Bungie Called It Halo, Microsoft Added "Combat Evolved"

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Posted by MattBodega (1906 posts) -

Today's weird video game historical anecdote comes courtesy of Bungie designer Jaime Griesemer, who worked on all three of the main series Halo games. In an interview with Edge Magazine (as reported by CVG), Griesemer was asked what he thought of the original Halo's famous subtitle, "Combat Evolved." Apparently, he--and the rest of Bungie--hated the subtitle
 

"Oh, man... the subtitle... At the time, Microsoft marketing thought Halo was not a good name for a video game brand. It wasn't descriptive like all the military games we were competing with."


 The infamous subtitle.

Weird, right? On the one hand, Halo is such a well-known franchise that any discussion of Halo only conjures up images of Halo. For me, Halo means Master Chief and Cortana and warthogs and ring worlds. It evokes combat and battle on its own. On the other hand...Microsoft has a point. The word "halo" on its own doesn't necessarily sound like the title of a first-person shooter. It doesn't sound like a game that would have guns or aliens or spaceships in it. Would Halo have been such a crazy success if people thought it was a game about angels and cherubs? 
 
And so, Microsoft and Bungie met each other in the middle...at the colon:

"The compromise was they could add a subtitle. Everyone at Bungie hated it. But it turned out to be a very sticky label and has now entered the gaming lexicon to the point where articles that have nothing to do with Halo get titles like 'Skateboarding Evolved'. So I guess in hindsight it was a good compromise."

"Combat Evolved" is a particularly weird subtitle, in retrospect, because it doesn't reveal anything about what the game is about: all it does is suggest what the game is. We all know that Halo is about fighting, so a subtitle like "Combat Evolved" becomes redundant. It would be like if there was a game called, "Metal Gear Solid: Sneaking Rediscovered." Or maybe, "Blur: Red Shell Reborn."
 
Actually, that last would be a pretty fresh subtitle if it wasn't so litigious.
 
What do you folks think of the "Combat Evolved" subtitle? Do you think you would have purchased the original Halo without the subtitle in question? And what are some other redundant subtitles you'd like to see for game franchises?

#1 Posted by MattBodega (1906 posts) -

Today's weird video game historical anecdote comes courtesy of Bungie designer Jaime Griesemer, who worked on all three of the main series Halo games. In an interview with Edge Magazine (as reported by CVG), Griesemer was asked what he thought of the original Halo's famous subtitle, "Combat Evolved." Apparently, he--and the rest of Bungie--hated the subtitle
 

"Oh, man... the subtitle... At the time, Microsoft marketing thought Halo was not a good name for a video game brand. It wasn't descriptive like all the military games we were competing with."


 The infamous subtitle.

Weird, right? On the one hand, Halo is such a well-known franchise that any discussion of Halo only conjures up images of Halo. For me, Halo means Master Chief and Cortana and warthogs and ring worlds. It evokes combat and battle on its own. On the other hand...Microsoft has a point. The word "halo" on its own doesn't necessarily sound like the title of a first-person shooter. It doesn't sound like a game that would have guns or aliens or spaceships in it. Would Halo have been such a crazy success if people thought it was a game about angels and cherubs? 
 
And so, Microsoft and Bungie met each other in the middle...at the colon:

"The compromise was they could add a subtitle. Everyone at Bungie hated it. But it turned out to be a very sticky label and has now entered the gaming lexicon to the point where articles that have nothing to do with Halo get titles like 'Skateboarding Evolved'. So I guess in hindsight it was a good compromise."

"Combat Evolved" is a particularly weird subtitle, in retrospect, because it doesn't reveal anything about what the game is about: all it does is suggest what the game is. We all know that Halo is about fighting, so a subtitle like "Combat Evolved" becomes redundant. It would be like if there was a game called, "Metal Gear Solid: Sneaking Rediscovered." Or maybe, "Blur: Red Shell Reborn."
 
Actually, that last would be a pretty fresh subtitle if it wasn't so litigious.
 
What do you folks think of the "Combat Evolved" subtitle? Do you think you would have purchased the original Halo without the subtitle in question? And what are some other redundant subtitles you'd like to see for game franchises?

#2 Posted by SuperSambo (2868 posts) -

Why is this a post...

#3 Edited by MysteriousBob (6272 posts) -

This is not news. 
 

Online
#4 Posted by CaptainFish (454 posts) -

I think i remember hearing about Halo in mags waaay before it had that subtitle. Back when it was also going to be a pc game.

