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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Does Halo Wars Change The Game?

While discussing the whole Halogen shutdown with an old modder friend of mine - he brought up the fact that Bungie has been pretty mod friendly in the past and that it's likely they wouldn't have stepped in here without a rationale like Halo Wars. Bungie has tried to be fan friendly while maintaining the franchise in the past.

The question is - does Halo Wars mark a change in the philosophy? Halo Wars is not a Bungie game. Microsoft is clearly taking the charge here as well as pushing the franchise in a broad spectrum. To quote the BBC:

But is it a sign that Bungie, the developers of Halo, are letting go of their precious creation?

Brian Jarrard, community manager at Bungie, said: "It is a precious franchise and that hasn't changed.

"We can only do so much as Bungie. It's Microsoft's IP (intellectual property).
-- BBC NEWS | Technology | Halo universe expands as fans wait

On the public front, Bungie has always proclaimed a rather proud "Microsoft doesn't own us" face. Halo Wars would seem to prove otherwise. Now, that's obviously not entirely sinister. As pointed out later in the article, Bungie is busy with Halo 3 and it's not like they have a lot of free time to create side titles or an RTS. Halo Wars makes sense as a strategy to expand the license, there's no question about that. I can't think of a person in Hollywood I'd rather see making a game movie than Peter Jackson.

But it does make one wonder - where will Microsoft steer things from here? They are pretty shy on recognizable brand names - especially compared to Sony and (light years behind) Nintendo. Maybe we'll see some arcade style Halo action on XBLA? Let's just hope it doesn't evolve into spooky IP shovelware.

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