This past Thursday, August 23, Microsoft opened its Xbox Showcase conference with the game that is going to kick off the new generation of consoles. In November of this year (if the rumors are correct) we will have Xbox Series X and, with it, a new Halo .
Halo Infinite is the new title of 343 industries , a study created by Microsoft in 2007 in view of the fact that Bungie, the parents of the saga, ended their contract and wanted to fly for free. The studio was created by and to develop Halo games (hence the name ‘343’, one of the characters in the series and its first original video game came in 2012.
It was a Halo 4 that included changes in mechanics and an ending that nobody liked, since it was solved with a QTE (Quick Time Event), but the title had that essence of Halo that so many players love. After that main installment, we have seen some spin-offs and two other major installments, Halo 5 – which continues the saga – and Halo Wars 2 – a strategy game developed jointly with the Creative Assembly studio .
Now is the time to see the new Halo, a Halo Infinite that wants to completely change the concept of the game by going from a fairly linear development to a huge and open environment that we can explore. We can already see the first gameplay trailer, the one you have on these lines, and we have chatted with the developers to understand more about the changes in the saga – report that you can read in HobbyConsolas -.
Now, however, we want to look back . And is that, being the most important saga of Microsoft, it is not the one that has opened all its generations of consoles. It has only done it twice: this 2020 … and in 2001 in a movement that confronted, even more, Apple and Microsoft.
And it is that, yes, Microsoft ‘stole’ from Apple what was going to be its great video game, and then we tell you the story of Halo, the exclusive Microsoft that was going to be the pride of Steve Jobs .
1999 Macworld, first look at Halo and a Bungie that was beloved among Mac gamers
It is not a secret that Microsoft and Apple have been at odds in the past . The rivalry between the two companies went beyond business competitiveness like the one Apple itself had with IBM, it was something more … personal. And it is that, the relationship between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates was not always good and, even when things improved, you could see that there were ‘grudges’ from the past.
Steve Jobs has starred in some of my favorite moments in the world such as the presentation of the iPhone without leaving the puppet with a head, the presentation of the MacBook Air or that of the first iMac. Well, of course, and the iPod that was pulled out of smaller and smaller pockets …
However, personally he also has memorable moments, such as the speech at Stanford or the 2007 interview in which Gates and Jobs talk about the past, present and future , forgetting quarrels, accusations of robberies and plagiarism and showing the world that, despite to the past, the two admired and respected each other . In fact, the two companies have worked side by side in the past, Microsoft being important to Apple … and vice versa.
Anyway, you have to see it, we leave it here below:
Back to the topic. That interview was conducted eight years after the 1999 Macworld , and the truth is that at that time not only was the relationship not so good, but Jobs practically hated Gates because the Apple founder maintained that Gates had ‘stolen from him ‘elements of Mac OS for Windows and, above all, by a move by Microsoft that angered Steve.
At the aforementioned event, Jobs stepped out on stage in his usual black jeans with a black turtleneck to present “the future of video games . ” A company -Bungie- that had earned the respect of Mac users thanks to the launch of games like Myth or Marathon took the stage to show their new project, a multiplayer game with touches of strategy called Halo.
At E3 ’99, a few months before Macworld, some journalists saw Halo behind closed doors and the feeling they had was very positive, and the truth is that players around the world are excited about Halo (not live, since that in Spain we found out a bit later because accessing the information was not as easy and immediate as now).
On the stage, Jobs looked radiant, and it’s not that we say it, it’s that it was obvious . He talked about power, about software -OpenGL-, about the 3D power of his Mac … and about everything his teams had to make Halo possible:
Halo was going to be released for Mac and Windows, but someone else was excited about the video game . Microsoft was, at that time, preparing to launch its first console. The Redmond guys had plenty of PC experience (obviously) and had actually released some of the best strategy games of all time, but they needed something new and special for their new system.
They had to sell their Xbox – which was nothing more than a very powerful PC at the time assembled in a box – with a bombshell, and that bombshell was going to be Halo . Different Microsoft executives got it in their heads that Halo should be the Xbox banner and for this there were two options: pay Bungie a million to make the development exclusive (and who knows if they would also have to pay Apple) or buy the studio, directly.
Bungie worked on a Mac, but it was not from Apple, so Microsoft came with the checkbook , as they have done so many and many times (and now they are also buying music video studios) and bought Bungie. Bungie is said to be on the verge of extinction and that appearance in a setting as large as Macworld was a cry for help.
They wanted to get someone’s attention, mainly from Apple, but Jobs went from buying Bungie. Microsoft came into play and, as we have already said, bought the studio for a figure of about $ 30 million , according to rumors. Jobs tried to react and showed interest in Bungie, but the deal was already set and those in Washington had taken home what could have been the gem of Californians.
A few lines ago we said that Microsoft had ‘stolen’ Halo from Apple, but really what happened is that Microsoft was much smarter, and maybe that was what unleashed Jobs’ anger , and not the fact that he ran out of Halo.
Jobs’ anger at Ballmer … and the ‘pact’ to calm the Apple genius
Gates, like all managers, including Jobs, has his things and there are people who can call them ‘cretins’ in some areas, but the truth is that the good guy was somewhat more diplomatic than Steve. Bill might be angry, but his attitude was not that of the Apple manager.
At Microsoft, however, there was another personality, Steve Ballmer . Ballmer had a profile … different, very different, and if you remember him in some presentations, he was quite vehement. Come on, if I had to ‘speak loudly’ to anyone, I would. However, ahead he met another person who was not intimidated at all.
When Jobs found out that Microsoft bought Bungie in 2000, he picked up the phone and called Ballmer , directly, to sing his forties. He would pay to know what they said, but the only thing we know from different sources is that Jobs had to be so furious with the move that Ballmer ordered Ed Fries, head of game publishing at Microsoft, to calm him down at all costs.
Imagine the talk that Jobs had to give to get, in the end, that Halo came out on Mac OS in 2003 and that Microsoft went to one of the Apple keynotes to affirm that the relationship between the companies was going well.
Those responsible for Microsoft at the time describe this as “something strange” , and the truth is that it is, although it may not seem so, for a company like Microsoft it is strange to take the stage in a great presentation of another company (and Apple, in addition) to say “hey, everything is fine between us”.
November 15, 2015, the start of Microsoft’s golden goose
In the end, Halo came out on Mac , yes, but it was shown that the game could have been the one that catapulted Apple computers into capable gaming machines. Or not, who knows … since the Halo we know is very different from the 1999 Halo that was going to come out in 2000.
With the move to console, Halo redefined the controls of the first-person shooters on the controls (polishing the systems of 007 Goldeneye of Nintendo 64), it presented us with an epic universe that has had several sequels and spin-offs and that, in addition, led successfully multiplayer online to consoles with Halo 2.
This was the second Halo trailer, already for Xbox and as a game that was still multiplayer without the figure of the protagonist, the Master Chief.
Xbox was a very powerful machine that had an integrated network card , and that gave an advantage over GameCube and a PS2 that sold much more, but was not as advanced as the Microsoft machine. Many of us started playing online on console with Halo and the game has been one of the stars of electronic sports.
On November 15, 2001 a star was born and this year, 19 years later, we will have a new installment that no longer has Bungie behind, but that wants to remember those past times while cementing the structures and mechanics of the saga for the future.
And by the way, that first Halo was developed on a Mac. Microsoft was one of the most important Mac clients because the original Xbox had a processor very similar to that of the Macs of the time and they had dozens of teams to develop games for both the original … as for Xbox 360.