Bungie Thought Halo Wars Was "Whoring Out" the Franchise, Says Ensemble Founder

Lee Bradley

Halo creator Bungie was against the development of RTS spin-off Halo Wars, as the studio believed that Microsoft was “whoring out our franchise.”

That’s according to Ensemble Studios founder Tony Goodman. Ensemble headed up development on the console RTS, which Goodman believes is a "really fantastic, under-recognized product."

Goodman revealed that the game initially had nothing to do with the Halo franchise, but a risk-averse Microsoft insisted that the project was reimagined in order to offset 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," explained Goodman. As a result Ensemble were asked to "just paint over what you have with Halo stuff."

"Another problem was that Bungie was never up for it," said Goodman. "Bungie was kind of sore about the idea. What they called it was 'the whoring out of our franchise or something.”

He continued, "Yeah, that didn't create a great relationship between us and Bungie; they viewed us as someone infringing [on their franchise]."

[via GI]

  • I had fun playing it, especially in co-op. :)
  • [Comment deleted]
  • Personally loved the game. I would love another good RTS considering there's not much out there.
  • Honestly it's the best console RTS i've ever played, why microsoft closed endemble which were the best in the RTS business i'll never know As for whoreing out the franchise bungie gave us halo 3, odst and reach in the space of 4 years my only hope is that 343 decide to make a new halo wars inbetween 4 and 5
  • You want risk aversion? Secure the rights to a console Starcraft. That'd be relatively risk free.
  • I quite liked Halo Wars.
  • But I remember reading how much fun they had collaborating with Bungie to make it. Plus that doesn't sound like Bungie to say something...bad. As a long term Halo fan (over 10 years) I like the idea of Halo moving into other genres. Halo Wars is a lot of fun, shame it didn't take off.
  • I liked it but got to a point where i was shit at it way too early in the game so i lost interest(my only other RTS on the 360 i had played was The Lord of the Rings one) I will say that the cutscenes for Halo Wars are some of the best looking cutscenes i have seen on the 360
  • Loved it too, let's keep in mind that Bungie's best staff stayed at Microsoft under 343, so when articles like this say "Bungie", what they mean are the handful of staff no one really cares about that never wanted anything to do with Microsoft in the first place. Guess they were all just bitter that they were the folks that no one really cared about.
  • Halo Wars was and still is my favourite game out of the franchise. For a console RTS I thought the controls were done extremely well, for me that is the most important part on a console RTS, unlike their PC counterparts. It might have been whoring, but it was good whoring. Never thought I'd use those word like that.
  • I remember before Halo 2 was even announced that Bungie were saying they wanted to make different games, they had a project lined up called Phoenix, and they were ambitious and excited about getting it out there, riding off the back of the success of Halo. Then they decided, with coercion from Microsoft, that the Halo gravy train was a much better and safer option. No-one is more guilty of whoring the franchise than them. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the games and thought they were a very talented studio, but they can't go pointing the finger at Ensemble without realising there are 3 more pointing back at them.
  • Halo Wars was great
  • halo wars was the perfect console rts game, i loved it.
  • The game looked really fun, but I just can't stand playing RTS games on consoles. It just feels unnatural to me.
  • Here's my question to everyone. If it didn't have the Halo tag, how many of you would have actually played this game? I like RTS games, so I would have tried it anyway.
  • Halo Wars was not bad, it just scared the shit out of me that Microsoft could do that to any of there IP's. For years I waited for Gears Of War War RTS lol
  • I did enjoy this game, I thought it was lacking on variation when it came to playing online, and the stats on some of the units where really messed up (makeing the hunters suddenly not very effective against vehicles... that wa stupid, no idea if it was fixed, I stopped playing around then. But with only plaing a small collection of maps, it began to get rather boaring after a while, seeing as you could only build in set locations. I'd of rather it had more freedom to build where you wanted things, but meh, what's done is done. It was an enjoyable game, excellent cut scenes, and rather solid rts until the units where broken.
  • @9 Only 3 people from the Bungie staff moved to 343i, and they are far from the best.
  • I enjoyed Halo Wars.
  • Halo Wars was awesome and I don't think it "whored" the franchise to any degree. Wasn't halo 1 originally going to be a strategy game?
  • [Comment deleted]
