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Ensemble Studios' Canceled Project Was Halo MMO

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the best-of-both-cash-cows dept.

PC Games (Games) 118

simoniker writes "Following the recent announcement that Microsoft-owned Age Of Empires creator Ensemble Studios would close after the completion of Halo Wars, Gamasutra has discovered that a now-canceled Halo MMO was in development at the studio, unearthing prototype UI and level screenshots of the Ensemble-developed project. The prototype art, which was at one point made available on an Ensemble-linked online artist portfolio website, further confirms previous rumors that the studio was working on an MMO based on the Bungie-created sci-fi franchise." We discussed the future closing of Ensemble Studios a couple weeks ago. The set of pictures which seem to be screenshots and graphic models from the canceled Halo MMO has been posted on Flickr. In other Halo news, Bungie may be teasing the announcement of the next game on their website.

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Bad News for Halo Wars? (3, Interesting)

jcnnghm (538570) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130009)

Perhaps Halo Wars isn't living up to the hype and expectations and Microsoft is looking to cut there losses. On the other hand, the AoE series was always excellent, so that would be pretty surprising.

Re:Bad News for Halo Wars? (2, Insightful)

Cathoderoytube (1088737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130161)

Maybe it's just me. But I never thought Halo had any potential to branch out into all these games they're trying to make it into. The entire series revolves around the life and times of Master Chief. Once you leave that it's pretty much as generic as carbon copy sci-fi shooters get (and it was pretty generic to begin with). I know they said the same thing about Super Mario (or at least for the sake of this argument they did) but in the case of those games all the characters weren't a bunch of space marines in green outfits.

Re:Bad News for Halo Wars? (2, Insightful)

icedcool (446975) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130299)

The original was fantastic.
The ringworld idea was executed very well, and everything tied together to make a really fun game, great multiplay and good coop.

When they tried to engineer fun is one of the many mistakes. Halo 2 had alot of problems too.

The biggest mistake I think was not stopping.

Re:Bad News for Halo Wars? (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#25135517)

Naah. The biggest mistake was selling out to Microsoft (which was done between Halo 1 and 2, IIRC). Microsoft bought the name, and screwed up the game.

Re:Bad News for Halo Wars? (0)

yayotters (833158) | more than 5 years ago | (#25131483)

Instead, they were plumbers in red and green outfits. ;]

Re:Bad News for Halo Wars? (2, Interesting)

Saint Fnordius (456567) | more than 5 years ago | (#25134557)

Well, the original version of Halo (pre-Microsoft) was to be a MMO game first and foremost, and Apple used to demo it at Mac events. Then Microsoft bought up Bungie, nerfed Oni and killed all development on Halo that wasn't XBox-relevant.

Kinda sad, really, that the dream of MMO Halo was never realised. The ringworld would have made an interesting battleground.

Re:Bad News for Halo Wars? (1)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 5 years ago | (#25137585)

I thought the original concept of Halo supposed to be an RTS (with online play of course), not an MMO.

http://halo.wikia.com/wiki/Pre_Xbox_Halo [wikia.com]

Good news for Goatse? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25130437)

You nerds love it!
http://goatse.cz/ [goatse.cz]

I call Shenanigans (1)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130043)

Those shots look stupid and fake. I think someone was having a laugh.

Re:I call Shenanigans (0, Offtopic)

martinw89 (1229324) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130123)

I personally believe the Tower of Pisa is photoshopped. I mean look at it! Fake.

I agree (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 5 years ago | (#25131491)

Given that MS turfed Turbine after the debacle that was Asheron's Call 2, and canceled at least one other MMO, you'd think they'd know better than to try something as ill-advised as this.

The only possible explanation that I can think of would be an attempt to leverage Live subscriptions further... but come on, really.

Re:I agree (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 5 years ago | (#25131961)

They also canned Citizen Zero which was being developed for X-Box Live here in Australia when things started to look a bit grim in their perceptions of how successful that console was going to be.

Re:I call Shenanigans (1)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25131657)

those are mockups not in-game screen shots. and the 3d models look pretty legit to me. if they're fake then someone with a lot of talent wasted a lot of time and effort to make such an elaborate fake.

WoW UI (2, Interesting)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130045)

anyone notice that one of the UI screenshots looked just like WoW, just done in glowing neon, without the gryphons on the end of the skillbar? heck even the inventory slots are on the end and look like bags.

Re:WoW UI (1)

lrbays (1208996) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130821)

Maybe it was actually a Limbo of the Lost II prototype.

Re:WoW UI (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#25131305)

It does, but 90% of all MMORPG's coming out all look like they ripped off the WoW UI. That's not terrible though. There are things that could be better about WoW's UI, but overall it's a pretty good basic system for controlling a character in such a world.

Re:WoW UI (1)

Guysmiley777 (880063) | more than 5 years ago | (#25134955)

Every MMO from now on is going to look "just like WoW, just done in __________________, without the gryphons on the end of the skillbar." (fill in the blank)

Look at Warhammer Online's UI as an example.

Microsoft figured that... (2, Insightful)

isBandGeek() (1369017) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130059)

We didn't need another WoW clone. They're right.

Re:Microsoft figured that... (3, Funny)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130137)

Do we "need" any games? GODYESWHATAMITHINKING!?! Uh sorry.

And... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25130087)

Nothing of value was lost.

Who cares (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25130091)

I don't, I guess maybe the people on this site that don't get out of their parents basement, they'd probably try and start a linux petition too if it wasn't canceled.

