The game that sold over 34 million copies (over 2 billion in sales) over its lifespan is coming to the end of an era.
No it isn't really dead per se. People aren't throwing themselves off buildings, massive earthquakes have not rattled the globe, and there isn't a meteor the size of Texas hurtling towards the Earth. However, it is a sad time we are living in. Bungie, the creator of the much beloved franchise, parted ways with Microsoft with their last installment in the series, Halo: Reach.
Originally, Bungie had plans to produce Halo as a traditional PC game. Microsoft stumbled across them while scouting talent to secure their bid for supremacy in the world of gaming. They saw Bungie as a diamond in the rough. They purchased Bungie for an undisclosed amount somewhere between 20 and 40 million, shut the doors on their Chicago office, and shipped all the employees to Seattle to work exclusively on Halo. Little did the world know, this was the beginning of one of the largest sci-fi franchises in history.
We've seen multiple iterations in the Halo series enter our households from games we've grown to love on good days, and hate when we're playing like crap (Halo, Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo: ODST, Halo Wars). There are action figures, 6 best selling novels, a Halo Encyclopedia, and a Bungie self-financed anime series "Halo legends." The more we've seen, the more we love.
Halo like with any good franchise has a fan base that has immersed themselves in the story telling and lore that has grown with the series. We've seen web shorts like "Red vs. Blue", fan fiction, self made cardboard replica weapons, people showing up en masse at events like Comic Con dressed as Spartan Soldiers. There was even a group dressed as Master Chiefs who choreographed a dance paying tribute to the series on America's Got Talent. Now if that doesn't saying lovin', I don't know what does.
And don't forget the Halo live action movie that almost made it to the silver screen a few years ago. It's too bad Universal Fox walked away when the approved budget of $134 million was surpassed by then director Peter Jackson and WETA Digital. Jackson, a long-time Halo fan, has wanted to make the film for some time. He even went so far as to produce a live action short as a sample of what we would have to look forward to in the final version. Check it out.
Well fear not Halo Fan Boys (and girls), Frank O'Connor, former Bungie content manager who now oversees Microsoft's management of future Halo series at production company 343 Studios says, "We're still interested in making an excellent Halo movie. We've created an awful lot of documentation and materials to support a feature film. We have a good idea of what kind of story we went to tell, but won't move on it until there's a great reason to do it. We're in no particular hurry."
So you're saying there's a chance...
Microsoft is also rumored to be looking into launching something with the series on television. For now, live action films like "Birth of a Spartan" and "Deliver Hope" directed by Noam Murro are all we'll get until the green light is given to produce the mythical beast of a movie.
It is somewhat bittersweet as we celebrate the release of the last Bungie-developed Halo game. In a way it's like seeing your best friend move away when you were growing up. You know you're always going to be good friends, but you'll never have that same bond. We know that Microsoft has plans to continue the series well beyond Bungie's departure with their in house studio. And Bungie has signed a 10-year development deal with Activision Blizzard to produce new intellectual property that we can look forward to. We'll still have Halo games, possibly movies, books, comics, live action shorts, and much more. But we won't have the company that gave birth to the game that we've come to love.
As the release passes us by of the most anticipated game of the year (as stated by Ipsos OTX a company who polls 1000 US video game players a week), we've been bombarded with more reasons to love the first "first person shooter" to succeed on a console. We've made a lot of memories together Bungie, and we know we'll make a few more. We're sad to see you hand off our beloved series to Microsoft, but we know everyone has to let their baby grow up. We can't wait to see what you have in store for us, with Reach and your new endeavors.
Halo is Dead, Long Live Halo.