Halo: Reach Details Flooding In

No Pun Intended

January 12, 2010 – Details on Halo: Reach, Bungie’s latest game for the Xbox 360 platform, are beginning to come together several weeks after the game’s official unveiling at the Spike Video Game Awards. After the Halo trilogy has come and gone, the series is still hanging around with the 2009 release of Halo Wars and Halo 3: ODST and the upcoming release of Halo: Reach in the holiday season of 2010. While it would be easy to assume that Halo: Reach will simply follow the same lines as the rest of the Halo series has, it seems that Reach is making significant strides to seriously update the series.

The February issue of Game Informer features Halo: Reach and the information revealed in the article is providing gamers around the world with their first glimpse at what will define Halo: Reach as a vastly different direction for the Halo series.

Yes, Halo is a divisive series. A huge number of gamer’s absolutely adore the game and still can’t tear themselves away from it’s multiplayer elements and exciting single player campaign, evidenced by Halo 3‘s position at the top of Xbox Live’s most played games of 2009, two years after its release. On the other end, a massive number of gamers on the Xbox and off of it detest the series, claiming that it is boring and lacks innovation. Regardless, Halo stuck to the same formula for years. Brightly colored worlds, a sprawling story involving humanity’s fight for survival against the Covenant and the vicious Flood and (with the exception of Halo Wars and ODST) Master Chief’s tall physique and immense battle skills combined to make the trilogy truly feel connected. In fact, a major criticism (where there was criticism) of Halo 3 was that it was a dolled up version of Halo and Halo 2 with prettier graphics and little change in the gameplay style or formula.

Halo: Reach is already aiming to differentiate itself. The debut trailer for Halo: Reach showed off a brand-new graphics engine built specifically for the new game. The world was notably more realistic looking. The bright colors were replaced with greys, blues and whites. The new graphics engine enables the ability for Bungie to throw many more characters on screen at once, opening the possibility for massive battles that will make the fights in Halo 3 look tiny in comparison.

Beyond the graphical changes, Bungie has gone back to the drawing board and is taking inspiration from Halo: Combat Evolved, the first game in the series. Halo was decidedly darker and more frightening than Halo 2, Halo 3 and ODST. One of the aspects of Halo that will be incorporated once more into Halo: Reach is making the Covenant frightening again. Halo: Reach is a prequel to Halo, and will aim to amp up the difficulty of the Covenant soldiers while making the more realistic as well. They will speak their own language instead of English, adding a touch of realism to the sci-fi storyline.

The shield and health system from Halo: Combat Evolved will be making a return in Reach, and Spike and Flame Grenades will no longer be in the game. In addition, Bungie says that the game will enable stealth elements and assassination techniques. Finally, Bungie claims that as the game progresses, Reach will deteriorate from a beautiful, lived-in world to a war-torn, apocalyptic setting.

Halo: Reach isn’t just content to be another Halo game. It seems to be reaching for new heights in the series, taking the good from the series and ridding itself of the bad while returning to its roots. A more realistic, frightening and pulse-pounding experience seems to be in hand.

Halo: Reach is being developed by Bungie and will be published by Microsoft Game Studios. It is aiming for a holiday release with a multiplayer beta available to owners of Halo 3: ODST coming in the spring.

Source: Game Informer