Guess what folks, Linux isn't commercially viable. No one of interest cares to develop for that toy OS.

Re:Who cares (-1, Troll)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130171)

Self-fufilling prophecy: this post will be modded down as troll because I imply that Linux does indeed sux, and for pointing out that mods who mod people down for insulting linux do indeed need to move out of their parent's basement. Also might get modded offtopic by people who don't realize I'm responding to the AC.

Re:Who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25131075)

No, your post was modded down because, like the AC above you, you droned on about a totally irrelevant topic.

And nothing of value was lost.. (1, Redundant)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130111)

PS : I love the smell of burning karma in the morning.

Re:And nothing of value was lost.. (4, Funny)

martinw89 (1229324) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130131)

I prefer to go past the movie cliches and nuke my karma.

By the way, have you heard of the GNAA?

Re:And nothing of value was lost.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25130141)

Huh? Of course something of value was lost... It's like a bug zapper: If the idiots are going there, they aren't flooding the other games.

Re:And nothing of value was lost.. (1, Insightful)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130367)

I have mod points but rather than spend them modding you up, I just have to post how much I agree.

Halo is without any doubt in my mind, the most over-rated game of all time, it's an 'ok' shooter with a fairly limp story and a main character with absoloutely and utterly no soul or 'coolness' at all, yet is promoted (and somehow loved) as some awesome hero character, frankly I don't know if I played and finished the same game as other gamers.

Certainly not a crap game but it's in no way as good as it's touted to be, to this day it eludes me.
Now Kratos,... that is a main character I can understand the love for, that guy sweats nuts and bolts, eats rocks, plows his women a minimum two at a time and 'wrecks that shit' in general - good times.

Re:And nothing of value was lost.. (3, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130455)

Don't forget that it seemed to borrow liberally from Half Life, but it didn't have nearly as good of a story as Half Life, nor the level design. Yet Halo seems to be unfairly credited as this innovative thing. In reality, Halo had many features cut when it was first moved from the Mac to the XBox and wasn't nearly the game that was promised. For many people however, it was their first experience at multi-player FPS as opposed to just playing against the computer. That multi-player experience is what so many enjoy, and why Halo is so highly regarded.

Re:And nothing of value was lost.. (1, Flamebait)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 5 years ago | (#25132009)

The funny thing is all the big FPS games that came before it that heralded the real dawn of FPS multiplayer. Quake II, Unreal then Unreal Tournament, Half Life, Counter-Strike just to name some of the big ones off the top of my head.

Yet NONE of those tried to make a MMO out of it. I dare say that most of the developers realized (quite rightly) that the stuff that generally makes for a good FPS has nothing to do with a good MMO. Making up the story/universe in an MMO is the easy part. Getting the gameplay and mechanics right.... that's the money-shot right there.

Re:And nothing of value was lost.. (2, Insightful)

oneiron (716313) | more than 5 years ago | (#25135069)

Latency is the issue for an FPS MMO. No 20 ping? No audience...

Re:And nothing of value was lost.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25132053)

what is it about having the name "ender" that seems to classify people as tightasses?

halo was intense and fun, single or multiplayer.
half life was fun for some, but hardly intense.

no grammar or spelling checks, no one will mod up an AC anyway ;)

Re:And nothing of value was lost.. (2, Insightful)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#25132861)

Halo was much, much more rooted in 'Marathon'. That was a Mac game, and one of the best Mac shooters ever. The plasma gun, in particular, and its charging up was a very Marathon touch. This is also because the same company, and many of the same employees, made both. I was upset when Microsoft bought Bungie and kept it off the Mac: it would have been a 'must-have' application for Mac owners, and a real incentive to get Macintoshes.

Re:And nothing of value was lost.. (0)

Khurath (1132397) | more than 5 years ago | (#25135323)

I can think of a lot of legitimate complaints you can level against Halo, not least of which is that it's not very original, but borrowing liberally from Half-Life of all things? I don't see it. Quite the contrary, the two games are so different that my friends can be readily divided into the pro-Halo camp and the pro-Half-Life camp, neither of which much likes the other's game. Let's compare the first game of each series.

The plot?. Halo has you playing a super-powered space marine, Half-Life has you playing a scientist in some sort of magic hazard suit. Halo is part of a long war, Half-Life happens moments after an experiment goes wrong and releases bestial alien creatures into Freeman's dimension. Halo's aliens are part of a spectacularly advanced and highly religious culture, Half-Life's aliens appear to be little more than beasts for much of the game. Halo's marines try (in vain) to help you, Half-Life's marines try to kill you. Halo's in the future on a ring world out in space, Half-Life is in the present (well, I guess the past now) in a secret research lab in the United States.

Enemies? Halo pits you against the Covenant, a highly organized military force armed to the teeth with rockin' plasma weaponry. Half-Life has you dealing with packs of wild alien monsters, many of which aren't at all sentient, and which seem to have no sense of military tactics nor any group cohesion. Perhaps you're trying to argue that the Flood = headcrabs + zombies? I guess they're rather similar, but you can't seriously be suggesting that Half-Life invented the headcrab concept.

Gameplay mechanics? Halo gives you an endlessly regenerating energy shield to keep you in the fight. Half-Life uses the traditional health pack system. The Chief can carry two weapons at a time, whereas Freeman has access to a bag of holding and totes around what, nine guns at a time? Halo has a independent melee and grenade buttons, in Half-Life both of those are part of the normal weapon list and you have to switch to them. Halo has your standard gameplay pausing cutscenes while Half-Life never leaves Freeman's perspective. Halo has ten independent stages while Half-Life seamlessly moves from one area to the next with just a brief line of white text to tell you that you're in a new "stage."

