We’ve long known that Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson was once attached to a Halo film, but he was apparently also working on a new game in the series at some point too. This tidbit comes from long-term Halo composer Marty O’Donnell, who recently shared the story of Halo 3: ODST‘s development via a YouTube comment.
According to O’Donnell, when Bungie was negotiating its split from Microsoft Games Studio in 2007, a part of the agreement was for the studio to make a fourth Halo game (which became Reach) and to assist on the Peter Jackson project. Originally, Bungie would have been released from that responsibility if Jackson’s game fell through. However, the clause stipulating that condition was removed at some point.
Of course, like the planned movie, Jackson’s game never materialized. Unfortunately, O’Donnell doesn’t provide any further details.
As a result, Microsoft was able to strong-arm Bungie into making a fifth Halo game, which the studio negotiated down to an expansion that could be completed with limited resources.
However, the plans changed alongside leadership at Microsoft, with management deciding to delay Halo 3: ODST and use it as Xbox’s flagship release for the 2009 holiday season, including marketing it as a full release. The rest, as they say, is history. ODST earned a mixed reception on launch, mostly due to its perceived lack of value as a full-price offering, though it was generally seen as a strong deviation from series norms.
O’Donnell ends the post by saying that many team members “felt like we had been double crossed and felt bad about misleading our fans.”