Phil Spencer says Xbox One's mouse and keyboard support 'makes sense' to launch with Halo Wars 2

Halo Wars was an innovative real-time strategy game for Xbox 360 set in the Halo universe. Details on the sequel are scant right now, but in a wide-ranging interview with Eurogamer, Xbox head Phil Spencer discussed HW2's nature, support for mouse and keyboards and cross-platform play.

First, Eurogamer asked Phil Spencer how Halo Wars 2 fits into the Xbox lineup as a third-party developed title. Creative Assembly, famed for the Total War series is handling Halo Wars 2.

..."Halo Wars 2, to me, is a first-party game. It's our IP, obviously. But we're funding the development of the game. Creative Assembly is obviously a Sega studio, so there's a partnership there we're working on. Sometimes we're working on first-party games with our studios, sometimes we're building first-party games like Quantum Break with third party studios that want to stay independent. I think that's fine. I don't demand that everyone who works on a first-party game have a Microsoft card key."...

Spencer went on to cite the studio's relationship with Crystal Dynamics on Rise of the Tomb Raider, stating that the relationship goes deeper than just marketing - but includes creative and technical aspects as well.

Eurogamer moved on, describing Halo Wars 2 as a "poster child" for Spencer's Windows 10 gaming efforts. Phil Spencer noted that Halo Wars 2 is an excellent opportunity to build a game from scratch, inferring the benefits of cross-platform play in the process.

..."It's a great canvas for us - we've looked at people playing on multiple platforms, switching back and forth themselves based on time of day and where they are, or people saying they're only console or they're only PC and they want a larger community of people to play with."...

Eurogamer noted that mouse and keyboard support is on its way to Xbox One and asked if it would work with Halo Wars 2. Phil emphasised that the mouse and keyboard feature wasn't announced specifically for Halo Wars 2 but agreed that it made sense.

..."Those two announcements aren't related, but it makes sense to me that this is a time when we turn that on. We haven't gone back to do the planning on how these things tie together. Obviously we're going to want people to play strategy games the way they want to play it, and to give them choices."...

Motiga tackles some of the problems inherent in cross-platform play with their upcoming MOBA-like Gigantic. Some Gigantic player classes are shooter-centric. Those using a mouse and keyboard would enjoy a vast advantage against the same category played via a controller. Turning with a mouse is simply faster than it is with a joystick. To solve this problem, Gigantic has classes that aren't as dependent on precision aiming. Additionally, Motiga will allow players to opt-out entirely of facing others who might have an input advantage by platform. Halo Wars 2 could use a similar system if it goes fully cross-platform.

Microsoft are continuing to blur the lines between console and PC, and Halo Wars 2 could be just another step on the road.

Source: Eurogamer

Jez Corden
Managing Editor

Jez Corden is the Managing Editor for 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!