The similarities that come to mind are things that vastly predate both of them, like the aforementioned headcrabs. So, care to elaborate? They seem like two very different games to me.

Re:And nothing of value was lost.. (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#25135431)

Half-Life and Halo predominantly feature the armor you fight in. The armor in Halo looks very inspired by the suit from Half-Life.

Both games are about fighting aliens. In Half-Life, those aliens include head-crabs who turn people into zombie-like creatures. In Halo, you fight aliens including head-crabs which turn people into zombie-like creatures.

Half-Life didn't invent head-crabs, but playing Halo I couldn't stop seeing the influence Half-Life had.

Re:And nothing of value was lost.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25136851)

Don't forget Half Life borrowed liberally from Doom... and here we go turtles!

Re:And nothing of value was lost.. (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130739)

Halo is without any doubt in my mind, the most over-rated game of all time...

You've obviously never heard of Starcraft. Let me tell you about it. Starcraft was an RTS which is consistently touted as being the greatest RTS ever made, when, in fact, it did absolutely nothing special. It had a good story, that was it. Yet its fanboys will still tell you that it was the greatest RTS ever crafted (and that it wasn't just "Warcraft in space", which it most certainly was). That, my friend, is almost the very definition of "most over-rated game of all time".

Say what you want about Halo (and I do disagree that it's particularly overrated... it is to some extent, but it's a fun game with an excellent story, which is enough for me), but at least I have yet to hear anyone, even fanboys, proclaim it to be the best FPS of all time.

Re:And nothing of value was lost.. (1)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130885)

but it's a fun game with an excellent story,

Well that's most definitely your opinion, thanks to the internet we all get to share ours, I disagree good sir, very much - and so be it, glad you enjoyed it

but at least I have yet to hear anyone, even fanboys, proclaim it to be the best FPS of all time.

Are we using the same internet? I'm not sure that we are,...?

Re:And nothing of value was lost.. (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 5 years ago | (#25131015)

Are we using the same internet? I'm not sure that we are,...?

Sure? I mean, it seems plausible to me, let's go with it. I specifically didn't deny the possibility that such claims could exist toward Halo, but I seriously have yet to hear anyone proclaim it to be the best FPS of all time. In fact, given the gamers I've interacted with on the intertubes, I wouldn't be willing to stake a claim that there's any consensus at all as to what the best FPS of all time is. Every other genre seems to have one or two favorites, but FPS has always seemed to be rather fractured to me.

Re:And nothing of value was lost.. (1)

Benaiah (851593) | more than 5 years ago | (#25131639)

Starcraft single player was average, and the multiplayer was good.
Brood wars, was average single player, but had the perfect blend for multiplayer. balanced and diverse, with fast paced 5minute games and hour long marathons all possible. It requires the perfect blend of skill, macro strategy and micro (too much mirco for me but meh) and the game has had more patches then a typical MMO. Blizzard supports its games long after they are released and keeps the players happy.

It really is a great game, that has aged well. There are games that look pretty and play like crap and will age poorly (see Crysis) and there are those that are around 10 years old and still being played, Quake 3, Starcraft, Diablo 2, Dota.

Re:And nothing of value was lost.. (1)

AdamHaun (43173) | more than 5 years ago | (#25132157)

Total Annihilation was better!

(Sorry, still a little bitter over that one :-p)

Re:And nothing of value was lost.. (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25132869)

That depends on what you're looking for. Starcraft was tightly designed with everything having a purpose (and sometimes more than one), TA felt like a random mishmash of unit ideas with the thought that more = better.

Re:And nothing of value was lost.. (2, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25132829)

Blizzard doesn't do "innovative", they do "right". Starcraft wasn't something terribly new (though RTSes didn't have such diverse factions before it) but it was so well made it was simply better than the competition. If you look at (semi-recent) Blizzard games that's how they all go, not very innovative but very well done and always outperforming the competition. And what they do best is mass-market appeal. There are always the niche games with their fans that scoff at the lack of depth in the mainstream games but maybe the mainstream really doesn't WANT that much depth.

And just as Blizzard won markets with mass-market appeal so did Halo.

Re:And nothing of value was lost.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25134203)

but it's a fun game with an excellent story,

wait theres a hero, hes the last of his kind and hes fighting an enemy that are destroying humanity for no reason. About half way through the game you go to find something to help you which unlocks a new enemy that are even worse than the original. yeah REAL great story there.

but at least I have yet to hear anyone, even fanboys, proclaim it to be the best FPS of all time.

Seriously take a look at the other halo story's on slashdot ("best console FPS ever, fuck goldeneye" is the sort of stuff that sticks out).

Re:And nothing of value was lost.. (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25135047)

Just because something isn't innovative and borrows heavily from other games does not disqualify it from being a very good game.

Sure, if you are trying to rate 'innovation' then yes, Starcraft was not very innovative. If you are trying to rank 'originality' then it wasn't very original either.

But something can be original, innovative, or both and still be a flop. Very often, innovative things will fail, and the next go round someone borrows from that innovation, refines it, and puts it into a good format. That is what Starcraft did. They took what worked, what was fun, and put it into a relatively quality package.

