343 plays down Saber-made Halo HD rumours

Core experiences will be "kept close to home", says O'Connor

Microsoft's internal Halo studio, 343 Industries, has seemingly doused water on suggestions that the long-rumoured Halo: Combat Evolved remake is being developed externally.

According to recent reports, the rumoured Combat Evolved HD - which is said to feature 1080p art assets and online co-op - isn't being touched up by 343, but rather by Timeshift dev Saber Interactive.


But according to creative director Frank O'Connor, 343 would only work with an external developer for "mini-collaborations", such as the upcoming Defiant map pack, which is co-developed by Certain Affinity.

O'Conner told CVG in San Francisco last week: "343 as a publishing entity and Bungie before it is always open to collaboration. We've done weird things in the past like we put a Spartan in Dead or Alive 3... We met with Itagaki and his team to make sure the Spartan was fighting correctly, using a style that was appropriate, was the right height and moving like a Spartan.

"So we've always been open to those sort of mini-collaborations, but as far as the core game experiences are concerned we have to keep that close to home.

"We certainly see [Defiant map pack dev] Certain Affinity as being close to home because there are a lot of ex-Bungie and Halo guys on that team, so it's very natural.

"In the future - who knows. But fundamentally we're right now building a large, powerful top-tier studio to make triple-A experiences in the future and that's our general direction right now," he said.

"So we'll continue to do little collaborations with people but for core experiences we have to keep those close to home."

Whether a rebuilt Halo: Combat Evolved would be classed as a 'mini-collaboration' is up for interpretation, of course, but we'd consider such a product to be anything but tiny.

In another interview this month, O'Conner told OXM that his Halo studio isn't working on a 'side-story' to the series.