Studio Head Aims For Future Halo Glory

Studio Head Aims For Future Halo Glory

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343 Industries' Frank O'Connor is proud of his studio's Halo success, but wants even more from Halo 5

"Halo 4 wasn't flawless by any stretch of the imagination," says Frank O'Connor of 343 Industries, "but by most objective criteria, it was a resounding success." Which means there's a lot yet to do, and O'Connor's really looking forward to working on the next Halo.

O'Connor, in a blog post, paid tribute to the game's community - "a demanding, imaginative, engaged, vocal, varied and intelligent swarm of personalities, groups and individuals" - and went on to say that, although there had been bumps in the road getting to this point, "I'm more excited about the future than the past."

"A future we want you to be a part of," O'Connor added. "A future we're building for you."

343 Industries took over the franchise when Bungie bailed, and ended up creating a game that players sank 31.4 million hours into, soon after launch. Was it perfect? No; but if O'Connor is right, that doesn't have to be a problem, going forward.

Source: VG24/7

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Going forward, unto a new dawn for the Halo franchise?

Unless the world performs wrongly placed "Ascendant Justice" upon it.

Halo 5 I can't wait for.

I hope the next game brings back color and doesn't rely on blue and orange too much.

I mean, goddamn, there were entire levels that were nothing but blue and orange. This includes the damn enemies. Halo's always been a franchise that uses color and contrast well, it was disappointing to see it become a desaturated blue and orange game.

DVS BSTrD:
Going forward, unto a new dawn for the Halo franchise?

If "a new dawn" means playing it safe and just doing the same thing Bungie did while avoiding any sort of innovation or exciting direction like a plague.

" Introducing Halo 5, with a myriad of new exciting features!

- A bigger, better single player campaign! Slay the covenant forces by yourself or with your brahs!
- A new, revamped multiplayer experience: 10 new experience levels, more unlockable hats/helmets and a new multiplayer exclusive weapon!
- Needlers now have more needles than ever before!
- 50% less of the shitty Flood!

"

So when's Grif Ball coming back? If it ain't got Grif Ball you ain't getting my money!

#Ahem.

It seemed a bit odd that 343 removed some of the most popular features of the series going forward, perhaps a bit too much desire to put 'their mark' on proceedings?

Making Spartan Ops more like campaign (more scripted events, longer maps) wouldn't hurt either, as it is it's too close to firefight, I wouldn't pay money for more levels when the current ones cover seemingly all possible scenarios already.

OniaPL:
- 50% less of the shitty Flood!

After a game of the Prometheans, I actually missed the Flood a bit (and Brutes, bugs etc). If there's one thing that needs work, it's those boring glowing (sometimes teleporting) things that just stand around waiting to die.

DVS BSTrD:
Going forward, unto a new dawn for the Halo franchise?

Urgh... well done.

So...that's it then?

He phrased that so strangely. By that logic, now that Halo 4 is over and done with we just...forget about it and look forward to the shiny newness that will be Halo 5? That mentality has always bothered me.

People still to this day play Halo 3, you know.

I hope they remove all the idiotic design choices from the next one, like all of the invisible walls and sections that you can't go to until they tell you, despite there being nothing to stop you.

This is very much apparent during the 'Reclaimer' mission:

To be honest I want a bit more innovation and variety rather than all of this inconsistency. They keep adding weapons, removing them, bringing them back. Changing a weapon, removing it, bringing it back changed, removing it again.

It gets ridiculous. Like how you can't bail out of moving vehicles any more, and the Chief has apparently forgotten how to duel-wield weapons.

Legion:
I hope they remove all the idiotic design choices from the next one, like all of the invisible walls and sections that you can't go to until they tell you, despite there being nothing to stop you.

This is very much apparent during the 'Reclaimer' mission:

It gets ridiculous. Like how you can't bail out of moving vehicles any more, and the Chief has apparently forgotten how to duel-wield weapons.

Allow me to give a plausible answer to a couple of your points.

For the reclaimer level. This has to do with pacing, then CPU and RAM limitations, and lastly cheating. If you just keep running ahead of the vehicle, then you as a player may have missed picking up the target designator and not being able to proceed later in the level. They want to ensure that you are battling your way through Covenant and Promethean forces, not just running past them. You are Master Chief, not Master Thief.

Next is CPU and RAM limitations. There is a lot of code that controls what spawns and when. They can't spawn every enemy and vehicle at the beginning of the level, the game would slow to a crawl; but they want to give the appearance that you are traversing this rather large environment. So things are loaded on an as needed basis. As you move past certain areas you can only go backwards so far, and when you do, certain things are gone, for instance weapons, corpses and damaged vehicles. The game engine deletes those objects after they are no longer needed. Same thing happens in Multiplayer, which is why corpses aren't piled 10 high in Haven after 5 minutes.

Lastly, doing what they have done helps prevent cheating. In prior Halo games, Reach being one of the easier ones. You could could be on LASO difficulty and then run through various maps, jump over or glitch through a couple of walls and ta da you got 15000XP for a challenge. By having the invisible walls or killing you for leaving the battlefield they are keeping you honest for those daily/weekly challenges.

