Halo 4’s Original Developer was Almost Gearbox Software
Before 343 Industries was founded, the idea of passing off the Halo franchise to an external studio was considered at Microsoft.
After Bungie opted to part ways with Microsoft and the Halo franchise following the release of Reach, there were many questions about the future of the Halo series. While 343 Industries was eventually founded and became the primary new developer for Halo, this move wasn’t always in the cards.
In a new conversation between IGN and Bonnie Ross, head of 343 Industries, more information about the journey to Halo 4 and the situation that arose after Bungie left was detailed. Ross said that had 343 not been founded under her own leadership, there were a few different options on what to do with Halo moving forward. One of these potential routes was to just see the end of Halo altogether, but Ross felt strongly against this transpiring.
Another far more interesting idea that arose for awhile dealt with handing off the franchise to an external studio. At the time, Microsoft saw Gearbox Software, the studio that eventually went on to create Borderlands and Borderlands 2 as the front runner to take over Halo. For those unaware, Gearbox has previously worked on the series in some capacity by developing the PC port of the original game in the series Halo: Combat Evolved. Obviously, this never transpired but it’s definitely interesting to think about. Had 343 never been formed, we may have received a very different Halo 4.
I always find it fascinating to learn about deals like this that were discussed behind the scenes but never came to fruition. In this specific case though, I’m thrilled Gearbox never got their hands on Halo. Even though the Borderlands series is fun, Gearbox has also created some real stinkers with Duke Nukem Forever and Aliens: Colonial Marines. While it’s intriguing to think about what their own spin on Halo would have been, I for one am fine with the current set of events that transpired.