#5 Posted by Somadude (549 posts) -

To tell you the truth, I didn't even realise it had a subtitle.
#6 Posted by ColinWright (741 posts) -
@SuperSambo: Slow news day. Just like 89% of everything Kotaku posts.
#7 Edited by sixghost (1679 posts) -

To use your example of MGS, didn't that game have a subtitle of "Tactical Espionage Action"? I'm not 100% sure if it was an official subtitle, but it was definitely on the cover of the game.

If the title of a new IP doesn't convey what the game is about, I don't see what's wrong with adding a subtitle like this.

Also, I don't agree that "everyone knew Halo was about fighting". The enthusiast crowd probably did, but they aren't the only ones buying games.

#8 Posted by Frodo (2 posts) -

read this in Edge couple weeks ago.

#9 Posted by fwylo (3556 posts) -

Interesting to know.  I never purchased the original Halo so it doesn't even matter to me. 
 
But I definitely see why Microsoft would want to do something like changing the name like that.  The game was definitely an evolved form of combat compared to the current shooters of that time.

#10 Posted by TooWalrus (13218 posts) -

Fantastic.

#11 Posted by MrKlorox (11209 posts) -

In other news, I hear Rockstar won't be showing anything the public would get to know about this E3.

#12 Posted by OmegaPirate (5522 posts) -

Isn't Metal Gears subtitle :- Tactical Espionage action - kinda the same thing? 
 
And yeah i wanna rename blur now xD

#13 Posted by crusader8463 (14422 posts) -

I never new that it, or any of them for that matter, had a subtitle.

#14 Posted by Bawabus (34 posts) -

Maybe I'm crazy, but the reason I came to giantbomb as opposed to other places was because they didn't jump on all the dumb 'news' stories that pop up over the course of a day. I'd rather watch videos of them having short conversations around the office about LITERALLY anything.

#15 Posted by Meltbrain (2973 posts) -
@Bawabus said:
" Maybe I'm crazy, but the reason I came to giantbomb as opposed to other places was because they didn't jump on all the dumb 'news' stories that pop up over the course of a day. I'd rather watch videos of them having short conversations around the office about LITERALLY anything. "
Agreed.
#16 Posted by louiedog (2335 posts) -
@Bawabus said:
" Maybe I'm crazy, but the reason I came to giantbomb as opposed to other places was because they didn't jump on all the dumb 'news' stories that pop up over the course of a day. I'd rather watch videos of them having short conversations around the office about LITERALLY anything. "
They didn't replace the stuff you like with this new coverage. If you don't want to read it, don't click the link.
#17 Posted by bonbolapti (1612 posts) -

Well Metal Gear Solid: Tactical Espionage Action is the same bloody thing isn't it? :P
 
To be honest, if I just saw it as Halo I probably wouldn't have thought twice about it. That "Combat evolved" is an extra push for some people.
 
and see, dude said it was a good compromise.

#18 Edited by MysteriousBob (6272 posts) -
@louiedog said:

" @Bawabus said:

" Maybe I'm crazy, but the reason I came to giantbomb as opposed to other places was because they didn't jump on all the dumb 'news' stories that pop up over the course of a day. I'd rather watch videos of them having short conversations around the office about LITERALLY anything. "

They didn't replace the stuff you like with this new coverage. If you don't want to read it, don't click the link. "
Its dragging the whole tone of the site down. Giant Bomb was once a quality gaming site but this 'new Brad' seems content on destroying it. Giant Bomb posts what matters, not random shit like the title of some crappy game. It isn't news, its just useless filler. If I wanted pointless garbage, I'd visit Kotaku. Its not whether or not I read it, its whether or not the community just rolls with it which in turn leads to an overall decline.
 
Please tell me this guy's employment is temporary. 
 

Online
#19 Posted by AlwaysAngry (2924 posts) -

Wow you guys are assholes. 
 
Good article, Matt.

#20 Posted by WinterSnowblind (7617 posts) -

This might have been a cool story if it weren't so old.   This was known for a very long time, and the quote here is from an EDGE magazine, a few months back.
 
Why are gaming news sites reporting on it now?  More importantly, why is this spam on GiantBomb?  I prefered the philosphy of quality over quantity, I don't need a carbon copy of Kotaku.

#21 Posted by MysteriousBob (6272 posts) -
@AlwaysAngry said:
" Wow you guys are assholes.  Good article, Matt. "
No, its not a fucking good article. He's just regurgitating shit. Anyone can do it. Just because you lack any critical ability, doesn't mean everyone who can be critical is 'an asshole'. Go back to Kotaku, Giant Bomb was created people that aren't you.
Online
#22 Posted by Cube (4366 posts) -

This is some fucking good news, I love hearing about the subtitles of 9 year old games.  

