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Posted by Raine Hutchens on Sep 22, 2010

Microsoft: “One Halo Game Every Three Years Isn’t Enough” – A Sit Down With The Vice President

Let’s be honest, Microsoft entered the foray into the video game world with Bungie’s Halo series fronting their amazing Xbox gaming system. Players all over the world stayed nipping at Microsoft’s heels while waiting for the next entry in the groundbreaking series emerged on the scene. Three years passed between the release of Halo and Halo 2, but as of recent we have only waited about twelve months between the releases of Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach. In a recent sit-down with the Vice President of Microsoft Game Studios, Phil Spencer, we find out that the trend of the short span between releases will be the future of the Halo series as we know it.

When interviewed, this is what Spencer had to say:

“There’s no explicit strategy that says we’re to ship a Halo game every year. I will say I think one Halo game every three years — which was kind of our old cadence – is probably not frequent enough.

We’re coming up on, what, next year is the 10th anniversary. You watch the change in gamers in 10 years. The percentage of players who are playing Reach that were I’ll say not old enough to play Halo 1 at the time, 10 years is a long time between launches. We definitely think about a more persistent Halo engagement for customers and not going dark for two years, and Live helps obviously with multiplayer to keep people engaged.

343 Industries is thinking a lot about how to take this franchise and turn it into something that people feel like they have an ongoing relationship with and they can entertain themselves more often. But it’s not, hey every November 6 or whatever we have to ship a game and build a production plan around that. We want to do things that make sense as a first party.”

Spencer was asked if Microsoft looked upon what Activision is doing with the annual releases of Call of Duty titles, he spoke highly of the publisher.

“I’ll just, again, be honest as a gamer. I used to look at annual releases of non-sports games as people just trying to milk me. I figured nobody had enough time to do a good job, and all of the negatives that we would associate with those kinds of scenarios. Kudos to Activision because they’ve done a good job building a good game, continuing to release each year and I think the fans feel like it’s a good thing that they do that. I think there are some things to learn, some positives and some opportunities, in what they do with that. Obviously they’ve kept the quality extremely high, which I think is important.”

We have some unique challenges and opportunities with Halo because it is a story based game built around a certain set of characters, which is a bit different than what they do with Call of Duty. Not better or worse, it’s just different. But watching them and seeing what they do — we take inspiration from a lot of places — but obviously they’re a big success.”

It spawns a big question in our minds, this opinion that Spencer provided us with. Does Microsoft plan on taking the Halo franchise to a new level? How may more titles can we expect? Right now we aren’t sure, but we do know that we can expect annual releases of whatever titles appear in the new lineup.

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