Microsoft: We Lost Our Way With Recent Halo Games

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Just going by the games, the only thing interesting about Master Chief was Cortana. I preferred The Arbiter, because he was interesting on his own.

-E3 Presentation.
-Universal underwhelmed reaction from community and press.
-Get butt-hurt that Bungie ran away.
-Bash the last games over a trivial issue
-Lose respect of remaining Halo fans
-Profit???

Seriously though.
Sound's like someone's bashing Bungie because the new game is gonna be no where near as good.

ODST was great, but over priced for what you got (and you can thank Microsoft for that).

Reach was the best Halo game by a long shot. Both single player and multiplayer.

The ODST and Noble team were both very pleasant to work with and had alright personalities. You could see how Bungie had matured in their style as time went on.

And now we're back to the franchise's Mary Sue: The Chief. Oh joy.

I can't wait reenact my 10 year old self's power fantasy. Again.

maturin:
Get real. Master Chief is a useless non-person.

As is Gordon Freeman, a quite lauded 'proagonist'. Hell, Master Chief at least has a couple of lines, a backstory contained within books and a support character with whom he has a pre-existing relationship that's quite complex. And he has a reason (being a super-soldier in strength-enhancing power armor) to be proficient with lots and lots of weapons and being superhumanly endurant; Gordon Freeman is a MIT-educated black mesa researcher.

Just saiyan.

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.

Sadly, here's where you concede the point. Much like movies, you cannot defend what happens with something outside of the core experience, such as a book. The books might be fantastic, but they are not part of the core Halo videogame experience. Much like one cannot defend the Star Wars prequels with a novel, you can't defend Master Chief Boring Pants by what he does in a book.

If he's amazing in the book, he needs to be amazing in the games. But he isn't. He just kind of bobs along and says his emotionless lines in his emotionless, dullard way. And that's how most of the gamers are experiencing him. He can do a tap dance in the novels, it wouldn't make any difference.

Personally, I prefer Halo: Reach the game to anything with Master Chief in it, which is why this "we messed up" bit turns me off. I loved being able to customize my armor and get out of that plain jane olive green.

Here's to more boring Halo games, and ditching all the innovative concepts that ODST & Reach brought to the table. Well played, MS!

I'm really raising my eyebrow at that OP statement.

Not using Master Chief wasn't a mistake, it was a breath of fresh air.
That kind of statement makes me nervous about Microsoft getting greater creative control of the series.
Honestly, 343 should have taken Halo in a new direction when they took the reins. Using MC is just riding the coat-tails another company established and fairly played out already.

I'm getting a sense of "We will not succeed unless we milk everything already established for all it's worth," like the name on the box doesn't already do that.
Whether or not a certain character is in the game doesn't matter for squat after 5 minutes of gameplay, if anyone even cares in the first place. Reach was an excellent fucking game. It wasn't less of a game because there wasn't a certain character in a certain armor modification with a certain voice. And, admittedly, he's pretty fucking generic. You could put him in a lineup of customized Spartans, and I'd have a hard time singling him out.

No, not using Master Chief wasn't a mistake. Reach was the strongest entry in the series since the first. And it wasn't a faceless guy in green armor that made the first one great. This is giving me less interest in the future of the series in those statements he made alone.

I guess the thing I loved about Halo 1 more than the others, and the reason I felt the series decline, is because at the time of launch, Halo 1 felt as close to a real life intergalactic war as anything other game. Since then, other games and their developers have got better at this, and Halo has fallen behind. So therefore, whilst Master Chief might be irreplaceable to many of the series fans, I feel the most important aspect is the war itself.

And seriously, hire new voice actors for the marines. That one Australian guy and that Latin American guy somehow followed me through space, and then back in time.

I'm also on the "ODST and Reach were great games" boat. I understand MC is iconic, and a badass, and I don't dislike him. But I don't think you need to make 7 games just featuring him. 3 was fine. Put him in 4, sure. Play as him some, sure. But saying "ODST and Reach were bad because they didn't have MC, 4 will be good because it has MC" is a bit silly.

That goes under the assumption that Halo is all about MC.

