Halo 3 Discussion
Expounding on the Halo 3 Expansion
September 25, 2008 - As is their custom, the developers at Bungie set the Net ablaze with rumor and speculation today when they unveiled a teaser trailer for the company's newest project: an expansion to the Halo 3 campaign.
Dubbed "Keep it Clean," the trailer appears to show an eerily quiet New Mombasa on Earth, just before the Prophet of Regret's ship hightails it through the slipspace portal near the end of Halo 2. The resulting explosion is captured by a network of security cameras, possibly controlled by "The Superintendent," an urban infrastructure artificial intelligence.
The cameras also capture what seem to be landing vehicles like those used by Orbital Shock Drop Troopers, the Halo universe's equivalent of Navy SEALs or Marine Recon troops. They're shown entering the atmosphere before the explosion. But afterward, only one is seen zooming toward the surface. And before it impacts, the screen goes black and the Halo 3 logo pops up, along with the phrase "Keep it Clean."
It would (and frequently does) take an army of Halo fans to decode everything Bungie says and does, and we'll let the fanatics at Halopedia and Bungie.org tear the trailer apart. We're most interested in what form this new project will take, how it will play and when we'll get our hands on it.
So the IGN Xbox team, along with honorary member and Insider editor David Clayman, gathered around the vodka cooler to debate the trailer's portent. Is Halo 3 getting a squad-based parallel campaign? Will Master Chief be involved? Are we truly heading back to the events of Halo 2, or is this trailer just giving us some context for the real campaign to come? How will this new content affect multiplayer, if at all? Read our thoughts below and then weigh in with your own comments and questions. Let the name-calling begin.
David Clayman, Editor-in-Chief, IGN Insider: Here's my theory, and if I'm right I should be granted the rights to Halo 5. The pods in the video resemble the Covenant drop pods that Elites use to enter battle. It also appears we're seeing footage of the initial attack on Earth. If the "drop-in" has anything to do with the gameplay perhaps this content update might allow users to drop into the campaign as the enemy. In this way there could be four-player co-op versus player controlled attack waves in the single-player story mode.
Depending on the match settings this could turn the game into a Battlefield-type experience where teams have to advance the level by capturing certain points on the map. Or, the Covenant could simply have limitless lives with less health and a respawn penalty. Again, I'd like to reiterate that if I'm correct I claim all development and publishing rights to Halo 5.
Hilary Goldstein, IGN Xbox Team Editor-in-Chief: I don't think this is just some DLC. I don't think the change in art style for the trailer was an accident. This seems like it will be a new retail product that diverges from the Master Chief storyline. Maybe it gives us the events of Halo 3 from a different perspective.
The popular rumor (that's actually been around for a few months) is that this will be a squad-based game. I'm sure if Nate were here, he'd have just thrown up in his mouth a little. But if you're not going to have Master Chief, then maybe a complete separation from art style and gameplay is the right way to go.
One of the messages to flash on the screen warns, "Danger: Flood Zone." Oh yay, the Flood is back.
Something that would be interesting is if there were a survival mode tied to the Flood. You and your squad facing endless waves of Flood. Of course, Flood as playable characters in MP might also be interesting.
I hate this viral crap. I really do. It raises expectations in unreasonable ways. By the time we get the true reveal, people will have committed themselves to some wild theories. And then disappointment sets in because it's not what they had imagined, that it's something so opposite what they had set themselves on, that they just get ****ed. And then the message boards are flooded with people going crazy. It's annoying. (Amen to that)
Ryan Gedes, IGN Xbox Team Associate Editor: I hope Dave gets the rights to Halo 5. I can't wait to play an FPS made up entirely of animated GIFs. If this expansion ends up being a squad-based shooter, as Hil suggests, that would certainly steal some of the thunder from Gearbox's Halo project (if indeed it's actually working on one). But it does make sense. The Keep it Clean trailer is clearly focused on urban environments, which would be far better suited to breach-and-clear fighting than hopping around.
