External Developers Only Used For "Mini-Collaborations"
343 Industries are, according to all reports and speculation, hard at work on bringing Halo: Combat Evolved into the next-generation using a modified version of the Halo Reach engine. Recent reports suggest that Timeshift developers Saber Interactive were behind the project, but a statement from 343 Industries indicate that these rumours may be way off the mark.
Speaking to CVG, 343's Frank O'Connor stated that third party studios will only ever be consulted for smaller collaborations or DLC content. This ties in nicely with Certain Affinity's involvement with the Defiant Map Pack, as well as outsourcing Halo Waypoint animated comics out to smaller studios. Larger projects, however, will apparently be dealt with "close to home." In fact, that exact phrase comes up thrice [cheers ODB].
So we've always been open to those sort of mini-collaborations, but as far as the core game experiences are concerned we have to keep that close to home.
We certainly see [Defiant map pack dev] Certain Affinity as being close to home because there are a lot of ex-Bungie and Halo guys on that team, so it's very natural. In the future - who knows. But fundamentally we're right now building a large, powerful top-tier studio to make triple-A experiences in the future and that's our general direction right now.
So we'll continue to do little collaborations with people but for core experiences we have to keep those close to home.
Okay, okay. Core Halo titles will be kept "close to home." We get it. However, it's possible that Saber Interactive will only be involved in a small part of Halo: CE's rumoured re-release... or the whole project has been classed as a mini-collaboration rather than a core experience. It'd be a mini-megaton in our eyes, but we'll keep you posted. [CVG]
Quite frankly, we'd just be happy with a confirmation of the rumoured November release date... and some solid details. As for Saber, they're currently hard at work on the Battle: Los Angeles spinoff. They might not have enough free time for two projects.