Halo is Microsoft's "centre piece" franchise. That's according to Alex Cutting, producer on Halo 3: ODST from Microsoft Game Studios.

Since the release of Halo 3 in September 2007, a number of high profile MGS published Xbox 360 exclusive franchises have been released, including Epic's phenomenally popular Gears of War 2 and Lionhead's superb Fable II.

With the looming release of Bungie's Halo 3: ODST, however, Halo is back in the spotlight. And Cutting told VideoGamer.com that Halo is still massively important to Microsoft.

"Halo is our bread and butter," he said.

"Microsoft Game Studios is the publisher that brought Halo: Combat Evolved to the scene, and we realised we had a good thing going there.

"It is a centre piece for us. We will invest in Halo as much as we can to make sure it's a healthy, respected, fun franchise, and we will continue to do so."

Cutting pointed to the recently announced anime series Halo Legends, Halo Waypoint, a hub for all things Halo, and next year's Bungie-developed Halo: Reach, as proof of Microsoft's commitment and belief in all things Halo.

He said: "The Halo universe is obviously very rich in detail. There are a lot of stories to be told there.

"As far as the future of the franchise, I can guarantee it's something Microsoft is going to continue to invest in and make new products and exciting stuff, but I'm not going to be able to tell you, or even concept what other stuff we're doing."

Halo 3: ODST is out on September 22. For the latest previews, trailers and screenshots, head over to our game page.

Is Halo as important today as it was in 2007? What new Halo products would you like to see from Microsoft? Let us know in the comments section below.