Small preview article copied from the British Mac magazine, MacFormat
(Issue 81, September 1999, page 16).
Transcribed by Harry Al-Shakarchi
Bungie Software's most ambitious game project to date pits man against
alien on a strange ring-shaped world.
Sometimes you have to wonder where Bungie will meet its limit:
its games have evolved at a starting pace since the early days of Pathways into
Darkness, with the Marathon trilogy's combination of action and compelling plotting making
the firm a favourite with Mac gamers. Two Myth follow-ups and the forthcoming Oni
have seen Bungie develop its 3D expertise; and during Steve Jobs' keynote speech
Bungie co-founder Jason Jones showed off the title that sees all the elements
that define Bungie come together.
Halo isn't due out until next year, but the two-minute Expo
preview made a strong impression with the keynote audience. Bungie's strongest
3D graphics yet is married to a Marathon-esque story that should help keep the
action fresh over a sucession of challenges. MacFormat was one of a privileged few
to sample the game in person directly after the keynote.
Fight to survive
Halo pits a small military unit against the overwhelming forces
of the alien Covenant. As our plucky heroes try to evade the creatures,
they discover a bizarre ring-shaped world with a natural environment along
its inner edge. You have to fight both gangs of aliens and the planet's own
secrets if you're going to survive.
With Halo, Bungie's attempting to build an entire, wholly
convincing world, with both indoor and breathtaking outdoor scenes joining
together to make a massive playing area. You can explore the world on foot
or with a variety of vehicles; the humans have ground and water craft, while
the aliens come at you from the air, but you can use alien ships if you're
able to commandeer them.
With months of hard work still to be done, this early version of
Halo shows the scenery and character design rather than give a true reflection of the
game style; but the emphasis will be on action, with a variety of weapons at your disposal.
Bungie says there'll be an emphasis on teamwork: multi-player
network or Internet games will see several players work together against the aliens, while
the single-player game will enable you to switch between characters each of whom has
Bungie's attention to detail is already making itself apparent:
you'll see realistic gun actions as you fire, with heavy artillery on vehicles making the
characters shake as they fire them. Driving a buggy up a steep slope makes your character shift
position in response to the vehicle's movement. A terrain of rolling hills, skies
and rippling waterwill change as heavy weapons come into play, with craters making
Bungie is typically tight-lipped when it comes to Halo's release
date, but we reckon next Spring looks quite likely. There's a lot of ground to be covered
before then, though. Look for more details in MacFormat shortly.
Doug Zartman (PR Bungie Software) adds the following:
"Just wanted to point out that where MacFormat says "the single-player game
will allow you to switch between characters, each of whom has individual
skills" - that's not quite correct. I can see how they came to that
conclusion based on seeing us do it for demonstration purposes, but the
design of the single-player game gives the player control of one character.
Also, specific skills are not likely to be limited to specific characters -
in other words, any player can drive a "jeep" not just a hypothetical