#23 Posted by Afroman269 (7387 posts) -

Finally a somewhat interesting read.

#24 Posted by ProfessorEss (7398 posts) -

Touchy bunch.

#25 Posted by AlwaysAngry (2924 posts) -
@MysteriousBob said:
" @AlwaysAngry said:
" Wow you guys are assholes.  Good article, Matt. "
No, its not a fucking good article. He's just regurgitating shit. Anyone can do it. Just because you lack any critical ability, doesn't mean everyone who can be critical is 'an asshole'. Go back to Kotaku, Giant Bomb was created people that aren't you. "
i know n the worst part of dis article is da people forcing u to reed it
#26 Posted by Ace829 (2083 posts) -

Oh look! A bunch of children complaining about more video game news! Let's watch them bawwwwwwww!

#27 Posted by Foggen (861 posts) -

I always hated the subtitle.  I think people who refer to Halo as Halo CE or just CE are insane.

#28 Posted by Dustpan (1694 posts) -

#29 Posted by RE_Player1 (7560 posts) -

Is this breaking news or something?

#30 Posted by ArchScabby (5809 posts) -
@MysteriousBob said:
" @AlwaysAngry said:
" Wow you guys are assholes.  Good article, Matt. "
No, its not a fucking good article. He's just regurgitating shit. Anyone can do it. Just because you lack any critical ability, doesn't mean everyone who can be critical is 'an asshole'. Go back to Kotaku, Giant Bomb was created people that aren't you. "
I really wish it didn't have people like you either, because you acting like a complete dick is really making the site better.
 
On topic though I like the Combat Evolved subtitle, I don't know why I just do. I'm glad they put it in.
#31 Posted by PISTOLcm (126 posts) -
@Cube: Maybe not, but the franchise is still relevant. And the question of whether the subtitle brought the franchise its current success is a valid, and interesting question. 
 
Also, i'm amazed at the amount of righteous GB fanboys who have commented about the news this past week. If you don't like it, don't read it, and don't pretend you're some relic of some past Giantbomb community who read way cooler news before [name] started posting.
#32 Posted by RE_Player1 (7560 posts) -
@MysteriousBob said:
" @AlwaysAngry said:
" Wow you guys are assholes.  Good article, Matt. "
No, its not a fucking good article. He's just regurgitating shit. Anyone can do it. Just because you lack any critical ability, doesn't mean everyone who can be critical is 'an asshole'. Go back to Kotaku, Giant Bomb was created people that aren't you. "
Exactly. People think if they defend journalists on the internet they'll become their friend. There is nothing wrong with criticism, this was a bad article. Also Matt don't let the criticism bring you down, your an intern its your job to f*** up and learn from your mistakes, thats what makes you become better. 
#33 Posted by MrKlorox (11209 posts) -
@WinterSnowblind: Nice alliteration there at the end.
#34 Posted by Cube (4366 posts) -
@AlwaysAngry said:
" @MysteriousBob said:
" @AlwaysAngry said:
" Wow you guys are assholes.  Good article, Matt. "
No, its not a fucking good article. He's just regurgitating shit. Anyone can do it. Just because you lack any critical ability, doesn't mean everyone who can be critical is 'an asshole'. Go back to Kotaku, Giant Bomb was created people that aren't you. "
i know n the worst part of dis article is da people forcing u to reed it "
I know being a dumbass 14 year old is what dumbass 14 year olds are supposed to do, but hear me out on this one: 
 
It's not about forcing someone to read it. It's about a site which was created with a base that said "Gaming news has become stale", and purposely avoided reporting on news in a fashion like Kotaku does. Now it seems they've said, "Well we're not coming out with anything new or interesting so we might as well hire a couple of guys to do what we said we wouldn't do, at least people can't complain about lack of content. Who cares about the quality or punctuality of the news?" 
#35 Posted by WinterSnowblind (7617 posts) -
@Ace829 said:
" Oh look! A bunch of children complaining about more video game news! Let's watch them bawwwwwwww! "
Sorry, but I was under the impression GiantBomb was created to avoid this style of news.
They're reporting on the same very old piece of regurgiated news as every other gaming site.  Eurogamer, Kotaku, Joystiq, Destructoid, etc.  They all just happen to post this today, months after it was actually said? 
 
