Microsoft will release “Halo 5: Guardians” in fall 2015 for Xbox One, marking the next major installment in the flagship Xbox game franchise. The company is also on track for a fall 2015 release of a new “Halo” television series being developed in collaboration with Steven Spielberg.
The announcements were made this morning by Bonnie Ross of Microsoft’s 343 Industries, making it clear that the company is aiming to leverage the power of the new console and make the next Halo game a showcase for the Xbox One’s underlying technology.
“Making a ‘Halo’ game that runs at 60 frames per second, on dedicated servers, with the scope, features and scale we’ve been dreaming of for more than a decade, is non-trivial,” says Ross in a post on the company’s Xbox Wire site. “It’s a task that we, at 343 Industries, are taking very seriously to ensure we deliver the “Halo” game that fans deserve, and a game that is built from the ground up for Xbox One.”
An Xbox spokesman confirmed to GeekWire that Halo 5 won’t be made for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console.
The announcement comes as Microsoft tries to keep pace with Sony’s PlayStation 4, which has taken an early lead over the Xbox One in U.S. and worldwide console sales.
Halo has been a blockbuster franchise for Xbox, driving sales of the Microsoft consoles, since the release of “Halo: Combat Evolved” in 2001 for the original Xbox.
Microsoft’s 343 Industries has been developing Halo since taking over the franchise from Bungie Studios, the original Halo developer, which was acquired and then later spun out of the Redmond company. Bungie, meanwhile, is launching the highly-anticipated Destiny sci-fi shooter on Sept. 9 for the Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.
Ross says this morning, “‘Halo 5: Guardians’ is a bigger effort than ‘Halo 4.’ That applies to the content and scope of the game, as well as the technology in what’s now a brand new and more powerful engine. Certainly there are some core elements carried over from prior games, but we’ve invested a huge effort in retooling our tech to take full advantage of the Xbox One’s hardware and ecosystem to create worlds and experiences worthy of next-gen.”
The company isn’t going into detail on the previously announced Halo television series, a collaboration with the legendary movie producer, but Ross says the series “will stand alone, as well as complement and enrich the game experience.”
And finally, she notes that Microsoft has even more plans for Halo this year, as well, with details to come at this year’s E3 game convention on June 9. Ross, speaking at last year’s GeekWire Summit, said that ‘free-to-play’ games were a possibility for 343 Industries.
Earlier this week, Microsoft announced that it will sell a standalone Xbox One, without the Kinect, at $100 cheaper than the current Xbox One price ($499). The company also said that anyone with an Xbox One or Xbox 360 will be able to access more than 170 gaming and entertainment apps, including Netflix, Hulu and ESPN. Those apps previously required a $60/year Xbox Live Gold subscription.