Joseph Staten approves of 343i's treatment of Halo, says ReCore must earn any potential sequel

Joseph Staten joined Xbox in 2014 as a senior creative director at Microsoft Studios, following his work on the Bungie-developed Halo games and, more recently, Destiny. Staten is now working with Comcept and Armature Studio on ReCore, an upcoming Windows 10 and Xbox One action adventure exclusive set on an alien world infested with mysterious robots.

During our interview on ReCore, I asked Staten how he felt about 343 Industries' work on the Halo universe, and what it would take for ReCore to evolve into one of Microsoft Studios' core franchises.

Jez Corden: Considering you wrote the first few Halo games – I'd feel a little like Halo was my baby, haha. I just wondered how you feel about how 343i handling the franchise now? Is there anything you'd change?

Joseph Staten: I think they've done an awesome job. The real pleasure for me now is that I can play Halo games in the way I never could before – as a fan. I know nothing about the 343 Halo games going in, so now when I get them, I get that experience of a Halo fan. Cracking open the case and letting the story go. That's something I never got to experience working at Bungie on the older Halo games. I'm always super eager for them to come out, I still love that universe, it's just fun to sit back on my couch as a fan.

"We've approached ReCore in the same way that we approached the Halo games – let's put as much quality in there as we can, let's attract as broad of an audience as possible, and let's do our best to earn a sequel."

Jez: Could ReCore evolve into a franchise as big as Halo one day? It represents a unique place in the Xbox One line-up, and with Nintendo sitting on the core Metroid franchise you could be filling a gap in a lot of people's hearts with ReCore. Is it designed with sequels in mind? Or will ReCore just be a one-shot?

Joseph: Well, when we made Halo 1 we didn't know we were going to get to do a sequel. We wanted to get the best game possible onto the disc, and then we hoped for people to enjoy it. We earned a sequel. Every game in the global publishing portfolio – whether it's ReCore, or Crackdown or Scalebound – we have aspirations and hopes that they can go on and grow into 'big boy' franchises like Gears, Forza or Halo. But you have to earn that success. You have to build an audience.

We've approached ReCore in the same way that we approached the Halo games – let's put as much quality in there as we can, let's attract as broad of an audience as possible, and let's do our best to earn a sequel. If we do? That's awesome. We certainly have ideas on where we want to take the story, but you never really know. But I think ReCore is a pretty special game, I love the way it plays, I hope people enjoy it.


ReCore is launching on September 13th, 2016, and promises Metroid-like gameplay across a dungeon-filled alien world. Be sure to check out our full interview with Joseph Staten and Keiji Inafune using the links below, as well as some of our early gameplay impressions on this upcoming Windows 10 and Xbox One exclusive.

Is ReCore the kind of game you would like to see turned into a franchise? Do you think 343 Industries has done a good job with Halo? Let us know in the comments.

