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March 4, 2011

Halo Wars beat MGS sales targets and could work on Kinect says Frank O’Connor

Halo Wars has recently cropped up in conversation between Computer and Video Games and 343 Industries creative director Frank O’ Connor. Frank talks about Halo Wars as being “a huge success” and rightly so as he also revealed that the Ensemble Studios developed game “beat our sales forecasts, so it was a bigger success than we expected” and that:

“It was a big critical success and it’s still the number one selling RTS on consoles this generation. In that regard it was a huge success but is the will to do a sequel there? Who knows. We could do something that works on Kinect, for example. There’s no will against it but we’re not working on it right now.”

While Halo Wars fans may be sad to hear that no sequel is on the cards at the moment it is pleasing for Ensemble fans to hear that the game smashed the projected sales targets set by Microsoft and despite the terrible community support the game suffered when 343 Industries took over support of the game from Robot Entertainment the fans of the game were clearly happy with the game overall and that there is room for a possible sequel in the future. Perhaps if Microsoft hadn’t under-estimated Ensemble’s ability to create best-seller games the studio would still be intact today and poised to work on new Halo Wars content, even on platforms like Kinect. However, all hopes of that were dashed when ill-advised Microsoft executives determined that Ensemble “wasnt the right studio” to connect with Kinect.

Perhaps Microsoft executives are looking back on their past actions to close Ensemble with regret, the studio may have been working on different ideas which may not have been in line with the overall MGS direction, but those games could easily have been turned into winners with the talent at Ensemble Studios.

I think Halo Wars could have been an even bigger success if Microsoft realized its potential sooner after release and invested more in Robot Entertainment to create further DLC and remove the ludicrous restrictions on multiplayer buckets. Hopefully if there is to be a Halo Wars 2 its next developer will have greater freedom with community support and content post launch. Above all that, perhaps the game would have been bigger and greater if Microsoft had kept Ensemble Studios on board!

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