Also, as plenty of Halo fanatics have been pointing out on the boards, the vehicles in the video resemble the deployment ships used by Orbital Shock Drop Troopers, a sort of UNSC special forces in the Halo universe. So the pods that are crashing toward the cities in the video could actually be the cavalry rather than the enemy. But they aren't there on vacation, so something big is going down. We know the new content will be campaign-based, if only because of the chatter accompanying the video on Xbox Live Marketplace:
"High action and deep mystery await players in this new Halo 3 campaign experience. Prepare to drop."
The strange thing about the teaser is that it's presented from the perspective of the security network, and there's the odd little avatar up in the right-hand corner of the screen. And keep it clean? Is that a reference to sweeping rooms a la Rainbow Six? Avoiding friendly fire? Or is this new campaign experience just about a janitor after all?
I personally don't mind the viral teases, as long as they're accompanied by something of substance soon. I'm assuming we'll see this expansion (or whatever it may be) by the holidays, so hopefully Bungie will keep the good stuff coming.
It's also weird that this is being called a new Halo 3 campaign experience. Sounds rather like episodic content that either continues the story of Halo 3 or tells a side story to the main plot. Continuing the tale would be a good way of introducing new gameplay mechanics. Chief is out of the picture for a while and these new soldiers aren't the solo type.
The city being evacuated with drop ships landing is New Mombasa, a staple of the Halo universe. What that means is all speculation from my part. I'm just excited a new Halo game is coming from the creators and not stand-ins.
One interesting thing to note: When I interviewed Brian Jarrard the other day, he had this to say on the Halo 3 campaign. "We're always looking at ways to further expand and improve the Halo 3 experience, but there are currently no plans for an update to add new campaign content."
Sounds like this is definitely not a downloadable expansion to Halo 3, but an entirely new game.
Hilary Goldstein: I'm not surprised that Bungie is still on Halo. It's their baby. And it doesn't mean this is their only game. Was I expecting maybe Marathon or a totally new IP? Yes. But this isn't that big a shock to me.
Ryan Geddes: I'm assuming Bungie does have a team at work on a new IP in a secret lab somewhere deep below Mt. Rainier. But they're also smart enough to extend the life of their latest uberbaby. And I'm assuming Halo 3 was built from the very beginning to accommodate this expansion, which makes it even more intriguing from a business standpoint. But enough boring stuff – lets talk about features. I'm hoping this is a squad-based shooter that supports four-player online co-op. I want more skulls, more achievements and some meaty Halo backstory. It would also be really cool if my accomplishments in the Halo 3 campaign to date unlocked things in this expansion, even it was just additional gear for my character.
I've been looking for Halo to move away from Master Chief for a while now, and this could be just the ticket. The Halo universe is full of interesting mythology, characters, settings and mystery – why limit it to one guy? Does Bungie chafe every time Microsoft releases its weekly list of the most-played games on Xbox Live, revealing Call of Duty 4 at the top? Well, a re-imagined squad-based multiplayer mode could flip that script.
I also really hope this isn't a standalone retail game but rather a hefty download. Digital distribution is the way things are headed, and Bungie should be front and center on this. Of course, to capitalize on holiday sales, they'll want to release a special edition of Halo 3 that contains the new content. Cha-ching.
Hilary Goldstein: I'd be shocked if this was a download. Digital distribution is a growing piece of the industry, but Microsoft will sell far more copies in retail outlets than online. I could see a dual release, both digital and retail (a la Warhawk on PS3), but not a solely digital release. If this really is a new campaign with new gameplay, then Bungie plunked a lot of resources behind it. And they won't recoup that investment through Xbox Live Marketplace.
Assuming this new project is taking away the first-person twitch shooting of the series, it's a little odd that Bungie is the developer. This is the kind of change usually given to a new team taking over a known franchise. It would be good for Bungie to do something different. They've always been a run-and-gun FPS developer, after all.
I just hope that the new campaign will give some additional insight into the main Halo storyline. I really don't want to play just to learn about some other people in this universe. It should have some strong connection to the Halo plotline and add some understanding of the events.
David Clayman: I've changed my mind, I hope this extra content adds to the I Love Bees storyline. I'd also like to thank Bungie for perfecting the release of substance-free teasers that have little or nothing to do with the content they develop. There should be a rule against combining a countdown clock with a trailer full of nonsense.
