ANATOMY OF A DISASTER - HALOCLIX

ANATOMY OF A DISASTER - HALOCLIX Hot

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Look. I am trying to understand!

This was a good idea. Ought to have been. Hugely successful clix game meets outrageously successful computer game and yes, sir. We have a best seller....






Unfortunately,WizKids’ HaloClix was anything but a best seller. If anything it was full ofstrange design decisions. One wonders why the people at Bungie, who otherwise seem to be quite careful with their brand’s credibility, thought this was agood idea at all.

Unless the point was to just pull in a few more license dollars and advertise Halo 3, of course.  



Greedy Capitalism struck and since WizKids most likely had to pay their fee up front, who cares about quality control? That theory aside, why would WizKids (who aren’t exactly rookies) think that they could just throw something out that would sell no matter what?  Considering how expensive these figures are to make, releasing a line that folds during the first round is no good business.

 The greed-breeds-stupidity theory aside, what happened? The road to failure is often paved with good intentions and it would be interesting to hear thestories behind some of the calls that made HaloClix. If for nothing else for the reason that inside stories of failures are much more interesting than the success-stories.  Especially when a company seem to be acting against all common sense. 

 
For instance.  Halo has a great storyline, some very cool characters and layers of sub-plots. Scenarios keyed to the story - in Heroclix‘s style - would have allowed the game to tap into that lore. Riding with the saga has worked for lots of other games. One could have had extra scenarios up for download and some clever little campaign system. 

But no...instead someone decided that Haloclix should play out the game’s “capture the flag/killer” multiplayer brawl. By doing this Haloclix become a generic Quake/Unreal Tournament/ HalfLife-clix. This decision very much sets the tone for the rest of the game and if you like it, yes then you are in. But if you like the HalfUnrealQuake-stuff, why not stay at the console or computer? Because first person shooters are so much better in digital. At least I think so. It might be that this crucial design choice was based on the assumption that since Halo online multiplay is very popular a board game based on the online multiplay must be the way to go.

But everything that works well in a video game does not work as well in a board game. And the people that enjoy video games might not be the least interested in board games. 
 The Halo universe certainly has its own look to it. Abandoned megastructures and lots of stuffw ith names that sounds like yoga exercises. (Boarding a space ship called “Truth and Reconcilliation” feels somehow different from boarding just any old Black Battlestar of Galactic Megadeath™.)

Why then decide to give the clix gamemaps that looks like absolutely nothing in the computer game? Considering how good the minis look they cry out for matching maps. And why did they not make a pair of the archetypical settings (the round chambers with a corridor around them, for instance) available on large downloadable maps?
 This bugs my son to no end.

Why did they not bother to make the figures work like they do in the video game? (If the character called “Superman” can’t fly then he is just a guy in red tights. Good thinking, young man.) Just one example. A biggomother of a monster like the Covenant Hunter should not be fast. As anyone who played the game knows, a hunter is a slow, ponderous thing that turns slowly and carries a kind of shield to protect its vital parts. This shield does not protect its back, so that is how you attack it.  From behind, before it turns around and smashes your head in.

The Haloclix Hunter is faster than a normal human Marine, which means that it will actually hunt down people. And never worry about being shot in the back. Because we have 360-facing in this game.
 And why aren’t there any teams in this game? There are at least five factions in the Halo storyline. Having teams works for Heroclix. It gives the game depth to the play and character to the setting.

Of course story-line teams are more or less out of the window once you sign up for the “killer setting”.  But still, it would have been nice.  For those who like to build teams no matter what there another problem, though.  While there are humans minis enough to build a lot of nice combos, you will never ever get a Flood – a space-zombie-kind of horde -  army going. Why? Because the Flood minis are pretty rare. Five boosters tuned out one Flood mini. And the Flood comes in hordes. No way they’ll do it on any sane persons budget.

haloclix3.jpgAlso, anyone trying to build a standard Covenant army will notice that Grunts (The obnoxious runty creatures that speak in high pitched voices) are rare minis. You will be stuck with ten Elites for every Grunt you get while trying to build an army that ought to have the opposite force ratio.
 All these things are weird.

That the rules aren’t that inspired is another matter.  They are another dumbed down HeroClix take, and that would have mattered less had the whole concept worked. Now HaloClix loses me on page one and never pulls me back in. It is not even good advertising for Halo 3 as it fails to convey anything about the Halo universe beyond introducing a few of the basic characters.
 


In the end it feels nice to mention something on the plus side. The Scarab. This is for all I know the biggest commercial miniature ever made for a game. It is not“mini” by any standards and an excellent advertisement for the Halo series. If only the rest of the clix game had had a tenth of those balls. 

ANATOMY OF A DISASTER - HALOCLIX There Will Be Games
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