Since Microsoft put out the word that Halo 4 will hit the consoles on Nov. 6, an interesting buzz has occupied fans as they while away the months. It’s all about Bungie.
Bungie, of course, is the Bellevue, Wash., studio that developed Halo’s first three installments. Begun as an independent, it was purchased by Microsoft in 2000, then spun off in 2007. It had hoped to create Halo 4 – and why wouldn’t it? – but after it completed a 10-year publishing deal with Activision, Microsoft opted to create the game through a new division, 343 Industries.
All those twists and turns are making some Halo fans nervous. On Bungie.net’s forums, they worry that Halo 4 won’t live up to the expectations set by its predecessors. One argues Master Chief should have been dropped from Halo 3, let alone included in Halo 4, and that the game doesn’t look enough like Halo to be deserve the title. Plus, there’s concern that the weaponry’s not as exciting as it once was.
Now, again, that’s only from one user. Some disagree with him, arguing that Master Chief’s character, along with many plot points, need fleshing out or outright resolution. To those hung up on the idea of 343 making changes just, well, because, they argue that sequels always diverge in some ways from the original titles. In other words, stop obsessing.
One thing’s not changing: Halo will remain available for the Xbox and PC exclusively.
So what are some of 343’s plans? To start, it will debut the Web series Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn on Oct. 5. Details are sparse but it’s said to be the most expensive live-action Halo project so far (costing between $5 and $10 million, according to GameZone). Then there’s the Xbox 360 Bundle: For $400, you get Halo 4, a custom-designed console and controllers, a wired headset, a 320 GB hard drive, built in Wi-Fi and Xbox Live tokens.
Why a live-action series? Co-producer Lydia Antonini told GameZone it will “do all the things that a game, by virtue of being a game, can’t…. When you have real people, you can have real stakes and make connections.”
Maybe. It’ll be interesting to see which world Halo Nation likes better: The game’s, or the one with real people.
By New York-based media writer Rachel Petzinger.