Those millions upon millions of dollars Microsoft has been racking up with subsequent three-year Halo releases? Yeah, that’s not enough for them.
Microsoft VP Phil Spencer has told IGN that, “I think one Halo game every three years — which was kind of our old cadence — is probably not frequent enough.” Is there any logical reason for this? Halo has staying power, right? Halo 2 remained the most played game on Xbox Live until the original hardware was cut off, and Halo 3 remains in the top five since it launched, never moving. Suddenly, it all comes into view:
“Kudos to Activision because they’ve done a good job building a good game, continuing to release each year and I think the fans feel like it’s a good thing that they do that.”
Notice he makes no mention of franchise fatigue, the irritation people have with the studio, or possible loss of interest with annual releases. To clarify, each Halo release, save for ODST and Halo Wars, was an event. Releasing one Halo game a year is the worst case scenario, killing the power the game is able to build over the course of multiple years. It becomes expected, unexciting, and predictable. Waiting at Microsoft’s E3 press conference for whatever new Halo announcement is traditionally one of the best parts of the show, plus not knowing if they’ll have something.
With Reach, many see the Halo saga as completed, Bungie completing their story and moving onto other things. You’d be a fool to think it’s the end of the series; there is far too much at stake financially to just let it sit. However, once they start coming down the pipe yearly, that magic is lost and you’ll never regain it. Just ask Activision how their Tony Hawk series is doing these days.