The Milking of a Tired Old Cow: A Halo 4 Rant

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Posted by gomandamon (6 posts) -

Let me make this clear, I'm by no means a "Halo hater" and neither am I an anti-mainstream hipster. I've thoroughly enjoyed each Halo game by Bungie, and it's a great series in my opinion. So allow me to say that I was interested in how 343 Industries would handle this series when I've heard they announced Halo 4. They were either going to overhaul the franchise and do something different with it, or they're just beating a dead horse. I was simultaneously worried and excited to see what they had in store for us. But upon witnessing the gameplay footage, my jaw dropped in utter dismay and disappointment.

The campaign footage not only looked exactly identical to prior Halo games, but nothing exciting or awe inducing was to be seen. Besides taking risks with the franchise, it seems they're just catering to the rabid Halo fanatics. Now all the Halo fanboys will dismiss my argument and say "b-b-b-b-but dere r new enemys and wepons!", that's no significant gameplay change. Expansion packs for first-person shooters from the 90s had done that before, and Halo 4 is no expansion pack but a standalone $60 sequel. Halo is now going to suffer from the Call of Duty syndrome, and Microsoft are basically milking every nook and cranny they could get out of this series.

This is rather unfortunate, because the series had great potential. The mindless and tasteless consumer will buy any crap, as long as it has the right name on it. If you complain that the series shouldn't change, then you're part of the problem why the current state of the gaming industry is stagnating and severely lacking it innovation.

EDIT: Allow me to clarify me point even further, I'm not implying Halo is the ONLY popular game franchise that suffers from this trend. However, it does not excuse Halo 4 for rehashing the exact gameplay formula and the gameplay footage was immensely dull.

#1 Edited by gomandamon (6 posts) -

Let me make this clear, I'm by no means a "Halo hater" and neither am I an anti-mainstream hipster. I've thoroughly enjoyed each Halo game by Bungie, and it's a great series in my opinion. So allow me to say that I was interested in how 343 Industries would handle this series when I've heard they announced Halo 4. They were either going to overhaul the franchise and do something different with it, or they're just beating a dead horse. I was simultaneously worried and excited to see what they had in store for us. But upon witnessing the gameplay footage, my jaw dropped in utter dismay and disappointment.

The campaign footage not only looked exactly identical to prior Halo games, but nothing exciting or awe inducing was to be seen. Besides taking risks with the franchise, it seems they're just catering to the rabid Halo fanatics. Now all the Halo fanboys will dismiss my argument and say "b-b-b-b-but dere r new enemys and wepons!", that's no significant gameplay change. Expansion packs for first-person shooters from the 90s had done that before, and Halo 4 is no expansion pack but a standalone $60 sequel. Halo is now going to suffer from the Call of Duty syndrome, and Microsoft are basically milking every nook and cranny they could get out of this series.

This is rather unfortunate, because the series had great potential. The mindless and tasteless consumer will buy any crap, as long as it has the right name on it. If you complain that the series shouldn't change, then you're part of the problem why the current state of the gaming industry is stagnating and severely lacking it innovation.

EDIT: Allow me to clarify me point even further, I'm not implying Halo is the ONLY popular game franchise that suffers from this trend. However, it does not excuse Halo 4 for rehashing the exact gameplay formula and the gameplay footage was immensely dull.

#2 Posted by Marcsman (3286 posts) -

I don't see how Halo will suffer the COD syndrome. They do not put out one every year like COD does.

#3 Posted by gomandamon (6 posts) -

@Marcsman said:

I don't see how Halo will suffer the COD syndrome. They do not put out one every year like COD does.

There's always the potential. It's possible that Halo 5 will be released next year.

#4 Edited by Mr_Skeleton (5154 posts) -

What did you expect it to be? If it won't play like Halo it wouldn't be Halo.

@Marcsman said:

I don't see how Halo will suffer the COD syndrome. They do not put out one every year like COD does.

Actually they do.

#5 Posted by gomandamon (6 posts) -

@Mr_Skeleton said:

What did you expect it to be? If it won't play like Halo it wouldn't be Halo.

