A "risk averse" Microsoft forced Ensemble Studios to adapt an unrelated RTS project to fit the Halo mold, according to Tony Goodman, founder of now defunct Ensemble Studios.
Speaking to Games Industry, Goodman recounted the development of the offshoot, describing the console RTS as a "really fantastic, under-recognized product."
He continued on to reveal was initially completely unrelated to the Halo franchise. Microsoft's lack of confidence in the viability of a console RTS resulted in a mandate that the project be reimagined as a Halo spin-off to offset the risk.
"Microsoft was pretty risk averse and they said, 'I don't know if we want to take the risk of creating strategy games on a console. We'd feel better if Halo were attached to it," he explained.
Goodman and his team were asked to "just paint over what you have with Halo stuff."
Bungie, the creators of the Halo franchise, were also never keen on the project, which led to an antagonistic relationship between the two studios.
"Another problem was that Bungie was never up for it," admitted Goodman. "Bungie was kind of sore about the idea. What they called it was 'the whoring out of our franchise or something.
"Yeah, that didn't create a great relationship between us and Bungie; they viewed us as someone infringing [on their franchise]."
Ensemble was closed in September 2008.
Current Halo vanguard, 343 Industries, has said Halo Wars 2 could work on Kinect, but said it was not in development.