  • Can't wait!!
  • I wanna see how this pans out though with a mix of gamepad users. Also, doesn't it "just make sense" because Windows 10 is coming to Xbox One? Sounds like MKB support would have a more drastic effect on that than any one game.
  • Mobilie MIA from the conversation once again.....
  • Ahhh the day is finally coming... When keyboard and mouse support is available for Xbox One, I'll finally be interested in buying a console. I've never been very good with using those controllers. I hope they add support for all games! At least shooters (FPS)
  • Same here. Xbox is for my kids. I feel stupid trying to play games with them on those controllers. I've always felt for FPS games, controllers are a handicap in terms of accuracy and speed. I'm probably wrong. But now maybe I will be able to continue to be ignorant in the subject and play the Xbox with a m&k ;)
  • used to be like that until i started to play titanfall on xbox. Kinda mastered the joystick and if you see Pro's playing sometimes you think they are using mouse/keyboard because of their outstanding accuracy. Still, I think joystick is not really suitable for RTS gaming as it is with FPS and i really want to play halo wars2 on my desktop pc :)
  • Awesome! Not that I'll be playing with M&K too much on my Xbox One. At least now I can play on my PC with friends on console without them feeling disadvantaged.
  • Well if they want to make a strategy game better it should support mouse and keyboard. Anyone who likes playing strategy games like to press keys to create units the fastest.
    It's fun. But with a controller it feels slow. What I dislike is hoe they want to support something but at the same time give options to limit the people you can find because some crying babies will complain how keyboard and mouse can be advantage. It's like if I played fighting games and complained when I lost because I decided not to buy a stick but I play with controller or even keyboard.
    If that's the case there shouldn't be crossplay at al. And they shouldn't support mouse and keyboard either because some people will cry and blame on it about what they lose and why they are not good
  • Maybe you will get criers, but there's also a high percentage of people that have wanted this since the original xbox. It's the same with everything, some will love and some will hate. But currently there is no option. At least if people have the choice they can decide for themselves. I mean my wife hates ice cream, doesn't mean the kids can't have any...
  • Cross-play refers to devices, not to the peripherals used to input commands. Thus, players on Windows 10 playing Gigantic with players on Xbox One playing Gigantic = cross-play. Players on Windows 10 using mouse and keyboard playing with players on Windows 10 using a controller ≠ cross-play. Players on Windows 10 playing Gigantic with a keyboard and mouse with players on Xbox One using a controller = cross-play (but not because one is using a keyboard and mouse and the other is using a controller). Players should never be forced to play with people who use peripherals that advantage them. They should be in separate pools: Windows 10 gamers using controllers paired up with Xbox One gamers using controllers, and Windows 10 gamers using keyboards and mice paired up with Xbox One gamers using keyboards and mice.
  • standard ONE controllers in one pool.   Third party pro and MS Elite in a separate pool   daft.
  • I rarely agree with your jibber jabber COIP, but in this case I strangely find myself in whole hearted agreement. I think I need a lie down ;) +1 for your sir
  • /me faints
  • Idk if I like this, it just means everyone will convert to mouse and keyboard to get the upper hand. I hope the extremely limit what games can support this! And I love Halo Wars on the controller, but if its mixed then again controller will be disadvantaged.
  • It does say that servers can be locked into various states, M&K only, Controller only. I guess they would also implement Console only and PC only as well.
  • Xbox one is fast becoming the pinnacle of any console ever made. It truly is a force to be reckoned with.
  • No need to wait for halo wars 2 in my opinion, just get it out as soon as you can.
  • I've been clamoring for this feature since the days of 360. They need to bring games like AoE and SimCity back to console
  • Cities Skylines is coming to the XBone.  Would be perfect for the mouse and keyboard.
  • Implying, not inferring. Need some high school grads writing on here!
  • "Halo Wars 2, to me, is a first-party game." (Phil Spencer) Isn't this a second-party game? I thought that the breakdown is as follows: 1st-party: your own IP, developed by an internal studio (e.g. Turn 10 Studios with Forza Motorsport) 2nd-party: your own IP, developed by an external studio (e.g. Playground Games with Forza Horizon) 3rd-party: not your IP, developed by an external studio (e.g. Insomniac with Sunset Overdrive--or is this a 2nd-party title because Microsoft Studios is the publisher?....I'm confused, and so is Phil Spencer).
  • Yea that's why he said "to me" aka his opinion, not fact. He knows technically it's 2nd party but sees it as 1st party
  • That doesn't really make sense. If it's not a first-party game, then it's not a first-party game, regardless of his "opinion". There is nothing wrong with second-party games. In fact, it's much smarter to invest in second-party game development than first-party development, as it's cheaper and more resource efficient.
  • No. I believe 2nd party titles could at a later stage be on another platform. You can have a first party title developed by a 2nd party developer. Or even a 3rd party developer. 2nd party title isn't owned indefinately by Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo.
  • Yeah as much as k&m is nice it may add more complexity that players from previous game wouldn't enjoy as much
  • Now let me play FPS games with it and adjust the FoV!
  • All Microsoft need to do is release WOW or the next WOW whenever that comes and Stars Wars TOR and they have a massive win on their hands.
  • I would love Halo Wars with a mouse and keyboard. I like the idea of using them but there needs to be a way of matching up control schemes.
  • I am so happy they are bringing true mouse and keyboard support out for xbox. I want to keep play destiny however i just suck at playing on the controller.
  • This will actually make me get halo wars 2.
  • Games. Games. Games. I agree. It doesn't matter who makes them as long as they're good.