Bungie AI boffin Damian Isla reckons Ensemble Studios has "really understood what things Halo is known for", claiming Halo Wars will be top drawer.
"We've done a lot of talking with Ensemble guys, and we're all really excited about Halo Wars, because from everything we've seen so far it's a very cool, faithful adaptation," Isla told Eurogamer at the Develop conference in Brighton, where the sun shines and pigeons fight outside office windows.
"Everything we've seen has been very, very encouraging - we're very excited about it. And of course, [Halo Wars is] also getting right the basics, the general roles - even fictionally. What role do grunts play in the Covenant fighting forces, what role do the Elites play, what role do Warthogs play, what role do Spartans play... All this kind of thing. I think they really nailed that. It's encouraging."
Isla explained that both games make characters act in different ways to suit their respective genre audiences. An RTS has little use for individuals popping in and out of cover, for example.
Bungie, of course, was due to unveil some sort of Halo project at the Microsoft E3 conference. The announcement was pulled at the last moment, a decision Bungie certainly was not laughing about.
"Uggh," said Isla, when asked about the canned announcement - a noise that sounded a bit like a pig being strangled by its own trotters.
Halo Wars is due for release on Xbox 360 in spring 2009.