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A Halo MMO would be "pretty challenging" - Bungie

"Whole new layer of fiction" would need to be created for a perpetual online experience

Making an MMO out of the Halo franchise would be a "pretty challenging" undertaking that would involve the creation of a "whole new layer of fiction and new characters that don't currently exist" - and is a subject that has often been the subject of "heated discussions" at Bungie.

That's according to Brian Jarrard, community and PR director at the company, who told GamesIndustry.biz in an interview at the Tokyo Game Show that it would be "hard for me to imagine... not that it couldn't be done."

"I'm not sure," he said. "They are like our lunchtime discussions at the studio. A Halo MMO wasn't something that at the studio we had a lot of purview on. We'd heard rumblings and on paper, if someone says 'Let's take Halo, plus Warcraft, equals dollar signs...'

"So it was interesting when that whole thing came to light, there was more there than we ever really thought there was. I don't know, we've had a lot of heated discussions - there's a big, vast, rich universe, but then again it's hard for me to imagine.

"Everybody wants to be Master Chief, they all want to be the Spartan. You'd have to create a whole new layer of fiction and new characters that don't currently exist - not that it couldn't be done," he added.

"I don't know if I would want to invest and become a Warthog mechanic in a garage, when all my friends were out there kicking ass on the front lines. I'm sure there's probably enough there to work with where something could of come of it, but I think it would have been pretty challenging."

Jarrard was speaking after earlier reports that Ensemble Studios had put some exploratory work into finding out if a Halo MMO was viable, but that the project had been discontinued - but he was positive about Ensemble's other take on the franchise, RTS title Halo Wars.

"So far we have been very eager - watching and anticipating where the franchise goes," he explained. "But thus far Microsoft's only tapped top talent to work on the franchise and when Halo Wars was greenlit a while back... those guys are world class developers of RTS games, and if anybody's going to tackle Halo in that genre, they were the best people to pick.

"It's good to see that the game looks like it's coming along really, really well. We're sort of watching from the sidelines, taking it all in, but our priority mostly is just making our Halo game awesome for our fans, and we'll stay focused on that."

The full interview with Brian Jarrard is available now.