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Editorial: I’m Bored with Halo

Alex Keen examines a very real issue called “Franchise Fatigue.”

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I’ve become bored with Halo. There, I wrote it so the world can see. I’ve become exhausted by the yearly march of reinvented games that expand the universe everso further. I’ve become tired of playing the same game 100 times with just an upgraded HUD, some new weapons, and new multiplayer lobby. I think I might be getting too old to enjoy video games.

When it was announced that Halo 4 was in the pipeline, I rolled my eyes from here to Jupiter with the thought of more Master Chief. It’s not that I actively dislike the series, it’s just become way too consistent for my liking. Halo has become a bullet point on an earnings report. The stinkin’ series has become too successful to be just a game. Now, it’s been relegated to a full-force media entity. There are books, soundtracks, action figures, bobbleheads, and, very likely, customizable toilet seat covers.

My boredom with the game has absolutely nothing to do with Halo 4’s quality. I trust in the overwhelmingly positive praise heaped on it. I believe that Erik’s 9 out of 10 review is accurate. Unfortunately, my disdain for the current Halo iteration has everything to do with game rarity. “What is game rarity?”, you might ask. It simply means the uniqueness of a game or game series through an extended period of time. You see, getting a new Halo game every year has made me blind to the beauty of the game. Just like Madden and Call of Duty, Halo has become simply a space hog at the local GameStop.

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Image courtesy of Simon Mall.
 

My collapse into boredom doesn’t apply to every game series in the world. I’m still intrigued by the future of BioShock, God of War, Left 4 Dead, and, the ultimate tease, Half-Life. The wait between games is what makes them intriguing; the wait is what makes me desire them. Playing hard to get isn’t just for high school girls, it works in the realm of video games, too!

For this reason alone, I plead to men and women of 343 Industries to disappear for a little while. Convince your higher-ups that the world wants a year or two off from Master Chief. Make a Kinect game about the Mars Rover. Climb Mt. Everest while wearing a proton pack. Just go dark for a while so that gamers can be left to wonder, “what the hell happened to Halo?” I recognize that is difficult, nigh impossible, with a bunch of portfolio managers breathing down your necks. However, look again at the hard numbers and you will see that Xbox consoles are not selling gangbusters on the back of any one Halo game. It’s Netflix, HBO Go and voice-activated YouTube doing the heavy lifting.

With that I urge you, 343 Industries, take a few years off and wait for the console to teeter out a bit. Keep developing the series behind closed doors but don’t feel like you have to jam yet another sequel down our throats. I’d much rather you not suffer the same fate as those forced to “reinvent” the same bloated corpses every season. The Halo brand deserves better.