I would like to start off by saying that this is going to be a lengthy thread. I realize not everyone has the time, energy, or desire to read the entire thing. I simply ask that you read as much as you can or want before replying. Thanks.
We are all fans of Halo. Something about the game lured us into this expansive, dynamic, and fun universe. We all know how it feels to get a double kill when our team needs it the most. We know how much fun it can be getting a rocket launcher or taking command of a scorpion tank. Our universe is unique in the world of gaming and we love it.
I do not care if you are like me and have been here before Halo: Combat Evolved even shipped or if you are new to the community and universe and joined us with Halo 4 (welcome, by the way). I do not care if your K/D ratio is above 3, below .5, or if you only play campaign. We are all fans of the same game. Here comes the proverbial but…
Veterans of the series know of something special. We saved Captain Keyes before it was cool, before it was remastered in HD glory. We explored multiplayer maps that have long rested in the graveyard of multiplayer. We saw the Halo 2 E3 debut and looked at dual-wielding in amazement. We saw the ability to hijack ghosts and proclaimed silently (or aloud), “FINALLY!” We super-bounced our way to the top of Ascension (ascending the map???) We mastered BXR (or hated it), we saw the hilarious mods that took place at level 40 and higher.
Our game was the tip of the spear for the FPS genre. We ran the show. Halo 2 was the most populated game on the original Xbox the entire time the game was out until the Xbox 360 released. That is truly mind-boggling and awesome.
But we definitely were divided. People complained each time a new game came out. This is entirely natural, folks. The reaction to Halo 4 is S.S.D.D for us veterans.
We have seen our franchise grow to the juggernaut it became and watched it become a societal phenomenon. Master Chief rose to levels of fame in gaming only Mario and Pokemon have seen. Mario and Pikachu are silly. Master Chief is a flat out beast.
Celebrities attended our midnight launches. Our map packs became full-blown events where people would ditch school and stay home from work to play.
Our custom games had options. Anyone remember Zombies? “I killed that guy like 5 times and he hasn’t changed teams!” If you remember that, I know you either smiled, wanted to smile, or have an attitude problem.
But the past is past.
Where do we stand now? Unfortunately, the situation has much room for improvement.
Our friends at Bungie have moved on and 343 has taken up the mantle (pun definitely intended). 343 is new at this but they know we are picky. We love our Halo and we love it our way and no one else’s.
- Guy 1 wants campaign
- Guy 2 wants matchmaking
- Girl 1 wants Forge
- Guy 3 wants competitive balance
…And we all demand it to be as close to perfection as possible.
Halo has fallen from where it once was to where it is now. We sold millions upon millions of copies but gamers return to their Call of Duty to get the coolest killstreak out there. The quickest gratification possible.
Gone are the days where hard work in games (crazy, I know) is rewarded with sheer dominance of the battlefield. Gone are the days where bragging about rank meant something and left you with hundreds of haters.
If anyone at 343 reads this section right here, allow me to welcome you to caring for this universe we all love. I, for one, feel you did an exceptional job with Halo 4. But I see the path you are taking my game down and I question many decisions.
Don’t worry, I get it. You are a business and want money. We all want some cash, no? With that, you want to appeal to a new crowd of gamer and thus more wallets opening up. Fair enough.
But I am warning you now, 343 Industries, that by changing Halo into what everyone else is doing prevents Halo from being Halo. Halo is the game at E3 where people used to see new, amazing things. Now people look to Call of Duty.
I get it. Call of Duty is fun to a lot of people.
Halo’s prime is gone. We sell a lot of copies, which may be great for you, 343, but my friends list just doesn’t stick around. My buddies I’ve been playing with since Halo 2 Xbox LIVE are GONE. It is legitimately depressing.
Halo was the juggernaut. Now it is the game that is known as the following:
“Halo 4? Pretty cool game, man. But it’s like their copying CoD, ya know?”
I know comparing the two games is a subject of much angst, but it’s true. Halo stopped evolving combat and simply became the follower other games.
I do love Halo 4. But I know that Halo 5 will be much of the same. It is too late for 343 to turn back. The masses will see it as though they left out of a bunch of features like perks (calling them what they truly are) and will get upset.
It’s a long shot. I know it’s bad for business. But I PROMISE you that Halo will always sell well just off its name alone. Here is my suggestion for when people get mad that it’s more difficult than CoD; for when there is a ranking system that tells you you aren’t the best; for when loadouts are gone and the only thing you can rely on is your brain and your gun. (That’s how it was back in the day, folks.)
LET THEM BE UPSET.
Don’t make the game impossible to learn, of course. Add new features, and certainly innovate. But please don’t craft Halo into something it is not.
We were all lured into this captivating universe and I know it can be done again.
Here’s to Halo 4, 343 Industries, and the future of Halo.
One last thing:
Welcome everyone who is new here. Truly, I welcome you. I hope you have as much fun with Halo as I have over the past 11 years. I’m not done with the series and never will be. I’m playing it to the end.
Just enjoy it.
Keep an open mind. 343 is going to make some moves you aren’t fond of, just like Bungie did with us. But it’s all good in the end.
As long as you are having fun with however you play, competitive, campaign, whatever… as long as you are having fun then let the rest fall into place.