Halo: Reach – “Bending The Xbox As Far As It’ll Bend”

How Bungie Is Making Halo Look Better Than Ever

January 22, 2010 – Bungie is completely reworking the Halo 3 engine for Halo: Reach. The result is a game that is “bending the Xbox as far as it’ll bend, taking every advantage of everything on the CPU and GPU, and every bit of memory in order to produce the look of Reach beyond anything of Halo 3.” The details, revealed in the latest issue of Edge magazine and via their website, highlight the effort going into making Halo: Reach the best Halo game yet. The interview conducted by Edge included Marcus Lehto, creative director, Jospeph Tung, executive producer and Brian Jarrard, community director.

Halo: Reach, Bungie’s newest (and reportedly final) Halo encounter, will rewind to just before the events of Halo: Combat Evolved. In Halo: Reach, players will find themselves in a desperate situation. The outpost planet of Reach is under attack by the covenant, and, being a prequel, everyone knows that the humans lose the battle. The game will chronicle the events on Reach and will focus on small, important victories that won’t save Reach but will prepare humanity to fight back in Halo 1-3.

In designing Halo: Reach, Bungie hired a huge staff of artists to craft a game world unlike that of any of the previous Halo titles. Maps will be significantly larger, referred to frequently in the interview, as “sandbox” levels. Essentially, Halo: Reach will be much bigger and much more gorgeous to look at. Marcus Lehto said, “we’re not only about having two or three characters of a certain type on screen at any time with tons and tons of detail on them. Because that’s not what really matters to the evolved gameplay experience. It’s getting a wider breadth of characters, vehicles, weapons, all effects and vistas and the environments. We don’t shortchange the environments. We don’t limit the player to an isolated area, and everything outside that is totally faked. No, you can get into those nooks and crannies and use them to your advantage.”

Halo: Reach will feature epic environments that are meant to awe the player. The change in the graphics engine will allow for a huge number of enemies to be present on screen at once, making way for massive battles. And in those battles moments won’t be scripted. In games such as Modern Warfare 2, there are scenes, such as in the Favela in Rio de Janiero, where enemies will continue to keep coming, pounding at you until you break through their lines and get to a certain point on the map. Likewise, trigger events abound in games, where an event happens because you reached a certain point, leading to a sudden ambush or something of a similar ilk. Not in Halo: Reach.

Halo: Reach‘s designers have spent hundreds of hours developing AI that will make intelligent decisions on their own in order to create an organic battlefield. Calculations affect how a grenade bounces, the physics of an object and the reactions of both allies and enemies on the massive battlefields.

As a result, players of Halo: Reach should expect stunning, updated graphics that push the power of the Xbox 360 to its max. They should also expect huge maps to explore that provide a different gameplay experience on each playthrough.

In the end, Halo: Reach is setting out to be a defining game of this generation. A game that features state of the art graphics and AI as well as a campaign that can be played over and over again because no scenario will play the same way twice.

Halo: Reach is being developed by Bungie and will be available during the holiday season. A multiplayer beta will be made available sometime this spring to owners of Halo 3: ODST.

Source: Edge