After Bungie parted ways with Microsoft, leaving behind the Halo franchise with them to work on Destiny, Microsoft was left with the question of who to hand their most important and prestigious franchise to. With hindsight, we know they set up a brand new studio, 343 Industries, to head the brand and be its custodian—but that wasn’t the only option in consideration at the time.
Speaking to IGN’s podcast IGN Unfiltered, 343 Industries’ Bonnie Ross revealed that there was a bit of uncertainty within Microsoft regarding how to handle the transition away from Bungie with Halo at the time. Microsoft had considered either handing the franchise to Gearbox — who admittedly did have some experience with the IP, thanks to their work on the well received PC port of Halo: Combat Evolved — or ending the franchise altogether, noting that Halo 3 provides enough closure to be able to call it quits there.
However, Ross, who was attached to the Halo franchise, and responsible for Microsoft’s internal and external publishing efforts at the time, felt that either option would be tantamount to “blasphemy”, and therefore pitched her vision for Halo’s future. The pitch was so successful that she ended up being given the keys to the franchise, and the rest, since then, is history.
Said history includes multiple mistakes made along the way (as Ross herself has admitted), but for now, the future of the franchise looks bright. At the very least we have been told that Halo Infinite will not repeat the mistakes that its predecessor did.