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • I had to double take on that, I thought I read that as 'Joseph Stalin'
  • Definitely not haha
  • Same here.
  • I've only played the first 2 games on PC. What people like about Halo, I will never know.
  • Not if you only play the first two games these days, you won't.
  • When Halo CE was released, it was impressive even to PC gamers. It simply lacked HD graphics and kB & mouse controls. Before that, no console FPS had the look, feel, and story of their PC counterparts.
  • I would love to try this game. It looks intriguing.
  • I'm personally disappointed in a lot of the Microsoft portfolio of late. I thought Halo 5 was horrendous on the campaign front and incredibly uneven in multiplayer (great core mechanics, disastrous maps). I'm not really interested in ReCore but given how the other stuff published by MS went, I don't have too much hope for a sequel. I thought Sunset Overdrive and Quantum Break were great, but it seems sequels won't happen. Alan Wake and Ryse seemed worthy of sequels (though I never played either), but haven't. The second-party efforts just haven't gone especially well. Dead Rising (the one I think is conceptually most boring) has gotten another release, which I thought was surprising. Forza is technically amazing, but hasn't stuck with me for more than a couple of month. Gears faded for me after the second, but I might get the new one just because there isn't a whole lot else coming. Also, ReCore reminded me: When was the last time we saw a new, AAA IP announced solely with a male lead? It seems like it's been a really long time. Was it Scalebound? That was announced 2+ years ago. It seems the whole "gamergate' thing led to a massive overcorrection by developers to avoid new stuff with male-only leads. Heck, Final Fantasy took a lot of flak for having no females in its main cast. I hate when creativity is stifled by such things, so hopefully we have a better balance goign forward.
  • Spoken like a guy who knows what hes talking about. Well said Wallace
  • Not sure the gender of the game's lead matters as long as it's a good game, who cares? :f I did ask Aaron Greenberg a little about the risks involved with using second parties for developing exclusives, cus it seems to result in the game's never becoming franchises or getting sequels. Look for that next week. Agree that Ryse and Alan Wake deserved sequels. :(
  • I agree that the gender shouldn't matter. However, enough people on the Internet and in the media complained, and now it just reeks of pandering. I don't like it when I feel like a game (or movie, for that matter) is telling me how to think. That's the only issue I have with it. Horizon: Zero Dawn looks like a really cool game. I don't care that the lead is a girl. I only care about it on a macro level. The argument before was "female leads are too uncommong." Now, it's seemingly becoming the opposite, where every new idea is "let's show that we love women!" We've had multiple franchises turn the focus of the lead from a guy to a girl (Assassin's Creed, Dishonored, Nier, and I know I'm forgetting a few but it's 1 AM). We've had multiple ones make sure it was a big deal that women were included as an option (Call of Duty, FIFA, Fallout). The ultimate point I'm making is: if being too heavy-handed with one gender was considered a problem needing fixed, why does no one seem to notice when it's the same paradigm happens in the exact opposite manner? Why did some franchises add female alternatives to the male leads, but we didn't see a male alternative in something like Mirror's Edge: Catalyst? Why does For Honor have to wreck the bit of historical perspective of being a Viking/Samurai/Knight need to let you be a black or character to avoid offending people? Honestly, that last one is the one where it kind of bothered me. I was up for the historical aspects of Assassin's Creed, and I liked the thought of Ubi doing that again here. Then they decided to ignore history to pander, and as I said, I hate when a game seems more interested in pushing an agenda than being a good game.
  • I loved Ryse, basic but brutal and gorgeous!
  • Well said, Keith
  • But...But... what about the uniform colors?
  • Huh?
  • Wow...just wow. You manage to list four new IPs with male centric leads, three that were released this generation, one of which was released a few months ago. THEN you complain about devs overreacting to Gamergate because a single IP has a female lead. Also if you knew your history the Romans introduced African warriors into their ranks. Saint Maurice's last campaign was against the Gaul's in Northern Europe and was executed in what is modern day Switzerland for refusing an order to slaughter a group of Christians. Sir Morien, one of the famed knights of the round table is a Moor that was described as black from head to foot save his teeth which were the only white colouring on his body. Black European warriors or knights are more historically accurate than a fight between Vikings, Knights and Samurai.
