Tony Goodman, founder of Ensemble Studios, has revealed how a “risk averse” Microsoft forced the studio to re-form its console RTS into a Halo spin-off and has told of a strained relationship with Halo creators Bungie.
Speaking to GamesIndustry, Goodman described the game as a “really fantastic, under-recognized product.” Initially the game was being developed as an RTS completely unrelated to the Halo franchise, but Microsoft told the studio that it had to fit the universe around it in order to minimize 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,'” Goodman recounted. Apparently Microsoft told the team to “just paint over what you have with Halo stuff.”
According to Goodman, Ensemble Studios and Halo creators Bungie didn’t enjoy a great relationship, “Another problem was that Bungie was never up for it,” he admitted. “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 Studios was closed back in 2008.
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