It seems like not long ago, both the Halo and Gears series were top dogs in the world of gaming, but is that still true?
While the last entries in both series managed to move decent numbers, it does seem as though both critical and general interest is waning. ODST and Gears 2 seemed to have a good start out the gate, but within a week or two, they quickly faded from view as other titles took the spotlight.
When did the loss of interest start with these titles? I think it began with two games: Modern Warfare, and Halo Wars. Let’s start by taking a look at the latter first.
After riding high with the release of Halo 3, it seemed impossible for Microsoft and Bungie to falter with the franchise. And then, news started to surface of a Halo RTS title. It was almost hard to take seriously. If the project was real, surly it would be a smaller pc-only release, right? Well, no. Halo Wars was released for the 360, and marketed towards gamers as the next big Halo game. The hardcore may have realized Halo and RTS were two tastes that didn’t really go together, but I doubt the casual fan knew what they were in for. So, right there was a huge misstep. I think a lot of Halo fans felt burned after purchasing something they weren’t expecting.
Now let’s talk Modern Warfare. Despite being released almost a year after Call of Duty 4, Gears 2 could barely manage to de-throne the 500-pound gorilla for a few weeks tops, before being faced with dwindling interest and online visibility. Despite being a better game in many ways than Gears 1, Gears 2 just seemed not to click with people for some reason. Modern Warfare was offering something to online gamers that Gears 2 (and most titles to this day, honestly) just wasn’t.
So where does that leave the two titles today? Well, there’s Halo Reach coming soon, which seems hell bent on recapturing the series’ former glory. Fingers crossed it succeeds- the title looks like the most interesting installment since the first one, in my opinion. And then there’s Gears… 3? Maybe? It’s obviously going to happen, but Mr. B and Epic sure are keeping quiet about it.
I just hope by the time these next entries come around, the gaming world hasn’t moved too far away from them for people to care. While by no means the most original concepts in the history of gaming, they both (at their best), serve as great examples of what games do better than almost any other medium: keep people coming back.