I wonder how difficult it was for 343 Industries to take over Halo with Halo 4. The new “Reclaimer Trilogy” may have originated in a flat refusal to let those sweet, sweet Halo dollars slip through Microsoft’s fingers, but it’s pretty obvious that the folks working at 343 love their Halo. Not just the multiplayer, either – right after starting up Halo 4, you’re prompted to install the Halo Waypoint, an application including vast reams of Halo lore, background, and side stories that are either true labors of love or very, very convincing imitations.
So you can’t fault these guys for not putting in their best effort. They’ve been saddled with an enormous, fairly thankless task – taking over a much-beloved flagship franchise as the New Guys after the original creators decided they’d had enough. And Halo 4 is eager – really, really eager. Bless its heart, it wants to be the Reclaimer to this new Mantle of Responsibility.
343’s first effort is a worthy game, and proves that the change of developers may actually bring new improvements and ideas to the franchise. But their desire to give their game its own identity clashes with their need to play it safe to retain old fans and fixtures. Like any novice effort, there are some kinks to work out.