@Marcsman said:

I don't see how Halo will suffer the COD syndrome. They do not put out one every year like COD does.

Actually they do.

Remember how similar Resident Evil 4 to every Resident Evil game before it? I sure do.

#6 Posted by memo (421 posts) -

@Marcsman: Very true. cod is the old cow not halo

#7 Posted by triple07 (1198 posts) -

I still think its too early to make a judgement on the game. Sure it looks like they didn't do anything groundbreaking with this one (which we already kind of knew since the MGS4 dude left) but maybe they are hanging onto some kind of reveal or something. Granted I haven't been following the game super closely and I haven't seen the gameplay demo yet so maybe I'm wrong.

I've still got hope for the game but since Bungie is no longer doing them I don't have the same attachment or trust in it.

#8 Posted by Vinny_Says (5721 posts) -

I don't see people bitching about New Super Mario Bros. U....

Let people enjoy their games, and play what you like.

#9 Posted by gomandamon (6 posts) -

@memo said:

@Marcsman: Very true. cod is the old cow not halo

Call of Duty isn't the old cow. It was the new Cow beaten to death.

#10 Posted by TaliciaDragonsong (8606 posts) -

Same goes for CoD/BF/MoH.
 
They all feel the same to me and I even stopped bothering with their singleplayers nowadays, we've seen this before.
Hell look at all the new FPS games announced this E3, we have a overflowing, the entire genre is clogged!
 
I'm at least glad there's a choice for the realistic (sort of) shooters and the fantasy shooters, because I prefer the latter.
 
If they'd just release a new Timesplitters :(

#11 Edited by TheSouthernDandy (3924 posts) -

You should probably look into the game a little more then just the demo they showed. They're adding a lot of new, pretty interesting stuff to co-op, mp, stuff like that. Yeah the main mechanics are very much the same but if you changed those up too much, it wouldn't be Halo. Your RE4 example doesn't really apply, that was taking a control scheme that most people would agree is pretty dated (yes there are people who prefer the tank controls and thats totally cool) and updating it. There are also people who would argue that the series has started losing a lot of what made it great since that game. Halo still needs to feel like Halo or else you're gonna lose the fan base. They're adding a sprint button, that alone is a huge improvement.

@TaliciaDragonsong said:

If they'd just release a new Timesplitters :(

That I can 100% get behind.

#12 Posted by verticalstripes (33 posts) -

Haters gonna hate.  I think the game looks great.  I don't care if it is just more Halo, I'm fine with that.  I guess I'm "part of the problem" because I enjoy fun games.

#13 Posted by WinterSnowblind (7617 posts) -

What about the fact we have another Assassins Creed, New Super Mario, God of War or Resident Evil?

If you want to complain about sequels, there are far worse offenders out there than Halo, especially since Halo has never been a yearly thing.

#14 Posted by Marcsman (3286 posts) -

@TaliciaDragonsong said:

Same goes for CoD/BF/MoH. They all feel the same to me and I even stopped bothering with their singleplayers nowadays, we've seen this before. Hell look at all the new FPS games announced this E3, we have a overflowing, the entire genre is clogged! I'm at least glad there's a choice for the realistic (sort of) shooters and the fantasy shooters, because I prefer the latter. If they'd just release a new Timesplitters :(

Now that is something I agree with. Online flame tag anyone?

#15 Posted by AgnosticJesus (545 posts) -

Where's your God of War, Uncharted, Mario, Metroid, Mario Kart, Zelda, Gears, Resident Evil, COD, Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, or Dynasty Warriors rant? Hate to break it to you but sequels to popular games make a lot of money. It's pretty easy to dismiss a game based on 5 minutes of footage.

#16 Posted by LincoIn (255 posts) -

As someone who has played every Halo game so far I'm still super excited for Halo 4. Each iteration brings subtle new gameplay changes. The new enemies look rather tough and I'm digging the Metroid-esque visor shown at the end. But I'm most looking forward to the Spartan Ops coop mode, if they can keep delivering fresh content each week like they said I doubt I'll play anything else for awhile.

#17 Posted by Arnox (22 posts) -
@Mr_Skeleton said:

What did you expect it to be? If it won't play like Halo it wouldn't be Halo.

