Developer Ensemble Studios has had a two part challenge: Make a solid RTS for consoles and make it in the Halo universe. No easy task by any means.
The result is the four-years-in-development Halo Wars, the last title from Ensemble. Microsoft is closing the Texas-based studio early next year. To create the title, Ensemble built Halo Wars from the ground up, setting out to make a RTS that pleases RTS players and Halo players.
The studio discovered that many Halo players already had RTS playing experience. But there were obvious differences. According to Ensemble's Graeme Devine:
It seemed like a really funny thing to get out of the control test, but they all would come up and say, "This trigger needs to throw grenades!" Over and over and over again, that was direct feedback — "We need to be able to throw grenades!" So, you can throw grenades now.
Ensemble actually ended up with a new goal: Reach Halo players who have never played a RTS before. Good thing the studio made grenade throwing possible.