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”’Platform: Xbox 360”’
Ask just about anyone why they bought an Xbox and the answer, I am willing to bet, would almost certainly be Halo. Many would accredit Goldeneye for the N64 as the game that proved fist-person shooters could work on a console, but we all know that it was Halo that showed this to the masses.
With Halo Wars Microsoft is looking to prove that yet another genre usually not considered console fare can work – real-time strategy. That’s actually a pretty big challenge, but the way Microsoft Games Studios and Bungie have gone about creating Halo Wars goes some way to inspire confidence that it might not be truly awful.
For a start, despite Bungie, as creators of the Halo franchise, maintaining creative control over the game, the nitty gritty of actually developing an RTS for a console is being handled by Ensemble Studios. That’s a pretty good choice as Ensemble has a lot of experience making great RTS games. You may recall it as the studio responsible for the fantastic Age of Empires series, as well as Age of Mythology.
Halo Wars is Ensemble Studios’ swansong and it seems unlikely the developer would want its legacy tainted by having its last creation labelled as a duff. From a development standpoint then, Halo Wars looks to have all the ingredients needed to ensure that it works as an RTS, the only challenge being to make that work on the console.
Possibly the bigger challenge will be to persuade fans of the Halo series first-person shooter titles to play a strategy game. And, conversely, to persuade RTS fans to play a Halo game. After all, ‘marines versus aliens’ is hardly a novel premise for such a game.