“Rather than think about this as a pared down PC game, it’s more accurate to consider it as a significantly improved Forge tool for the existing game.”
News broke out yesterday that the Forge Mode from Halo 5: Guardians, the Xbox One exclusive shooter released last year, would be made available for free to PC gamers via Windows 10- good news for those hoping to utilize the more powerful keyboard and mouse interface on PCs to better their custom creations, but in a lot of ways, disappointing for those who were still holding out hope for Halo 5: Guardians to eventually come to PC.
Speaking on NeoGAF, Creative Director Frank O’Connor explained the reasoning behind this decision. “Because the whole game would be exponentially more complex and time consuming to build. This happens to be the best way to properly test game creations, maps and modes. It’s a great bonus that folks can have fun testing, but not the central point. Rather than think about this as a pared down PC game, it’s more accurate to consider it as a significantly improved Forge tool for the existing game.”
He went on to explain that Halo 5’s status as a game originally built for PC made it time consuming for it to be ported properly to PC- but he promised that the situation would be vastly different with the upcoming Halo Wars 2.
“While I personally believe it’s an evergreen masterpiece of whimsy and wonder, it would be a year old by the time Forge released, and given the architecture, cloud, matchmaking differences between platforms, it would be neither trivial to port, nor uncompromised in that process, given it was designed with targeted Xbox One perf in mind to begin with.
“Both audiences deserve better than that, as you’ll see with Halo Wars 2 onwards, which was designed with Xbox AND PC in mind from scratch and makes the most of each platform’s relative strengths.
“Both things were considered very carefully during development and both versions will take full advantage of their respective systems strengths. in this case the shorthand for that without committing to specific features is “Creative Assembly REALLY knows PC RTS games inside out,” and Halo Wars as a franchise has had some innovative and appropriate ways to make the game genre work on console. I think both audiences will be pleased and not feel compromised.
“We have to work on things that are sustainable for the studio, and make sense for long term planning. This is something we wanted to do for Xbox One forgers for a long time and is of course an extension of the existing suite. This is a sustain beat for Halo 5 on Xbox One. It’s certainly a big bonus that PC creators and players will get to play around in that sandbox, but that’s not really the primary purpose of the tool.
“We knew there’d be latent demands for a full version of the game (as there have been since H2 on Vista), but neither the time nor the finances make sense this far along the calendar. Halo Wars 2 will be a more palatable and straightforward example of the fact that we take PC gaming very seriously as an organization and a studio.”
While I understand the point, I also think that pointing to Halo Wars 2 as an instance of a full Halo game on PC is missing the point in a lot of ways.
Halo Wars 2 is due out on PC and Xbox One by this year’s end.