Halo: Reach secrets revealed
The final game in the Halo series will introduce a "super epic" single player campaign, more balanced multiplayer action and vastly improved graphics, says Halo: Reach executive producer Joseph Tung.
Due out in New Zealand on September 14, developers Bungie Studios have announced the Xbox 360 blockbuster will be the last Halo game they will produce.
Speaking to media in Auckland this afternoon, Tung said Halo: Reach took players back to the birthplace of the Spartan supersoldier program, started on planet Reach. It would act as a prequel to the Halo series, putting players in control of an elite Spartan soldier known as Noble 6 in a battle against the Covenant alien alliance.
"It's a darker story and story with no Master Chief... Reach is much more boots in the mud, told from the trenches."
Tung said his development team had focused on making Reach the "definitive Halo game" and had gone to great pains to create a game environment that felt authentic. The size and scale of mission areas had been increased, effort had been put into making facial animations and damage effects more realistic, and weather had been more accurately rendered. Maps now also included wildlife and civilians, adding to the game's "environmental appeal", Tung said.
"The campaign is as big if not bigger than any other Halo game but exact play-through time will really depend on what difficulty level a player chooses."
Of course, it's the combat action scenes that most hardened Halo players will care about, and judging by what Bungie is promising, that aspect of the game won't disappoint.
AI has been improved, more difficulty levels have been added and there are a bunch of new vehicles and weapons. For those with a penchant for gore, a new assassination kill style that can be performed at close range is included.
Halo has a reputation for its quality multiplayer mode and a new Spartans vs Elites Versus mode will please fans. The popular co-op Firefight mode, first seen in Halo: ODST, has been tweaked to make it more customisable, allowing gamers to customise right down to exactly what enemies will be included in each wave of alien assault.
"Firefight really is Firefight 2.0. We fully expect the community to go crazy with all the options," Tung said.
For die-hard fans, Halo: Reach includes an upgraded Forge map editor that allows players to create bases or mazes anywhere across a huge sandbox world. Halo 3 players will already be familiar with the Forge, but its latest incarnation allows for greater flexibility and control.
Halo: Reach’s Forge map builder allows map editors to more accurately place map pieces and even turn off normal physics, allowing pieces to be fixed in mid-air without falling.