Screenshots may come and go, but until now we’ve not really had any concrete details about just what Halo: Reach really is. This month’s Edge magazine leads with a big feature on Bungie’s last Halo title, and it sounds like it’s potentially the best one yet – Microsoft certainly seem to think so, and who are we to argue with the Big M?
Distilled from the magazine (and you really should go out and buy it) we can gather that Bungie are keen to point out that Halo Reach isn’t Halo 4 and it’s not the conclusion of Master Chief’s storyline. Nor is it the start of a new trilogy – it’s 100% a “standalonge game”. The story for Reach is complete, and currently testers are able to play through the entire campaign but the whole thing is currently 70% complete.
Apparently, the engine has been completely “gutted” and no element of the existing engine (last used in ODST) has been untouched. One of the newer features is the AI, which can now add scripted behavoir routines to their array of abilities, enabling soldiers and enemies to choose what to do in a given situation depending on what’s happening elsewhere. Example: if a soldier detects an enemy whilst forming up on a door they can move off and deal with the enemy before returning to the door.
Other tweaks are motion capture for the first time in the series (including facial motion capture) and rebuilt Elites. You can also expect “dramatic weather effects”. There’s a squad mechanic, but there are no Ghost Recon style commands. The squad, referred to as Spartan IIIs (who we’ll see the faces of) are apparently competent enough during battle. The new enemy type – Skirmishers – can move in packs and flank you.
Removed from the game are the Grunt’s “squealing” and jokes, pink Needler fire and the main Halo theme song, oddly, but apparently the team are going back to their roots and looking at the best bits of Combat Evolved for the inspiration behind Reach – that can only be a good thing. The game, which Bungie say is “definitely bending the Xbox as far as it’ll bend” is due at the end of the year.
Source: Edge Magazine, via various online forums.