343 Industries, the offshoot company managing Halo’s beloved mantle after Bungie’s decision to become an LLC, has decided to continue the fight against the Covenant on the same console that has handled its past couple iterations. This raises a big question: why not wait until the next console generation to release the next part of one of gaming’s biggest franchises?
“Halo 4 will be on Xbox 360 and use a modified core of the Halo engine(s). Not really a singular engine since it goes through fairly radical evolutions all the time,” stated developer 343 Industries’ Frank O’Connor, the current director of the series. While this statement may have produced an unpleasant backlash from the community, there are some great advantages to having the game prepared and released inside this console generation.
Regarding the first part of his statement, Halo 4 running on a remodeled Halo engine will work to the series benefit, because it allows those developers to work with a prepared source that allow for greater improvements among familiar code. If that creates any doubt in your mind, take a look at the current critical acclaim of the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim; a game created from significant improvements to Oblivion’s engine.
This announcement also means that the game will be released much sooner than previously thought, since this console generation will be ending sometime within the next two to four years potentially. Xbox neXt, Loop or Xbox 720, depending on who you ask, will be released somewhere in between 2013 and 2015, but due to this announcement, the game is prepared for launch sometime during Q4 2012.
For a game that has gone from being the highly-anticipated launch game of the next console generation to one of the last games to be released for the Xbox 360, can we expect to see some overarching features? This may be a questionable call for Microsoft, since gamers will likely be picking both a new console and the last great game of the past generation at the same time if the new console releases in 2013.
Halo 4’s official trailer drew much praise from the community, (if you have not see it, check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9iQiHNXgMU) and will be released on the same console that launched its predecessor Halo 3; now we only have a year to wait until the game drops next holiday season.
I think the real problem is how they will handle the next two games in the series as they will most likely be on the next Xbox.
Not that it matters because those who care enough to finish the story will already be buying the console.