  • I enjoyed Halo Wars - It was a nice change of pace for me. Not into playing RTS games in MP though - tbh I'm a bit shite at them. I only gave this one a go because it was Halo, and I enjoyed the story, so I guess that worked in Microsoft's favour. What I don't understand is why Goodman is making comments like this 3.5 years after Halo Wars was released and Ensemble was disbanded. It doesn't seem to make any sense to me - why now? Unless his new mobile gaming studio could do with some press and he's just attracting attention??
  • I wish there could be a halo wars 2....
  • Its funny because when it first came out, I was thinking the same thing. I was mad they came out with it. I played the demo a couple of times when it came out, and I hated it. About 6 months later I gave it another shot and fell in love with it. To this day its still one of my favorite games on the 360. I really wish they would make a sequel.
  • Loved Halo Wars
  • @16 Oh wow, I would love a Gears of War RTS game made by Ensemble Studios! mind = blown
  • Halo Wars was amazing... not quite the same level of freedom of C&C, but very well done nonetheless. Awesome music & story aswell. Shame General grade is beyond my skill set:(
  • @ #4; Nah, C&C is better, even on a ruddy joypad!
  • Halo Wars is an amazing game, that is very underrated
  • I cant stand Halo, and I still enjoyed it! I don't get the 'whoring out' comment. I get that Bungie were bitter that MS could use the licence however they wanted, but Halo, despite how shite I think the games are, is a good property that could fit so many different genres of game. Why just stick with the FPS when it works and works well as as an RTS? Halo Wars was a worthy addition to the series, I don't consider that whoring it out. Maybe it's just me though.
  • Halo wars was awesome for consoles. Easy to use unlike Warhammer: Battle March. This make me want to pick it up again.
  • One of the best games I ever played....and I hate RTS games. This game is perfect for the Halo fan who wants something different. Bungie can go to hell.
  • Haha even bungie says Microsoft are milking it xD Great things come to an end That's meant to be the motto But big companies like Microsofts motto is "great things keep on milking till its dead then just leave it alone"
  • Just read all the comments and everyone loved Halo Wars. Wish they made a follow up to it. Even that picture looks awesome.
  • Wtf Bungie! I loved halo wars! Halo 1 was originally supposed to be a RTS gamse. I get some people don't like RTS games but nobody was forced to play it, it was probably the best RTS game I ever played on the 360.
  • Wish there were more RTS games on console
  • I'm really surprised by this, I enjoyed Halo Wars.
  • I enjoyed Halo Wars... But it does have some VERY major problems with it. Unit limits are far too low. Build times are far too short. You can't build anywhere you like... There's no resource production unless you also give up slots for other production... The story was pretty good, the cutscenes were done well... Multiplayer and ranking up is kind of annoying... Overall, I'd say Halo Wars is "average". It at least warrents a play by most people even if they don't buy it. I can understand why it was "old news" fairly quickly though. It's just not up to the same "Halo Standard" that most Halo fans were used to at the time of release. Especially in its lack of replayability. As for the "whoring out", It's obvious that they believe it. None of the UNSC units in Halo Wars EVER make an appearance again in any Halo game after it. No Gremlins and Rhinos and etcetera. It's fairly obvious they wanted to distance themselves from Halo Wars and just pretend it never existed.
  • Wait, so Halo Wars was 'whoring out' but Halo: Anniversary wasn't? I'm aware it wasn't bungie who asked for it but surely this is worse. At least Halo Wars was a different take on the series not to mention the fact that while it did take the aesthetics and story from the halo universe it was a completely different game to the others. Apart from a few extra features, a re-skin and (some would say) better multiplayer, Halo anniversry must be pimping out the entire brothel in bungies eyes.
  • no like it, can't use mouse on console, pad just feels wrong for RTS, and it wasn't actually a very good RTS IMO.... (though i only liked C&C, DoW and warcraft 1-3 of the genre anyways) i may have just not like it because of controls...i'm used to having shortcut keys all over the place and the ability to react quickly using the minimap, it's just not an option on a console where you have a choice between accuracy or speed @39, this is the guy who made HW, not anynoe from 343, who know damn well that they're whoring the game out...not complaining too much, good to get (currently near) 1000G from that boring glitchfest POS
  • Not like this is the first time a company has slapped a well known name over something that was supposed to be an original IP. Dinosaur Planet from Rare became Star Fox Adventures due to the poor sales of Rares previous games like Jet Force Gemini. And personally I like Halo Wars. It was a fun coop that required you to share resources and work out a plan. Me and my friend split duties, he micromanaged the based and collection, I took care of taking command of our forces to crush the opposition.
