Microsoft: We Lost Our Way With Recent Halo Games

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Microsoft: We Lost Our Way With Recent Halo Games

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Microsoft Game Studios' boss thinks that Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach were missteps - because the player wasn't the Master Chief.

Bungie may have departed its rich Halo fields for greener (?) pastures with Activision, but the franchise still continues under the watchful eye of 343 Industries and Microsoft Game Studios. Speaking with OXM UK at E3, MGS boss Phil Spencer made a frank admission: ODST and Reach weren't what gamers wanted.

"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]," he said. To him, that's putting the player in the role of SPARTAN-II John-117 - better known as Master Chief.

"We kind of lost our way [with ODST and Reach] a little bit, I'll say," he admitted. "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."

For long-time Halo fans, he said, Reach made perfect sense since it dealt with the franchise's story and lore - but for someone coming into the series it wouldn't make as much sense.

I do get the appeal Master Chief as a character has for some, but if Spencer is trying to say that Reach didn't have the series' best campaign since the original Combat Evolved, then I have a few words for him. Or a few hundred words, really.

(OXM UK via VG247)

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But you are playing Master Chief, aren't you? Granted, I'm not a Halo buff, I played the first one (hated it), the second one (actually quite liked it) and most of the third one (bored me, gave up) but as far as I could tell, nobody in those games controls differently to anyone else. It's all the same basic thrust: Move and shoot with these guns. You may not be called Master Chief, but you are the same dude for all gameplay purposes. That just leaves story.

Now, I may not be the best guy to take this on; I found the Arbiter leaps and bounds ahead of Master Chief in terms of interest, but are people really that interested in the story of Master Chief? Really?

Congratulations John! You're now the proud father of a triple posted topic.

Anyway can't agree with Spencer as I don't think Master Chief is that big of the focus in the halo universe that shifting away from him would ruin or hurt the games.

Kinda like when Shigeru Miyamoto shat all over Mario Sunshine when promoting Mario Galaxy.

Anyway, I really liked Reach, it was nice to se a diffrent perspective. But I see what he is saying. Thing is, it still didn't confuse anyone, because that would like being confused about George W Bush having left the White House. If you aren't knowing what's going on, you should just lie down and wait for someone else to do your thinking for you, because you clearly aren't any good at it.

Aww but I liked Nathan Fillion and co. in ODST. All the banter and chatter brought a little life into the protagonists for a change.

The Master Chief is dull. I didn't want to see his return.

Get real. Master Chief is a useless non-person. Any floating camera with a shield will suffice.

I actually really liked ODST, it's nice to have a main character with, you know, weaknesses

sure stamina was essentially still a shield but it was cool to play as a marine for once

How I rank every Halo game ever (based on single player):

Halo Combat evolved
Halo ODST (it felt like metroid to me, which I loved)
Halo Reach = Halo 3
Halo 2

Does master chief make the game? No. He is a character. A good game is a good game. You do not need him for a good game.

BlindChance:
But you are playing Master Chief, aren't you? Granted, I'm not a Halo buff, I played the first one (hated it), the second one (actually quite liked it) and most of the third one (bored me, gave up) but as far as I could tell, nobody in those games controls differently to anyone else. It's all the same basic thrust: Move and shoot with these guns. You may not be called Master Chief, but you are the same dude for all gameplay purposes. That just leaves story.

Now, I may not be the best guy to take this on; I found the Arbiter leaps and bounds ahead of Master Chief in terms of interest, but are people really that interested in the story of Master Chief? Really?

See you only saw the story from the game, if you read Halo: Fall of Reach (which came out before Halo: CE by a couple of days I believe) you would see Master Chief in a whole new light and want to know what happened to him.

Bah, Reach will always be my favorite Halo. No flood = Great Experience :p

Eh? Master Chief was barely even a character.

And I disagree. I'd say Reach is the best of the series, and while ODST was pretty "eh", it wasn't because you were not Master Chief.

They weren't mistakes. Bungie was trying something different(well, more or less anyway...) with post-Halo 3 games. That is a good thing.

FinalDream:
Aww but I liked Nathan Fillion and co. in ODST. All the banter and chatter brought a little life into the protagonists for a change.

The Master Chief is dull. I didn't want to see his return.

Like I said to BlindChance, Master Chief isn't dull, if you read the Halo: Fall of Reach book, most likely you wouldn't say that.

ZeZZZZevy:
I actually really liked ODST, it's nice to have a main character with, you know, weaknesses

sure stamina was essentially still a shield but it was cool to play as a marine for once

Spartans aren't supposed to really have weaknesses, that's sort of the point. They were raised to be killing machines.

I actually preferred playing reach than any other Halo game, and not for the multiplayer. Noble team seemed more... real than just having the Chief and a few mooks was.

i actually dont want to play as a master cheff, he's boring bland and unintresting, i would rather play a non-charackter like noble 6 or gordon freeman then a boring bland space marine.

