Creativity is the reason why halo 4 failed. Its sales were good and the game overall was acceptable in comparison with games released at the time but its reception was poor. It isn’t exceptional if compared to the other halo games. Changes were made without regard for the player or their audience and detracted from the game. 343 altered aspects of the game that should be cornerstones of the franchise and seemed determined to make changes that made the game more generic. The campaign that they produced was boring and unoriginal with little value. It was also cheesy and predictable. Logistically, the ai in the campaign were poor and weren’t close to previous games in terms of intelligence. The levels were easy on legendary which adds to the belief that the game was targeted towards a more general audience rather than the established fanbase of skilled players who could handle the higher difficulty. Spartan ops were similar to the campaign in that the storyline was weak and not extremely interesting. The replay value was low and it didn’t really feel like it mattered, like the majority of the campaign. The graphic style appeared to be a cross between halo 3 and reach’s with a deliberate attempt to make the game look more plasticy with brighter colors, greater contrast, and overall more saturated. Prometheans and their buildings were all similar and didn’t have a great amount of detail. 343 brings little to the franchise and based off of what they’ve produced so far, seem like they’re content with sucking as much out of the series as they can before ending it. Evidence of the creative issues seems apparent in halo 5 as well. One of their new innovations involved essentially taking a fundamental part of another game and transplanting it into theirs. The musketeers use the same type of interaction as what was used in republic commandos with very few changes made. Which isn’t surprising because one of the producers helped to develop republic commandos. It’s a cycle of reusing aspects of other games to attempt to improve their own, including parts from call of duty and other first person shooters to hide their lack of originality.
They struggle to produce anything that could be considered exceptional and do only what’s expected of them. The new storyline is based primarily off of what was already established in previous games without adding much and is an unnecessary continuation in multiple areas. The focus on cortana is drawn out and focused on far more than it should be and could have been handled as a side section of the game or a personal mission for the chief instead of having it consume the entire campaign. It’s also apparent that the developers are disdainful of the masterchief and consider him to be just a soldier following orders, according to the interviews that they gave. The addition of locke isn’t needed and it’s odd that they feel there’s a need for him and an another team. Buck is another example of the developers attempting to group the positive aspects of previous games together to bolster this one’s success and an inability to produce new ideas. Adding something new or from a prior game doesn’t automatically make the game better, which is something that they fail to understand.
Creative directors from bungie have quit because of a lack of reception to their ideas and opinions. The current creative director was a producer on reach and originally came from 343 not bungie. It wouldn’t really matter where he came from as long as he was a suitable replacement, but it doesn’t appear that he is. If 343 really wants halo 5 and future games to feel like halo, maybe they should find someone who actually worked on the original games to begin with. I wanted halo 4 to succeed and I wanted 343 to succeed but they haven’t. At this point they don’t seem to understand what drew fans to the series initially which is partially because of the seriousness of the games and that bungie attempted to make the games as realistic as possible in terms of graphics, weapons, storyline, and the characters within the story. Obviously the setting of the game isn’t realistic but they created a set of parameters to work within after they established the covenant and backstory. A good comparison to the games are the batman movies. Previous halo games are similar to batman begins, halo 4 is mid way in between between batman begins and the movies released in the 80’s in terms of the depth of character and storyline.
Good examples of the lack of depth for characters are the new spartans, including sarah palmer, and the interactions between linda and fred in the 15th terminal in halo 2. It isn’t on par with previous games in the quality of dialogue or their interactions with each other or their personality. The characters just aren’t interesting or even close to developed enough, are shallow, and give predictable responses.
The books saw a decline in quality as well, most noticeably in grasslands. The divergence from character’s personalities, the tone as well as the lack of complexity in the story and the blandness made them difficult to read and an insult to what previous authors had written. In general 343’s work implies a lack of effort to make the franchise exceed, which is what I think ultimately separates them from bungie. 343 isn’t critical enough of what they produce and the attitude that the ideas they have can’t be improved upon damages the games that they produce. Their goal should be for the games to have value not to just sell as many as they can with the most gimmicks that they can.
It would also be great if marty o’donnel was brought back to make the themes for future games at least decent.