Bungie is no longer in control of Halo. And I couldn't be happier. With each iteration, their grip on the series grew weaker, culminating in last year's shockingly disappointing - but not bad - Halo Reach. Halo's destiny now lies in the hands of upstarts 343 Industries, comprised of former Bungie devs, industry veterans and shrewd Microsoft tacticians. All with a single goal in mind; Halo 4. And according to Frank O'Connor, their Creative Director, 343 isn't going to rock the boat with Halo's first foray outside of Bungie.
Speaking to CVG - who he once worked for - O'Connor admitted "Bungie tried to reinvent [the Halo series] every time,", which he explained wasn't entirely neccesary. "Ultimately the core game mechanic and strength of the universe doesn't need to be changed, it just needs to be taken deeper". O'Connor revealed 343 isn't looking to make "Call of Duty or Ridge Racer", they just want to make Halo games because "we understand what's special about Halo".
It's a surprisingly candid interview, albeit devoid of particular Halo 4 details, but O'Connor does give us an insight into how 343 is approaching development outside of Bungie's jurisdiction. It's all about "drastic innovations" and "slight tweaks", according to O'Connor, who admitted during his stead at Bungie "there were always ideas left on the table", due to time constraints or lack of proper execution.
In another interview with CVG, O'Connor also stated he expects Halo 4 to be "scrutinized differently" by fans now a new developer is at the helm. Although he did take a step back to remind those reading that "75% of the audience doesn't know who makes the games - to them it's like 'Xbox makes the games'". It's an exciting time for Halo, unbound from Bungie's slacking grip, the series now has all the potential in the world to take some drastic leaps forward.
Might we be seeing a Halo 4 announcement at E3? [CVG]