The announcement of the Halo Reclaimer trilogy at E3 2011 isn't just a testament to Microsoft's faith in the enduring sales-power of Halo - it's a testament to Microsoft's faith in the appeal of first-person gaming. Halo 4 is the most expensive game the manufacturer has ever released, and the next generation sequels that follow are likely to be pricier still. To commit to such a financial burden this far ahead demonstrates a degree of faith in the product and its peers that may, just possibly, backfire.
Halo, of course, is one of the most battle-proven series in existence, but prior form is no guarantee of future success. Consider id Software's John Carmack. He's the guy who coded DOOM, but had you accosted the man during the launch of Xbox 360, and asked him to pick a winning genre for this generation, he'd have sided with the third-person action game.
"It's interesting that over the course of it, once FPS kind of got out of being the sole property of id, it seemed clear to me that when we reached a certain level of visual fidelity, that third person was going to have certain significant advantages because you can use the tools of the director," Carmack reflected to Industry Gamers last year.
"These established, finely honed cinematography skills to do things in games that we never did before. And I was more or less expecting third person to be the more popular set of genres and indeed it was looking like, with Gears' success, that even in the serious action [genre], that it might end up trending more that way."
If the man widely regarded as the father of the FPS isn't a sure barometer of its success, are the genre's good fortunes on next generation consoles assured? True, strong sales of Halo, Battlefield and Call of Duty suggest that there's plenty of ammo left in the chamber, but mega-franchises arguably live by their own rules, trading as much on their bloated mind-share as on what each particular instalment achieves.
Consider this your talking point for the weekend, then. Will the FPS conquer the next Xbox as completely as it has the Xbox 360? And if not, what kind of game do you expect to succeed it?