Wow, I was quite verbose.. Heck, maybe you didn't even want answers... sorry.. It's been a while since I have posted..

As for the dual-wield. Dual-Wield has been something people have done back and forth on in the Halo series. It's a difficult thing to play balance with, especially in multi-player. I think 343 did good by only having one weapon in your hands. That's my opinion though.

Monshroud:
*snip*

A much simpler way of doing it would be on those kinds of levels have a case of "Enemy ships with heavy bombardment capabilities are in the area, don't go ahead until we are ready".

If you go ahead, you get blown up by orbital strikes, the animation for which would be pretty easy considering they use such things in the game at other points.

I just don't like games reminding me that I am in a game. Not when it's trying to tell a story or immerse me.

As for duel-wielding it's not so much that I liked or didn't like it. It's just that changing weapons constantly is a recurring theme in the Halo series. It's not just balance-wise, they just keep changing them around, despite chronologically, all of the games except Halo 4 have been very close in terms of time-frame.

A future I want no part of. You can do it without my money, O'connor, as 343's a faceless developer and a sham. Why didn't you print a big "Fuck you, Halo fans!" on the screen whilst installing the multiplayer disc? Campaign, good. Everything else, piss poor and an insult.

- A die-hard Halo fan of 10 years, and a consumer with Halo 4 buying remorse.

Can we start by making a more memorable campaign please? I barely remember anything from halo 4's and I completed it three weeks ago. I still remember the story from combat evolved, two and three.

Also, for crying out loud if you're going to add in characters (Sarah Palmer) at least do something with them. I don't even know why they were in the story. If you add characters at least give them a reason to be there.

Dogstile:

Also, for crying out loud if you're going to add in characters (Sarah Palmer) at least do something with them. I don't even know why they were in the story. If you add characters at least give them a reason to be there.

I see you haven't played Spartan Ops. Her role in that is to bitch at somebody every chance she gets.

Z of the Na'vi:
So...that's it then?

He phrased that so strangely. By that logic, now that Halo 4 is over and done with we just...forget about it and look forward to the shiny newness that will be Halo 5? That mentality has always bothered me.

People still to this day play Halo 3, you know.

Not many... It actually takes a while to find games. Some playlists are unplayable because the population is too low. You can hardly go back and play Halo 3's multiplayer like you could a couple of years ago.

LtFerret:

Dogstile:

Also, for crying out loud if you're going to add in characters (Sarah Palmer) at least do something with them. I don't even know why they were in the story. If you add characters at least give them a reason to be there.

I see you haven't played Spartan Ops. Her role in that is to bitch at somebody every chance she gets.

I'm kind of glad that I haven't now.

Hmmm... could you actually do something new with the gameplay next time? As far as I'm aware, Halo 4 was the first instalment that didn't actually shake up the game mechanics in any way. All the other games had gameplay additions that previous instalments didn't: dual wielding, destructible vehicles, deployable gear, abilities, Forge, etc. Halo 4 just felt... bland. There wasn't anything that hadn't already been done in prior games, and several things already done in prior games that hadn't been included in this one (dual wielding, wtf?). Rather than adding to the series, it felt like 343 just chipped away at it, and called it a day.

Also, please do something with the new enemies. Creating 3 new enemy models, and failing to give any of them adequate AI, does not count as a significant game upgrade. Not when the rest of the time, you're coming up with utterly contrived ways to make us keep fighting the same Covenant we've always been fighting.

If there's anyway to disappoint me further than Halo 4, Im sure you'll find it 343i.

Wait...

"but by most objective criteria, it was a resounding success."

He does know what objective means doesn't he?

This is a 100% objective review.
So if he means that by objective criteria it was a success, what exactly does he mean?

This guy makes absolutely no sense.
If you leave out all opinions and feelings from any criteria given it's a success? WHAT?
I have no idea what this guy is talking about, and I'm not sure he does either...

JenSeven:
Wait...

"but by most objective criteria, it was a resounding success."

He does know what objective means doesn't he?

This is a 100% objective review.
So if he means that by objective criteria it was a success, what exactly does he mean?

This guy makes absolutely no sense.
If you leave out all opinions and feelings from any criteria given it's a success? WHAT?
I have no idea what this guy is talking about, and I'm not sure he does either...

Resounding success. Meaning it made the studio money. That's objective. You can't argue against that and if you go based on reviews which is more subjective. Than considering it has a 87, that is pretty good.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
Hmmm... could you actually do something new with the gameplay next time? As far as I'm aware, Halo 4 was the first instalment that didn't actually shake up the game mechanics in any way. All the other games had gameplay additions that previous instalments didn't: dual wielding, destructible vehicles, deployable gear, abilities, Forge, etc. Halo 4 just felt... bland. There wasn't anything that hadn't already been done in prior games, and several things already done in prior games that hadn't been included in this one (dual wielding, wtf?). Rather than adding to the series, it felt like 343 just chipped away at it, and called it a day.

Also, please do something with the new enemies. Creating 3 new enemy models, and failing to give any of them adequate AI, does not count as a significant game upgrade. Not when the rest of the time, you're coming up with utterly contrived ways to make us keep fighting the same Covenant we've always been fighting.