The next step in RTS innovation comes from games similar to Savage and Natural Selection, where the commander 'controls' units that are actual players. That makes for a very interesting game experience, but is still a long way to go before you end up with a successful product.

I'm just saying it takes a lot of innovative failures (using the term failure lightly) to make a success.

Re:And nothing of value was lost.. (1)

xhrit (915936) | more than 5 years ago | (#25135489)

>Sarcraft was an RTS which is consistently touted as being the greatest RTS ever made, when, in fact, it did absolutely nothing special. It had a good story, that was it.

Starcraft did not have a good story - mostly generic sci fi events, and the setting was lifted from warhammer 40k. Most 'craft fans doubt that blizzard ripped off 'hammer, but then I ask why blizzard hired Andy Chambers as their creative director for starcraft 2 right after he left games workshop.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Chambers [wikipedia.org]

Re:And nothing of value was lost.. (2, Interesting)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25132795)

Meh, Kratos feels like another one of those forced coolness characters like Dante (the DMC3 intro was so fucking cheesy...). Better than those emo suckers that seem to be all the rage as heroes these days but not by much.

Re:And nothing of value was lost.. (5, Interesting)

cyclomedia (882859) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133439)

The Halo-hype is best understood once you look at its historical context. Yes it wasn't the first ever FPS, not the first FPS with an immersive plot (at least one other posting here compares it to Half Life, something I immediatley recognised when playing it for the first time). What it was, however, was the first FPS that Console players were drawn to en-masse (see below for N64 goldeney note).

The simple fact of the matter was that prior to Halo mouse + keyboard was the only way to play an FPS with any degree of satisfaction, to the extent that Quake III for Dreamcast practically required you to buy these too. FPS's were very big on the PC platform at the turn of the century but had had a very rough time being accepted on the consoles for both this and cultural reasons (the same problem was faced by point and click management-em-ups like Civilisation, for example). Being an FPS nut at the time I found it very hard to get into the various console FPS's, include ports like Quake II on the PSX.

Most of the time this is because they got the controller setup fundamentally wrong and/or wouldn't let you configure your own. Most glaringly they insisted on having Forward,Back and yaw on the left stick, very very very rarely (if ever) were you afforded Forward, Back and strafe on one stick with pitch and yaw on the other. Often (and this is true for Doom on the GBA for example, I'd waited years for hand held Doom to be sorely dissapointed!) strafe was bunged on the shoulder buttons because the developers didn't know just how important they were. Halo got the controller config exactly spot on: you could effectively circle-strafe, and as such it became the first Console FPS that anyone could actually play.

The next major flaw was auto-aim, obvious to any mouser is the ability to aim in a fraction of a second to any pitch/yaw point around you and get a nice headshot, simply impossible on a console. Past FPS's usually had it take you an hour to line up a shot, drastically slowing things down and stunting the potential gameplay as a result. Halo got the autoaim spot on - it's so cunning you might never notice it's there - this combined with the ability to strafe allowed proper battles with hoards of baddies for the first time.

The offshoot of all of the above is that Halo was console gaming's Doom moment - N64's Goldeneye therefore might be similarly married up to Wolfenstein 3D. The half life (pun intended) of Doom has been immense, with an active community almost 15 years on, myself semi-inclulded. This is what we're seeing on the Consoles now, it looks so strange to us fogeys here, wishing the console kiddies would get off our lawns because whilst we can see that the game is well put together and the plot well executed we've seen it all before in one guise or another, but those "console kiddies" (apologies to those who are consolers but not kiddies anymore!) had not seen it before making it all new and exiting to them. Even though by our reckoning they're 15 years late.

Re:And nothing of value was lost.. (1)

Scooter's_dad (833628) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133767)

Interesting post with a spot-on analysis. If this old fogey had mod points, he'd use 'em.

Re:And nothing of value was lost.. (1, Flamebait)

MagdJTK (1275470) | more than 5 years ago | (#25134159)

The Halo-hype is best understood once you look at its historical context. Yes it wasn't the first ever FPS, not the first FPS with an immersive plot (at least one other posting here compares it to Half Life, something I immediatley recognised when playing it for the first time). What it was, however, was the first FPS that Console players were drawn to en-masse.

I'll give you that.

Most of the time this is because they got the controller setup fundamentally wrong and/or wouldn't let you configure your own. Most glaringly they insisted on having Forward,Back and yaw on the left stick, very very very rarely (if ever) were you afforded Forward, Back and strafe on one stick with pitch and yaw on the other. Often (and this is true for Doom on the GBA for example, I'd waited years for hand held Doom to be sorely dissapointed!) strafe was bunged on the shoulder buttons because the developers didn't know just how important they were. Halo got the controller config exactly spot on: you could effectively circle-strafe, and as such it became the first Console FPS that anyone could actually play.

No, no, no, no. Timesplitters was released for the PS2 as a launch title over a year before Halo 1. Halo's controls are directly ripped from this. TS also had totally configurable controls, again, a year before Halo. Also, despite TS essentially being a parody of every genre of FPS (and indeed action film) ever, it manages to have more innovation than Halo has in it's exoskeleton's little finger.

Honestly, the credit Halo gets for innovation... It's like telling a load of Tolkien fans how clever J.K. Rowling was to invent all those trolls and things.

Re:And nothing of value was lost.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25136687)

Wow.. you couldn't be more wrong.

It was just the recent variation did the Timesplitters series controls even remotely look like Halo's

"They've ripped a page right out of Halo's book and added a grenade button, a melee button, and fixed crosshairs in aim mode"

Also, their autoaim sucked balls till 2.

