First, some disclosure. I may or may not be a teensy bit of a Halo fanboy. I thought (and still think) that Halo: Reach was an awesome game. I even enjoyed ODST! Phil Spencer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Games Studios, feels a little differently - he thinks the franchise lost its way with those two games.
“The key question for me in managing the studio and the creatives is ‘what is Halo?’" Claimed Spencer, speaking to OXM UK.
"What does that mean? Playing Master Chief," he continued. "We kind of lost our way a little bit, I'll say. And that's why I wanted to make sure that at the unveiling of Halo 4, you knew you were playing Master Chief, that John was back. Because Master Chief is the John Wayne character of that universe, and that's who you want to play."
Personally, I really enjoyed playing the back story that was Halo: Reach, but I'm also willing to admit that is most likely because I'm a fan and therefore well-versed in the Halo universe. For new players, however, Halo: Reach may not have been as mainstream friendly as other titles. That seems to be the point Spencer is getting at.
"If you were a Halo fan for Halo 1, 2 and 3, Reach made sense to you," he said, "but fundamentally there are a ton of players on our box right now that didn't start with Halo 1. What we said was: 'let's get back to what Halo is about'."
Ultimately, I'm keen to see what a fresh set of eyes will do for the Halo franchise - even if I am a little cautious.
E3 2011: Halo 4 will "get back to what Halo is about" - Microsoft [OXM]