Halo 4 Dev: “Nothing’s ever easy when you’re creating a game”
Halo 4 is set to reinvent Bungie’s game for a new audience, but according to creative director at 343 Industries, Josh Holmes, it hasn’t been easy…
With 343 Industries set unveil new Halo 4 live action trailers any day now, we thought it would be a good time to focus on the one thing that 343 has had to bottle during the development of Halo 4 – that elusive thing that makes Halo, Halo.
Of course, it’s probably something different for everyone, but 343 is hopeful it has managed to successfully harness Halo’s magic as well as building on the whole experience extensively.
Creative director at 343, Josh Holmes thinks, though it hasn’t been easy, the studio has made the best Halo game yet…
X360: Was it important for Halo 4 to have recognisably ‘Halo’ moments?
Josh Holmes: “Nothing’s ever easy when you’re creating a game, but it wasn’t challenging to recognise the core of what a Halo game should be.
“One of the things we did with our team was bring people together that have a really deep knowledge of Halo and a deep appreciation of Halo.
“I think right from the get-go we had a team that really understood that ‘30 seconds of fun’ and everything else that defines Halo, but the bigger challenge for us was gaining the confidence to allow us to deviate from where Halo has been.
“If you go back two-plus years, I think we were on a road to play it too safe and it was really up to us to find that confidence and recognise the things we want to respect and carry forward, as well as the areas we wanted to innovate and take risks.
“I think if we hadn’t done that, if we hadn’t given ourselves the freedom, we wouldn’t have the game we have today.”
X360: Was it difficult attempting to redesign the Master Chief?
Holmes: “When we started on the project we stripped down a lot of the elements and we went back to square one to re-examine what it is that makes the Master Chief who he is, both as a character and also as a hero.
“What are the things he needs to do and different elements of the Spartan program and the Mjolnir armour and the capabilities that provides… from there we look at the types of action we could have in gameplay and the types of action we want the player to experience.
“We wanted this feeling of taking control of an incredible gifted and physically agile and powerful warrior.”
X360: Just how advanced is Halo 4’s new engine?
Holmes: “We started with the Reach gameplay engine, which is an evolution of all past Halo games. When you look at Halo’s visuals, over time there’s been that core gameplay base that’s been changed and built upon, but all of the supporting systems – the rendering, the lighting, the audio – these have all been completely re-written from the ground up and dramatically overhauled. All of that is in service to the experience we want to create and the art’s vision.
“The familiarity of the gameplay is there and that’s a feel we really wanted to preserve. That’s a big part of the Halo experience, but the shiny wrapper has been completely overhauled.”
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