[Edited by SealOfDarkness, 10/9/2008 6:12:12 PM]
And all the new info is here
October 8, 2008 - Gamers are still anxious to know what direction Bungie will take after Halo, but for now, the fight isn't exactly over. Bungie and Microsoft are teaming together to bring a new Halo game to Xbox 360 in the form of Halo 3: Recon.
Teaser trailers and cryptic messages from Bungie have bounced all over the internet (and there was also that mysterious no-show at E3 2008), but at Tokyo Game Show 2008, a short trailer for the game was shown with the game officially named for the first time. Halo 3: Recon will feature a new campaign and new multiplayer maps and is a prologue to the events of Halo 3. It will be released in Fall 2009.
It is still unknown if Halo 3: Recon will be a first-person shooter or feature third-person squad-based controls. The CG trailer would suggest the former.
October 9, 2008 - Microsoft and Bungie have finally taken the wraps off of their big follow-up to Halo 3 -- what was once a mystery about a Bungie supervisor and a pulled showing at E3 is now all out in the open. The game is Halo 3: Recon, a full-scale follow-up to Halo 3 that serves as a prequel to the epic "final" chapter of the franchise.
Rather than rehash the details, we have enclosed the complete fact sheet about Halo 3: Recon released by Microsoft just minutes ago. Everything you need to know about the game is revealed -- the game's new "Hell Jumper" heroes (no Master Chief here, players will not even be controlling a Spartan), the four-player co-op mode, the complete multiplayer and Forge suite inclusion, and the plans to release the game as a full disc-based retail title. IGN has not had hands-on time with the game, and the following content cannot be verified or qualified by us just yet (not that we're expecting Bungie or Microsoft to lie to us, but just be aware that what you're about to read is "PR'ified" and not typical IGN editorial content.) Read on for the official details.
Title: "Halo 3: Recon"
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Format: DVD for the Xbox 360 video game system; Xbox LIVE-enabled
ESRB Rating: Rating pending
Availability: Fall 2009
Overview: Developed exclusively for Xbox 360 by acclaimed developer Bungie, "Halo 3: Recon" is a stand-alone expansion that extends the award-winning "Halo 3" experience with hours of new campaign and multiplayer gameplay.* The release adds a new dimension to an all-encompassing universe that gamers around the world have known and loved for more than six years.
The new campaign chapter predates the events that unfold in "Halo 3" and gives players a new perspective through the eyes of a new hero in the "Halo" universe. New multiplayer maps ensure that the award-winning Xbox LIVE experience of "Halo 3" continues to thrive.
Top features include the following:
* All-new campaign content. The "Halo 3: Recon" campaign is an intriguing side story that takes place during the terrifying events leading up to the Master Chief's return to New Mombasa in "Halo 3." Experience the fate of Earth from the brand-new perspective of a special forces ODST (Orbital Drop Shock Trooper), adding a unique outlook and new gameplay elements to the events that unfold in the trilogy's finale. While the feel of this new chapter will greatly resemble that of previous "Halo" experiences, "Halo 3: Recon" will require players to employ more elements of stealth and cunning than ever before.
* A new hero: Prepare to drop. Known for their courage, valor and, at times, insanity, ODSTs are among the fiercest UNSC soldiers, priding themselves on being the first unit deployed into hostile situations. While not as large or supernaturally gifted as their Spartan comrades, these "Hell Jumpers" more than compensate with their ferocious attitudes and unwavering nerve.
* Expanded multiplayer collection. No "Halo" experience would be complete without groundbreaking multiplayer content,* and "Halo 3: Recon" gives fans more of what they love. With exclusive new maps and full Forge options, players will find more multiplayer content than ever before with "Halo 3: Recon."
* Ever-growing community options. Players will continue to enjoy all the great "Halo 3" technological innovations, including Saved Films, screenshots, Campaign Scoring and four-player co-op. All of the new multiplayer maps fully support the Forge editor, offering endless gameplay customization possibilities for fans.
* Updated game trainers and cheats daily
* Get notified when new cheats are added
* Request which games get new trainers
* Priority support with any problem