Interview

343 Wants to Explore the Halo Universe Beyond Master Chief

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HaloTitle

In an interview with Polygon, 343 Industries’ executive producer Kiki Wolfkill talked about Halo 4 and the future of the franchise.  She spoke about the challenge of a new developer taking over a decade-old franchise and the importance of establishing credibility with the Halo fanbase.

If we didn’t take that right initial step, there would be nothing after.  If the worst thing that can be said for us is [Halo 4 is] a great Halo game, that it feels too safe, I wouldn’t say we’d be hyper-disappointed in that. I’d say that’s the right first step for us.

When you reach that 10 year point, it’s always a challenge to keep it vibrant and make sure it still feels meaningful.

We had to weigh what the risk level was as a studio without credibility trying to do all these new things. Innovation has always been part of the Halo game pillars. That needs to continue. That will continue because there will be new platforms on the horizon and we’ll be able to do things differently.

When asked about expanded the Halo franchise beyond the first-person shooter genre, much like 2009’s Halo Wars, Wolfkill didn’t rule out the option.  She stated that it was important to reintroduce Master Chief to the series after his absence from Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach, but after garnering the trust of fans, 343 may be more willing to explore beyond the the iconic Spartan as well.

How we look at it is ‘Where do we want to be in ten years? What are the stories we want to tell? We have started to flesh out broad strokes of a few different arcs that are interesting. There could be opportunities where exploring a different game genre makes sense or exploring a different linear format makes sense.

If the medium fits what we want to do, then we’ll definitely consider it … if there’s a great idea we get energized around.

I think it was an important thing for [Master Chief] to come back in Halo 4. He’s always going to be a pretty critical component of Halo and the game experiences. I would hope that we could also build strength and investment in other characters, for no other reason than that’s part of what makes the universe interesting.

Master Chief’s not going away, but we need to be able to give people more connection points.

More connection points, huh?  Different game genres, you say?  What do you think, single-players?  What other characters would you like to see the folks at 343 explore and, if not in a first-person shooter format, then what genre?  Sergeant Major Avery Johnson, leader of the human forces fighting the Covenant, has always been a fan favorite.  Perhaps a squad-based third-person shooter featuring the cigar-puffing leatherneck?

Whether you love or hate the idea of the Halo franchise extending beyond it’s usual parameters, it’s hard to deny the deep lore that exists.  It would be interesting to see what 343 could do if given a bit of creative freedom.  As long as the words “Halo”, “Dance”, and “Kinect” don’t end up in the title, i’m willing to give it a shot.

Will Blackwell
I'm a new dad, gaming machine, and beard aficionado. With a little one in the house, I've come to embrace the single-player experience, as it is much less likely to send me into a profanity-laced, controller-throwing tantrum. Writing and video games are two of my greatest passions, so this is a natural fit for me. As long as it doesn't require me to perform coordinated dance moves in front of my Kinect, i'm willing to pen my thoughts on it. Aside from gaming, I love music (Smashing Pumpkins), coffee (Red-Eye), and sushi (Yellowtail). All offerings of my aforementioned favorites will be accepted with open arms and, if you're lucky, i'll let you touch my beard. Just don't pull on it. That hurts.

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