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Halo MMO had $90 million budget, canceled as Microsoft eyed 'casual, broader audience'

Ben Gilbert, @RealBenGilbert
April 12, 2010
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Over the past couple of years, we've seen dribbles of information here and there about the canceled Halo MMO, but a recent conversation IncGamers had with ex-Ensemble Studios employee Dusty Monk (yep, that's his real name) revealed not only the exorbitant cost of the planned development (three years of which took place before the game was canceled), but much, much more. First and foremost, the game's development was said to cost $90 million, as you likely inferred from the headline above. Second, the game was intended to be a "WoW killer," according to Monk.

"It was absolutely going to compete against WoW. You have to remember that Ensemble came from a standpoint of being really good at competing against Blizzard Entertainment," Monk said, using the Age of Empires series as an example. Unfortunately for the folks at Ensemble working on "Titan" (the codename for the Halo MMO), the launch and subsequent blistering success of the Nintendo Wii allegedly altered the direction that Microsoft wanted to take. "Microsoft, from its gaming division, was really changing directions. They were looking really hard at the Nintendo Wii and they were really excited by the numbers that the Wii was turning. This was about the time that Microsoft decided that its Xbox platform and XBLA really needed to go more in the direction of appealing to a more casual, broader audience." Given that new direction and what Monk calls a "very expensive, very long, and very protracted" development, Microsoft eventually shut down the project.

But hey, at least we got Halo Wars, right? Right?!





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