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It's Time For A Change


Hi, my name is Ben, I'm a hardcore Halo/Bungie fan, and I'm glad that Halo: Reach is Bungie's last Halo game.

   Do I think that Bungie is a bad developer, or that their ruining the Halo franchise? Of course not, I've absolutely loved every single Bungie developed Halo game so far.

   Do I think that another developer could make a better Halo game than Bungie? Not really, Bungie created the Halo universe and they know it better than anyone else.

   Then why am I glad that Halo: Reach is Bungie's last Halo game? It's simple, the fans are holding them back.

   My son and I have been playing the Halo: Reach beta every single day since it went live on the 3rd. My inital impression the first time I played it? I hated it. Now this is coming from someone who has read every single Halo novel, participated in every single Bungie community event since Halo: Combat Evolved came out, bought more swag from than you can shake a stick at, read every single Bungie Weekly Update, and has been a member of since the beginning. I am extremely excited about the single player campaign for Halo: Reach, but so far I am not that impressed by the multiplayer.

My problems with the Halo: Reach beta go farther than just the weapons, gametypes, maps, or gameplay. My problem is that Halo's fanbase has Bungie on such a short leash that they are unable to bring Halo's multiplayer into the modern age. Now I know that this is "just a beta" and that "things could change", but I particpated in the Halo 3 beta and while some things did change, overall it was the same game from the beta.

In the years since Halo cemented first person shooters as a dominant genre on consoles, Halo's multiplayer hasn't changed that much, while companies like Infinity Ward have really raised the bar in terms of character progression, rewards, and features. While armor abilities feel like Bungie's way of acknowledging these advances in modern first person shooters, they don't go far enough. At this point the ability to "run" should be a standard feature in all first person shooters, kind of like the ability to "jump". Especially when you factor in the fact that in Halo your playing as genetically enhanced supersoldiers wearing highly advanced armor that further enhances their abilities.

And why even bother with loadouts if you can't customize them? That's what makes loadouts awesome in Modern Warfare, that ability to customize them to your own personal play style. And why take out the Battle Rifle? Why can't the DMR and the Battle Rifle coexist? You know what they say about someone who tries to make everyone happy? They end up making nobody happy.

I feel like, and of course I may be completely off here, Bungie probably would be willing to take more of the features that the Call of Duty and Modern Warfare games have brought to the table and incorporate them into Halo were it not for the inevitable public outcry from the Halo community. In recent years, the Call of Duty and Modern Warfare games have become so popular that many have begun taking sides: either your a Halo player or a Call of Duty/Modern Warfare player. I am both and that is why I would like to see a merger of the two. As soon as Bungie announced that Halo: Reach would have "loadouts", fans immediately began to cry foul.

I just hope that whoever develops the next non-Bungie Halo game doesn't let the fans scare them into just rehashing what has already been done. Don't be scared to take the franchise, and more specifically the multiplayer, in new and fresh directions. Bring Halo's muliplayer into the modern age. Give us a game where the ability to "run" is as normal as the ability to "jump", or where 60fps is the norm. Don't treat Halo like it exists in a vacuum, look at what has become standard in other modern first person shooters and see where it can be improved upon.

In closing let me just say that if you need proof that fans can ruin a franchise you need look no further than Socom. Socom: Confrontation for the PS3 is a prime example where trying to please the hardcore fans ruined the game. Socom 3 was easily the best Socom game (and if you don't agree with this then you are part of the problem), not only did it finally feature Navy Seals that could swim (gasp!), it featured double the player count of Socom 2, awesome vehicles, wepons and attachments, and ginormous maps. But Slant Six let the hardcore fans bully them into making a game that was a step backward from Socom 3, and then those same fans still bitched because it wasn't made by Zipper and it was just more of the same.


To be clear, I now like the Halo: Reach beta much more than I did when I first tried it, but I still can't shake that feeling that it's not enough.

So my advice to developers: Don't be afraid to break the mold.