."

I dunno if 343 Industries plans on giving that a follow up, but I'd sure hope so. It wouldn't be nice if they just sort of carried along with the series and totally disregarded the whole "Oh, hi, here's this. Bye!" stunt that Bungie just pulled on their audience.

Calcium:
I'm curious if they'd keep Halo as an FPS, or if they'd bring in more RPG elements into the world. I say this because comeon, after 5 FPS Halo titles, what more can they do? What more can they add to keep it fresh? If it's simply an FPS, it runs the risk of being unremarkable compared to it's back-catalogue, which will anger fans. Conversely if they do try something new, it will anger some fans who would be loathe for them to mess with a "winning" formula.

Personally I'd like them to bring it towards a more RPG inspired direction. If they could do that without full-out copying Mass Effect I'd be likely to buy it.

A couple of days ago when some friends and I were playing Reach we toyed with the idea of a Halo RPG. One of them thought that it should focus on a military campaign for one planet while another thought adding a moon and some space stations would be a good idea. Personally, I like the idea of having it cover a campaign for a whole system, but I've been spoiled by BioWare. Any way you look at it, a Halo RPG would be hard to pull off, though; How do you easily fit companions in? How do you make it open-world and still maintain the suspense of disbelief (I'm assuming that the characters would be in the military). And that's not even getting into the inventory system...

A RPG (or even RPG-ish) Halo would be pretty difficult to pull off but I think it is possible and would really love to see them go that way.

unabomberman:

ZeroMachine:
They already raised a huge "wait, WHAT?" type of question in Reach. Anyone else read those datapads? Holy hell...

That was odd. The datapads detail the story of some poor bastard hacker that stumbled upon a conspiracy of secrecy (I can't believe how tacky that sounds) by some AI's to manipulate human affairs so as to better maximize the chances of humanity surviving into the future, come hell or high water because they, uh, needed us meatbags to ensure their survival. It oddly lays down the series as some kind of twisted machination where humans are unwitting pawns of a bunch of incorporeal, somewhat benevolent, dictators who are the ones that are actually the ones doing war with the covenant since they're the ones in command and all that. It's not like they answer any kind of lingering questions, really, but they make a revelation that comes out of nowhere and without warranty that pretty much shakes the foundation of the whole series in a strange way--kinda like someone coming out of nowhere in the Terminator universe and saying "Guess what? SKYNET is my FRIEND!...I think. He never invites me to parties though, but he does help me with my taxes sometimes..."

I dunno if 343 Industries plans on giving that a follow up, but I'd sure hope so. It wouldn't be nice if they just sort of carried along with the series and totally disregarded the whole "Oh, hi, here's this. Bye!" stunt that Bungie just pulled on their audience.

I'd hope that they'd expand on that, even if just in the books. It's the only thing in Reach that gave me the same sense of wonder that every other Halo game has brought me.

hansari:

rockingnic:
Please let it be in the eyes of the Covenant or the Forerunners! I would like to see more in the history of both of those. Also, if it's the Covenant, let's kill some marines and spartans!

Now THAT would be interesting. But while it worked for Warcraft 3, giving multiple perspectives, some people might rage at that concept. (Those fans shallow enough to see only good guys vs bad guys)

Very true, a lot of people were pissed about the fact that you played the Arbiter in Halo 2. Personally? I fuckin' loved it.

This guy worked on Halo 2 and 3? That's cool, so they're not just newbies then.

I've been sceptical about the idea of a new Halo developed by somebody who isn't Bungie, but if these guys were Bungie, then it has a higher chance of turning out all right. It also sounds like they've got some pretty cool ideas for the Halo universe (though they were a bit non-specific). Personally I'd like to see them expand it outwards, much like Bungie did with ODST and Reach - fleshing out the background with actual games, rather than novels most people won't read. Halo's universe isn't as rich as Mass Effect's, but it's still pretty rich and would benefit from some more exploration.

Also:

ZeroMachine:

I'd hope that they'd expand on that, even if just in the books. It's the only thing in Reach that gave me the same sense of wonder that every other Halo game has brought me.

I did notice Reach wasn't as awe-inspiring as the other games in the series. It felt more subdued, sort of - different, but not necessarily in a bad way; it swapped story genres from space opera to military last stand. The music reflected this (as expected - Halo music's always been great at fitting the particular game's mood). I still liked it a lot, so long as I didn't treat it like the others. And for the record, I also loved playing as the Arbiter in Halo 2 (it helped that his missions were the best :p).

