In yesterday's first instalment of CVG's exclusive interview with Bungie execs Marcus Lehto and Brian Jarrard, the pair told us all about their hopes for Halo Reach - and how they've borrowed from the series' illustrious past to create the ultimate Halo game.
In this second and final part of the interview, our attention turns to the future - and what the independent developer's got up its sleeve for fans in the years ahead...
Your involvement with Halo comes to a close with Reach. In one way it's very sad and it restricts you from going further in that world - but it opens up other possibilities. Does that include moving onto other consoles, such as PS3?
Brian Jarrard: I mean, I think our whole future's kind of undefined right now and it's definitely not something we're going to be comfortable getting into too much detail about. We've had another team internally [other than those making Reach] for quite a while now - they've been working on the genesis of what will become our next big thing.
It's a little premature to get into specifics, but you know I think we have a really good mix of old blood and new blood in the studio. There's a lot of people, Marcus included - a 13-year Bungie veteran who was there at the very beginning of the conception of Halo. The guys are very invigorated to take on the challenge of: "Can we do this again? Can we create something of [Halo's] magnitude once again?" That's inspired a lot of people I think.
Do 3D and Project Natal bring any promise for you?
BJ: Reach is not a Natal title. From the ground up, it was always going to be designed around the traditional controller. Millions of people have spent billions of hours [playing Halo with the Xbox controller]. That's how they've come to know and experience Halo. Natal didn't even exist until we were well over halfway into our development cycle for Reach. There's no way that's going to work out.
As far as the future and 3D and crazy things like that, who knows what will happen. Our engineers are always looking to innovate and every Bungie title has introduced something for the first time we've never done before. Who knows what that might be in five or ten years' time. Our engineers don't follow, they lead.
Marcus Lehto: The vision we had for Reach was so big and so grand that it required us to rebuild the engine. Everything from animation to the way we used our graphics engine shaders to the AI system to UI systems, everything needed to be improved dramatically.
What about Halo 3D? Will we ever see it?
BJ: Not from us. I don't think that would be something our team would find interesting - to go back and sort of [revisit Halo in that way]. There's a lot of work feeling that Reach is sort of a final conclusion to our Halo saga and I think people will be excited to move forward and try our next big thing after that.
Could you give us a general perspective on Natal - where do Bungie see it going in future?
BJ: I can speak personally, I saw Natal at E3 last year and got to check it out a little bit. It's really impressive. I've played the ball game. It's fun. It has a lot of interesting potential to redefine types of game we can enjoy, the types of people that play games.
We're excited to see how developers will use Natal. For us, what we're doing doesn't quite fit with it right now - but I know there are a lot of people out there who will do some really cool things with it.