Bungie's community manager, Brian Jarrard, told me,"You've probably heard us saying this a lot: this is the biggest Halo game yet," Yes, I heard that. It's OK though, I'm still listening.
"We're definitely looking to retake our spot at the top of Xbox Live. We've got lots of game modes, lots of new maps, lots of different matchmaking options on Xbox Live. It should cater to casual fans and ultra-competitive hardcore fans alike. That's still a big part of our offering," said Brian when I sat down with him recently.
Jarrard gives a quick overview of Firefight - highlighting the improved matchmaking and the tool suite on offer. But you know about that. You read Svend's earlier preview
. Sure you did. So, let's trot on.
Forge, of course, is back. "There's way too much there to get into in the time we have today, but [we're] giving players the ability to create much more interesting, much more complicated maps, and it's going to be easier than it was in Halo 3
- all against this really majestic setting that takes place on the Halo
ring and includes some pre-built variants like the return of Blood Gulch. We've rebuilt Sanctuary from Halo 2
, so it's really just a wide-open playground and you'll have about 130 unique building blocks to allow players, kind of like a LEGO set, to construct their own unique multiplayer spaces." We like LEGO.
Touching base briefly on another returning feature, Jarrard notes that, "Lastly, I just want to mention that we're bringing back our Theater Mode that we introduced in Halo 3
." All the same recording and playback functionality you got from your sessions last time, plus a rewind button. We're not really sure why that wasn't put in before, but we're definitely glad to see it included.
"So there's all that, it's a huge piece of our game, but of course the campaign is kind of the meat of the Reach
experience." It is, indeed, the epic sweep of the Halo
story that has kept a lot of players coming back. Bungie thinks it's the "most action-packed, the most powerful, the tightest most impactful story that we've been able to tell."
is, of course, about Noble Team, a group of Spartans from the time before Master Chief's glory days. Going back to the days before Combat Evolved
comes with its own set of challenges, of course. "Really, we're just buying time because afterwards we know this whole planet's going to be destroyed. But ultimately we're hoping that we can set into motion the whole chain of events that will allow Master Chief to leave the planet, go on his crusade and eventually say, 'oh, hey, hi.'
“So, it's kind of coming full circle for us. This is our last Halo
game, we're coming back to where it all began, the turning point in the whole franchise for us. We want to pull out all the stops to make sure our last Halo
game is the best.”