Rumor: Halo 2 Anniversary in production at 343 Industries

Halo is so closely associated with its creator Bungie that it will take years for 343 Industries, caretaker of Halo 4, to supplant it as the face of the series. 343’s off to a good start at least. Its remastering of the original Halo: Combat Evolved was pretty if flawed, and Halo 4 is shaping up to be a worthy evolution of the series, in both its popular multiplayer and its story campaign. It’s still the outlier though. For now, 343 is in the uncomfortable position new actors playing James Bond have to sit in prior to their first full-length features; they look the part, but it’s unclear if they’re Connery-level great.

One path to making the series theirs? Keep remaking the old ones. If a new rumor in OXM (via NeoGAF) proves to be true, that seems to be 343’s plan.

The latest issue of the magazine says that 343 is in the early production stages on Halo 2 Anniversary. The original Halo 2 started the franchise’s string of record-breaking sales debuts when it came out back in 2004 earning $125 million in its first day. That record has been trounced many times over since, but it was a big moment for the gaming industry in 2004.

With this being an anniversary edition of the game, we can assume that it won’t be out until 2014, right in time for the 10-year milestone. That date calls into question what console the Halo 2 remaster will be for though. Expectations are that Microsoft will release its next console, the Xbox 720 or Durango, sometime between Fall 2013 and Spring 2014. An HD remaster of Halo 2 would be an easy, profitable project for a fledgling console in sore need of content. It may even be possible to make a version of the game that is built for both Microsoft’s next-generation machine and the Xbox 360. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary allowed the new textures made for the game to be turned off at any time, giving the game that vintage 2001 look. Halo 2 could feasibly add two texture layers on top of the game, one for the Xbox 360 and one for the advanced Xbox 720.

We reached out to Microsoft to discuss 343 Industries’ future with the Halo franchise. Unsurprisingly, a Microsoft Spokesperson’s response didn’t illuminate much: “Our focus right now is on developing Halo 4 and producing Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn. Beyond that, we do not comment on rumors or speculation.”

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