Saturday, 29 September 2012

EXCLUSIVE - Frank O'Connor Talks to Little English Halo Blog

On Wednesday night in a basement bar in London's Covent Garden, I got the chance to have a sit down with 343industries Franchise Development Director Frank O'Connor. I tried to cover a lot of the unanswered questions that I know many of you have been wanting answers to.

Me: So what can you tell me about the Halo 4 ranking system?

FO: What ranking system? 
Not the Exp based Spartan Ranks, a skill based system? 
That's not something we're talking about at the moment, we'll have more on that closer to launch.
Ok, so what's on disc 2?
[laughs] It's not really a big secret, the only reason we've not talked about this is because until everything is locked in we can't be 100% sure what's on each disc. But as you probably guessed it will be a split between campaign and multi-player content.
Ok cool, so now that you've made competitive multiplayer fit within the Halo canon, does this mean that the multiplayer announcer, Jeff Steitzer, is a character within the universe? 
Although you won't meet him in the game, yes the implication is that he's an officer or trainer aboard the Infinity working with the Spartan IVs.
I played Spartan Ops just now, and if I'm honest I didn't really get a feel for the "watercooler" moments you've discussed. I know you've likened it to Game of Thrones. At times it felt like the objectives were fairly standard 'defend this', 'destroy this' and so on..
Ah, this is absolutely to do with the nature of the demo we're showing today, the three missions we've selected were to demonstrate the different types of gameplay we have on show, so there's a big mission which focuses on vehicle combat, the mission that focuses on the Prometheans and another the Covenant. 
You don't see any of the cut scenes or story progression in this demo, you can rest assured there are some great moments and a really strong narrative throughout. The Game of Thrones analogy is a good one. 

I know this is something you'll have been asked before, but can you tell us anything about why we're fighting the Covenant again? Is it Telcam's boys?
This is something that will be explored in the game, I don't want to go into any major plot details, but this will be a focus of the Spartan Ops story.
You've said before that going forward "everything matters" within the Halo universe, does this mean we'll start to see more crossover between the expanded universe and the games? 
Yes, this is something that was one of our goals when 343 took charge of Halo and you can see that in the more recent books and how they're closely related to the events in the games. While not every story arc and character you could point to in the expanded universe will appear in the games there will certainly be some. 
Since last year's E3 we've seen a change in terminology from the "Reclaimer Trilogy" to "Reclaimer Saga" what's the thinking behind that? Is it because you see Spartan Ops having such an impact on the story between the games? 
Spartan Ops is certainly a part of that thinking, but it's bigger than that. When we took a holistic look at our plans for the story; be that the main games, books, Spartan Ops and Forward unto Dawn the phrase "trilogy" didn't really fit any more and so it became "saga". 
 We've seen the work you've done to flesh out Grifball and Infection and make them feel more like full featured modes. Are there any other modes that have seen a similar lick of paint? SWAT, maybe? 
No, we've shown all the major changes now, we put a lot of work into Flood and Grifball as those have always been really popular modes. There will be some minor tweaks here and there, but we've shown all the big surprises. Obviously CTF has seen some significant changes too, but there's nothing else on that scale. 
Obviously you're one of the few who's made a Halo game with both Bungie and 343industries, how do they compare? 
In many ways they're very similar, in terms of the pool of talent and the quality of the teams. And both 343 and Bungie are absolutely committed to making the best game they possibly can. The main difference between the two is the way the teams were formed, with Bungie it was a slow organic growth over time, whereas at 343 we had to build a team much smaller time frame.

Huge thanks to Frankie for taking the time out to talk to me. There are some more questions, but they relate to content under embargo, I may release them as a part 2 at a later date.

- Cowboy Out.

1 comment:

  1. good questions but you missed to ask about more details of the 2 disc thing

    is it like Forza where we can install disc 2 and play on Disc 1 only

    or is it like Mass Effect .. BattleN00bs 3...etc