343 Industries Studio Head and the Halo Franchise Director have confessed their regret over the narrative choice of Halo 5: Guardians, saying that it was a mistake to divide the point of view among many characters instead of having Master Chief as the main focus of the game. However, they say to have heard the fanbase, and that the mistake will be fixed in time for the next main Halo entry.
As a way to celebrate the 343’s 10th anniversary, Studio Head Kiki Wolfkill and Halo Franchise Director Frank O’Connor were featured in a lenghty interview with GamesTM magazine, in which they reflect over their work on Microsoft’s flagship series since they took over development duties from Bungie in 2007.
Part of the interview revolves around the last main chapter and how what lessons they learned that will put into practice in the next title. While Halo 5: Guardians was acclaimed for its gameplay and multiplayer modes, most of reviews pointed at a lackluster single player campaign, mainly due to a story that never felt rewarding enough and that was too focused on setting the next main title instead of presenting a satisfying experience on its own.
This miscalculation on the narrative, they say, comes from their failure to understand how the fanbase sees the figure of Master Chief. When they were writing the story, they considered the main character “a vessel for your adventure rather than necessarily this major character in the universe. He’s really just your entry into the universe.”
And while Master Chief has had gaps of character development over the years for gameplay purposes, they have realized that the public has filled that void with their own emotions, growing an emotional attachment to the character over the years.
After listening to the fan outcry that followed the Halo 5 release, they decided to stop trying to expand the game universe with new playable characters, and instead they will shift their focus to present a more realistic and compelling version of the world, with Master Chief at the center of the narrative: “Doubling down on Master Chief story and the amount of focus on him was probably the easiest learning from Halo 5. That was a really simple thing to absorb and embrace.”
While the release of the next mainline Halo will probably take some time, make sure you keep up with Microsoft’s presentation at the E3 2017, as there might be a teaser of what’s to come.