It's been about four years since developer Bungie and publisher Microsoft released Halo 3 for the Xbox 360 console. Since then there have been two other games released in the Halo shooter series via Bungie but both told side stories in the game's universe (2009's stand alone expansion Halo 3: ODST and 2010's prequel Halo Reach). Now that Bungie has turned over the Halo franchise completely to Microsoft's in game studio -- 343 Industries -- Microsoft plans to go back to basics for the next game, the upcoming Halo 4.
The Official Xbox Magazine UK web site has a chat with Microsoft Games Studios corporate vice president Phil Spencer on their plans for Halo 4 which was officially announced last month at E3 2011. Of the the last two Bungie developed Halo games Spencer states, "We kind of lost our way a little bit, I'll say. And that's why I wanted to make sure that at the unveiling of Halo 4, you knew you were playing Master Chief, that John was back. Because Master Chief is the John Wayne character of that universe, and that's who you want to play."
He added that Microsoft big mandate for Halo 4 was, "Make it simple - it's not Halo-anything, it's Halo 4. You're not going to be confused about what it is. Halo 4, playing as Master Chief, beginning of a new trilogy." While he personally loved Halo Reach, he added that it was more accessible if you already were a fan of the Halo universe and back story and that players new to Halo might feel left out. Spencer states, "What we said was: 'let's get back to what Halo is about'"
In addition to Halo 4 in 2012, Microsoft will also release a graphical remake of the original Halo game in the fall of 2011.