IMHO: Pass It On
Video Games are much like a movie or a full length album – you kind of get what you get out of the box. Sure, there are websites, forums, tv shows, tournaments, contests, and prizes all made to build franchises, for promotional purposes. However, you really have to follow a game, movie, or artist to actually find all of these prizes and secrets. Much to the sustain of players, I think it’s safe to say that most developers and game masters are really competitive, just as with any media business. It’s almost unheard of that a company hands themselves or their own works to someone else. That is, almost unheard of.
Halo 4 is right around the corner, and as any [and all] fans of the Halo series knows, the creators and developer of every Halo game, Bungie, has handed its reigns over to 343 Industries. For any who don’t know, this is a huge step in a totally new direction, not only for gaming, but for the gaming industry and the business behind it.
To strong hand my point, let me show you a few examples. I won’t get too technical either, I just want to give you some context. Rockstar games has made 106 games in total, since
the late 90′s. Bioware has made 20 full length titles (most of which are extremely large role-play games) and 11 titles were made using the Bioware Infinity, Odyssey, and Aurora Engines. Bethesda Softworks have made 23 full length games, with four new titles slated to release soon. PC Giant Blizzard Entertainment has created 32 full length games spanning since the early nineties. Valve Corporation has made 26 games, and Bungie, Inc. has made 11 games and counting. All of these companies have in common the fact that they are both hard-working and also loved dearly by fans. But none of them share what the last company does, in my opinion.
I am announcing a full praise to Bungie. Kudos and props to them for building and creating the most popular and most successful first person shooter series to date; then handing the future of the series, in its entirety, over to a completely new and upcoming company. With company 343 in charge of Halo and the Master Chief, fans are anticipating and (anxiously) awaiting the arrival of the new title Halo 4. The game is totally open to new ideas and improvements, and in all honesty, the new company is going to do whatever they want to.
This is the first time a series this big has been sold to a completely different company, and I think a lot of players and fans are nervous to see what results come of it. I felt this way at first: as with any change, most of us are suspicious and speculative. That’s an easy misconception, though, and as more and more details emerge from the developer, I only grow more proud and exciting to see what will happen.
My question doesn’t really reside in the game, but with the idea behind handing something over like this. Is it okay? Would other games benefit from a ‘change in driver’? I think that if BioWare had handed Mass Effect 3 over to Square Enix, for example, success and/or reception might be a whole different story than it is. It’s a bold thing to do, and nobody will have full opinions on this until Halo 4 reaches shelves, but I want to offer some of my own opinion.
When the original Xbox was made, they made a huge, fat controller.
GIANT controller, like you could fit a whole sandwich inside of it. With the next generation consoles, they smoothed the size down significantly, and moved the buttons and joysticks slightly, to fit the hand for comfort more. And, to go even deeper, every single game that comes out, whether it be a shooter, racer, fighter, arcade, platformer, or role-play game, generally developers will change-up where the controls are and what buttons do what. This constantly changing atmosphere is a venue for innovation. How would developers ever come up with a great idea if they always stuck to the one and only popular control interface out there?
Well, same with gaming. Both with the creative side, AND with the business end. I think this big move of the Halo series has turned a lot of heads, and will cause a huge change in the enamel of the series. First of all, you have new people and new ideas, such as a new composer for the games’ music, and also the art , concept artists, and technical directors’. With this many new people comes that many new ideas, and the change, although big, will maybe spark a new theme or maybe even control interface that might grow in popularity.
A good example of this is when Blizzard chose to change the color palette, the look, dimension, and feel of StarCraft II into a flamboyant and thriving world, as compared to its predecessor that had a darker graphical interface, and contained much less special units. Both games are successful and widely popular, but the second has immensely more reception (which obviously could be because its simply newer, and easier to use, but that’s a whole other topic).
In any case, I am reading articles on my Twitter and online quite often that display all the new things coming for the new Halo game, and with my skepticism aside, I can honestly say I see so much room for new ideas that anything could happen – and many things could be really, really cool to see. Bungie served and ‘protected’ the fans by listening to them over the years, listening to the community, changing each new game with popular demand in mind. This is something that makes them shine among the big dogs.
343 Industries is already doing the same, and might even come up with something new and amazing to offer. The sky is the limit, and because gaming is such a changing and evolving world, it’s easy for me to see this big movement of a game from one pair of hands to another, as a giant leap forward for the industry as a whole. I don’t accumulate that any one thing will cause the ‘best’ or ‘worst’ things in this industry, but time and time again we have seen major improvements and declines from minor changes, and with a change that’s rather big such as this, we should have ‘clear eyes, and full (and open) hearts’!
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About Chase Phillips (24 posts)
I am Chase. I enjoy gaming, movies, camping, family and friends, good food, a good story (in any form of media) and artwork. I paint and draw and music is by far the greatest form of creativity and influence, other than teaching, which I hope I can help do in my life.