How To Reinvent An Icon: Behind Microsoft’s Rebuild of Team Halo And The Making Of Halo 4
To continue its best-selling Halo franchise, Microsoft had to create a new game company from the ground up. The new studio, 343 Industries, then had the challenge of continuing the storied game while giving it new life. We speak to franchise director Frank O’Connor and some of the key players behind creating Halo 4 and reshaping the future of Halo.
For anyone who’s created a monster hit entertainment property, success comes with a built-in challenge–how do you follow yourself? For Microsoft, the challenge of upping the ante on the next installment of its mega-selling Halo franchise, Halo 4, (debuting November 6) came with an extra wrinkle. The company had to create a fantastic new game, sure. But with original developer Bungie gone, Microsoft, still the owner of the Halo franchise, had to build a new game developer from the ground up to create a new trilogy of games.
With Halo veterans and a team that includes long-time fans of the game, the new studio, 343 Industries, worked to ensure the soul of the game survived while reinventing it for a new generation of players. The team, led by Bonnie Ross and franchise development director Frank O’Connor, placed a huge emphasis on the game’s story and turned a fresh creative eye to everything from music and promotion to the transmedia components that give the game life beyond the console. “The biggest challenge is always going to be quality, being able to capture the heart of why Halo is fun–evolving it and not ruining it,” says O’Connor.
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Kevin Ohannessian is a freelance writer covering gaming and tech for Tom's Guide, Kill Screen, and Fast Company. His work has also been published by MTV Geek, GameSpot, Gamasutra, Laptop Mag, Co.Create, and Co.Labs. Focusing on the creativity and business of gaming, he is always up for a good interview or an intriguing feature.