One of the big things missing from this month’s console launches is major first party games. Although a few launch titles for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are fun and interesting, there’s a notable absence of fan favorites like Infamous, Uncharted, and Halo. All three series (and more) have games planned for the Xbox One and PS4 next year, but it’s going to be a long wait for early adopters of both consoles.
But now some light has been shed on the decision-making process that led to this situation, at least in terms of Halo. Microsoft Game Studios chief Phil Spencer told Kotaku this week that the company’s decision to release Halo 4 on the Xbox 360 last year left no time to complete a full Xbox One Halo game in time for the console’s launch.
A couple of years ago we had the discussion of: ‘Should we do Halo at [the launch of the Xbox One] and not do Halo 4 last year?’ But I was committed to getting Halo 4 done last year, and there was no way we were going to turn around with [current Halo developer 343 Industries] a full Halo game in a year. So that was the plan we set on. I feel good about that.
Halo 4 launched for the Xbox 360 in November 2012 with strong sales and positive reviews. It was the first original Halo game developed by 343 Industries from start-to-finish. The studio had previously worked on Halo: Reach, but in conjunction with other studios, including original Halo creator Bungie, which split from Microsoft in 2007.
The next Halo game is of course on its way, although it won’t be Halo 5, as discussed during E3 2013. Mr. Spencer revealed then that the next game, a “legitimate” entry in the series, would explore new territory in the Halo universe, and could be thought of as a spin-off. As for Sony, Infamous: Second Son is set for release in 2014 while Uncharted 4 has been confirmed, but as of now has no public release schedule. Another first party Sony favorite, Killzone: Shadow Fall, will launch this Friday alongside the European release of the console.