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Halo: Combat Still Evolving?

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For everyone who thought that Reach was the last Halo game being made (it was an easy assumption to make, I’ll explain why in a sec) you might be surprised/annoyed to learn that Microsoft announced at E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) that an entire new trilogy of Halo games (4,5,6) are on the way. I would imagine they are hoping that Halo 4 doesn’t go all Phantom Menace on them right about now.

Detail wise, there really isn’t a lot to talk about. I’ll make sure I do a Pre-Review closer to the Halo 4 release date. For now I can tell you that Halo 4 has Master Chief and Cortana again and they are on the black planet seen in the legendary ending of Halo 3. That’s about all I got. Now back to the history lesson.

For anyone who doesn't know Halo’s chequered past I’ll try and summarise it (please don’t take this as direct facts, I may mix up a few things). Basically Halo was developed by Bungie and picked up by Microsoft as an Xbox exclusive (as Xbox was just breaking into the market that N64 and PS2 were dominating). I assume some money changed hands because soon enough (around Halo 3) Bungie announced a split from Microsoft. This was because Microsoft maintained the rights to the Halo series and thus could reproduce Halo as they wished, movies, merchandising, Halo Wars, and they could keep Halo Xbox exclusive. This particularly came to a head during Halo: ODST which was originally intended to be a patch-style addition to Halo 3 but instead was released as a full game (how full is up for debate) due to pressure from Microsoft.

So Bungie did the only thing they could. They agreed to make Halo: Reach as a swansong to their entire Halo franchise and then washed their hands clear of both Halo and Microsoft and moved on to (hopefully) better things.

Fast forward to today. Now Microsoft is creating more Halo games without Bungie as a developer. How this will affect quality is impossible to tell. They are even releasing a 10 year anniversary edition of the original Halo: Combat Evolved which has been touched up for HD and includes some of the “best multiplayer maps of all time” for the series.

Now this is really an issue that has me torn. On the one hand, I really want to support Bungie and the team that brought me so many great Halo games over the years – and the beauty of how perfect the tone was in Halo: Reach when you consider their position. On the other hand, I want more Halo games because I am a greedy, greedy man.

So basically it’s a choice between being a gamer with moral fibre or a whore to the franchise.

And, as much as I hate to say it, I’ll probably end up breaking out my fishnet stockings.

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