  • Yes, and all 4 that I named were developed pre-Gamergate. It doesn't change my point at all, because those were before the time I started speaking of. We're talking about 2014 and on, and the examples I spoke of all started development years before that. It's why I also don't want to hear counterpoints of Scalebound, The Last Guardian, or Crackdown, where the stuff was established with a male lead beforehand. On the flip side, since 2014 and on, we've seen Assassin's Creed take out co-op play and replace it with a female character alternative (and put her in the highlighted role, above her brother). Dishonored moved Corvo to a late-announcement add-on after putting Emily at the front. Nier replaced a male lead with a female. Call of Duty, Fallout 4, and FIFA made big deals of adding playable females. Deus Ex had articles run for having female enemies. Take it a step further, and look at how Battlefield 1 went to WW1 and put a black character on the cover, and Watch Dogs 2 replaced the white protagonist with a black one. Oh, and don't forget that Halo 5 shoved Master Chief to the back for a useless, military yes-man like Locke. If you go beyond just females, and consider all of the other "minority" demographics in gaming, it makes it even easier to notice. We're talking 2+ years without an IP with a male lead, and several IPs where both males and whites were pushed out. It all feels like developers are trying too hard to one-up each other on diversity, rather than actually producing better games. If something comes out with a male lead (especially a white one), it's almost certainly an established franchise or a niche, indie title.
  • So, a handful of games have appeared with female leads in the past couple of years, and you are feeling really... what, uncomfortable I guess? Have you considered how the ladies might have felt for the past, umm, couple of decades?
  • So basically what you are saying its that if we move the goalposts, change the start dates of when games were being developed, pretend male protagonists aren't existing in games, cherry pick the titles we are talking about and exempt titles from the discussion we can make it got a MRA agenda. Let's not beat around the bush here. You were the one claiming they had no issue with gender in gaming yet you seem to take issue with any game that has a female or non-white protagonist as well as any game that has a non-white male in its marketing. Also you are defending Final Fantasy's removal of diversity in its protagonists and making them all male and pale skinned while claiming AAA games adding diversity is part of some agenda.
  • Didn't realize the game was coming out this quick thought I had some time now I have to reshuffle my games around damn
  • I liked Halo 4 but, man, I hated the story of Halo 5. It was the first Halo game story I didn't like. I sincerely hope 343 has heard the criticism from fans and critics and made behind-the-scenes changes to the writing department.
  • I didn't like ODST's either, both the manner of storytelling (backtracking and forcing a love story and not making much sense) and the content were not for me. However, I did like Halo 4. Halo 5 progressed the franchise's story about 5 feet while wasting time throwing out a lazy main boss (Warden) who had no purpose. He had no personality, he made no impact, he provided no challenge, he was just filler. That whole campaign was filler. I could basically sum up all of the meaningful content of Halo 5's campaign in 1-3 paragraphs, depending on how many little things that don't REALLY matter you want to call significant.
  • And a heavy emphasis on Spartan Locke who is maybe the most boring character in the Halo universe.
  • Playing halo 1,2,3 was amazing..the story,characters gameplay and music just special...i liked 4 even though it seemed a little bit shorter...but I like it...but halo 5 sorry...never managed to put me in the story...technical amazing..but halo is not all about tech...anyways hope recore can make it
  • What was a technically impressive thing in Halo 5? The environments were fine and pretty, I guess, but most every AAA title pulls that off with ease. The only part I'd call impressive is the dynamic resolution, and I don't know how impressed I can be about a feature built out of necessity because the console it runs on is a hardware compromise from the start.
  • The halo experience died when 343 took over halo. Making it like call of duty. Glitches custom games. Killing off single console coop and multiplayer... I hate 343 with a passion :/
  • I'd have to get my hands on it to determine whether or not I'd want a sequel but I am definitely excited to play!
  • Halo 5s campaign is a disaster. At least the multiplayer is good, in my opinion that is.
  • Probably the only one that cares about things like this, but would be nice if they would make one of the franchises more child friendly. Keep it to a teen rating. Just a thought.
  • Recore will be a games with gold tile within a year. As for halo 5 people are just fatigued with halo but for us newer to halo it's an amazing game. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • 343 is ruinning Halo.
    ​Halo 4 multiplayer was terrible, abilities, random weapons, worst Halo map selection by far and unplayable split-screen.
    ​Halo 5 with no Split-screen shows 343i have no clue of what is Halo. They spend huge resources on stuff Halo doesn't need and players don't want, then take out things like ss.
    ​I hope they release Halo 3 aniversary with 4p ss multiplayer and remastered maps.            
  • Blablabla. Typical PR bullshit. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Having played the three Metroid Prime games that came out on the Nintendo GameCube I always felt that the Xbox was lacking an exploration action adventure game like that, so I have high hopes that ReCore will fill that role just as good if not better.