But what do you do without changing Halo to something else? If you start changing the game for the sake of changing you may no longer be making a Halo game. They removed dual wielding because it's a bitch to balance. Even Bungie said that's why it wasn't in Reach and same for 343i in Halo 4.

The problem so many have is they say: Please change the game.

But the changes they suggest usually mean removing Halo from the game. Or they don't suggest any changes and just make vague hints. Adding doesn't remove Halo but changing can remove it or just make it lost in a wave of change.

Honestly can someone give me a suggestion as to changing up the game play and making it new without making it lose being Halo?

Halo 4 wasn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination. The campaign relied too heavily on the player's knowledge of lore from external sources, some characters were incredibly one dimensional and had confusing motivations and there was little variation in the new enemies/weapons. But as far as 343i's first Halo effort goes it was still a pretty big step in the right direction. I'm excited to see what they will do with Halo 5.

Z of the Na'vi:
People still to this day play Halo 3, you know.

In terms of single player, I still quite regularly play the entire Halo Franchise. Except Halo 2, I try not to play that one too often!

Legion:

Monshroud:
*snip*

A much simpler way of doing it would be on those kinds of levels have a case of "Enemy ships with heavy bombardment capabilities are in the area, don't go ahead until we are ready".

If you go ahead, you get blown up by orbital strikes, the animation for which would be pretty easy considering they use such things in the game at other points.

I just don't like games reminding me that I am in a game. Not when it's trying to tell a story or immerse me.

That's actually a solid idea. Only issue I can see with it is you know someone is going to sit there and try to take them out for hours and hours, then there will be videos on how to sneak past and everyone will have a big laugh. =)

Korten12:
[

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
SNIP

But what do you do without changing Halo to something else? If you start changing the game for the sake of changing you may no longer be making a Halo game. They removed dual wielding because it's a bitch to balance. Even Bungie said that's why it wasn't in Reach and same for 343i in Halo 4.

They managed it for the most part in Halo 2 & 3. Dual Needlers could be pretty OP, but that just necessitates rebalancing the Needler, not scrapping the mechanic entirely.

Dual wielding worked, because it fed into the spontaneous nature of Halo's gameplay. Halo multiplayer didn't revolve around set-pieces, or killstreaks, or anything like that. It revolved around players using the tools they were given, and getting creative with them. Dual wielding not only allowed you to combine different weapons in different ways, it allowed players to start off with crap weapons, and still go toe-to-toe with shotgun/rocket launcher wielding players with a chance of winning. If I spawned with an SMG, I wouldn't rate my chances. If I find a second SMG though? Oooh baby...

Any weapon in Halo 2 and 3 could be deadly, if used right. Dual wielding was a part of that. In Halo 4, by contrast, all the weapons felt separated out into a hierarchy. This weapon is better than that weapon, and this weapon is better than both. Every multiplayer game I played, it was just people using Battle Rifles and DMRs to snipe each other. There wasn't any of the spontaneity or unpredictability. The fifth time someone sniped me from behind a boulder, I really started missing my dual Needlers.

The problem so many have is they say: Please change the game.

But the changes they suggest usually mean removing Halo from the game. Or they don't suggest any changes and just make vague hints. Adding doesn't remove Halo but changing can remove it or just make it lost in a wave of change.

Honestly can someone give me a suggestion as to changing up the game play and making it new without making it lose being Halo?

Thing is, the successful elements that make Halo aren't exactly difficult to work out.

It's always been a series that focused on more emergent gameplay, rather than setpieces. Any dramatic moments within the game usually occur as a result of AI, gameplay and level design coming together, rather than being something the developers deliberately scripted. So where something like COD will make you watch as a helicopter crashes into a building and explodes, Halo gives you the choice to crash your Warthog into the enemies having just performed a ludicrous jump, before jumping out guns and grenades blazing. The set-pieces in Halo are player made, not developer.

And as long as the trinity of Shooting-Grenades-Melee is still there, you've got an unbeatable foundation from which to branch out into all sorts of new areas for the series.

For instance, while keeping the Holy Trinity mechanics, the developers could have massively cut back on the Chief's shields and health, in order to force the player to choose a stealthier, more tactical gameplay style. Instead of running in guns blazing, they could make the player choose when to use their grenades, when to go in for melee kills, and when to go for the straight up shooting. Imagine infiltrating a Covenant or Promethean base, and having to use those gameplay mechanics in a more thoughtful, tactical manner than before, planning attacks then executing them.

And new gameplay ideas? The sky's the limit. Whatever developers can imagine, they can programme to make a new gameplay feature. New physical abilities, new hardware, new weapon additions that completely change things up. Anything would be better than simply releasing more of the same, and simply giving it a new coat of paint.

As long as they fix the framerate issues for the next one I'll be happy.

They need to just go full immersion for the next title; they were testing the waters but they need to apply that to the gameplay. If they want to prove there not just Bungie left-overs, they're gonna have to have our characters start acting like what has been depicted in books and movies instead of just a prettier look at 2001 gameplay but at this point, something tells me we will control our space marines like it's 2001.

 

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