@Marcsman said:

I don't see how Halo will suffer the COD syndrome. They do not put out one every year like COD does.

Actually they do.

No they don't.
#18 Posted by Kidavenger (3628 posts) -

What did you expect them to do? A new developer on a major franchise, I'd play it safe for the first game out the door too.

Do you have any good ideas on how they could change it up for the next game?

#19 Posted by gomandamon (6 posts) -

@WinterSnowblind: If you've re-read my OP, you'd know I didn't imply Halo isn't the only milked popular video game franchise. As I've stated before, Halo wasn't really milked to death until Halo 4's announcement. Even other franchise suffer from the same trend, it doesn't excuse them nor does it excuse Halo 4 given the amount of potential the series had. I probably would've forgiven it if the gameplay didn't look like total shit.

#20 Edited by WinterSnowblind (7617 posts) -

@Mr_Skeleton said:

@Marcsman said:

I don't see how Halo will suffer the COD syndrome. They do not put out one every year like COD does.

Actually they do.

Halo 1 - 2001

Halo 2 - 2004

Halo 3 - 2007

ODST - 2009 (which was an expansion pack, but I'll count it as it was sold stand alone and was still longer than most CoD campaigns).

Reach - 2011

There was also a spin-off game and a remake in there somewhere, but even counting those, it doesn't come close to most other big name franchises.

#21 Posted by gomandamon (6 posts) -

@Kidavenger said:

What did you expect them to do? A new developer on a major franchise, I'd play it safe for the first game out the door too.

Do you have any good ideas on how they could change it up for the next game?

Not that I could give them new gameplay ideas, but I could give them suggestions. Such as taking risks with the gameplay formula, adding new elements to the original core Halo gameplay to freshen it up a bit, and just take it into a new direction.

#22 Posted by Arnox (22 posts) -
@gomandamon said:

@WinterSnowblind: If you've re-read my OP, you'd know I didn't imply Halo isn't the only milked popular video game franchise. As I've stated before, Halo wasn't really milked to death until Halo 4's announcement. Even other franchise suffer from the same trend, it doesn't excuse them nor does it excuse Halo 4 given the amount of potential the series had. I probably would've forgiven it if the gameplay didn't look like total shit.

Pretty much what Mr Skeleton said. If it didn't play like Halo then it wouldn't BE Halo. And that's something that 343 was trying to avoid. They had to toss out a lot of great ideas for multiplayer alone because they felt it just wasn't Halo.
#23 Edited by WinterSnowblind (7617 posts) -

@gomandamon said:

@WinterSnowblind: If you've re-read my OP, you'd know I didn't imply Halo isn't the only milked popular video game franchise. As I've stated before, Halo wasn't really milked to death until Halo 4's announcement. Even other franchise suffer from the same trend, it doesn't excuse them nor does it excuse Halo 4 given the amount of potential the series had. I probably would've forgiven it if the gameplay didn't look like total shit.

We saw a scripted demo, that very obviously wasn't based on an actual game level. Much like what they did for Halo 2 and 3.

A bit soon to be judging the gameplay. Personally, I thought it was far better looking than any of those other FPS' that were shown at E3, we at least have a bit of unique gameplay here. I do agree that it's a continuation that just didn't need to happen.. But the same could be said about many of the other sequels that are out there, particularly Sony's recent God of War announcement. It seems a bit pedantic to be picking on a single title for this.

#24 Posted by MideonNViscera (2252 posts) -

Bungie will give us our Halo that's not Halo next year. For now, enjoy prettier Halo with more CoD stuff like points that pop up when you kill someone.

Also, Halo is way older than CoD and would take years to have as many games if CoD quit with Blops2 so what the fuck.

#25 Edited by believer258 (12185 posts) -

@WinterSnowblind said:

@Mr_Skeleton said:

@Marcsman said:

I don't see how Halo will suffer the COD syndrome. They do not put out one every year like COD does.

Actually they do.

Halo 1 - 2001

Halo 2 - 2004

Halo 3 - 2007

ODST - 2009 (which was an expansion pack, but I'll count it as it was sold stand alone and was still longer than most CoD campaigns).