I'm not trying to be immature about it, but honestly.  Why?
#36 Edited by ProfessorEss (7398 posts) -
@ArchScabby said:

On topic though I like the Combat Evolved subtitle, I don't know why I just do. I'm glad they put it in. "

It's never bothered me but it's always sounded like pure marketing to me.
 
"[insert word here] Evolved" has got to be one of the most used marketing expressions ever.
#37 Posted by AlwaysAngry (2924 posts) -
@Cube said:
" @AlwaysAngry said:
" @MysteriousBob said:
" @AlwaysAngry said:
" Wow you guys are assholes.  Good article, Matt. "
No, its not a fucking good article. He's just regurgitating shit. Anyone can do it. Just because you lack any critical ability, doesn't mean everyone who can be critical is 'an asshole'. Go back to Kotaku, Giant Bomb was created people that aren't you. "
i know n the worst part of dis article is da people forcing u to reed it "
I know being a dumbass 14 year old is what dumbass 14 year olds are supposed to do, but hear me out on this one:  It's not about forcing someone to read it. It's about a site which was created with a base that said "Gaming news has become stale", and purposely avoided reporting on news in a fashion like Kotaku does. Now it seems they've said, "Well we're not coming out with anything new or interesting so we might as well hire a couple of guys to do what we said we wouldn't do, at least people can't complain about lack of content. Who cares about the quality or punctuality of the news?"  "
Look, I don't want to get into it, but I'm just going to say this: Giant Bomb is still posting the great videos they usually post. Having a few short articles like this on the side doesn't hurt. If you don't enjoy, get over it. If this was affecting how many videos were posted and other things, it would be different. But it's not, it's purely extra content for the people that will enjoy it. If you don't like it, nobody is forcing you to read it and there's still other content on this site. I like the article, I thought it was nice to just take a little break, find out something about Halo I never knew before, and just continue on. Is that so fucking wrong!?
#38 Posted by Conojo (148 posts) -
Pretension's runnin' high and heavy in this comment section. Guess it's time to put on our finest monocles and gaming sundry, haul out the whuppin sticks, and give these new writers what for! 
 
Here's to the good old days! When they only talked about the news that matters! News such as...well...oh! There was that time Brad wrote an article about how much he loved Viva Pinata music, years after its release! People loved that shit! 
 
Yah this article isn't the greatest solely because it feels like it's just been published since all the other gaming sites have put up a similiar article as well. But any man who decries these news stories and wishes for a return to "the good ol' days" of Giant Bomb is a blustering shit-bag, who likely hates these new writers because they have a job shit-bag so desperately, enviously wants
#39 Posted by Vinchenzo (6192 posts) -

I just started reading the comments, and the general outlook is the same as mine. In other words, this article is lame. So are all the other articles like this. Lame shit.

#40 Edited by Ace829 (2083 posts) -
@WinterSnowblind:  It was just reported yesterday by other sites if I remember correctly. And I actually thought Giant Bomb was created because they wanted to talk about video games without any interference from their bosses like "CNET". Even if they were created to avoid this style of news I don't understand why they can't change their mind about it. It isn't "cluttering up the forums" or "useless news" like everyone is claiming because if we didn't have the new staff members posting this news it would just be posted by a regular user instead.
#41 Posted by Cube (4366 posts) -
@AlwaysAngry said:
" @Cube said:
" @AlwaysAngry said:
" @MysteriousBob said:
" @AlwaysAngry said:
" Wow you guys are assholes.  Good article, Matt. "
No, its not a fucking good article. He's just regurgitating shit. Anyone can do it. Just because you lack any critical ability, doesn't mean everyone who can be critical is 'an asshole'. Go back to Kotaku, Giant Bomb was created people that aren't you. "
i know n the worst part of dis article is da people forcing u to reed it "
I know being a dumbass 14 year old is what dumbass 14 year olds are supposed to do, but hear me out on this one:  It's not about forcing someone to read it. It's about a site which was created with a base that said "Gaming news has become stale", and purposely avoided reporting on news in a fashion like Kotaku does. Now it seems they've said, "Well we're not coming out with anything new or interesting so we might as well hire a couple of guys to do what we said we wouldn't do, at least people can't complain about lack of content. Who cares about the quality or punctuality of the news?"  "
Look, I don't want to get into it, but I'm just going to say this: Giant Bomb is still posting the great videos they usually post. Having a few short articles like this on the side doesn't hurt. If you don't enjoy, get over it. If this was affecting how many videos were posted and other things, it would be different. But it's not, it's purely extra content for the people that will enjoy it. If you don't like it, nobody is forcing you to read it and there's still other content on this site. I like the article, I thought it was nice to just take a little break, find out something about Halo I never knew before, and just continue on. Is that so fucking wrong!? "
It feels wrong when the site does a complete 180 on the philosophy that made them popular/liked in the first place. Giant Bomb was never a news feed, and it was never a review site. The video content is lacking (mailbags and video things are non-existent or rare if any these days), the only thing I can see being done is TNT and that's once a week.
#42 Posted by Gamer_152 (14080 posts) -

