So, here we are less than two-weeks until Halo 4 hits store shelves like a crisp pimp slap with baby powder. It’s been five long years since we last linked up with Spartan 117 and delivered our collective teabags to those split chin sons of bitches, the covenant.
Now, before we get any further cat’s and kitties – I must illustrate that I came into this series as not only a Halo fan, but a Bungie fan. Bungie was not only the forefather of Halo, but also a slew of other games I had truly enjoyed beforehand, especially Myth.
I watched as this small studio came into their own, and nearly needed a new pair of pants when I saw the initial gameplay demos of Halo from Macworld ’99. Nobody had ever seen anything like it, and it was an ambitious, and revolutionary spin on shooters. With half joy, half trepidation I witnessed Bungie lock hands with Bill Gates & Co, and perhaps subsequently lose their innocence as a studio.
By the time Halo 2 hit shelves, and I had burned an entire week of college saving the known universe – it became abundantly clear that Bungie’s amalgamation into Microsoft did not come without it’s pains and pressures. Missing/broken features like a fragmented story, graphics pops, and most annoyingly a non-functional online co-op option – were telltale signs that they did not have the luxury of putting the time into developing it, as they would have liked. They even came out and illustrated how difficult it was to finish the game with Microsoft breathing down their necks from concept to crunch time.
I was overjoyed when Bungie reclaimed their independence as a studio, but also grief-stricken to learn that it came at such a heavy price. In securing their freedom, they had to sacrifice their greatest creation. Now, with 343 Industries, MGS has constructed a “dream team” Halo studio complete with familiar faces from Bungie, and fresh faces to bring a new level of passion, and dedication to the series… Or so they say. From some of the tom-foolery with Halo Legends, and the over-saturation of Halo merchandise these new wardens seem like some kids who stole their dad’s shiny new Porsche. And I’m afraid they’re going to eventually wrap it around a light post. Or maybe 343 is more like Icarus, and as Halo 4 draws ever closer so to does their proximity to the sun.
My new found compatriot here at TBOD: Eremenko has already written a reassuring post which details that “behind the wheel” Halo 4 PLAYS great. That brings a sigh of relief. My fear, and concerns however, pertain specifically with the story. For me, Halo’s story, and universe is what really pulled me into the series. It was, and still is the perfect amalgamation of my favorite Sci-Fi elements, with a healthy helping of originality to make it stand out, and resonate with me in a way no other series has.
Without key players like Joe Staten, the Mclees, and others I’m afraid that in trying so hard to make Halo 4 awesome, and pay homage to the true forerunners of Halo, that this brash young studio will accidentally drop the bottle of win-sauce into the simmering pot that is this entire franchise.
Time will only tell, and with 12 days until H4 makes landfall, I’ve got the jitters like a green ODST on his first drop. Am I merely a rampant old bastard with irrational and misplaced fears? Chime in, and leave a comment below or hit us up on Twitter, and PLEASE talk me down from this.