Reach - 2011

There was also a spin-off game and a remake in there somewhere, but even counting those, it doesn't come close to most other big name franchises.

ODST - 2009

Reach - 2010

Anniversary (still counts) - 2011

4 - 2012

Note that I'm a fan of the series as well, but they are becoming yearly.

Still, I thought the new enemies looked fairly interesting and used some pretty cool tactics, and frankly every fucking 8 minute demo from E3 disappointed me save for Watch Dogs. I'm not going to judge anything based on an 8 minute demo, though, so I'll wait until their release.

#26 Edited by pweidman (2362 posts) -

343 has had a fine line to tread developing Halo 4 between adding new stuff, and departing from the franchise far enough to turn off the loyal fan base. So which side would you decide to err on?

Anyway, what 343 has done, at least per what I've seen is amazing. The look of the game is amazing, better than any Halo game Bungie made including Reach. And don't forget that we haven't played as MC for 5 years, and this is gonna be a whole new story, and trilogy. If you liked the first three games and/or the whole Halo lore, how can this not get you excited? I believe this will be a super polished game, and a great new step in the halo franchise and universe. The gameplay will not be all that much different yeah, to be expected imo, but the context and production values will win out in the end is my prediction.

#27 Posted by TheHBK (5563 posts) -

The Story is more interesting than COD, COD is that typical war, bad guy movie kinda thing. Halo has a universe with History and characters. But why am I excited? Because this game looks great and it has the graphics that I had always been expecting. The graphics on the Halo games on the 360 looked mediocre and were obviously just working off what they did for Halo 2.

#28 Posted by BraveToaster (12588 posts) -

I was skeptical, but with the brief introduction of new enemies, my interest has been piqued. I think we should wait for more information, instead of comparing it to CoD's tired old cow formula.

#29 Edited by big_jon (5783 posts) -

You know it's funny, this is the largest change in Halo so far, it has a different feel, and detection than that of all the past titles, but there are still people going to say that it looks the same, it is fucking Halo, there are millions of fans who love Halo, just because some dudes who are not fan of the core of Halo want change means they should throw everything away and start over? This game looks amazing, I was very sceptical about the exsistance of Halo 4, and I was even more so about it being a new studio, but for the love of God look at the love and work they are putting into this game! It's not like this is Gears, Call of Duty, Mass Effect, or even Half life, where they can basicly re-use assets, they make large changes to the art, sound, and internal sand box with each release, that is why these games are so good, they don't just shit them out, there is passion there, and it makes quality.

This game seems like the perfect amalgamation of old and new so far, it appeals to the casual Halo fan, and the real hardcore ones like me, new enemies while keeping the ones that are what Halo is, new art, but has the feel of the classic art, new sound, but it still feels like Halo, what more do you want? A fucking Halo RPG?

And honestly if you think this looks the exact same as every other Halo game you have no attention to detail what so ever.

#30 Posted by Irvandus (2881 posts) -

I disagree simply from the point that their are far larger gaps between halo games, by the time a new one comes out the fans really want it, it's not like CoD where you can rely on another edition coming out every year. Also even though to an outside gamer fans can tell you that after 3 every new edition of Halo tried to innovate in some way and keep it fresh.

#31 Posted by Arker101 (1472 posts) -

I agree that Halo is starting to wear thin on me, but that's mostly because it's begun integrating COD. The real problem is that most games are going after the lowest common denominator now. I don't care what frequency you release your games in, but if they're rushed and lacking anything special, that'll upset me.

#32 Posted by ShaneDev (1696 posts) -

I was really annoyed when they announced the game and its still totally unnecessary to the story of the Master Chief. Since they are making it, it doesn't look that bad and frankly if they went in a totally different direction it wouldn't really be Halo. What they showed looks really good and I do like some of the changes like new and interesting looking enemies. I also just really like the Halo universe. I don't even mind the Covenant coming back although them using the same animations is a little lazy. Halo has a pretty distinct feel and thats what I like to play and thats what tonnes of other people like to play as well. I think sprinting is a pretty big change for Halo as silly as that sounds.

