Halo: The Master Chief Collection is already on deck for the Xbox One this November followed by Halo 5: Guardians in 2015. A new job listing posted Sunday by Microsoft indicates that 343 Industries is starting a new sub-franchise set in the Halo universe.
The Microsoft job listing is for a Senior Producer and reads, “343 Industries is looking for a Senior Producer to help develop a new project line in the ‘Halo’ universe. This is your chance to work on one of the most exciting and creative intellectual properties in the industry with one of the industry’s most talented teams.”
The emphasis on “a new project line” indicates that this Halo project does not fall within the Master Chief story line and is likely an off shoot similar to Halo Wars or Halo 3: ODST. What’s more, the use of the word “line” screams more than one game.
There’s no indication that this is a real-time strategy game or a first-person shooter, but the fact that this is for the Devices and Studios Engineering Division is the first signal that this is for the Xbox One.
The second signal is the description that, “The ideal candidate will be able to gracefully shift between different teams (internal and external) aiding them were necessary and contributing to overall smooth running of the project/projects.”
A project with multiple internal and external teams says AAA console release.
This is actually the third job listing posted by Microsoft that provides evidence that a new Halo game is coming. The first was posted in December 2013 while the second was posted in January of this year for an engineer stating, “[W]e are gathering an incredible team to help drive the future of ‘Halo.'”
“We are looking for a talented software developer with the skills and drive to help us deliver the online and connected features of a AAA game title,” the listing continued.
If 343 Industries is still assembling a team for this new Halo spinoff franchise, it’s likely a good two to three years from release at a minimum. The development cycles for the current-generation Xbox One and PS4 consoles is only getting longer as witnessed by Activision’s decision to put three different developers on its Call of Duty franchise.
The real question is whether Microsoft and 343 Industries will be willing to take the risk of venturing outside of the first-person shooter comfort zone with this new Halo franchise. Halo Wars from the now defunct Ensemble Studios is the most notable diversion, but there was a short-lived attempt at a Halo MMO that was cancelled after being greenlit and the twin-stick shooter, Halo: Spartan Assault.
[Image via Halo Wars cover art for Xbox 360]