That sound you just heard...
Although Microsoft's lucrative Halo franchise was started by Bungie, its legacy and future rest firmly in the hands of studio 343 Industries.
From books to games to TV shows, 343 has full control over Halo, which means going beyond game launches.
"We didn't want to think about the next game," says Ross. "We wanted to think about the next couple of decades."
Throwing out popular sci-fi names such as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, Ross discusses creating this vast Halo universe spanning video games, television series and much more. It starts with the Nov. 11 launch of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, followed by the 2015 launch of Halo 5: Guardians.
For 343's trip to E3, the focus was on the Master Chief box set, which brings together all four flagship titles: Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2 and Halo 3 and Halo 4.
The menu of the Master Chief Collection breaks down into four sections: Campaign, Multiplayer, Playlists, Extras.
Campaign is straightforward: tackle any one of the four games from beginning to end. But it's the the other modes that are more interesting. [Didact: I beg to differ.] Multiplayer features a series of playlists based on match types such as Team Slayer. The playlists combine the more than 100 maps available across all four games. After choosing a match type, players vote on three map choices. During a brief visit of this system, the choices involved maps in Halo: CE, Halo 2 or Halo 4, each represented by a small numeric icon to identify its original game.
Equally intriguing are the Playlists, which let players mix and match the campaigns however they want. Examples included Final Four, which focuses on the final missions in every game, Daring Escapes, and if you're feeling really confident, Flooded features only levels with Flood enemies. All levels will be unlocked from the start, so players can start their own custom playlists right away.
Halo 2 in particular gets special love, with its 10th anniversary landing near the release date of the Master Chief Collection. Players can tackle the game in its original 2004 state, or quickly flip the switch to check out modern graphics. The differences between each offer a healthy perspective on how far the franchise has come so quickly.