  • Great game i got my General rank in it played many 3v3s and 2v2s with friends on XBL good times.
  • for an RTS on a console it was really well done, i at least got a bit of enjoyment out of the campaign, alot more than i did halo 3 anyway
  • @39 the fans were asking for anniversary because it was the anniversary of halo CE. I wish they had done more than just repaint and add terminals and skulls but changing too much would have annoyed old fans. OT: When I first heard of Halo wars first I admit I thought it was 'whoring out' so I understand why Bungie would have thought this but it was a good game, simple but good. Halo wars 2 set in the new trilogy could be an incredible game.
  • Never played Halo wars, from what I hear theres a good few people who enjoyed it. At least it basically got admitted that it was whoring out it's franchise unlike some..
  • Not an RTS fan normally but I enjoyed playing the game, thought it added something unique to the franchise
  • Luckily the game is fucking awesome, so no harm done
  • i loved halo wars
  • I love this game, I guess this pretty much means I can stop hoping for a sequel?
  • Well Halo Wars was fucking awesome and bungie made ODST so they clearly don't know that they already made their own cash in that added fuck all to the franchise.
  • I personaly bought HW because it had new maps for Halo 3. I am a really huge fan of the series. At the time I believed that RTS sucked on consoles(stil do) Halo wars was actually pretty neat and had an intrface that was simple without keyboard(coulda used voice recog)I enjoyed playing the campaign through. I wouldn't have bought it if it didn't have Halo attached to it or the maps weren't included.I always lok at it thiswa: The bigger the risk,The bigger the reward. I don't get the "whoring" thing,Do you not get into the business to get people to buy into your Universe?
  • I loved the game, in fact it's probably my favorite game in the Halo franchise. That said, I can see Bungie's side too, Halo Wars is really where Microsoft started taking control of the Halo series away from Bungie, which was kinda unfair, when they had put so much time and effort into the series, and was the main, if not only, reason the original Xbox did well.
  • It's the only RTS I have ever liked! Please make another one. :)
  • I've just recently bought Halo Wars to spruce up my Halo collection, don't know if I plan on playing it myself, but I've played it with a friend and it was surpringly good!
  • good game
  • halo 1 2 3 odst and reach were wayyyyyyyyy better then halo wars. it was the worst of the series.
  • I like dHAlo Wars, though designing it for a console meant it was overly simplistic in the end. And whoring it out...? Halo 3 - End of Halo! Oh wait, we have an RTS!... And ODST which is still Halo 3 so doesn't count. And Halo REACH is now the end! Wait, here comes Halo 4,5 and 6! I enjoy the Halo games, but calling Halo Wars whoring out is stupid.
  • I really liked Halo Wars. I thought the story was "meh" but the game play was great.
  • Halo Wars was one of the best console RTS games I've played, this side of Brutal Legend and Goblin Commander. I agree, it was a bit of an infringement on Bungie's IP, but overall, it was a pretty good game. Nothing to lose yourself in (or keep from selling for store credit), but it was fun while it lasted and a decent spin-off.
  • Halo Wars 2!
  • makes me kinda want to jump back into halo wars. fun game
  • I'd always heard very positive things about Bungie and Ensemble working on this together? Honestly, I felt that Halo Wars was the best of the franchise. It's a top notch RTS, possibly the most playable console RTS ever. Unlike ODST, Reach, CEA and now 4 I felt that Wars was a really positive game for the series and even of it might technically be considered a whoring out or a milking of the Halo brand I find it hard to be critical of it in that respect, especially since it never had a sequel. Ensemble Studios left quite a legacy with Age of Empires and Halo Wars. Why they needed to be closed and formed into new companies I don't understand.
  • Ive read thru every single comment... Half of you think he bashed the quality of the game or something.. "I loved wars" or "wars was awesome". He wasn't talking about the quality of the game, thats irrelevant. He specifically used the term, whoring out, meaning, selling out. They didn't like how M$ was taking over their ip.
  • Game was fun.. That's all that matters to me.
  • And Reach and ODST are M$ babies also... So there goes that argument... Who do you think ordered them up
  • I agree, I hated controls and story was subpar IMO, then again I mornally play RTS on PC, so I probably compare it to all other RTS games when I shouldn't. Game was half decent at least=)
