In an interview with Polygon, 343 Industries Executive Producer Kiki Wolfkill shed some light on where the developers may take the Halo franchise post-Halo 4. In the team’s vision, they’d like to grow the Halo brand in whatever way makes sense; even if that means breaking away from the FPS genre, or a game where Master Chief is the focus point.
“How we look at it is ‘Where do we want to be in ten years? What are the stories we want to tell?” Wolfkill went on to say that, “we have started to flesh out broad strokes of a few different arcs that are interesting. There could be opportunities where exploring a different game genre makes sense or exploring a different linear format makes sense. If the medium fits what we want to do, then we’ll definitely consider it … if there’s a great idea we get energized around.”
She also made sure to assuage any hardcore Chief supporters. “Master Chief’s not going away, but we need to be able to give people more connection points,” Wolfkill added.
She goes on to explain the team’s motivation behind developing Halo 4; attempting to create something familiar for fans of the long-running franchise while also establishing themselves as a worthy successor to the series. “If we didn’t take that right initial step, there would be nothing after,” Wolfkill admitted. “If the worst thing that can be said for us is [Halo 4 is] a great Halo game, that it feels too safe, I wouldn’t say we’d be hyper-disappointed in that. I’d say that’s the right first step for us.”
“When you reach that 10 year point, it’s always a challenge to keep it vibrant and make sure it still feels meaningful.” For 343 Industries, that meant staying true to the Halo formula while simultaneously establishing new ideas from which the franchise can take on new life.
“We had to weigh what the risk level was as a studio without credibility trying to do all these new things. Innovation has always been part of the Halo game pillars. That needs to continue. That will continue because there will be new platforms on the horizon and we’ll be able to do things differently.”
The rest of the interview can be found at Polygon, and includes a few thoughts about where 343 would potentially take the series if Master Chief wasn’t tied to the center of the universe.
This was a really interesting read, and it’s nice to have a clearer sense of where 343 Industries would like to take the Halo franchise. It’s always a bit worrisome when a beloved developer like Bungie hands off the reigns to a genre staple like Halo, but 343 has certainly earned respect from the fans with their inaugural Halo offering. It will be exciting to see where the developers want to take the series from here on out. Of course, taking Halo outside of the FPS genre is hardly a new idea. The series produced an RTS in the form of Halo Wars almost four years ago exactly. (The game released on February 28, 2009.) But, aside from that brief excursion, every title has remained true to the FPS formula.
Considering the nature of the Halo universe, I’m not exactly sure where the series would fit in outside the realm of shooters. With such a gun-centric atmosphere, there don’t seem to be many options. If I had to throw my two cents into the ring, I’d like to see the franchise try exploring the action-adventure genre. Now I’ll be the first to admit this may be an absolutely ludicrous idea, but allow me to digress. What if 343 designed a Halo action-adventure title in the style of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning? What if it was a co-op game where we could either play as an energy-sword wielding Elite or a gravity-hammer swinging Brute? I guess you could find a way to introduce marines into the game as well, if there was a really smooth shooting mechanic similar to how Fable introduced guns. Armor modifications and customizations could include various staples of the Halo franchise such as overshields, active camo, and jetpacks. It might sound silly but hey, you never know.
Or how about this one: 343 could make a game in the same vein as Miniclip’s Plague Inc. Players would assume the role of the flood and the objective would be to infect as much of the universe as possible by genetically altering specific flood species to adapt to the different atmospheres and immune systems for each planet and the inhabiting species. Yeah… alright maybe I’m a bit off base with that one but that’s probably why nobody pays me to design games.
What about you folks? Does anyone have an interesting idea for where 343 Industries could take the Halo franchise if it moved away from the FPS genre and focused on characters other than Master Chief? Share your wacky, or totally reasonable, ideas down in the comments. Have fun with it!