Halo2: Shadow Of What It Could Have Been

In a lengthy – and highly informative – eight page interview published in the latest issue of Edge magazine, Bungie revealed many aspect of their thoughts on the Halo franchise and what they expect from Halo 3. Without doubt the most interesting part of the review was when Chris Butcher, technical lead on Halo 3 spoke about Halo 2 and how different the development was between the original game and the Xbox sequel.

He said “Halo came together in 4 -5 weeks polishing period at the end. No more than that. That’s the period in which we really had the perfect storm. The team was all there, everything was working great, and the entire game came together in that period. One of things that’s stuns me when I think about and I can’t believe its true, we had none of that for Halo 2. Take that polish period and completely get rid of it. We miscalculated we screwed up, we came down to the wire and just lost all of that. So Halo 2 is far less than it could and should be in many ways because of that.” He went on to talk about the multiplayer saying “Even the multiplayer experience is a pale shadow of what it could and should have been if we got the timing of our schedule right. It’s astounding to me. I f**king cannot play Halo2 multiplayer. I cannot do it. And that’s why I know Halo 3 will be so much better.

Another staffer Frank O’Conner, writer and community, commented that the ending was abrupt by tossing in the descriptive quote of “we drove off Thelma & Louise style.” Zach Russell, director of special projects, then admits the company feels like there is “always taking about that we could do better” but wishing also “someone would just say ‘Hey man, just so you know, what you did there was really cool’.

Of course the whole interview was not all doom and gloom as Jamie Greisemer, sandbox design lead, chimed in near the end saying “now I feel like we’ve got this incredible framework and we can just go nuts and do anything we want with this really solid foundation. In fact we started a whole bunch of experiments and they turned out pretty well.” He then posses the question “which one of the successful experiments are we not going to do.” Finally as the interview ended Bungie turned back into their secretive selves with Greisemer informing us “I had this crazy idea for something but I am not allowed to talk about that yet.

If you feel like reading the full interview make sure you pick up Edge #171 (the one wrapped up in lovely gold plastic for the Edge Awards).