If that was the case, there would be no Ghost of Onyx, Contact Harvest or Cole Protocol. Seriously, I don't see why they "lost their way" with telling another part of a story that goes farther than just one character.
Also: Master Chief being the main character doesn't improve the game at all.
Edit: It also assumes that ODST and Reach were bad because there was no Chief. Haven't played ODST, but Reach was WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY better than Halo 3 with had Master Chief.

I get what he's saying about Halo: ODST and Reach not being very inclusive to people who weren't already familiar with Halo as a franchise (although if someone can remain completely indifferent to a franchise for the first 4 games does he really think they need to bother about what their perspective of the 5th and 6th would be?), but to say the games were worse off for it is rubbish, and this is coming from someone who likes The Master Chief as a character.

Cain_Zeros:
Just going by the games, the only thing interesting about Master Chief was Cortana.

Yeah - much as (game) Master Chief is really just a foil for Cortana, he does that job pretty well, tbh. The Chief is mostly defined by the reactions of those around him, which is also why taking him out of human space is a questionable idea.

(Side note: I have absolutely no idea why people have an issue with game characters like Gordon Freeman, Chell, and Master Chief. Silent/might-as-well-be-silent protagonists, while not well-written themselves, get the job done as foils for actual characters.)

Korten12:

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.

even if there's a legitimate story reason for why someone has no flaws, it doesn't make that person more interesting a character, at least in my opinion

Point of contention; I've never given a good gorram about Master Chief. He's barely a character, being relegated to saying things like "I need a weapon" on the very few occasions he's actually given the opportunity to, you know, show some character.

In terms of, well, everything Halo: Reach managed just fine without him, especially with it's story (yes, even with it being cliche at points). The fact that Spencer is highlighting the Chief as the essential element of the franchise over, say, things like the combat makes me kind of wary of whatever it is 343 is going to crank out as the next Halo game.

IMO the Arbiter was the best thing to happen to the Halo series.

I mean as much as you try to make the human side of the conflict interesting Microsoft it's gonna be hard to break Chief out of the generic space marine stereotype without taking a step in the Mass Effect direction or borrowing heavily from the books and focusing more on story.

The Covenant was always the most interesting part of the story anyway. The books do a phenomenal job of making the human's side interesting but it's much harder to do that in the games where you want to focus on a super-soldier who will mow through every last hostile enemy from beginning to the end of the game (something not exactly done in Reach which made it a nice change).

I mean even after Halo 3's conclusion you still have a hierarchy of alien races probably all in a power struggle now all devastated at the undeniable proof of the falseness of their religion that has been their unifying call for years upon years. Will the Jackals go back to their pirating ways? How will the Elite-Brute war end up? What about the grunts? The drones? The hunters?

There's potential there Microsoft. More potential IMO than you have with the Chief even with more interactions with forerunner stuff because that's been the main focus for a full trilogy already.

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.

Except that the faceless protagonist in Reach Died at the end. So undoubtedly not the Chief. I liked the second the most myself, always liked Arby better, and not a big fan in general, but Reach was me giving the series a last chance, it didn't fail, but didn't convince me for the future.

Meh. I think they're assuming a lot about the fan base. Personally I thought ODST was great. If it was a few hours longer I think it would have been the best of the series.

Yes, Microsoft. What we need is more master chief games. Question, though: if you love him so much, why wont you leave him alone!?
Friggin retcons.

cainx10a:
Bah, Reach will always be my favorite Halo. No flood = Great Experience :p

This!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Also, I liked Noble Six more than Master Chief....*Puts up flame shield*

I just threw away all my hope that Halo will ever be good again.

Just to put it out there on how I feel. Halo 2 sucked and Halo 3 sucked more. ODST was fantastic, and Halo Reach was fucking amazing (I actually cared for the story).

I would really not like to play as Master Chief again, he isn't all that good when it comes to being a characters. He is just there, unlike Noble Six who, basicly was, the player.

Honestly, I think Reach had the best campaign of the series. Though I could easily argue the price tag for it, ODST was a very good game as well.

While I can't speak for all of the Halo fans, I enjoy seeing the universe expanded. Master Chief is a huge part of the Halo series, sure, but seeing things through a different set of eyes makes the whole experience much more interesting. I enjoy seeing new characters and new perspectives. If the game focus squarely on the Chief, the series will get stagnant, and fast.

