343 Industries hints at Halo's future, denies plans for spin-offs

343 Industries is keeping busy, but no new Halo in 2011

Ever since 343 Industries was formed to handle all future Halo projects, Microsoft's off-shoot studio has been relatively secretive as to what it's planning for the franchise. Now, after umpteen job postings and sketchy internet speculations, franchise development director Frank O'Connor has told The Official Xbox Magazine in the UK that no major Halo release is slated for 2011, and the studio isn't looking to develop another Halo spin-off anytime soon.

“[We have] Nothing to announce right now, but I can tell you we're not working on any side stories as games at the moment,” O'Connor told OXM, referring to recent side projects like Halo Wars and Halo: ODST. “There'll certainly be more Halo fiction entering the universe, but we've no new games to announce right now.”

Asked what shape or form a future Halo game might take, O'Connor hinted, “I think that there are a lot of questions that fans of the series want answered, and we'll certainly be in the business of answering those questions. But we would be lazy and very lacking in imagination if we didn't inject lots of brand new questions into the universe, and enigma, mystery, and awe are at the heart of what drives the fiction.”

This being the 10th anniversary of Halo, O'Connor also confirmed that 343 Industries will continue supporting existing Halo games with new content and multiplayer promotions throughout the year, and that FPS bookworms can expect three new Halo novels. He also stated that Bungie will continue to lend its own support to Halo: Reach in much the same fashion it has done up until now.

“Bungie's committed to supporting Halo: Reach for the foreseeable future ... It's signed up to build at least three new maps, as it revealed not too long ago, but you can bet that it'll continue to support the community it's been joined at the hip with for such a long time now,” said O'Connor.

Pressed again for word on Master Chief in 2011, O'Connor added, “I imagine he will be chilling. Literally.”

Well, let's hope he's comfortable, at least.

[Source: The Official Xbox Magazine (UK)]

Feb 3, 2011

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