Halo 3 understandably dominated the entire industry this year, providing the series’ vast number of worldwide fans with the satisfyingfollow-up they had craved since 2004, and proving to be Bungie’s most accomplished work yet. Finally making a Halo game that also appealed to a fair number of non-fans, Bungie additionally set a brilliant example of how to give back to a loyal community. With multiplayer game modes directly inspired by the fans and all kinds of cool recording toys to play with, Halo 3 was a true community game, and that concept was sent through the roof with the inclusion of the Forge, which gave players near infinite customisation ability in terms of map set ups and nonsensical sandbox shenanigans.
Halo 3’s success was massively important for the industry too. The series has always been highly successful in snaring a mainstream audience outside of the traditional hardcore, but with Halo 3, gaming’s stamp on the world at large made Godzilla look like a prancing ballerina. Ad campaigns and media interest alike rivalled those enjoyed by any Hollywood blockbuster. Merchandising went crazy. You couldn’t even go outside without seeing Halo 3, and there was something wholesomely satisfying about seeing all those product tie-ins usually reserved for Disney movies monopolised by a videogame.
Aside from the Halo 3 factor, the Xbox 360 had important effects on worldwide gaming within the industry. Its success could not be ignored by Japanese developers and as a result we saw some of the east’s brightest and best jumping on board and deliberately extending their business development towards the west for the first time, resulting in what will be some fantastic global cross-pollination in years to come. Mistwalker created Blue Dragon, bringing Final Fantasy talent specifically to the Xbox market. Square Enix made a new manifesto of catering to a western audience with its eastern design sensibilities. Last Remnant is already looking great and there’s an MMORPG on the way too. Capcom has been hurling its might onto the 360 as well, following up last year’s Dead Rising with this year’s Lost Planet and pledging further commitment to come.