Can you imagine a LEGO Halo game? Or one that resembles Power Rangers more than Call of Duty? It’s not out of the realm of possibility, Microsoft says.
“When we first started [Halo], the thought of doing, like, a LEGO Halo game was not something that our core fans thought was interesting,” said 353 Industries head Bonnie Ross when speaking to Fast Company. But now, Ross says that’s changed, and that they’re seeing requests for a Halo game aimed at a younger audience.
“Whether or not we do a game, I think we need to be really deliberate on the right game, because we can’t alienate our core audience,” Ross explained.
The interview is a far reaching one that addresses the Halo franchise as more than just a series of video games, discussing the merchandise surrounding it and how it factors into Microsoft’s business.
Part of Ross’ role with 343 is to expand the franchise, but as with a youth-oriented game, she wants to take care with any outside merchandise as well.
“The learning we’re looking at right now is, ‘how do we become a little bit more purist about the stories we tell in our games, and how do we make sure that we use our consumer products and all our novels and everything to tell the richer, deeper story?” she said. “Fans have definitely given us feedback that we’ve had a little bit too much story out there.”
“When you look at how the overall [Star Wars] portfolio is managed, there is a lot, a lot of stuff out there. And not all of it is canon. It’s been very important for us to have a more curated, connected story.”
That desire to provide an interconnected story is simultaneously one of the things that keeps fans coming back and yet also has the possibility to alienate new players and consumers. It could certainly make the prospect of a youth-oriented game difficult to integrate into the fiction and the series tone, as well. It doesn’t sound like this is a sly announcement of something coming, but Microsoft is at a key point where they need to start making the franchise bigger or risk it becoming irrelevant, so the next few years will be interesting.
The next entry in the Halo franchise, Halo Wars 2, is set to release in February 2017 on Xbox One and Windows 10 as part of the Xbox Play Anywhere program.