Man, people are mad that this story has been kicking around for a while. Personally I've always found the subtitle on the end of Halo pretty weird, I think it probably boosted sales for Microsoft but it would have still done well without it.

Moderator
#43 Posted by ProfessorEss (7398 posts) -
@Cube said:
It feels wrong when the site does a complete 180 on the philosophy that made them popular/liked in the first place. Giant Bomb was never a news feed, and it was never a review site. The video content is lacking (mailbags and video things are non-existent or rare if any these days), the only thing I can see being done is TNT and that's once a week. "
Problem is it's the new guys who are always getting chewed out about this for some reason when I assume they're just doing what they've been told to do.
#44 Posted by deadly_polo (471 posts) -

Interesting news, but what's with all the hate? GB is not like Kotaku since it doesn't tell every story known to man, all it is doing is giving us another person's viewpoint on the angle. I accept that Giant Bomb was started with Jeff saying 'if you want all the news go to Kotaku', but to grow Giant Bomb has to expand what it does, 'News' has to have news.

#45 Posted by ArchScabby (5809 posts) -
@ProfessorEss said:
" @ArchScabby said:

On topic though I like the Combat Evolved subtitle, I don't know why I just do. I'm glad they put it in. "

It's never bothered me but it's always sounded like pure marketing to me.
 
"[insert word here] Evolved" has got to be one of the most used marketing expressions ever. "
Maybe it's nostalgia.  It was the first Xbox game I ever heard about when I was like twelve.
#46 Posted by Balizar (38 posts) -

I could see why Microsoft would want to give it the subtitle, because Halo doesn't say anything about the game. But if they would have just looked at the cover of the game, they would have known that it was not necessary. I will say though, that if the cover art was simply the Pillar of Autumn floating over the 1st Halo, then yes the Subtitle would have been important to explain to people what this game is. The could have called Call Of Duty 4 just that, but they added the Modern Warfare sub. that has spun off into its own franchise now. So i will say that the sub. in Halo's case was probably not needed, but i can also see were it could be a good idea.

#47 Posted by WickedCobra03 (2107 posts) -
" @AlwaysAngry said:
It feels wrong when the site does a complete 180 on the philosophy that made them popular/liked in the first place. Giant Bomb was never a news feed, and it was never a review site. The video content is lacking (mailbags and video things are non-existent or rare if any these days), the only thing I can see being done is TNT and that's once a week. "
Here is the thing.  IT'S SUMMER!  Dude, in past years, by the last week in April, the game industry died until Madden came out in August.  And guess what, I was fine with that.  It gives people a time for a break and catch up on games they missed, play though games again, play some multiplayer, get back into that long game that you either put off or started and put on the shelf until now.  But now in 2010, games are now coming out in summer and I for one am kind of not so keen on it.  I liked having 4 months or so just to have a good break where I could leisurely play games just how I wanted without being pressured from the onslaught of new games that I have to play. 
#48 Posted by sp1der1976 (59 posts) -

Seems to me Giant Bomb is changing,seems the guys have decided to hand over the news coverage to these new guys leaving them to get on with doing the things that make this site so special.  I.e the Video's.  Also lets be honest the previews and reviews coverage be more comprehensive.  They seem to have completely missed the ball on how huge Red-Dead was going to be. 
 
Change in anything we know and love is unsettling and sometimes difficult to cope with. Ultimately I have trust that the guys will experiment, listen and eventually do what is right for themselves, their site and their users. 
 
Maybe they've reached an end to the amount of users signing on and decided that one way to boost their user base is to have a specialist (new Brad and Matt) news team so that news gets updated more regularly.  Like in all of today's news-heavy outlets, be it internet, radio or TV there will be the occasional filler like this to beef up the output. 
 
In Jeff we trust.

#49 Posted by ZmillA (2272 posts) -

wow GB comment sections have gone to shit recently :D

#50 Posted by Tiwi (1401 posts) -

when did GB turn so elitist?

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