What?! Most of the criticism I've seen levelled at the Halo games has to do with Master Chief's practical non-existence as a character (in-game, at least). Don't think I saw a single complaint that you didn't get to play as him in Reach (a couple for ODST, but that was more in the general 'I wanna be a spartan!' vein than about the chief himself)

I'm tired of the industrial standard of saying on release "This is the best game EVAH!" and then saying "It wasn't good enough..." while releasing a sequel, but promising "It'll get better... and will be the best game EVAH!" all over again...

Have a longer space fighter section, then we can talk.

What?! How dare he say that! Reach was easily the best of all the Halo games. Basically dismissing Bungie's last work in the series.

Korten12:

FinalDream:
Aww but I liked Nathan Fillion and co. in ODST. All the banter and chatter brought a little life into the protagonists for a change.

The Master Chief is dull. I didn't want to see his return.

Like I said to BlindChance, Master Chief isn't dull, if you read the Halo: Fall of Reach book, most likely you wouldn't say that.

I've read Fall of Reach, and I thought he was incredibly dull.

Even if he was the best written character in the book, it doesn't change the fact that in-game he's incredibly boring to play as, compared to say, the ODSTs. He was basically the exact same as Noble Six, except without customizable armour. Besides, people shouldn't have to read a fucking book to gain an appreciation for the character they play as.

This is the man in charge of Halo games from now on? Shit.....

Halo CE was a brilliant game, not because of the Master Chief, but because Bungie created a vibrant game world with a brilliant story.
Halo 2 was ok, I guess. Again, the Master Chief himself wasn't that integral to the story.
Halo 3 just got boring. And this was down to the Chief being so god-damned dull!
Halo 3 ODST brought Halo back! A great story with a very good premise to tell it. A hub world and when you find artifacts you jump into the boots of another character? I love the idea. Sure it isn't original but it made for a very entertaining game.
Halo Reach was another step in the direction of bringing the franchise back to it's CE greatness. Playing through the game with a squad of personified Spartans was much more interesting than playing as a dull, green superman whose purpose by the third game is rescuing a fucking AI construct.

TL;DR If anything, I want more new characters like Noble 6 & The Rookie, not Chief. I'm bored of Chief and want new experiences, not more of the same! (I'm looking at you here CoD!!)

Korten12:

FinalDream:
Aww but I liked Nathan Fillion and co. in ODST. All the banter and chatter brought a little life into the protagonists for a change.

The Master Chief is dull. I didn't want to see his return.

Like I said to BlindChance, Master Chief isn't dull, if you read the Halo: Fall of Reach book, most likely you wouldn't say that.

ZeZZZZevy:
I actually really liked ODST, it's nice to have a main character with, you know, weaknesses

sure stamina was essentially still a shield but it was cool to play as a marine for once

Spartans aren't supposed to really have weaknesses, that's sort of the point. They were raised to be killing machines.

Master Chief IS dull in the games. Admittedly, the books featuring him as the main character are rather good but Chief is still boring. Limitations & weaknesses make characters more interesting too. And Spartans were NOT "raised" to be killing machines, they were genetically modified and augmented.

Korten12:

See you only saw the story from the game, if you read Halo: Fall of Reach (which came out before Halo: CE by a couple of days I believe) you would see Master Chief in a whole new light and want to know what happened to him.

See, it's the game narrative's fault, not the audience's, that Master Chief's 'depth' was not conveyed through the gameplay.

Irridium:
And I disagree. I'd say Reach is the best of the series, and while ODST was pretty "eh", it wasn't because you were not Master Chief.

They weren't mistakes. Bungie was trying something different(well, more or less anyway...) with post-Halo 3 games. That is a good thing.

Exactly. I liked having the choice of going it stealthy in ODST, having to scavenge for weaponry and medpacks, and in general NOT being some walking cliche. Reach was also far more interesting than any of the main Halo games because of the interaction and again, no sense of walking cliche.

Korten12:

Like I said to BlindChance, Master Chief isn't dull, if you read the Halo: Fall of Reach book, most likely you wouldn't say that.

Korten, let me introduce you to Opinion, Opinion, Korten.

Haha, wow. The more these guys talk, the more skeptical I get about post-bungie halo games.

Um, first of all it was BUNGIE that made these games, Microsoft just produced them. Bungie made the decision to do an ODST game, and then to do a prequel. I thought those were great ideas, because it was a change of paces, created genuinely different games. It helped prevent it from being like Call of Duty, with the same game being released every year. And yes, many will say that all of the Halo games are the same, but I disagree. ODST was a very different, and enjoyable, experience, and the mood of Reach was far different from the other Halos.

I like how the head of MS studios (the publisher) apparently knows what Halo is about better than Bungie (the original developers)...

...and for the record, Halo Reach was the best game of the series and just because you are including Master Chief doesn't necessarily make for a good game.