Anyway, if you don't like yearly franchises or what they are doing with Halo then don't buy it and don't play it. Just ignore it and move on. Its even easier with Halo since 1 to 3 are self contained so to speak.

#33 Posted by PSNgamesun (414 posts) -

I agree but me as a fan of halo I felt it looked good, to me it's just more halo with better graphics new guns new campaign n new multiplayer. I think COD gets to much hate I mean I'm not a fan of the series but I did play COD4 n it was kool so it ain't broken don't fix it. Same goes with most franchises now a days like God Of War which I love it's basically the same formula only more perfect I think games that have lasted more than a decade not feeling fresh that need a big overhaul like Zelda(I love Zelda but Skyward was boring) although Zelda did make some changes it's just the pacing of the game. But yeah people that buy those games love those games so please stop bashing the fans I think what the real problem is developers not making NEW IPs

#34 Posted by big_jon (5783 posts) -

@WinterSnowblind said:

@Mr_Skeleton said:

@Marcsman said:

I don't see how Halo will suffer the COD syndrome. They do not put out one every year like COD does.

Actually they do.

Halo 1 - 2001

Halo 2 - 2004

Halo 3 - 2007

ODST - 2009 (which was an expansion pack, but I'll count it as it was sold stand alone and was still longer than most CoD campaigns).

Reach - 2011

There was also a spin-off game and a remake in there somewhere, but even counting those, it doesn't come close to most other big name franchises.

Reach was 2010

#35 Posted by TheGreatGuero (9130 posts) -

I was actually impressed with Halo 4. I thought it was cool they added Forerunner weapons. I wasn't expecting much out of the game, but it looks like the Halo of old, which will help me get the bad taste of Reach out of my mouth. I need some good online Halo again. I hope Halo 4 can give me that.

#36 Posted by Scodiac (480 posts) -

Nah, it looks like a feast for the eyes and that demo was impressive. The combat didn't look like shit and it was also an introduction to the new enemies and weapons. Most likely the combat encounters will become a little more complex. You gloss over the new enemies and guns as if they're nothing at all. That's huge man. The enemies and the tools we're using to kill them have been well crafted; they look and sound awesome. That's a huge part of the game. It's important.

Alright, so they didn't make drastic changes like making the game open world or something. Yes, it's an established franchise and obviously a smart investment for Microsoft or as you would say a cash cow. Cash Cows are only offensive when the game is just shit out. The demo showed that 343i obviously cares about the universe. Some of things shown like the drones that threw back grenades are straight out of the novels and are amazing to see fully realized in the game. The fact that the game takes place on a Shield World alone is intriguing as hell. I'm not opposed to them taking risks but I think they made smart decisions when it comes to carrying the series forward at this point.

Also, the whole Infinity multiplayer set-up; War Games and Spartan Ops seems well thought out and well crafted. The whole package just seems like it's being made by talented devs who love Halo as much as the fans.

I'm a fan of the universe and of the games but if this sequel didn't look good I wouldn't kid myself and I wouldn't defend it. I think you're being cynical and I think you're wrong. Opinions, blah blah, I know. You're wrong. heh

#37 Posted by TheDudeOfGaming (6078 posts) -

It maybe an old cow, but it's an old cow people will buy in huge numbers. From a developer's point of view, so long as there's interest in a game, why not make it? Don't like it, don't buy it.

#38 Posted by Deranged (1859 posts) -

What a genius argument. Have you played the game? Have you dwelled completely into the campaign? No, so how can you be entirely sure that it's "lacking"?

#39 Posted by Aetheldod (3723 posts) -

Halo is an awesome franchise that always feels fresh with each new game also has a better story than COD ... also no infinite enemies , dumb AI (come on the group mechanichs of Halo games makes them very fun to play) and all I saw on the E3 demo was goodness wraped in real passionate love for the franchise.

#40 Posted by Jace (1094 posts) -

@gomandamon: I can't say I agree. They have a new setting, new hostiles, and revamped multiplayer. Plus, a brand new engine. The new engine destroys the CoD comparison by itself. Plus, the frequency of release is less.

