Sept 04, 2007
Games have to be made, of course. They’re created from scratch, not born with their daddy’s nose, with developers piecing them together down to the genetic level. So, it’s no shock to see them changing and evolving as they head towards commercial release: HUD tweaks, visual improvements, character makeovers, gobs of spit ‘n’ polish and the like.
While all games go through a sequence of iterative facelifts, some go through a complete reinvention. Others get scrapped completely, to be rebuilt better, faster and stronger, or just to better please a particular audience. Others switch genres but retain their styles. And then some – like Kirby’s Dream Land, our joker in the pack – introduce a new Nintendo icon by not bothering to make an intended change.
So, here - starting with Halo - are eight games whose biographies are just as dramatic, bizarre or notable as the games themselves.
Few mutations have counted as much as this one. Resident Evil 4, for all its evolutionary strides, didn’t do for either PS2 or GameCube what Halo managed to do for Xbox. It’s arguably on a par with Tetris and Super Mario 64, for showing just what a games machine is capable of, and establishing a watermark for the competition to follow.
Intended for both PC and Mac and announced back in 1999, a trailer peeped out at E3 2000. A third-person uber-scrap between Covenant and humans, even this differed from an even earlier version of the game that, according to Bungie, was more of a real-time strategy game.
Then, before anyone could get properly annoyed or excited, Microsoft steps in and wrenches Halo away to give Xbox something to do at launch. The consequence? Bungie completely overhauls Halo, morphs it into an FPS, abandons online multiplayer and releases it in the US at the end of 2001.
And now? Xbox feels so very much like The Console That Halo Built, while gaming forums still echo with anguished riots over whether it’s actually a pile of rubbish or not. Result.