In a few weeks, we’ll be seeing the return of one of the most influential gaming franchises — Halo 4. But it won’t be returning with Bungie, the developer that unleashed it to this world and took the series to the top. It’s quite understandable why 343 Industries, the team handpicked by Microsoft to take over the reins of one of their gaming empire’s crown jewels, is under close watch. Will they pull it off? 343 Industries’ Frank O’ Connor is confident that they will. And not only that, they’ll show the world that the Xbox 720 can wait, because the Xbox 360 isn’t dead yet.
GamesIndustry had a chance to catch up with O’Connor at the Eurogamer Expo about their plans for Halo 4, the Xbox 360 and its successor, the Xbox 720. O’ Connor believes that this generation of consoles aren’t on their deathbeds yet and in fact, still have a lot of untapped potential:
“The funny thing is I’ve been asked that question a lot, I think it’s natural as we start looking forward to the next generation of hardware. But I would actually strongly contest the fact that the Xbox 360 is at the end of its life cycle, this has already been one of the longest generations and there’s a really good reason for it, which is that current consoles are incredibly flexible and still really powerful. The reason that Halo 4 looks good is that that machine has an awful lot of untapped power still and it’s going to continue to.
“I would say that I expect this generation will last a lot more years. Now you’ve got your hardcore fans who are going to look at that statement and say ‘but I want new hardware.’ We know new hardware is going to come, it always does, but I think the utility of the older consoles is going to last longer than ever before.”
O’ Connor also thinks that the Xbox 360 will stay around a little longer and co-exist with the Xbox 720:
“I think that looking forward into the future I can see years from now, even after next-gen platforms are out, that you’ll have lower priced versions of the existing consoles happily living side by side and serving really valuable functions. Not just becoming the little brothers like cast offs, but still being your Netflix player, still being you DVD player, your Blu-ray player in the case of the PS3, and still doing really vital things around your house. And that means if people are still using it they’re still going to want gaming experiences on it.”
O’ Connor’s views may come as a shock since most other developers are saying that the Xbox 720 is long overdue and that they need it to come with significantly more power when it does finally arrive. Personally, I think game developers should be focusing more on giving us new or better game experiences and mechanics. Having a more powerful console may give us prettier graphics and better frame rates but if the stories and gameplay are still just recycled junk, I don’t think there’s really any incentive for me to jump to the Xbox 720 right away.
Agree? Disagree? Discuss in the comments below!