I’m confused by Halo Wars. One of the most popular console first person shooters has been turned into a real time strategy game, and it’s not even made by Bungie? Yes my friend, it’s true. But there’s so much more to Halo Wars than that. For starters, did you know that Halo was originally announced as an RTS in 1999? It then got worked into the magical FPS we all know and love after a brief stint as a 3rd person shooter. So even though the jump to this genre may seem a bit jarring to the average Halo fan, it’s always been part of the game’s past.
But therein lies the problem that I see with Halo Wars: the average Halo fan. Painting broad strokes and drawing from stereotypes I’ve created from the my stint in retail, I can say that the average Halo fan likes Halo games because they are first-person shooters. They’re damn good first person shooters, but they’re shooters nonetheless. These guys aren’t going to give a rat’s ass about an RTS. They’re the Bros who want to shoot stuff.
That’s a horrible way to look at it, though, and I’m slowly coming to grips with that fact. As of January of last year, Halo 3 has sold more than eight million copies, and I’m sure that there are more people who are willing to try new things in that group than I give credit. I mean, the demo was downloaded over two million times in the first five days of its release a few weeks ago, and I’m sure at least some of those people who had never before played an RTS seriously considered the purchase of one. Then there’s the pedigree behind the creation of Halo Wars to consider. Ensemble Studios knows how to make a great game; in fact, they’ve made several of them. They’re probably one of the top three studios that could successfully bring an RTS to consoles and make it feel right. Halo Wars was their first project designed specifically for consoles, and it’s a helluva first try from what I’m hearing. It’s a shame that Microsoft saw fit to shut them down; there’s a lot of potential in this audience, as the demo download numbers will tell you.
Time will tell if a console RTS based on an FPS series will be successful. Personally, I think it’s going to sell very well due to the Halo name, but I don’t think the game’s going to hit big with the average Halo fan or the average RTS fan. And that is the only game that is worth talking about this week.
The original version of this post was bad. It was filled with inaccuracies and ridiculous assumptions that, in hindsight, I am ashamed to have written. It was the equivalent of Kotaku’s comment section mixed with the bad part of NeoGAF. It was sloppy, rushed, and at the time, I didn’t even care. After some thinking, I have come to the following conclusion:
This is going to be the last New Games Plus that I will write. The sporadic nature of the column over the past two months has been due to a lack of worthwhile products mixed with an increasingly busy personal life.
I’ve been writing NG+ since August 14th, 2007, and I’m honestly surprised I made it this long. Most of the time, I can’t commit to anything, and I usually drop out after a week or so. But something weird happened after I posted up those first few articles. I realized that people were reading my work, and they were actually commenting on it. The strangest part to me was that it seemed like people actually enjoyed it. This column really was an amazing thing to me, and it wouldn’t have been that way without all of you. When Jeremy first showed us the page views we had gotten, I saw that I was consistently bringing in a thousand views a week, I was floored. I figured that I was getting maybe, MAYBE a hundred. That right there inspired me to keep it up.
But then life happened. When I started, I was working as an Assistant Manager for GameStop, and my life was games games games games games and then my girlfriend. Then I proposed to her. Then it was back to games all the time. Then last summer, due to my own stupidity, I got fired from GameStop. I had, thankfully, gotten a “real” job working in an office, so my exposure to video games was cut dramatically literally over night. Now, we’re in the final stages of the wedding planning and then shortly after that a cross-country move, and I’ve just been exhausted.
If I had the chance to do it over again, I wouldn’t change a damn thing. Writing here on the front page of GameSpite every week has been an amazing opportunity, and because of it, several rather awesome things have happened. First, I wrote the Retro Roundups for 1UP for a brief time. Then I got the chance to sit in a room with Jeremy, Chris Kohler, and Tycho and talk about the Dreamcast for an hour. And finally, I got a staff writing position on a small gaming website. Seriously, this has been the coolest thing I’ve done. I really appreciate every single one of you who has ever read New Games Plus even once. It really means a lot to me. Thanks again, guys.
— Andy Keener