Don’t let the headline disappoint you if you’re a Halo fan. Just because Bungie won’t be making another Halo title after Reach, it doesn’t mean that Microsoft won’t pass the franchise off to someone new. Lars Bakken, senior designer at Bungie, has told Computer and Videogames that the studio has no plans to develop any more Xbox 360 entries in their signature franchise after 2010:
“In terms of a platform for Halo games made by Bungie, yes. I can’t answer that question for Microsoft though. Whether they have something in the works or not, I don’t know if they’re actually ready to talk about it yet, but in terms of Bungie-produced Halo games, ODST and then Reach is probably all you’re going to get.”
This is actually a fairly significant development; with some analysts predicting that this console life cycle may stretch out until 2015, a long absence of Halo from it’s home console may result in a loss of new customers for Microsoft. What’s more intersting is the wording that Mr. Bekken uses in his response; his statement almost seems to imply that Bungie is wiping it’s hands clean of the franchise for good (indeed, 1up.com is reporting just that.) If this is the case, expect Microsoft to waste no time with passing on the mantle to another major developer with first-person-shooter experience.
With the open posibility that Reach could be Bungie’s last hurrah with the franchise, it should be interesting to see how the game turns out. Many have speculated that the game will be a Natal enabled squad-based shooter, but we likely won’t find out any more solid details for a few more months. Beta invites for the game will be included with copies of Halo: ODST, which releases September 22nd.