Bonnie Ross, head of Halo developer 343 Industries, has revealed some interesting new insight into Microsoft's blockbuster sci-fi shooter series. It might surprise you to learn that when she helped create 343 Industries in 2009, not everyone inside Microsoft thought Halo would be around much longer.
"People felt like, 'Let's get another Halo or two out, and it's the end of the franchise,'" Ross recalled in a new interview with Bloomberg Business.
When discussing the future of the Halo series and what she wanted to do as 343's general manager, Ross said she asked to be granted George Lucas-like control over the franchise. Lucas created the Star Wars franchise and oversaw it until he eventually sold the series to Disney in 2012 for $4.05 billion.
"The thing I asked for was: If I take it over, I want to be George Lucas," she said. "I want to own everything, and I want to do things differently."
Though there might have been some initial internal skepticism about the long-term appeal of the Halo brand, that no longer seems to be the case. In a previous interview, Ross said Microsoft's hope is for the Halo franchise to remain popular for at least another 30 years.
Halo franchise director Frank O'Connor is also featured in Bloomberg's story. He was working at Bungie at the time, and was part of the team that oversaw Bungie's handover of the Halo series to Microsoft. He says he remembers meeting with Ross and expecting her to be a "suit" focused on business above all else.
"Bonnie came in and really surprised everyone," he said. "Because she'd read all the novels, she was deeply immersed in the fiction, and she'd played all the games."
O'Connor later quit Bungie and joined Ross at 343 Industries.