To Microsoft and Bungie, the Halo games have been synonymous with success. Microsoft has made a small fortune off of the most successful of all multiplayer online platforms, Xbox Live. Halo 2 and beyond have all been available and extremely successful in not only building Live’s membership base, but also in profits made from Downloadable Content (DLC) that is available for all the Halo titles. When purchasing some kind of expansion DLC, typically “map packs,” which allow online players to play on new and sometimes refurbished versions of maps from earlier Halo titles. These keep things fresh and new for players trying to partake in the ultimate in gaming experiences. Playstation 3 and Wii offer similar online gaming arenas, but both pale in comparison to the sheer quantity and quality of titles and DLC available for the Live. Not to mention the endless hours of entertainment one gets from listening to the rantings of rednecks, racists, and computer nerds alike.
The original Halo provided something everyone had seen before, but still revolutionized first person shooting enough to warrant numerous game of the year awards and according to xbox.com received 48 other gaming awards during its reign. The original installment brought fluidity to the first person shooter and an exciting premise which would spawn (no pun intended) what will soon be four sequels.
Halo 2 & Halo 3 brought more of the same with an interesting “save the world” premise, and most importantly, the birth of multiplayer on Live. With the campaign (single player) becoming less and less of a factor as the Halo sequels emerge, people are asking for more when it comes to multiplayer gaming. Everyone and their mother has killed a swarm of grunts and elite as the Master Chief, but how often does one get to lay waste to their friends next door, that racist kid in Texas, or perhaps a couple of honest-to-God asian kids gaming in the hoods of Japan.
With the latest installment in the Halo series, ODST, was a huge failure. Well, I suppose that depends on how you look at it. Halo 2 grossed a cool $125 million in its first 24 hours of release, Halo 3 earning $170 million in the same time frame, where it took ODST a full two weeks to earn its first $125 million. Regardless of how it looked on paper ODST was a disappointment to fans everywhere. It brought one new element of mulitplaying called “Firefight” which was horribly slow at easier difficulties, and virtually impossible at more difficult levels. Even the campaign was a disappointment; bringing a new visual element to the game which only provided gamers with headaches more than anything else. With Halo Reach less than 72 hours away I can only hope that Bungie will provide die hard fans with a new drug to get slowly addicted to and not provide another healthy dosage of ODST buzzkill. Please deliver us another Halo masterpiece Bungie, but also realize we will all buy your game regardless.