343 Industries’ Frank O’Connor Talks Passing the Halo Baton
Written Saturday, October 08, 2011 By Dan WebbView author's profile
More from our nattering with 343 Industries' Frank O'Connor now, as we talked to the Franchise Director about the handover of the Halo series from original creators, Bungie. We discussed the process of passing the baton between the two studios, and what exactly happened during that interval.
"There was a baton passing, and obviously there were loads of technical and logistical challenges, but it was pretty smooth. I think there was only error on the day that we did it... There was transition period and a contractual transitional period, which has been a couple of years. But the final handover of data, and replication data more to the point, was roughly August 15th... A date in August, I think it was the 15th where literally all the old servers stopped and ours started. It was seamless. I think there was one mistake and a couple of little glitches since, but overall it was pretty seamless," O'Connor stated.
No great shakes then, but who owns the Halo engine now we asked? "It's Microsoft's engine and Bungie still has a version of it, absolutely. Bungie was once part of Microsoft, and like Bungie were, we're a studio within Microsoft," O'Connor told us, before explaining how the game engines work in Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary to replicate the original Halo in classic mode, warts and all.
"Anniversary actually uses the original Halo engine with a separate graphics layer running on top, so when you switch to classic mode, it is literally identical. If there was a bug in the first game, it still works here," said O'Connor. "We actually had to put bugs back in based on test data, because there were certain things like bugs in the Hunter AI people used to lure them into a trap. If that didn't work in Anniversary we'd be in trouble, so we had to do some weird counter-intuitive things to make sure it felt exactly like Halo."
And what of Anniversary's multiplayer engine. "But the multiplayer engine is all Reach, and that's something we're continuing to evolve as we move forward towards Halo 4." Oh, right... Well, we already knew that...
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary is out worldwide on November 15th, 2011.