When a franchise hits a certain level of popularity, an interesting question begins to rise, “Can we do more with this?” Whether it’s movies, TV, or video games, the easiest is either sequels, or spin-offs. While the former is very easy, the later is a little more complicated. Because it’s not just about making an “offshoot” of the main game, but making it unique, and something that fans could get behind. For Halo, that spinoff was Halo Wars, and it worked, because Halo Wars 2 comes out next month.
But why did it work? How could a first-person shoot, turn into a full-blown RTS, that was made completely separate from the main story of the Halo Universe in many ways, and yet still be good? Especially since RTS’s were mainly the property of PC games, which are easier to control there because of the mouse. Well, it’s because Microsoft and Ensemble Studios put the time and effort to try and make it special, to make it work, and to make it good. For fans and most critics, it worked.
First off, it felt like a Halo game, it was all the units and tech you knew from Halo: Combat Evolved, it was just in a setting 20 years prior. You knew what every unit could do, so there was less of a learning curve in regards to “feeling out the units”, you knew what they were.
Also, the threat was a familiar one in the Covenant, in the Arbiter shows up to further tie the games together. So it was an enemy you were familiar with, and thus had no trouble taking down.
When great detail is put into titles, games are much better. Halo Wars was good, and fans let that be known. That’s why, at E3 2016, when Microsoft played the trailer for Halo Wars 2? The fans erupted. Not just because the game was back, but the characters from before were back, and it was good to see them.
As long as Halo Wars 2 sticks to what made the original great, and improves on it with the power of the Xbox One and even PC? This will be a hit six ways from Sunday. Count on it.