When fans think of a successful franchise, they look at the developers behind it and admire them for their work. What happens when the torch is passed to a different group? Does it spell doom for a franchise? Sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn’t. It all depends on who the torch is being passed on to.
In case you haven’t paid attention, Bungie has left the building. The original creators behind the Xbox exclusive franchise that most fans can arguably say put the Xbox on the map as a legitimate console are no longer working on the franchise anymore. Bungie was originally bought by Microsoft in the year 2000 and made Halo exclusive to the Xbox console. In 2007, Bungie became independent from Microsoft, but in the process agreed to make 2 games for Microsoft (Halo:ODST and Halo: Reach) and hand over the rights to the Halo franchise. With Bungie out of the picture, Microsoft had to create a new studio to carry on the legacy of this franchise. 343 Industries was thus created (named after 343 Guilty Spark) in 2007 and began acquiring a team to move forward with Halo. During the building process, some members of Bungie crossed over to continue their work on Halo along with Franchise Director Frank O’Connor. If you look at this from a distance, it’s not everyday a brand new studio is created and then tasked with being the flagship for Xbox’s most valuable franchise. Then again, most brand new studios don’t have the backing of one of the biggest software companies in the world. Even still, just because you have the money to budget this project doesn’t mean that a new team can successfully carry on a game that fans know and love in great detail.
That leads to the biggest question about the transition, did anyone really notice? Aside from the obvious logo change in regards to Halo, there has not been a noticeable difference in the handling of the franchise. Granted their biggest testament to that has yet to be released, but from what they have shown and listening to interviews from some of the 343 members, they have not skipped a beat. Not being an insider into 343 or Microsoft, one can only speculate that this says a lot about either how well 343 has done paying attention to the franchise and how to handle it, or how much control Microsoft actually has over this franchise. Either way, the fans are happy and really excited to get their hands on Halo 4 despite being made by a different company and we will find out if 343 can carry on Halo in their direction without upsetting fans.