Microsoft Wants Halo to Soldier On for At Least More 30 Years

Halo: The Master Chief CollectionHalo as a franchise isn’t going anywhere. That’s the standard set by Microsoft’s Halo-dedicated development studio, 343 Industries. According to 343 Industries¬†general manager Bonnie Ross, it has always been the plan for Halo to remain a mainstay for at least 30 more years. That was the goal set for 343 Industries as Microsoft passed the franchise from Bungie to their in-house start up.

The only caveat to that lofty goal is that 343 Industries was founded in 2007. It is nearly eight years later and 343 Industries has one main-line Halo game to their name, a mediocre twin-stick shooter and a pair of remastered but problematic Xbox Original games. While 343 Industries has shown flashes of their potential, namely in the quality of Halo 4, they are still relatively unproven thanks in part to their uneven quality of work.

Bungie Studios helped greatly in the early work of 343 Industries, allowing the budding studio to assist on the stellar Halo: Reach and much of their staff is comprised of former Bungie developers who chose to stay with the Halo franchise. But with such a long shadow cast by a marquee studio like Bungie, 343 Industries has had trouble establishing themselves. Halo 4 was a fine game, but often looked slow when compared to twitch shooters like Call of Duty. While Halo has never meant to be that type of fast paced shooter, Halo 4 never managed to dethrone Call of Duty on the multiplayer activity charts.

I do believe that Microsoft is right to envision Halo as a tentpole in their game development for decades to come. It certainly worked for other industry headliners like Super Mario. But in order to stay competitive in the already saturated world of first person shooters, 343 Industries needs to learn how to be as good as Bungie was, and faster. Players are always going to give a spectacular franchise like Halo attention, but in order to capture that attention long-term, they need to be more than great, they need to be incredible.

Gamespot – Microsoft Wants Halo to Last Another 30 Years

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Destiny Destined for September 9 Release

Destiny

Destiny, Bungie’s first game under new publisher Activision, will be launching September 9, 2014.

Originally slated for a spring release, pushing Destiny back into the fall gives Bungie a little more breathing room, especially with Respawn Entertainment’s Titanfall set to make some noise in March. With the later release date, Bungie is now targeting a summer multiplayer beta test that will be available first on the Sony PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3.

Destiny

In an industry filled with ‘what have you done for me lately’ tenants, Destiny’s success is crucial to Activision and Bungie’s relationship together. Bungie has been largely quiet since Halo Reach, instead assisting 343 Industries in taking over developmental duties for the Halo franchise. While taking their time during development is something that Bungie has a reputation of, the delay to fall leaves many with new consoles salivating for something big to play.

To me, Destiny definitely has the polish and vintage sci-fi spark that Bungie cut its teeth on during its Halo days and the studio’s bold vision of an always-online MMO type shooter has certainly piqued my interest. Initial thoughts have been that Destiny certainly has Halo’s fingerprints all over its DNA, but that might not necessarily be a bad thing.

Bungie – Destiny Launch Date

Top Ten Tuesday E3 2013 Edition – Biggest News to Come Out of the Pre-Show Presentations

E3 officially begins today, as the show will open to denizens of reporters (not named Theory Flaw) ready for terrible food, hourly deadlines and product demos galore. But while many games will get their moment of glory in the coming days, the major players have already opened their hands for heads-up poker. Franchise reboots, new exclusives, new consoles and product strategy highlight this list of the biggest news to come out of the pre-show presentations.

10. Crimson Dragon

I had to try my hardest not to write Dragoon because this is clearly designed in the vein of the stellar dragon riding series Panzer Dragoon. Even bringing back Panzer Dragoon series director Yukio Futatsugi this Kinect based Xbox One game features massive bosses and gorgeous dragon-borne aerial combat. While I fear it may play a little too closely to Child of Eden, this is clearly a bold move by Microsoft.

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Activision vs. The World

Activision.

A few years ago, gamers were fed up with the way Electronic Arts had become a mega-conglomerate in the gaming industry. Swallowing small developers whole, annual re-releases on their franchise titles and a reputation of choosing to play it safe rather than create gaming experiences. It seems that a new king will hold that crown.

But why is Activision the evil bully on the gaming block now? Three franchises became overnight cash-cows for Bobby Kotick and his money-printing machine. Guitar Hero and Call of Duty took over their respective genres. Guitar Hero won over masses of casual gamers with the first two releases on the PlayStation 2 while Call of Duty stole the FPS-in-a-real-life-war sub-genre from EA’s Medal of Honor. Lastly, Activision merged with Vivendi Games, which owned not only formerly powerful studios like Sierra Games but also owns a successful little company known as Blizzard Entertainment. Not only did Activision become Activision-Blizzard, they now had control of the world’s largest MMORPG in World of Warcraft as well as publishing control to future blockbuster titles in Diablo III and Starcraft II.

But I digress. Continue reading