Re:And nothing of value was lost.. (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#25135539)

Simple answer: frat boys. It was the first shooter that the beer-swilling thumbless muppet crowd could get into, for whatever reason. Kind of a follow-up to Goldeneye on the N64, but with network play.

It's not a great game, but it sells for the same reason that Madden 200x sells... it's what everyone else is doing, and it's cool.

Just off the top of my head... (5, Interesting)

kneppercr (947840) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130145)

I wouldn't think a Halo MMO would be feasible. Its FPS. Hellgate failure anyone? (And i had high hopes for that one) with an EPIC main character which CAN be done, Conan does a half decent job of it but you can't let everyone play a spartan.

In Conan you are a warrior just like everyone else. You are better than common warriors in theory but everyone has the same potential that you do. The halo universe is extremely unbalanced. There are only X number of spartans, certainly not enough to populate an MMO. And playing Halo MMO as a marine would be more of a Team Fortress with experience and items type game. Not a bad idea for a game, but an idea that doesn't fit the Halo universe at all.

I also can't see the fans of the Halo gameplay appreciating roll-to-hit combat, nor do I see typical MMO players taking to the twitch and adrenalin style of play that would cater to the FPS gamers. You will end up alienating one full half of the group a Halo MMO appeal to.

There are exceptions to each rule (I like both styles of play myself and I really enjoy the story to Halo) but you have to appeal to a very large group of people to keep an MMO going. It was a smart decision to cancel the project and I appreciate the fact that they were willing to forgo some quick easy cash in order to work on something else.

Re:Just off the top of my head... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25130217)

I suspect that a Halo MMO wouldn't be either marines OR master chief clones. I seem to recall that the original products of the spartan project were way cheaper then master chief, just testing a few things that didn't involve major full-body surgery. The lead-up to halo 2 also revealed there was a genetic component that let their children get pretty much everything they had, which would make it more feasible to have a few thousand/ten-thousand/hundred-thousand of. I'm a little less sure, but I also seem to think that after humanity got into serious war the Spartan-2 project got shelved in favor of spartan-3 with the goal of mass-producing less capable but cheaper spartans.

So... it wouldn't be terribly unreasonable to be spartan 1.1's or spartan 3's. There are still serious problems (like where the battalions of regular marines you're supposed to be stiffening are) but you don't have the issue of a set number of spartans and the years of planning, the kidnapping, the body-ripping-apart-and-rebuilding surgery that would kill most of the subjects, and the years of training afterward to train new spartans.

out of my ass... (1)

globaljustin (574257) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130267)

You obviously know alot about MMO gaming but I think your conclusions are based on massive (heh) assumptions about the gameplay and how they were going to integrate this game into the Halo universe.

You talk about there "not being enough spartans..." and other limitations you foresee based on the Halo FPS storyline. Fact is, the game 'writers' could dream up any scenario they wanted to explain why there were more units. A post-apocalyptic alternate universe for example. The doors are wide open.

As far as players not appreciating MMO gameplay style, that's an open question. It's wrong to assume that Halo players are just mindless ADD addled button mashers. Halo has been around for years now, enough for gamers to have started playing in high school and now be post-collegiate professionals. Halo3 online consistently has about 300,000 players whenever I sign in to play. Sure *some* Halo players are button mashing pre-teens, but you're insinuating that they are the majority (and assuming that ADD button mashers don't like WoW).

Also, I know several specific cases of friends who will play anything Halo. They don't like WoW b/c of the fantasy aspect of it more than the gameplay (in the end...good gameplay transcends 'style' or game 'genre'). If a Halo MMO was at least comparable to WoW, they'd play.

Speaking of WoW comparisons...nothing is ever going to measure up. Basically WoW perfected the massive multiplayer genre (it's the Michael Jordan of the genre), and every MMOG after will be "just a WoW" clone. So what? Millions love MMOG, why isn't there room for a well designed, Halo-based, sci-fi version? I think there is plenty of potential gamers.

Re:out of my ass... (1)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130483)

Ultima Online perfected the MMO. EA shattered that perfection. WoW swept in and picked up the pieces.

Re:out of my ass... (1)

globaljustin (574257) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130559)

Ultima Online perfected the MMO. EA shattered that perfection. WoW swept in and picked up the pieces.

whoa...*steps back slowly trying not to make sudden moves*

I give, I give...

Re:out of my ass... (1)

beckje01 (1216538) | more than 5 years ago | (#25131179)

UO never, Meridian 59 all the way.

Re:out of my ass... (1)

xhrit (915936) | more than 5 years ago | (#25135651)

omg wtf?!

subspace ftw.

Re:out of my ass... (1)

kneppercr (947840) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130533)

You bring up a very good point, but there are canon related issues when such a huge change to things are made. Playing Spartan-3s would be very appealing and interesting, but when put into context of the rest of the universe it becomes harder and harder to hide that many secret people. I would love to see it done correctly, but I have doubts that it will ever exsist due to market saturation and gameplay balancing. On the whole MMOs are moving to be more PvP based because PvP content creates itself if you give it a framework. It is cheaper and easier to balance PvP and code a place for it to happen than it is to create a never-ending series of quests. And with PvP making such an impact it seems very out of place for one group of Spartans to be fighting another, and if you make a Covenent equal to them you run face first into the canon/continuity wall again. And as a sidenote, I apologize for insinuating that most Halo players are mindless zombies. They are zombies that routinely wipe my bleeding crying ass all over "Pit" and "Guardian". :)

Re:out of my ass... (1)

globaljustin (574257) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130869)

routinely wipe my bleeding crying ass all over "Pit" and "Guardian"

no kidding! I always get my ass handed to me in that DLC map...the one that's basically a warehouse with shipping containers all around...

