Frank O'Connor, the man who oversees the Halo franchise for Microsoft, has explained how the team at 343 Studios have been able to squeeze even more performance out of the existing game engine for the upcoming Halo 4.
The secret, he told Eurogamer, is keeping the bits that give that unique Halo feel, while upgrading and improving the way it handles speed and graphics. It also helps that Microsoft was apparently in no rush to get Master Chief back in action. "A significant amount of time has passed between Halo 3 and this, even Halo: Reach and this game," O'Connor said. "We also had a luxury that some teams don't get, which is we had some time to prototype, pull the engine apart and look at what made it tick and see where we could make improvements, because we weren't on this grind to build the very next sequel."
As for the Xbox 360 itself, even though rumours persist about a new console announcement in the near future, O'Connor doesn't see the existing machine dropping off the radar any time soon.
"The console is seven years old but we keep finding new tricks and new abilities to wring performance out of it," he said. "There's still life in the old girl yet. This is already one of the longest generations we've had. And just in terms of being an element of your home entertainment, the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 are essential. You have to keep it under your TV. I cannot get rid of my Xbox. The machine has so much utility it ends up being a hub for all these experiences and can still put out triple-A quality entertainment experiences as games. I love that. I get so much value out of that box in my house that I literally can't understand any reason why I would want to take it out from under my TV even if it gets replaced by better hardware in the future."
O'Connor is in the UK to present Halo 4 at the Eurogamer Expo in London. The game launches in just over a month, on November 6th.