Master Chief was great in the first two games, but he was not what made Halo: Combat Evolved so great. It was the gameplay, the setting, and the presentation. It was the simple but dynamic AI and the element of tactics and meaningful choice introduced with the weapons and weapon swapping system, that kind of thing. As much as the PC guys are going to hate me for this, Halo was much more interesting to play than your standard 'twitch' shooters of the day. That's why I get annoyed when people (ahem, Yahtzee) call Halo a standard, run-of-the-mill shooter. It set the standard. For those of us who were actually there and playing the damned thing, Halo is the original and everything else is imitators. It's like how this generation thinks Seinfeld is just a run-of-mill sitcom and Citizen Kane is just a boring old movie.

You may say I'm rambling, but this is the kind of stuff I want to hear from the guy who will decide what Halo as a series is from now on. I want to hear that he understands what Halo was and why it was great. Master Chief was great, but he is not what made Halo great.

Then again, I thought the best things about Halo 2 were The Arbiter and the civil unrest within the Covenant (although, they should not have had the Covenant races start speaking English). I thought that was a great way to expand the story and the universe a little bit, but apparently I'm in the minority on that. So maybe I don't know shit.

Why are there loads of people against 343? They are made of Ex-Bungie staff, Martie(?) O'Donnel... for example.Meaning, they are people who KNOW the Halo series and are not going to let it fall. Microsoft probably won't get involved that much either (to my knowledge they didn't with Bungie)

OT: Mehh, i still hope they make more games without him, i'd like to see more of the conflict before him/without him.

Are you fucking kidding me? They lost their way because they didn't have Master Chief? Bullshit! Master Chief is a blank character with no personality who rarely even speaks. The Campaigns are decent and the level of customization in the multiplayer is great. Reach kept that going and ODST (while just recycling Halo 3's multiplayer).

Master Chief is the absolute least of anyone's worries, Microsoft. Believe me.

I'm sorry, but OUR way?! Seriously, OUR WAY?! In case you didn't realize MS, it was Bungie's way from the get-go and last time I checked, people had absolutely no problem with controlling a different character outside of the Master Chief. More proof that Microsoft clearly knows dick about anything. ESPECIALLY the franchises they own. Suck a dick, MS. Halo: Reach is the best in the series with or without Master Chief, and what they said is practically an insult towards Bungie, 343, and the Halo fanbase. Thanks for dampening my enthusiasm of Halo 4. It's clear that you fuck-skulls don't know what you're doing with this franchise.

I didn't much like Reach, I DID like ODST. And not playing the Master Chief was not the problem, Halo 3 has so far been the biggest disappointment. It's multiplayer was amazing, but it's single player / coop was far below the expectations after Halo 2 (my favorite).

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.

Any piece of media should be able to stand up on it's own without supporting material.

The fact he was better fleshed out in the books means nothing to me. If they can't do that in the game, I'm not gonna care what becomes of him in the game.

And on topic, ODST and Reach were probably my favourite Halo games. So... yeah, I'm inclined to refute that theory of his.

ROFL!!! Master Chief counts as a character?!?!?! and fans miss him?!?!?! How can you even tell you are playing someone other than Master Chief, every tired worn out game is the same as the last (except ODST, but not by much). Wow Micr$uck, just when the public thinks you can't be more disjointed from reality your inept staff come up with some new nonsense to spout off about. I kind of liked ODST, at least Bungie tried to be different with it, I hope the fans realize what this means? If you thought every game was identical before, you haven't seen anything yet. lol

I actually liked ODST's presentation between the mood, awesome music, themes/levels, and missions...hell, I actually found Halo to be kind of good for the first time ever.

But the point is: Microsoft thinks that taking their universe in a different direction is a bad thing. Master Chief remains inexplicably popular due to...I dunno his shitty one-liners and deep voice?
Therefore: Microsoft decrees that all future Halo titles must feature him; lest we risk this series ever budging a fucking inch from its source material.

Mr.Squishy:

maturin:
Get real. Master Chief is a useless non-person.

As is Gordon Freeman, a quite lauded 'proagonist'. Hell, Master Chief at least has a couple of lines, a backstory contained within books and a support character with whom he has a pre-existing relationship that's quite complex. And he has a reason (being a super-soldier in strength-enhancing power armor) to be proficient with lots and lots of weapons and being superhumanly endurant; Gordon Freeman is a MIT-educated black mesa researcher.

