One thing that has always amazed me about the video game industry is the ability of some companies to actually make you excited about their upcoming games, even if you had no interest at all initially. The latest example of this trend is Bungie and their newest game Halo Reach.
As I already stated yesterday, I am no big fan of the Halo series. I like it, and I’ve played all the games, but when a new addition to the series is announced, I don’t jump for joy like a lot of people do. It therefore shouldn’t come as a shock that Halo Reach hasn’t really peaked my interest all; that is until I watched the new video documentary Bungie released today. Now I’m extremely excited about this new Halo game, which is a feeling I’ve never experienced before.
One of the biggest changes coming to the game is a huge graphics update, which is badly needed as the Halo 3 engine has started to become very outdated recently. Bungie has literally gutted almost the entire engine and started mostly from scratch to create a visual style that feels very believable. The most noticeable change has to be in the detail of the faces, which need to be able to bring out the large range of emotions the developers hope to convey to tell their “human” story.
As you watch the video you’ll notice that the visuals are by far some of the best seen on the 360 to date. Reach is apparently running at least 4 times the amount of polygons as previous titles, and it really shows, especially in the wide open environments that are truly a site to behold. Another big change is the use of motion capture to make all the characters movements much more fluid.
Not only is Bungie completely overhauling the graphics engine, but they are spending a ton of time creating a more intimate, character driven story. They want to player to feel a real sense of “tragedy and heroism” that they haven’t experienced in the other Halo games. At the same time though they need this intimate story to take place in the epic setting that is the fall of Reach.
To accomplish this, they are promising much bigger battles with at least twice as many characters on the screen at once. Reach is also being described as a “sandbox” game, though not many details are given to explain this claim. I highly doubt that we are going to get a Grand Theft Halo or a Metroid-Halo-Vania, as those styles of gameplay just don’t fit with the Halo series. ODST kind of pulled this off, but its sandbox nature felt very forced and artificial.
The most important thing I took away from watching this video documentary is that Bungie is extremely passionate about making Halo Reach a unique experience that’s the most ambitious title in the series. The best quote comes at the end when the game is described as being “The definitive Halo made by the people who created Halo.” It’s a simple quote that carries with it a lot of weight. After all, Bungie is the company that essentially made console FPS’s as popular as they are today.
Watch the video and decide for yourselves, but by the end I bet you’ll be a lot more excited for Halo Reach than you’ve been so far.