MS Is Just Giving Up On The Xbox Fiasco (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25130337)

Everything you say is true about what makes MMORPGs successful and how it applies to Halo.

However, Microsoft has shown every indication over the past year that they are done with the console market:

* They pissed off the single major developer Bungie enough to make them force MS to let them leave

* They let studios like BioWare and Bizzare go off and become crossplatform developers

* They have made no new studios first party

* They have refused to spend money to seriously drop the price of the 360 to boost sales with the 360 hardware still losing money as of the middle of 2008 according to their own CFO

* The Xbox 360 is selling globally at an almost identical rate as the first Xbox. Microsoft only shipped 2 million new 360s worldwide for the first half of 2008. The only hope the 360 has to eek out a few million more sales than the 25 million selling Xbox is if they don't pull the plug on the 360 around the middle of 2009 which is the same length of time the Xbox had on the market

* They've had almost nothing new to show for a year now at major gaming shows. Their one major announcement in 2008 was that they are paying for a port of a game that is coming out six months to a year earlier in Japan on the PS3 and most likely won't be out for the 360 until early 2010.

* They appear to be giving up on the Halo/fratboy/20 something crowd and trying to target the Wii demographic which has been met with derisive responses from both the existing XBox and Wii crowd

With Microsoft looking to spend 40 billion on a stock buyback and dividend increases the days of throw billions at the console market appear to be winding down. After seven some years and over seven billion in losses with nothing to show for it Microsoft will most likely try this one last hail mary attempt of targeting the Wii crowd and then let the 360 and entire Xbox team quietly shut down.

Re:MS Is Just Giving Up On The Xbox Fiasco (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25130505)

With Microsoft looking to spend 40 billion on a stock buyback and dividend increases the days of throw billions at the console market appear to be winding down. After seven some years and over seven billion in losses with nothing to show for it Microsoft will most likely try this one last hail mary attempt of targeting the Wii crowd and then let the 360 and entire Xbox team quietly shut down.

...and then there'll be parties worldwide rejoicing the victory of sony. at least that's how it goes in the head of sony fanboys like yourself, but oddly enough the 360's "imminent demise" has been spouted by you tards since it's release and yet it just never seems to work out that way.

Re:MS Is Just Giving Up On The Xbox Fiasco (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130575)

You are forgetting one thing that the Xbox does. It makes Microsoft relevant. If Microsoft can stop being associated with Windows and Office which most people have issues with, and start being associated with the Xbox, they have mindshare. It also helps keep at least one product from being "generic", for example, Live Messenger can easily be replaced with Pidgin, or AIM, Office can be replaced with another word processor, Windows can be replaced with your favorite operating system, Live Search by Google/Yahoo/etc, the Zune with an iPod or generic MP3 player. The Xbox and Halo represent one thing that can't be a drop-in replacement. Just look at the video game feuds of the '90s, Sonic wasn't a drop-in replacement for Mario, Digimon wasn't a drop-in replacement for Pokemon, granted, both of them were successful, but it wasn't a drop-in replacement the way that if someone decided to take a Linux desktop, theme it perfectly like your XP desktop, theme OOo to be like Office, etc, and the person I doubt would ever notice a change. On the other hand, give someone who is playing Mario a Sonic game and they would notice the change.

Re:MS Is Just Giving Up On The Xbox Fiasco (1)

renegadesx (977007) | more than 5 years ago | (#25131323)

Digimon wasn't a drop-in replacement for Pokemon

You're funny, I like you

Re:MS Is Just Giving Up On The Xbox Fiasco (1)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 5 years ago | (#25135861)

"If Microsoft can stop being associated with Windows and Office which most people have issues with, and start being associated with the Xbox..."

Which most people have issues with (Red Ring). Sorry, but I just had to point that out. Even if they become more associated with XBox than Windows, they're still associated with a system known for failing.

Re:MS Is Just Giving Up On The Xbox Fiasco (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#25131279)

Wow, if you think MS is half-assing it I'd hate to hear what you think of Sony and their Delaystation.

Re:Just off the top of my head... (1)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130541)

It's a shame that so few of us are really able to accept the idea of having "betters" in an MMO. Personally, I always felt the most exciting moments of WoW were when I was a lower level character being victimised. Sure, it probably riled me, but as the levels progressed and the skill/win bandwidth between players narrowed, the game became far less emotionally interesting.

Re:Just off the top of my head... (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 5 years ago | (#25135335)

Which is fine, until the very first time said higher level calls you a newb, which seems inevitable.

It's fine if they can stay in character. They never do. There's never much RPG in MMORPG.

Re:Just off the top of my head... (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 5 years ago | (#25131007)

I wouldn't think a Halo MMO would be feasible. Its FPS. Hellgate failure anyone? (And i had high hopes for that one) with an EPIC main character which CAN be done, Conan does a half decent job of it but you can't let everyone play a spartan.

In Conan you are a warrior just like everyone else. You are better than common warriors in theory but everyone has the same potential that you do. The halo universe is extremely unbalanced. There are only X number of spartans, certainly not enough to populate an MMO. And playing Halo MMO as a marine would be more of a Team Fortress with experience and items type game. Not a bad idea for a game, but an idea that doesn't fit the Halo universe at all.