Just saiyan.

As always, Valve's use (or modern reuse) of the silent protagonist is misunderstood. There's been too much ink spilled on this point already to go over it now, but there is a world of difference between Freeman and a floating camera clothed in faceless cliche that travels between consciously epic cutscenes with your typical Hollywood-inspired sloppy videogame storytelling.

John Funk:

"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."


Master Chief's character might have been fleshed out more in the books, but to most gamers he is not a "John Wayne" character (hell, he doesn't fit that description even if you did read the books). He's in fact a "Gordon Freeman" character: a blank slate that the player can project their own personality onto.

To be perfectly honest, ODST and Reach rank with the first one for me as some of my favorite Halo games, partly because you don't play as the Chief. I felt the ending of Halo 3 was a good send-off for John, having "finished the fight" and all (except now it turns out he's only halfway finished it). By dropping the Chief's story and focusing on other battles, ODST and Reach really helped flesh out the Halo universe. I think there are still lots of opportunities to be explored here without going back to the same tired formula with the Chief (squad-based tactical shooter with pre-shield technology SPARTAN-IIs, stealth-oriented game as an Elite Spec-ops, extending the space segment from Reach into a full space combat game, a Mass-Effect style game where you're an ONI operative, etc.)

Long story short: people didn't fall in love with the Chief, they fell in love with the setting.

I'm not a Halo fan in the slightest (beyond Red vs Blue), but I actually wanted to play Halo: ODST for a while just because it looked like they put an emphasis on character and story (and having a third of the cast from "Firefly" helped a lot). Of course, I didn't buy it because I heard how effing short the single-player was for a full-price game (multiplayer can eat a dick), and now hearing that Microsoft thinks those games were failures because they didn't have Master Chef makes me even less optimistic about this franchise.

ODST had the best protagonist of any Halo game.

Valenza:

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.

Any piece of media should be able to stand up on it's own without supporting material.

The fact he was better fleshed out in the books means nothing to me. If they can't do that in the game, I'm not gonna care what becomes of him in the game.

And on topic, ODST and Reach were probably my favourite Halo games. So... yeah, I'm inclined to refute that theory of his.

But then look at it like this: Let's say they wanted to flesh them out more in game. Well Halo shows most of its story (not all) through cutscenes. So that would mean they probably would have needed to make cutscenes longer and then people would complain about the length of cutscenes.

The books are NEEDED, you can't show everything in games. In Fall of Reach, there were many times that there would be no combat and just talking. They can't show that in game without people like I said complaining about length of cutscenes or would complain about lack of action. :P

Wakikifudge:

cainx10a:
Bah, Reach will always be my favorite Halo. No flood = Great Experience :p

This!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Also, I liked Noble Six more than Master Chief....*Puts up flame shield*

*Activate Bubble Shield* 2 defense systems > 1 defense system!!!

RANT RANT RANT RANT RANT WARNING WARNING RANT INBOUND

well, i disagree. because master chief is not halo. he is a character. halo is a universe. master chief is an icon microsoft wants to use to make a quick buck. 3 times.

i'm a little pissed right now; i try to say halo is more than what some people say, and this guy comes around saying that it's about the marvelous character of master chief. it's not about the vast foundation of the halo universe that bungie made; it's that one guy who you played as three times.

they're cashing in on nostalgia.

and here i was hoping duke nukem forever taught a lesson. (well, it taught several, but i'm saying cashing in on nostalgia is a stupid idea)

i am flustered, because this guy is saying that halo is no more than a nearly blank slate who says a few things in a bad-ass voice. there's so much cool stuff to focus on, but no. instead of broadening the picture to the fans who don't read the books, lets go focus on what chiefs doing. even though we already beat the main universe threatening bad-guys. but hey, we can't make money off a wrapped up story, lets fuck everything up!

it feels like a tv show. once one arc gets resolved another pops up immediately to take it's place

i wish microsoft didn't have an instinctive need to run this series into the ground after ending on a high note. but now i'm forced to begrudgingly agree with all the halo haters who i've scoffed at in the past. great :(

so i'm going to cut myself short before make even more anger filled words which i might regret.

I loved the shit out of Reach and still play it a lot. That being said, i miss my Master Chief

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