"isn't telling the truth."
There was a "small set" of titles they spent TV ad money on and Halo one among them. It's "almost a curse" now as it affected Xbox and the franchise itself.
"You know, honestly we didn't know," said Ed Fries, asked if anyone gazed into the future and saw Halo: Combat Evolved as big as it would become. "I think anyone who tells you that they knew that was going to happen isn't telling the truth."
Microsoft Game Studios acquired developer Bungie in 2000 as the first-person shooter impressed them so much. The Halo creator has since become independent again and is now in a long term publishing arrangement with Activision as they create a new IP.
"There was a small set of games we had decided to spend all of our TV money. And Halo was one of those, so that's proof it was one of the games that we decided to make a bet on, but honestly if you'd asked me ahead of time I'd have said we're going to sell more from Lorne Lanning, an established console developer with a continuation of an existing console franchise that had previously been successful," continued Fries.
Lorne Lanning's new Oddworld instalment didn't impress much whereas Halo: Combat Evolved lit the videogames press on fire and sold over a million copies over its first Christmas period. Would Xbox be as influential today without Halo? "I don't know. That's a really hard question. Did the machine make Halo or did Halo make the machine?"
"In the later years it was almost a curse from my point of view, because it had becomes so important to Xbox that it started to affect Halo," explained Fries.
"When people think that the most important part of the Xbox is Halo, then Halo has to be there for the launch of Xbox 360 or it can't miss its date", he continued, even though "that's gonna make a worse Halo... It's like Halo becomes more important than the Xbox, and I never wanted it to be that way."
"For me it was always about trying to make sure every game could be the best it could be and that the platform was a place where we could have lots of successful games like Halo, not just Halo." Microsoft has their own studio dedicated to Halo now; 343 Industries.
"If it's all about Halo then you spend all your time working on Halo, you never discover Gears of War or anything else." Microsoft has announced Halo 4 which returns focus back on Master Chief and his AI core buddy, Cortona. Did Halo make the Xbox platform?
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary releases on Xbox 360 November 15th. Below is the released teaser for the new in development Halo 4 from 343 Industries.
'Xbox made Halo, or Halo made Xbox'? A "really hard question"
20 October 2011 | By Simon Priest