There’s a good reason Halo wasn’t an Xbox One launch title

blame halo 4 series absence xbox one launch lineup reveal 04

There’s a reason you don’t have a new Halo game to play on your freshly purchased Xbox One, and it’s name is Halo 4. Microsoft could have put 343 Industries to work on developing a Halo title for the Xbox One launch, though it likely would have been Halo 4, as Microsoft Studios chief Phil Spencer told Kotaku.

“A couple of years ago we had the discussion of: ‘Should we do Halo at launch and not do Halo 4 last year? But I was committed to getting Halo 4 done last year, and there was no way we were going to turn around with 343 a full Halo game in a year,” Spencer said. “So that was the plan we set on. I feel good about that.”

Spencer goes on to say that a Halo game at launch would have to be a big one for the series – “a Halo 4 or 5-size game,” as he put it – and it ultimately made more sense to make 343’s series debut an Xbox 360 swan song. We’re inclined to agree. Halo 4 is a very strong game that hits every beat a fan might hope for, but it’s also undeniably safe. It’s perfect as a warm-up for 343’s eventual, inevitable Xbox One debut.

Spencer also ruled out the notion of launching with a Halo 4 port. As popular as it is as a multiplayer shooter, the Microsoft exec notes that the console launch is all about looking forward, not backward. “I want launch to be about new things that are taking full advantage of the hardware, especially as a first party,” Spencer said. “Any kind of strategy with the back catalog was something I thought we would think about later.”

Of course, 2013 won’t be completely devoid of new Halo games. Top-down, twin-stick shooter Halo: Spartan Assault debuted for Windows 8 PCs and mobile devices earlier this year, and it’s coming to Xbox 360 and Xbox One before the end of December.