Though no one would call Halo 5 a bad game, for many, it was definitely a little underwhelming. While fun for the most part and easy on the eyes, fans felt a little bit alienated when they found themselves in the shoes of a character other than Master Chief for long portions of the campaign. Said character was Spartan Jameson Locke, and though he did have his moments, what people really want from a Halo game is the Chief, and the fifth instalment in the iconic series just didn’t give us enough of him.
Thankfully, it seems like 343 Industries have heard the criticisms levelled against their last outing and will be taking them to heart for Halo 6. That much was made clear in a recent interview that head honcho Frank O’Connor did with GamesTM, where he reflected on what went wrong and how they plan to improve from here. Among other things, he cites the storytelling as one of the areas where they caught the most flak, saying that the criticisms were definitely merited.
“We took some digs for storytelling in Halo 5, but they were absolutely merited. We very much realized that people wanted Master Chief’s story of Halo 5.
We definitely marketed in a way that we hoped was going to bring surprise, but for some fans and certainly fans of Master Chief, it was a huge disappointment because they wanted more Chief.
They loved Blue Team, they liked Osiris, but they wanted Chief. And that has been a big learning. Chief we tend to think of as kind of a vessel for your adventure rather than necessarily this major character in the universe. He’s really just your entry into the universe.
But people have become attached to him over the last fifteen years and they’ve started to sort of fill in the gaps that the character deliberately has for gameplay reasons with a genuine emotional attachment. We certainly underestimated that with Halo 5.
The effect that the character has on his surroundings and ‘the fate of the galaxy’ has had a resonant effect on fans over the years. It wasn’t that surprising to me, but the volume of ‘give us more Chief’ at the end of Halo 5 was significant and so I think if anything he’s slightly more important now than he has ever been, certainly to our franchise. Instead of focusing on bringing new characters into the world and expanding the playable characters we’ve sort of shifted the focus a little bit to making the world a little bit more realistic and compelling and, I would say, more fun for players who get to inhabit the Chief in the future, pretty much as they demanded.
There’s always a call and response element of shipping a game, you have to ship improvements, you have to ship tweaks and you have to ship changes and sometimes you have to walk some of those back.
Doubling down on Master Chief story and the amount of focus on him was probably the easiest learning from Halo 5. That was a really simple thing to absorb and embrace.”
It’s nice to hear that the studio is well aware of where they stumbled with Halo 5. Again, it was by no means an unenjoyable experience, but it was definitely the franchise’s weakest outing yet and, let’s face it, the story was pretty damn boring. There were other issues, too, of course, but that and the lack of Master Chief definitely didn’t help keep the disc in most people’s console tray for very long.
As for Halo 6, well, we know it’s coming, but that’s about all we can say right now. The studio still hasn’t gone into any detail on what they might have planned, but hearing that one of gaming’s most iconic characters will be back in the spotlight is certainly reassuring and we’re hopeful that it’ll represent a true return to form for the franchise.