E3 2011: Microsoft Trying to Keep Mascot Alive with Halo 4?

E3 2011: Microsoft Trying to Keep Mascot Alive with Halo 4?

Microsoft announced “Halo 4” at their press conference June 6 at E3, nearly nine months after “Halo: Reach” launched on the 360. The minute-and-a-half trailer left more questions than answers themselves. Among those questions one in particular begs to be asked: is Microsoft trying to salvage their first real mascot from the figurative grave?

Since “Halo: Combat Evolved” debuted in 2001 Master Chief has been the major face of Microsoft’s gaming endeavor: The Xbox. Heck, besides the third party titles that launch across all platforms, Halo games were really the only titles heavily advertised by Microsoft. It isn’t even a far cry from the truth to say that Master Chief has become the face of the Xbox console just as much as Mario and Link have for Nintendo and Sonic has for Sega. According to sales figures over the past 10 years Halo titles have sold 42.39 million copies and most of the titles have placed no lower than the top 15 (“Halo Wars” being the exception, placing 57th) on the all-time Xbox and Xbox360 sales charts. Furthermore, of those titles,  a majority of them placed in the top five.

When presented with these numbers, it really wouldn’t be surprising if Halo 4 and the subsequent two games in the trilogy really is an attempt to give Microsoft three more titles (roughly 5 more years) with their figurehead supersoldier. Without treading too much on the “when is it too much?” argument presented by Lindsey in her article “Final Fantasy: When is it Time to Call it Quits?” in regards to the Halo franchise, I’ll ask it another way: are Halo fans willing to jump headfirst into a new chapter in the Halo series in which Bungie has no involvement? For those of you who weren’t aware, Bungie–who developed every Halo game up to Reach–is not involved with Halo 4, rather Microsoft’s in-house development studio and Microsoft Studio’s subsidiary: 343 Industries (though they practically worked alongside Bungie since 2009).

Will this impact the quality of the game? It’s honestly impossible to say considering all we’ve seen of Halo 4 is a cut-scene trailer. So it really just comes down to the many questions flying around the inside of our heads like debris in a exploding space ship (see what I did there?). For instance: will this extra exposure be a blessing to the gaming world, or will lead to the Halo series tanking faster than Mr. Caffeine’s jokes at Ubisoft’s press show at E3?

Of course, with all the uncertainty surrounding Halo 4 there is a more underlying question: do Microsoft and the Xbox really need a mascot to continue doing well? Not necessarily, after all, Sony does respectably well in the market and they don’t have set mascots that have persisted throughout the gaming generations like Konami, Ubisoft or Nintendo have.

On the other hand it is the success Mario and Pokemon games have had (selling 6 and 2 copies respectively on the top 15 all-time sales chart according to VGChartz.com) that present a strong argument for the “have mascot will sell big” argument. Of course, the latter argument makes the most sense, because Microsoft really wants more money and Halo is always a surefire way to rake that in from the longtime Halo fans looking for a few last huzzahs into the depths of space (or multiplayer) to save mankind (or faceroll people).

At any rate–regardless of whether or not Microsoft is trying to salvage Master Chief as a mascot–let’s just hope that Microsoft doesn’t do what Nintendo did to Mario in the mid to late 90s and start putting Master Chief in educational games and selling off the permissions to lackluster titles. Master Chief can kick some extra-terrestrial posterior, but I can’t really imagine him teaching kindergarten kids how to type or go back in time to rescue Cortana and teaching players history along the way.

*Not really. Not at all actually. Seriously, DO NOT WANT.

 

  • Maroonersucks

    dumd article dont write articles again.

  • Maroonersucks

    dumd article dont write articles again.

  • Jedienz

    You know what? I”m happy for all the work that bungie did for all the Halo titles but looking at it in a employer to employee view,It’s like,your wmployye has put in his resignation  and he’s found a new job.That’s cool,the employer will wish the employee the best of luck in his new found job.So,that leaves the employer to hire a new worker to do the same job and continue producing to quality work coz the new employee has a big shoes to fill.what I saying is,workers come and go, but the business must go on.Who know? maybe the new employee will do a great job at it too.Sometmes you need to mix it up .Introduce new blood and see how they do.that is just my opinion so don’t hate.peace

  • Jedienz

    You know what? I”m happy for all the work that bungie did for all the Halo titles but looking at it in a employer to employee view,It’s like,your wmployye has put in his resignation  and he’s found a new job.That’s cool,the employer will wish the employee the best of luck in his new found job.So,that leaves the employer to hire a new worker to do the same job and continue producing to quality work coz the new employee has a big shoes to fill.what I saying is,workers come and go, but the business must go on.Who know? maybe the new employee will do a great job at it too.Sometmes you need to mix it up .Introduce new blood and see how they do.that is just my opinion so don’t hate.peace

  • Superunderpants

    What a silly argument.  Look at it from a business point of view.  People love Halo and Master Chief.  This love makes them sell games which makes MS money. Thats why they make em

    • AO1JMM

      Well said

  • Superunderpants

    What a silly argument.  Look at it from a business point of view.  People love Halo and Master Chief.  This love makes them sell games which makes MS money. Thats why they make em

    • soulassssns

      Well said

  • HaloFanboy

    Wow, pulling Master Chief from the figurative grave? Is that a fraking joke? Its not like Microsoft has been releasing bad Halo games and is all of a sudden trying to “revive” a dying franchise like every other game studio/publisher now. All of the games Bungie/Microsoft has released(and even Halo Wars to an extent) have been phenomenal. The Halo series is the best out there right now. Pointless article. 

  • HaloFanboy

    Wow, pulling Master Chief from the figurative grave? Is that a fraking joke? Its not like Microsoft has been releasing bad Halo games and is all of a sudden trying to “revive” a dying franchise like every other game studio/publisher now. All of the games Bungie/Microsoft has released(and even Halo Wars to an extent) have been phenomenal. The Halo series is the best out there right now. Pointless article. 

  • AO1JMM

    What a bullshit article. Halo franchise and Master Chief were never in or heading to the socalled grave.

  • soulassssns

    What a bullshit article. Halo franchise and Master Chief were never in or heading to the socalled grave.

  • Actually, I would enjoy seeing some education Halo games. Just a few examples of win: “Master Chef teaches Spanish”, “Math Master Chef”, and “Elite Grunt Grammar”

  • Actually, I would enjoy seeing some education Halo games. Just a few examples of win: “Master Chef teaches Spanish”, “Math Master Chef”, and “Elite Grunt Grammar”

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