2007’s Halo 3 for the Xbox 360 challenged us to “Finish the Fight.” And we did. Then 2010’s Halo: Reach said, “C’mon, Fight One More Time.”
None of us were naive enough to believe that Halo 3 would mark the end of the Xbox 360’s most popular exclusive franchise, but maybe a few of us were just a smidge surprised when PAX 2011 not only re-affirmed that Halo 4 is coming, but revealed that a whole new Halo trilogy is on the way.
The “Reclaimer” trilogy will star the famous Spartan Master Chief, and will reportedly tie up the loose ends left behind by the previous games in the series. “It’s a little bit about getting closer to [Master Chief] than we have in past games,” said Frank O’Connor of 343 Industries (affectionately called “343i”), the studio behind the new trilogy.
343 Industries has some pretty big boots to fill. The next set of Halo games will mark the first time a major entry in the franchise has been away from home (or away from Bungie Studios, as it were), and long-time Halo fans will be stroking their chins and keeping a close eye on how things will go. Granted, 343i is composed of a very Halo-smart crew, including some Bungie veterans (O’Connor himself is one), but if something goes wrong, the community will be glad enough to pounce on the changing of the guard as a prime reason.
There’s no question Bungie did good by Halo, but there’s something refreshing about a clean, new start with 343i for the Reclaimer trilogy. After all, Bungie asked us to finish the fight a few years ago, and we might start feeling a little fatigued if the company bellows another war cry for another three fights. That’s not to say the Reclaimer trilogy will play very differently from classic Halo, but once the franchise changes hands, it’ll help the new games feel like a distant, separate war that’s worth engaging in all over again.
Another big question is, do people still care about Halo? Answer: Absolutely. There’s no doubt we’ll see a lot of hype, speculation, and excitement in the months to come–maybe even enough to steal away a handful of the sparks flying between EA’s Battlefield series and Activision’s Call of Duty games. Look forward to good times with Spartans.