Microsoft Probably Starting Work on Just Another AAA Xbox One Halo Game; Franchise May be Annual Now
We already know that Microsoft and 343 Industries are working on on an all-new Halo for Xbox one, while Halo 2 Anniversary has been strongly rumored. Yet today a very solid hint popped up pointing to the possibility that a third Halo game may be at the outset of its development.
Microsoft posted three new career opportunity ads seeking a Producer, a Senior Producer, a Lead Producer. The ads were all posted at the same time and they all mention developing a "new project in the Halo universe."
Not only this is the first time that wording appears, but hiring three producers at the same time is very indicative of the possibility of the game being an entirely new project. Normally, when you start development of a new game and begin creating a new team for it, the first thing you do is building up the team of producers, who will then help out with gathering and coordinating the rest of the budding development team. On the other hand, hiring three producers (including the Lead Producer) at the same time for a game already deep in development is quite unlikely.
Furthermore the post for the Lead Producer includes a mention of leading a team of "2-3 producers" that matches the other ads and indicates that a new team is being built.
The ads also give a few more indications about the game's nature: experience in shipping AAA Current generation games is mentioned across the board, indicating that we're looking at a relevant Xbox One title.
In addition to that, work with external teams and cross-functional "virtual" team is mentioned extensively, showing that at least part of the game will be outsourced, whether it'll be at other internal Microsoft studios or to fully external developers.
Ultimately, if the rumors about Halo 2 Anniversary will prove true, this could be further evidence of the intention to annualize the Halo franchise. Looking at the standard two to two and a half years development cycle for a modern AAA game and assuming that development will begin shortly, this one should hit the shelves around the fall of 2016.
The only other realistic possibility besides the likely start of a new project is that 343 industries may be creating a whole new team (indicated by the hiring of the Lead Producer, since there normally is only one per team) to pile up on the development of an existing project, but this option conflicts with the "new project" wording in the ads.
Of course this should be considered a rumor until Microsoft makes an official announcement about it, but the hints are quite solid.