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Tony Goodman, founder of now defunct Ensemble Studios, explained in an interview that Microsoft forced the development studio to adjust their strategy to the Halo setting (a project which was otherwise unrelated to the Halo universe).
"Microsoft was pretty risk averse and they said, 'I don't know if we want to take the risk of creating strategy games on a console. We'd feel better if Halo were attached to it," he said.
It appears that MS addressed the dev team simply with: "paint over what you have with Halo stuff." Wow, talk about stimulating creativity. Way to go Microsoft.
"Another problem was that Bungie was never up for it," commented Goodman. "Bungie was kind of sore about the idea. What they called it was 'the whoring out of our franchise or something. "Yeah, that didn't create a great relationship between us and Bungie; they viewed us as someone infringing [on their franchise]."
Personally, I only remember Halo Wars thanks to the brilliant work done by Blur - the studio responsible for the breathtaking cut-scenes in that game.
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