Halo is popular, duh, but can it be Star Wars popular? Microsoft sure thinks so.
“We as a studio view Halo as our Star Wars,” Halo franchise lead producer Jason Pace said in an interview with VideoGamer. “We want it to become that culturally pervasive.”
Sure, Halo 3 had the “biggest day in U.S. entertainment history” when it launched, but “Star Wars” was an ephocal, culture-defining moment that had, and continues to have, deep commercial and cultural presence on a global scale. For Pace, the potential for Halo to exist as that kind of mega-franchise certainly exists in the Halo property. “This is a vast universe, it extends back thousands and thousands of years, it’s huge, many different worlds, races that we haven’t even met yet,” Pace said. “And so we view the future of the franchise in the same way that we would view any cross-cultural entertainment franchise property, which is we hope to tell many different stories in many different ways, capture the hearts and minds of new generations as we go forward.”
Asked whether or not Halo could ever become as popular as Star Wars, Pace was more than optimistic. “Depending on how you measure it we have a very good shot,” he said. “If you look at how the franchise has grown, and just the number of people who are aware of it, we’re certainly comparable to the major cultural touchstones, or at least well on our way.” He went on to cite the example of the success of the Halo novels as evidence of how the franchise is diversifying and branching out beyond the realm of videogames.
So many franchises have touted themselves as the next Star Wars, isn’t it about time that people stop trying to turn properties into replicas of Star Wars‘ success and start trying to find new ways of creating the kind of cultural shift that Star Wars engendered? Star Wars is Star Wars because it was the first entertainment property to well, be an “entertainment property.” With Halo, Microsoft have a new form of entertainment in a videogame, so maybe they should start thinking about what they can do that’s new. Don’t just chase George Lucas, Microsoft. You don’t want to go there.