Your first look at... Halo
The wrap finally comes off this year's un-fricking believable E3 showstopper
The best-kept secret at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo
was located at the Bungie Software booth. A strict non-disclosure
agreement prevented the press from breaking the news, but the game they
saw there was unquestionable one of the most thrilling surprises of the
Now, Bungie has lifted the veil of secrecy and is ready to show off
the fruit of almost two years' labor by the original designer of Myth.
The new project is a multiplayer 3D action game that features graphics
and physics engines at the very leading edge of current gaming
The game is Halo and our first look at it blew our minds. It's set
in a future in which the human race is on the run from a ruthless alien
race called the Covenant. As billions perish on humanity's colonized
planets, a human military unit decides to make a last stand on an
ancient ring-shaped structure thousands of miles in diameter. The
surface of this bizarre stellar body is a lush natural environment. It's
on this "halo" that mankind will stage its greatest battle.
And what a battle it will be. From a third-person perspective,
you'll control either a power-armored human soldier or one of the
Covenant enemy. Each side has access to its own slew of devastating
weaponry - the humans' is mostly projectile-based, while the aliens rely
on energy weapons.
If the game sounds thus far like every other action game you've ever
seen, rest assured that it's definitely not. The emphasis is on
multiplay, and you will be able to run wild online. Terrain, weapons,
and vehicles will all interact in a giant, deformable battlefield - one
so detailed, in fact, that even individual shell casings will remain
persistent on the ground. "A single player in a jeep will be able to
drive and fire simultaneously, but a player with one teammate manning
the rear gun and one riding shotgun with an anti-aircraft rocket
launcher will clean up," says Nathan Bitner, the game's producer. "We
will design the game to encour- age players to specialize in certain
skills, so that a player who is known as a good driver or pilot in a
tight situation will make a name for himself as such, and will be sought
out for these skills."
Human weapons will include an assault rifle with underslung grenade
launcher, a pistol with laser designator, and both anti-armor and
anti-aircraft rockets. Alien weapons will include a rapid-fire energy
rifle, a "fuel-rod" gun that fires rods of burning fuel, and a
"punching" energy sword for melee combat.
Vehicles will make the battleground a truly hectic place. Humans
will rely. for the most part, on ground vehicles, like jeeps and tanks
(the tank's main cannon firing is a sight to behold). Covenant aircraft
will include hovergliders and nimble close-support ships. The physics
for these vehicles are as realistic as can possibly be imagined - just
to give you an example of the attention to detail, bullet casings drift
through water at a slower rate than through the air. Bitner is
convinced that team play, with the focus on cooperative military
operations, will be the emphasis of Halo's multiplayer mode. "We've
learned a lot from managing two years of multiplayer Myth and Myth II
over bungie.net," he says. "The focus of multiplayer will be team play,
and the most successful teams will combine their specific skills into a
smoothly operating machine."
Halo has us on the edge of our seats. It might well be the next huge
advance in multiplayer action games.
That's the in-game engine, boys. The human army will rely on projectile-
based weaponry and land vehicles like jeeps and tanks. Once you get a
bunch of friends together for a multiplayer match, the mayhem will be incredible.
It'll be all-out war agaist the alien
Covenant, as mankind makes its stand.
Dynamic weather will add even more graphical punch to
the action. So will the heavy machine gun.
"The most successful teams
will combine their specific
skills into a smoothly
-Nathan Bitner, Producer