If there's one thing I've always found profoundly significant to the Halo franchise, it has been the relationship between the developer and its community. It's heartening then to see 343 being proactive in this regard. On the latest Halo Bulletin in the Halo Waypoint, Frank O'Connor, Halo franchise director at 343, offers a very humble and candid reflection on Halo 4's development and the future.
As far as letters to the community go, Frank's is rather poignant, and the quote that hits home hardest for me was his opening statement:
"Halo 4, despite being the seventh or eighth game in the Halo series (depending on how you count them), was our first game. That is to say, our first-ever fully fledged title, built from the ground up creatively and technologically. So let me save you the trouble of trolling my statement: We have a lot to learn. We made a lot of mistakes. We can do better. And we know this, and we will. But I don’t want to spend the first moments of the year thinking about the negatives, because frankly, I am incredibly proud of both the team and the game that team created."
This statement is significant for multiple reasons. While O'Connor starts off with a defensive statement, clarifying Halo 4 is 343's first actual title, he almost takes the attitude that Halo 4 wasn't as good as it is. Then, and keep in mind Halo 4 is pretty dang solid, O'Connor states he and 343 are dedicated to doing better. Well then, Frank, you've certainly got my attention.
He doesn't stop there, though, he goes on to compliment Bungie, name drop members of his development team, point out bugs and mistakes from Halo 4's development and more. If it wasn't coming from Frank himself it would be a roast.
Then, with one fell swoop, O'Connor brushes it all away and looks forward:
"Technically, this should be a retrospective, but it’s safe to say I’m more excited about the future than the past. Excited about what this team is already working on. Excited about what this team is capable of. And excited about the future of Halo. A future we want you to be a part of. A future we’re building for you."
Mission accomplished, I'm more excited for Halo 5 than ever.