I also can't see the fans of the Halo gameplay appreciating roll-to-hit combat, nor do I see typical MMO players taking to the twitch and adrenalin style of play that would cater to the FPS gamers. You will end up alienating one full half of the group a Halo MMO appeal to.

There are exceptions to each rule (I like both styles of play myself and I really enjoy the story to Halo) but you have to appeal to a very large group of people to keep an MMO going. It was a smart decision to cancel the project and I appreciate the fact that they were willing to forgo some quick easy cash in order to work on something else.

They should have made it like Planetside or WWII Online. An MMO can be an FPS too.

Re:Just off the top of my head... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25131093)

Well you could have everyone be a covenant or marine versus each other and an ai race of the flood to earn prestige classes of elites, brutes, or spartans. You'd need a more stop and pop tactical system to make it work. Possibly with some sort of tactical perk system like COD and calling in air strikes, or whatever. Then RPG gear the crap out of it.

When it comes to apparently massively unbalanced games comes to mind I think of Aliens versus Predator. When I got good at the game I rocked a marine with a pulse rifle. And some of the people I played who were aliens were just freaks. How they could run them and ambush like that, just wow.

Not true. (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25131327)

If you read halopedia, the lore behind the haloverse is just as storied as that of wow, if not more so.

I think an MMO, or at least an rpg of some kind, would be a great means of guiding people through the story.

It worked for COH / COV (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#25132309)

Well, everyone being "super" worked perfectly fine for COH / COV.

The "normal" people in the COH / COV universe are the minions, the victims, etc. The civillians don't even have a level, in fact.

According to Statesman's intentions at one point, it would take about 3 minions _and_ a lieutenant to be a 50%-50% fight against a player. You know, better have an inspiration (potion) or two, if it starts going downhill. Bosses are nastier, but realistically only elite bosses are any danger to a hero. I've soloed elite bosses with a scrapper.

The trick there is that the minions _are_ generated in groups. Even the filler in a mission, if you solo it, routinely come in groups of 3 minions or 2 minions and a lieutenant, and now and then you face 2 groups at the same time. In a full 8-man group, you could face platoon-sized opposition.

The end boss can jolly well an elite boss if you solo it, or an archvillain / superhero if you're in a group. The latter are bad news, usually. You need the tank, and healer, and debuffer, and all that jazz to take them down.

Basically it manages to be challenging even if every single player is "super".

I find that that does a perfectly fine job of, well, having everyone be far above average. The roles below average are reserved for NPCs. There are thousands of NPCs there, whose role, really, is to provide the contrast and show how far above average you are.

I think the same could apply to any other genre.

- You could have everyone be Conan, or, heck, be Hercules himself. You don't _have_ to be yet another soldier. The common cannon fodder can be the NPCs. You could be the elite guy who dispatches common recruits in groups of 3 at a time, which is just as well, because they're spawned in groups.

- You could have a MMO where everyone is a Jedi. And I mean the demi-god Jedi of the original trilogy, not the toned down version in games, which are no better than someone playing a trooper. You could have each player parry blaster bolts and mangle 3 stormtroopers at a time, and, again, it only means you'll have to generate those stormtroopers in groups of 3. Have make each player class be a Jedi class (e.g., melee = Jedi guardian, etc) and let the common thrash be NPCs.

Etc.

It even allows for interesting classes like COV's Mastermind. It's a class which isn't "super" by itself, but can walk around with 6 (or a couple of combinations even 7 or 8) minions.

Again, that can apply to any setting. In a medieval setting, that could mean you can play a mercenary captain, if you don't want to be the burly super-human barbarian, or in a SF setting you could be an officer.

So basically, yes you _can_ let everyone play a spartan or anything else. Why not? If you're one in a million, even in modern day Earth, there'd be 6000 just like you. If you're as l33t as to be one in a _billion_, a planet like Coruscant would have a hundred natives like that, and the galaxy would have millions. It's plenty to populate a MMO server, and then some.

Re:Just off the top of my head... (1)

donatzsky (91033) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133783)

I also can't see the fans of the Halo gameplay appreciating roll-to-hit combat, nor do I see typical MMO players taking to the twitch and adrenalin style of play that would cater to the FPS gamers. You will end up alienating one full half of the group a Halo MMO appeal to.

Does it really have to be one OR the other? Take a look at Tabula Rasa (there's a free trial), it uses a system somewhere in-between that actually works really well.

So I take it... (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#25134087)

...you never played Planetside? That worked just fine. Something like that with the Halo universe would be equally pretty damn cool.

MMOs don't just have to be about farming the same mob over and over with a wizard or whatever.

Re:Just off the top of my head... (1)

odin84gk (1162545) | more than 5 years ago | (#25134999)

This may be too late for me to respond, but here it goes...

A true Halo MMO would be possible, but the way Ensemble was going about it was completely wrong. Ensemble was using magic and practically copying WoW. If they had read the Halo books and followed the story, it could have been great.

You would start out as a 5-year old human doing some basic puzzle scenarios. Jumping puzzles, vehicle training, ect (aka an extended tutorial). Then you get medical augmentations to increase your abilities (Non-magical). You don't get the spartan armor until 30, you don't get AI until 40, ect.

I agree that it is a bit limited, and it would go much better as a FPS, but its still possible.