I know we've had a long period of iterative sequels, and it does get old. However, you're selling Halo 4 short to put it in the same boat as CoD.

#41 Posted by Quarters (1861 posts) -

I just came in to say that I hate when people say that RE4 changed the controls. The controls are literally the exact same, save for like two buttons and the aiming system. The only difference is the camera placement. It's still tank controls. I see people say that all the time, and it drives me nuts. Sorry, rant over.

Anyway, I'm totally not getting excited for Halo 4. I still haven't quite brought myself to truly liking the series yet. They're just all so...generic. I don't know how stuff with aliens and crazy space guns can be generic, but it just is.

#42 Posted by bybeach (4995 posts) -

I've learned to like Halo. That is despite it's almost cartoon bright world and those 'little people' who must practice in front of a mirror being alternately amusing and then annoying. I came into the middle of the E3 demo, and immediattly saw the croc. creature lifted from Halflife, then a Predator like clone. I was suprised, but I will still put it aside and give it a chance.

#43 Posted by DoctorWelch (2765 posts) -

What do you want from them? Halo is a franchise people know, love, and will buy. They aren't going to change it because you or I think they should. The most we can hope for is some different unique tweaks to the multiplayer, and a cool new story that doesn't ruin the old Halo games.

#44 Posted by N7 (3666 posts) -

If the people want it, let them have it.

#45 Posted by believer258 (12185 posts) -

@Quarters said:

I just came in to say that I hate when people say that RE4 changed the controls. The controls are literally the exact same, save for like two buttons and the aiming system. The only difference is the camera placement. It's still tank controls. I see people say that all the time, and it drives me nuts. Sorry, rant over.

Anyway, I'm totally not getting excited for Halo 4. I still haven't quite brought myself to truly liking the series yet. They're just all so...generic. I don't know how stuff with aliens and crazy space guns can be generic, but it just is.

I don't really think Halo is a generic shooter so much as the series has seen so much attention and hasn't changed much over the past 11 years that it feels kind of generic at this point. This is the difference between a franchise like Halo, which gets new releases relatively frequently, and one like Zelda, which hasn't really changed much since Ocarina of Time but only gets a release something like every five years.

Halo itself isn't really generic these days, though, and I can't say that it ever has been. Its gameplay hasn't changed significantly since the first one, but nothing quite like it is out. Halo is more colorful than pretty much any other FPS I can name, its enemies are fairly varied, and there are no iron sights. You don't have a constant FOLLOW above the head of some leader and the game isn't obnoxiously full of scripted explosions. I believe the issue may be that the formula is just tired at this point, as evidenced that I can refer to all of Halo as "the game" instead of "games" and feel A-OK with knowing that you'll understand what I mean if you've only played one of them.

#46 Posted by big_jon (5783 posts) -

@Jace: Not a new engine.

#47 Posted by Jace (1094 posts) -

@big_jon: 343 has stated multiple times that they have rebuilt the engine literally from the ground up. It shows. You can't say that about CoD. Just because they left some original code doesn't make it the same engine.

#48 Edited by big_jon (5783 posts) -

@Jace: They have said they rebuilt aspects of it, it still uses the engine that every Halo game aside from CEA and Wars has used, be it a more advanced version.

#49 Edited by Jace (1094 posts) -

@big_jon: Frank O' Connor from 343 would disagree with the first half of your statement. This is a silly argument. The leap from Halo Reach to Halo 4 is much large than a single leap from CoD games.

Even if Connor is lying and the engine is largely the same, they've made more progress between Reach and 4 than CoD has made since 2.

#50 Edited by big_jon (5783 posts) -

@Jace said:

@big_jon: John O' Connor from 343 would disagree with the first half of your statement. This is a silly argument. The leap from Halo Reach to Halo 4 is much large than a single leap from CoD games.

Even if Connor is lying and the engine is largely the same, they've made more progress between Reach and 4 than CoD has made since 2.

First off you are talking to one of the biggest Halo fans around, secondly his name is Frank O' Connor, I am sorry dude but don't argue Halo with me, if there is one thing I know that is it.

I can find quotes if you like.

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