Also, new map packs? Huzzah! I loved the Noble pack. It's cool how Bungie also uses maps to flesh out the background a little, and add character to it (although the vanilla Reach maps didn't do this, sadly).

Karen Traviss? More like Karen Tragedy.

If they turn Halo into fucking Lost, I swear to god I will be arrested when police find me, covered in blood, teabagging their corpses.

(I WAS FRAMED!)

Let's just hope this doesn't turn into CoD and they make some godamn PC versions. They'll fail on both fronts, but it's a nice thought.

Xombee:
Karen Traviss? More like Karen Tragedy.

My first thought upon seeing her name was "What Proud Warrior Tribe is she going to focus on in order to make UNSC marines and Spartans look like incompetent boobs?"

As long as one of those books tells me what happened to Kelly and the other humans on Onyx, I'll be happy.

I suppose one of the games could explain what that ending in Halo Legends was about. Cortana was talking with the Flood on some planet, and it was giving her something. I would like to know what that's all about. But honestly, I feel like Halo itself should be finished. After Kelly and the others.

jaing1138:
Oh good Karen Traviss, the books should be good at least then. Just wish she'd return to finish Imperial commando 2.

Don't count on it. Imp Com 2 was canceled, and it is being replaced with a new Wraith Squadron story. Sad news for Traviss fans, but great news for Aaron Alliston fans.

Traviss haters gonna hate, but sucks to be them, deal with it.

I just hope that 343 makes another ODST game sometime.

ZeroMachine:
They already raised a huge "wait, WHAT?" type of question in Reach. Anyone else read those datapads? Holy hell...

Would you mind PMing me summing up what they say? I really can't be arsed reading them now. It's Ok if you don't want to.

OT: I'm glad there's nothing coming out this year. I wouldn't want it to be rushed. Story about the forerunners? That's interesting, they should make the next game about them.

Eh, my favorite halo so far was halo 3. Reach was mechanically and graphically superior but IMO the multi player isn't as fun and the campaign wasn't nearly as awe inspiring as the others (excluding ODST and halo wars). When I would play halo 3 with my friends we would always gravitate towards custom games or forge because there were so many tricks to master and little things, that playing together was always fun and there were lots of innovative maps that shook things up. when i got to Reach there were few movable (as a spartan i mean chairs, barricades, etc.) objects and tricks/glitches to experiment with and find. While forge is easier to use than ever the maps you can make aren't as different and there aren't all sorts of tricks to discover. This would be less of a problem if you could tear people away from getting credits. Everyone wants to try to earn credits to buy armor so that they can show it off while they earn more credits for the next piece. I hope 343 can bring some of the wonder that was the campaign of the first 3, the community (one that takes screen shots of things other than Kat's...never mind) of halo 3, and some new twists to explore. I can't think of a time I was more intensely playing and working as a team in a video game than on a run for the vidmaster annual. That's what I want to see.

Well it's win-win really in this case as I LOVE the Wraith squadron books, but the closure would have been nice, imperial commando hinted at so much awesomeness in her final book but then it was cancelled so the books basically a giant tease really. Hell i'd settle for her just putting what she had done of it on her site. Still at least the halo books are in safe hands. Still should be interesting what her take on the spartans will be seeing as they are similar to the clones in star wars really: bred for war without a choice in the matter.

Anton P. Nym:
I'm a bit more sanguine about the future of Halo than some, given that 343 Industries is helmed by people who are either ex-Bungie employees who've had hands-on experience with the IP or veterans in their respective fields. When you look at the outside talent they've worked with (Greg Bear, Studio 4C, Moebius, Peter Jackson, Todd McFarlane, etc) it's clear they're not just farming out work to make a quick buck.

However I do agree that the quality of the next game title they put out will determine the future of the Halo franchise; a good one will guarantee continued success, but a bad one will probably wreck it. No pressure, Frankie, no pressure...

-- Steve

I tend to agree.

I also would like, as some of the other above commenters mentioned, to see the Halo franchise branch out, at least a bit, genre-wise. A combination of Mass Effect in the Haloverse would be very interesting. Something more focused on exploration than action would also be welcome.

 

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