  • I'm glad they pimped out that dirty little whore called halo wars, she took my money and pleasured me for many hours, I just couldn't get of of it. If they pimped out another whore called halo wars 2 I'd gladly throw my money at her for more of that rts pleasure and I'll feel no shame for doing so.
  • it was good except for vs since the units were so not balanced at all.
  • #63 Halo is microsofts IP, not bungies
  • Halo Wars was a great game as was Tom Clancy's End War. RTS are a great variation from the normal wear and tear of FPS. There are millions of FPS's but very few good RTS's at least on the consoles.
  • halo wars>halo reach bungie stfu
  • If Bungie didn't like the idea of a Halo RTS, makes me wonder what they think of someone else in control of their franchise. Is Halo 4 not the beginning of the 'Whoring' trilogy according to them?
  • @ 62, dude...Halo Wars was good but to call it the best of the franchise when the franchise is a SciFi FPS, lol. idk about that. Halo 2 was the best of the franchise IMO. in the end though, every Halo game has been good. none have been bad.
  • Halo wars was one of the best examples of how to make a console RTS work, the game itself was amazing and the CG cut-scenes were brilliant anyone who thought otherwise in my mind is a complete and utter tool.
  • And it ended up the best game of the entire franchise :) That's my opinions I really don't like the halo gameplay, I love the story though, just really don't like gameplay. When I play online I only play swat. And no I am not a COD fan either. In general not an FPS fan
  • halo wars was awesome
  • they all ready r "Whoring Out" the Franchise with halo 4.Bungie was done with reach.no need for any more.
  • I thought halo wars was AWESOME. The story was cool, and coop/multiplayer was pretty sweet too. The only thing I disliked was how limited buildings were. If they had Halo Wars combined with elements from Warhammer 40k Dawn Of War(where you could construct buildings based on resource + proximity to electric generators)...it would no doubt be a friggen sweet RTS game!
  • I'm a little confused by them saying that since halo WAS a RTS when it was first created. I have old footage of it and a remember a bid doc showing and mentioning it too. Maybe they were mad someone took their original idea and made it work?
  • ^^^ I was going to say the same thing, from what I read in magazines and online, Halo was originally planned to be an RTS.
  • Funny considering Halo Wars is one of the best Halo titles so far.
  • I personaly loved it, for some one to say that there a dick. The whole point of wars was to try somwthing new as they intended. Shyt i think they did a damb good job at it.
  • I could see it, but frankly I enjoyed it. I've never really been into RTS games until then.
  • Nope... I *HATE* Halo Wars! B-O-R-I-N-G-! The ONLY reason I even bought it, is because I didn't think there was going to be any more ("real") Halo games to play, to get my level high enough in the "Halo Waypoint" to unlock the final avatar item I wanted. So I started playing it over a year ago, and unlocked a few achievements. Then I find out a few months later... that "Halo CE" is being remastered for the 360. Boy was I pissed-off that I ever started the crap that is Halo Wars... because now I have this unfinished game on my played list - unless I can pay some idiot to play the game FOR me, or get MS to delete that game - and the few points that were unlocked, from my played list (and I would GLADLY "give" the game away)!! It doesn't even give me the feeling I'm playing a Halo game... just another crappy PC RTS game that came to the 360, that has the Halo name attached to it!
  • And yet they didn't think ODST was whoring out the franchise? Strange...
  • I love Halo Wars. I still wish they'd make a second game...
  • its funny they say that cus i would say its the best halo to date. hahahahahhahahaha.
  • It was a pretty meh RTS. But I'll give it credit where credit is due for being the best Console RTS. Paint over what you have with Halo stuff indeed.
  • Great game I had no Problems with it especially because its a game hat takes skill and thought
  • Halo Wars was an awesome game. Still play it today
  • How could it be whoring? i remember the special edition coming with the Halo Mythic maps.. dont like them whoring your game? well.. dont give them your content.. SIMPLE as for Halo wars.. its an awesome game! a nice twist on the series! and a really good console based RTS. Halo was originally ment to be a RTS also.. so im sure bungie can just shut their pie holes and make their new game! /rant
  • @84 The only reason you brought a brand new game was to unlock some tacky avatar awards? Wow. Just when you think the gaming community couldn't disappoint you much further.
  • *By brand new, I mean 'new for them', not new in terms of release dates. Felt I needed to clarify before somebody inevitably gets on my case about that.
