Frank O’Connor talks Halo Master Chief Collection
Frank O’Conner is currently Franchise Development Director for Halo at 343 Industries, working closely with Microsoft and 343 with everything that has to do with Halo, and implicitly the Halo Master Chief Collection. Originally he was a big gamer, and started writing for various video game magazines such as Ultimate Future Magazine and Official Xbox Magazine. O’Conner was picked up by Bungie to be their content manager and then left in early 2008 to work entirely on Halo related content. His major duty previously was writing the Bungie Weekly Update during development of Halo 2 and Halo 3. Since his departure from Bungie he has helped with production of every Halo title from Halo: Wars to Halo Master Chief Collection. Recently O’Conner talked with Xbox Wire on the Halo Master Chief Collection development process.
Speaking about the creation of Halo Master Chief Collection, he detailed that it was originally just a Halo 2 Anniversary game but grew due to a desire to have the entire story available on one console. He compared the disjointed story to movies and books, where the plot isn’t separated by different hardware. Halo: Combat Evolved was on the original Xbox and remade for the Xbox 360 in 2011. Halo 2 was available only on the original Xbox, with Halo 3 and 4 on Xbox 360. Now with Halo 5 Guardians coming to Xbox One, Microsoft and 343 wanted to give a chance to newcomers to experience the entire story prior to Halo 5. The focus was on remaking Halo 2 due to its upcoming anniversary. O’Conner listed the biggest challenge as not being the 60 frames per second or 1080p resolution but instead tying all the games together with a simple user interface. The underlying systems that allow Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary to connect with Halo 4 were the hardest challenges to take on and he explains that other developers will understand that more than consumers.
The narrative cohesion was easier to accomplish thanks to every game being a direct sequel and says the most changes to the plot was in Halo 2. However, this mainly relates to the visual way the story was told, with graphics being radically redone by Blur Studio and camera angles being changed. Something that wasn’t changed however was the voicework, which stayed in just as it was originally. He mentions showing the finished product to Joe Staten, who was the original writer for Halo 2 and that he was happy with the outcome.