So lately, Google’s been delivering me news about things happening in the gaming world. In the past two weeks, I got the news about how Mass Effect: Andromeda’s next patch would be its last, then how the studio was being converted into a support studio, and lately I’ve been getting pre-E3 announcements.
I feel that if you’re reading this, you’re already familiar with what the Electronic Entertainment Expo (more commonly known as E3) is. I’ll still explain it for those who don’t; E3 is an event open to members of the press (And as of last year, the public as well) where video game developers and publishers show previews of what they’re gearing up to release that year. This year, E3 is supposed to take place June 13th-15th, and presumably we’ll get Destiny 2 and Call of Duty: WWII from Activision, more Quake from Bethesda and maybe a new Elder Scrolls game? (Here’s hoping)
But one article in particular caught my eye this week, and made me particularly irate. https://www.gamespot.com/articles/halo-6-wont-be-shown-at-e3-in-june/1100-6450007/
Yes, Halo seems to be turning into Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw’s ‘spunk-gargle-wee-wee’ formula, in my opinion. Yahtzee often uses that term when describing games like Call of Duty and Battlefield and how they’re down to a specific formula in every game, and it’s feeling like Microsoft and 343 Industries are desperate to squeeze as much as possible from Halo.
For more backstory, Halo is a first-person shooter that was innovative for its time. In its original release for Xbox, it gained massive popularity for being a standout game versus other shooters of its time. Additionally, it had an immersive story with lore that was built off of that game, in such novels like “Fall of Reach” by Eric Nylund.
You are a supersoldier of the United Nations Space Corps, Master Chief Petty Officer Spartan 117. You were taken aboard a ship, the Pillar of Autumn, after an alien coalition known as ‘The Covenant’ raided your planet, and you’re being chased by one of their fleets. You and the rest of the Autumn’s crew have to take out the covenant and find a way off of the first Halo ring, a forerunner weapon to contain and control the population of the Flood parasite.
As of May 19th, 2017, there are nine games, twelve books, countless parodies and miniseries on YouTube, a Netflix series, and enough action figures over the years to outlive a prairie dog. The franchise has a strong story from beginning to end, which is why I’m here to say that this tenth game needs to kill it.
I wouldn’t be making this post if I didn’t have a reason. I adore Halo as a series, despite it being knocked to my number 2 spot with Bioshock reigning at number 1. So, why am I making this post?
In 2007, Bungie parted ways with Microsoft so they could make their own games using new intellectual property. 343 Industries was created to bridge the gap between the two, and they now handle everything Halo. By the time the baton was passed over to 343 Industries, Bungie had finished development and released Halo Reach with the announcement that they would no longer be making any more games in the Halo series. From them, we’d gotten the original game, two sequels, a prequel and answers to an unfinished story from the first sequel. The story was essentially complete, with missing pieces being filled in through novels.
After the culmination of the original trilogy (Halos 1, 2 and 3), 343 Industries released Halo 4. This continued the open-ended ending of Halo 3, with John and Cortana on the back half of the Dawn. The game felt different as a Halo game, and the story felt really odd. I haven’t played Halo 5: Guardians yet, but from what I’ve heard it’s completely stagnant.
There are also additional complaints about Halo 5 Guardians from the beta, which I’ll drop a thread from Halo Waypoint of another longtime fan’s own complaints here. https://www.halowaypoint.com/en-us/forums/6e35355aecdf4fd0acdaee3cc4156fd4/topics/343i-s-incompetent-game-design-is-killing-halo/0d7148b9-6521-4e84-bef8-d9c76dc4e1e4/posts
If 343 is going to keep trying to add to the Halo storyline like it is, then I feel it’s time to kill the franchise.