  • great game! great coop! horrible multiplayer! i mean im not even in the game :45 seconds before im barraged with a shit load of warthogs or somethin else stupid and then game over...people found a quick cheap cheesy way to beat someone. and that is what ruined the MP. and so what if i choose not to use the same strategy. i want to play a good game not fight off a complete invasion within the first minute. shits gay.
  • thank god halo didnt turn out to be a RTS, the halo name would have died years ago. people have their preferences but halo did a DAMN good job as a FPS! and RTS games are quite boring IMO but thats just me. people saying that halo wars was he best of the franchise clearly is a pc fatboy and doesnt have a social life. halo 2 paved the way for xbox live!!
  • Personally this game is only second to Endwar in terms of best console RTS. Call me a noob but I hate the race to resource gather. It's a lose lose. You either bunker down and gather and build while some ass clown rushes you, or you rush and get decimated. I prefer the strategy that Endwar took with no resources. But Halo Wars had a very easy to use resource management and it made the game enjoyable.
  • @94 rushing is a legitimate yet weak strategy any good player can counter it extremely easily then the other player has wasted lots of resources and is easily defeated. No good player will rush cause its a terrible tactic, not a cheap one a WEAK and useless tactic if playing against someone with an ounce of skill.
  • @94 Have you never played an RTS before? That is one of the many strategies that are used. OT: I like many others thought that Halo Wars was a fantastic game and wish they never closed down the studio. Although I have to admit that I probably would not have played it if it were not for Halo being in the title.
  • if they addded mouse support for the 360 that game would of rocked
  • I had this very same conversation earlier in the month, that it was a cynical spin off.
  • LOL this is pure crap as whoring out says WTF to ODST let alone reach & another trilogy on it's way... This is just released to make us all read & talk about halo before it's release shortly like always! P.s Halo Wars was awsome (not compared to generals etc etc) I used to play online on this for hours upon hours the most addictive game that saps time due to it "NOT BEING CRAP". Take care guys 7 i'll see you in the new halo & the 72905174364 Million games after that ;)
  • After reading most of the positive comments about this game, I might have to pick this up. They still have a few new copies of the CE at the WalMart near my home.
  • This was old news years ago. I remember reading somewhere something similar on Bungie.net. However, it doesn't diminish the fact that Halo Wars told a better story than Halo 2 and Reach. I LOVED Sergeant Forge and was absolutely thrilled when Anderson kicked Serena out. There was a good story on the Spirit of Fire, and I'd love to see it come up in the future. Perhaps the Infinity will find her in a future Halo? Because, you know, Halo 4, 5, and 6 wouldn't be considered "whoring out [the] franchise".
  • I liked playing Halor wars I found it to be Just the thing people needed to get more into the common people in the halo vers' I loved the game and still play it to date!
  • It's still going we have about 5000 to 7000 people still playing. Great game
  • so halo wars was considered "whoring out" but ODST wasnt? sorry made me laugh a bit cause Bungie is now working with Acti lol
  • Bungie is just like the majority of the 10 year old Halo fans. Crybabies. Terrible company, terrible game.
  • I think Halo Wars was good for a RTS but bad for a Halo game
  • I think they added a nice touch with the timeline events, and in no way really whored out the series. now making a part 4 as well as the other 32 spin offs remaking part 1, admitiadly was a litle whorey. just a little.
  • I don't understand why this is coming out now, after 3 years. And I think this is BS anyway; what I've heard is that Halo was originally going to be an RTS game, similar to Bungie's previous Myth: the Fallen Lords. Also, there is no way Bungie wasn't either involved with or inspired from Halo Wars. Many units/vehicles that were first introduced in Halo Wars, appears in later Halo FPS games such as the Engineer and the Vulture.
  • I thought the game in itself was good but I agree with bungie. It was by far the worst game in the series, worse than 343's halo 4.
  • Halo Wars was and still is a good game! Playing solo is pretty boring so i always play it co-op. Cinematics were the best quality of all Halo games back then! and i really liked the idea of the skulls they put it in every level! Yeah it's not the best game but i don't understand why so many people hate it.. Storyline was also pretty good! Liked the idea to show the Spartan II's. :D
  • I like Halo Wars and its the best RTS on a Console. The engagment of units are so cool with the Spartan wrestleing an Elite or watching the ODST each have their roles fitted with varied weapons. Great attention to Detail. if they gave Mirrors Edge a sequel on post sales and reception then Halo Wars needs a comeback too. 343 YA HEARD ME??
  • You need to register before being able to post comments

Game navigation