Take a look at other popular FPS franchises like Killzone; they're great games, but they rush out sequels in a 2 or 3 year development cycle, leaving little room for innovation, and of course giving the impression that it's more about the financials than about artistic integrity. Halo 4, however, has been labouring in development for over 5 years now, during which time the landscape of the FPS game has changed considerably, what with Call of Duty's rise to supremacy, setting the gold standard for online multiplayer and leaving most of its competitors in the dust. That 343 Industries were announced as taking the mantle scared a lot of Halo fans, who of course wanted series mainstay Bungie to stay at the helm, but in taking their time, 343 have delivered a title that not only lives up to Bungie's fine legacy, but in many ways exceeds it, ensuring that this is the most refined and ludicrously entertaining game of the bunch. It's refreshing to see a developer not rushing a title out to a street date ordained years in advance; the long gestation period has been totally worth it.
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Frequently sleep-deprived film addict and video game obsessive who spends more time than is healthy in darkened London screening rooms. Follow his twitter on @ShaunMunroFilm or e-mail him at shaneo632 [at] gmail.com.