Red Versus... um... (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130181)

This is most unfortunate. Never would there have been a more appropriate place to call someone a team-killing fucktard [wikiquote.org] .

OT. but (1)

Bandman (86149) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130289)

Can we have the Firefly MMO yet please?

Re:OT. but (2, Informative)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130473)

I remember reading about someone licensing a Multiverse engine and the Firefly property about 4 years back, and then never hearing about it again, but then tons and tons of MMOs were canceled in droves around that time.

http://www.multiverse.net/press/pr20080902buffy.jsp?cid=6&scid=9 [multiverse.net]

According to that fairly recent press release, Firefly is "delayed".

Re:OT. but (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#25131303)

I loved Firefly, but have no wish to see it bastardized into a videogame. That terrible movie follow-up was bad enough.

Re:OT. but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25135293)

Lets just remove the hackneyed sci-fi crap and the ninja girl and admit the appeal of this game would be playing a confederate holdout terrorist.

On the one hand... (1)

Rix (54095) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130343)

Wow, would this be a craptastic game, and the community would just be horrid.

On the other hand, it'd bleed off a lot of retards from other MMO's, so it's too bad it got canned.

I'm still waiting for Pimps at Sea! (2)

Flounder (42112) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130435)

And a sequel to Oni. Frogblast The Vent Core FOREVER!

Re:I'm still waiting for Pimps at Sea! (1)

mgbastard (612419) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130807)

Frog Blast the Ventcore, indeed.

Want some inspiration and satisfaction? Look in the internet archive, say March 2003, for marathon.com [archive.org]

Tagged bitch. We were bungie fans. Posterity.

It was either that or make it flash 'no blood for oil' every 100th visit... ;)

Epic Failure (1)

Layth (1090489) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130609)

How many times is HALO MMO going to be attempted and fail?

Oh man I can't help but laugh.
If I remember correctly, I'm pretty sure the original halo was supposed to be an MMO and spent years in development.

It was only after some time that they scrapped the idea for console instead.

Re:Epic Failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25132237)

Um... actually, it was supposed to be an RTS for the Mac, then it was going to be a third-person shooter for the Mac. Then they changed that to a first-person perspective. Then Bungie went and got bought-out by Microsoft.

They didn't just scrap the idea, it just evolved into an FPS.

Halo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25130617)

Good story, bad game.

MMO... bad story, bad game.

Jason Jones is too good for Microsoft (1)

mgbastard (612419) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130769)

Jason Jones & crew have more talent in their foreskin than any of these yahoos at Microsoft & Ensemble have in their whole brain. All hail the new independent Bungie. Game on.

Re:Jason Jones is too good for Microsoft (1)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130897)

I really, *really* do not want to know how you are so sure of that.

Re:Jason Jones is too good for Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25133795)

Unfortunately, they were circumsized.

Generic the MMO, more like (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#25131001)

It doesn't look like there was any great loss, it seems very generic. How on Earth do you take Halo and manage to get "burly bearded man with swords" and "sultry technicolour wizardess" or "leggy spandex laser girl"? The art style has about a 90% debt to WoW and CoH, and about a 10% debt to the franchise from which it was apparently spun.

Too Many MMOs (1)

wshwe (687657) | more than 5 years ago | (#25131553)

There are simply too many MMOs chasing too few players. A few years ago the economy could have sustained more MMOs, but not now.

Re:Too Many MMOs (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#25134119)

People could've said the same about WoW but WoW still managed to conjure up about an extra 7million players that weren't in the MMO market before it's arrival.

More and more people are coming online than ever before and the market is only increasing for MMOs.

What about MW4? (1)

BenJCarter (902199) | more than 5 years ago | (#25132125)

Halo is sweet, but what about piloting new mechs? It's been years since MS bought Mechwarrior. What's with the same old '04 Mechs that don't even run reliably on Vista. MW4 is 2,000 internet years old. That sucks.

Re:What about MW4? (1)

witherstaff (713820) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133833)

I have high hopes that the Robotech movie [wikipedia.org] will lead to some new and good Mecha games.

Re:What about MW4? (1)

xhrit (915936) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136409)

Look up "Spirit of Motherwill" on youtube.

Re:What about MW4? (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 5 years ago | (#25134685)

Actually, I'm glad that you bought up the subject of Mechwarrior because I thoroughly enjoyed Mechwarrior 4: Vengeance and won't sound like I'm trolling when I say that I really don't get the big hoohah about Halo.

No, I don't own a console, just a PC and I did play Halo I right through to the end. Yes, it was quite pretty but the AI sucked, particularly for the troops who were on your side trying to drive vehicles through rocks with you manning a gun turret, plus the tiny cackling aliens gave it a feel of "Sesame Street" rather than this wonderful science fiction epic.

As a fan of Doom, Quake, Unreal Tournament & Half-Life, I'm not spoilt for choice for FPS games but Halo was, for me, distinctly average. I had a go on a Halo network game on a friend's X-Box, it was okay but nowhere near as much fun as Unreal Tournament online.

I would suspect that a lot of it is to do with licensing costs - there's probably more money to be made in creating a game for a license you own (Halo) rather than one you don't (Mechwarrior).

Re:What about MW4? (1)

xhrit (915936) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136355)

Microsoft owns fasa interactive, and the rights to mechwarrior video games.

Halo Wars RTS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25133703)

I would have hoped that Halo Wars Was an RTS. hehe. actually when i first saw the trailler it could have been a kicked ass RTS.

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