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Monday, November 20, 2006

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Discussing Halo's Fifth Birthday
12:06 PM | Cord Kruse | 10 comments

To celebrate the fifth anniversary of Halo's original release Gamespot recently posted an interview with several Bungie employees about the Halo phenomena. The interview covers the original game, its sequel, and the possibilities for the future.

GS: Why do you think it was so successful?

JG: Timing. Everything was ripe for Halo to be a hit. If we had slipped six months or come out on a different platform, it never would have got the traction that it did. And accessibility. People knock Halo as "just another shooter" sometimes, but that's only true if you take a very narrow view of what makes a game unique. Most shooters are about attrition, slowly running out of ammo, health, time, whatever resource, and trying to play efficiently enough so that you kill all the enemies before you run out. Halo has a completely different rhythm. All your resources are local, there are weapons all over the ground, your health recharges if you can take cover, the AI is constantly resetting. So you can take risks and try different tactics and experiment, without being punished. You can even die without losing anything or being punished. And you don't have to be obsessively efficient because if you survive at all, then you are back up to your full potency in a few seconds. So the game never frustrates you; it never gives you a good stopping point--even when it is really hard, and you end up playing on legendary difficulty until two in the morning without realizing it. Some games, every time you die, they send you back 20 minutes and then ask you if you want to quit! Of course you want to quit; you just got punished. So, that accessibility and smooth experience is why Halo works.

Well, that and the excellent art direction. Oh, and multiplayer map design. And really fun vehicles. And great music and sound and...actually, I guess there were lots of reasons.
The full interview is available at the the Gamespot site linked below.

Gamespot: Five Years Of Halo
Bungie Studios
Westlake Interactive
Halo: Combat Evolved

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