...

I think my confidence in Halo 4 just dropped even lower.

But Reach and ODST were awesome, what they talking about? Still can't wait to play as MC again. Role on Summer 2012, if the world has ended.

I don't like the Master Chief.
In Halo 2 he wouldn't keep his mouth shut, in Halo 3 he was egotistical.
I liked ODST and Reach, because it meant that Bungie had the balls to abandon their icon for one that the players could forge the personality of.
Its kind of like Gordon Freeman. because he doesn't say anything and lets the other characters work out the plot, players are able to interprete the character in any way they choose.

But master chief is completely without personality! I never liked the story in halo, but removing master chief was a damn good move imo. Maybe It's because I never played the first game, but I could never get into the story in halo.

Errr..... hmmmm

I was looking forward to Halo 4. Now I'm not sure.

Master Chief is cool, but there was nothing wrong with Reach. Infact, I'd say one of the best games in the series. ODST had poor pacing and story telling. Not to mention retarded animation. But it was still good.

I hope they're being faithful to the series. Chief alone does not a game make.

ZeZZZZevy:
I actually really liked ODST, it's nice to have a main character with, you know, weaknesses

sure stamina was essentially still a shield but it was cool to play as a marine for once

Got to agree.
In my opinion (as well as my sister, who I played it with in co-op), ODST was better than Halo 3.
There are two things that I can see which makes John special: He have Cortana, and he is one of the two last spartans alive, as of Halo 1.
Well...there's also that thing about him being a spartan, but that doesn't count really, since the whole of Noble Team was as well.

I would not in the slightest mind playing as a marine, trying to beat down rebels.
I would not complain if I had to play as an ODST, fighting for his life against some remnant flood. (Yes, the flood are probably my favorite enemy ever in a game. Think if there were Firefight against them!)
I would not boycott a Halo game, because the main character is an before hand unknown elite, quenching an uprising of the few covenants still believing that humans have to be destroyed, and the elites are traitors.
I would, however complain, if they decide to make Master Chief the only important character in Halo games to come.

While Master Chief is probably one of my favorite characters in an FPS, I don't think it was missteps.
There's NOTHING wrong with changing the perspective in a story like this.
Why not do like in Halo 2? You play with several characters, over several missions. ...and if they actually meet up, let me choose which one I want to play as.

So, my suggestion is; more Master Chief, but not only Master Chief.

cursedseishi:

Korten, let me introduce you to Opinion, Opinion, Korten.

An opinion made my knowing only half. :P

Jamie Hawkins:
Master Chief IS dull in the games. Admittedly, the books featuring him as the main character are rather good but Chief is still boring. Limitations & weaknesses make characters more interesting too. And Spartans were NOT "raised" to be killing machines, they were genetically modified and augmented.

Yeah also trained. They took them at young age and didn't just modified and augmented them. They put them in schools and taught they warfare and everything. Since they were so young, they were basically raised by Hasley and such.

Knowing these words fall on deaf ears, I'll say it anyway.

I prefer my spartan model in Reach, it was my characterization of a spartan and I liked it that way. I honestly have no attachment to master chief and I have all the games, save for wars.

Sure maybe some of the mechanics felt off, and they didn't leave the option to make reach multiplayer have a halo 3 feel with shields and BR's ( DMR's are to guns what DRM's are to games).

I don't want to be chief in 343 iterations I want to build a spartan up from scratch again. Maybe squeek out some more armor options with cheaper prices, or achievement requirements, but other than that don't fuck with it.

All in all I would say going back to the old ways would be the misstep, everyone playing as mister chief, unless they do a single player and then reach style multiplayer.

Because lets face it, thanks to modern warfare if a game isn't supposed to be a quick romp like team fortress, then you need ranks and unlocks and all that crap to keep people interested, because god knows its not like they are giving out free maps to draw you back in.

Funny how they say they're 2 mistake games are my favorite ones of the series, ODST felt like metroid whereas halo reach had much better characters that didn't seem untouchable

Korten12:

Jamie Hawkins:
Master Chief IS dull in the games. Admittedly, the books featuring him as the main character are rather good but Chief is still boring. Limitations & weaknesses make characters more interesting too. And Spartans were NOT "raised" to be killing machines, they were genetically modified and augmented.

Yeah also trained. They took them at young age and didn't just modified and augmented them. They put them in schools and taught they warfare and everything. Since they were so young, they were basically raised by Hasley and such.

*Halsey

And they were not raised as such. Everything done to them by Halsey, Mendez and the scholarly AI was a method of allowing them to use their modifications to the best of their abilities. It was not intended to 'educate' them in the way we use the word 'education'.

Well I liked the changes Bungie made to the Halo games from Halo 3. Really I think just having more Master Chief isn't going to improve the games at all. Besides Master Chief never had much of a character in the games to begin with.

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