More Halo 3 Q&A: Further details on co-op, difficulty levels, and multiplayer

We've got more for you about Halo 3's co-op, the Heroic and Legendary levels, whether Halo 3 will beat Gears of War in the Xbox Live stakes, and details about the existence (or not) of the PC version.

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You may have already read our recent article with Bungie writing lead Frank O'Connor, but we just had to find out more about what's sure to be one of the biggest games of the year, Halo 3. We cornered O'Connor in Sydney, Australia, today and interrogated him further on how the game's four player co-op will work, what difficulty levels will be the most appropriate for experienced players, and much more.

You wanna be playing on Heroic at least.

DIFFICULTY

GameSpot AU: Tell us about the game's difficulty. How will the gameplay experience change depending on what difficulty level you're playing it at?

Frank O'Connor: You'll actually encounter completely different scenarios sometimes. There are obviously different classes of bad guys, and their classes aren't just an armour permutation or a colour palette swap--they behave very differently, they carry different materials, they use different weapons. When playing on Heroic, you're going to encounter things that weren't there before, like turrets, whole leagues of snipers, and different types of vehicles will come in. And again that changes in co-op too. So Heroic and Legendary on co-op will once again be different to what they are on solo. There are also other ways to make the game behave differently that the user will have a lot of control over.

GS AU: But in terms of enemy AI, will they behave differently if you're playing on Heroic or Legendary?

FO: Absolutely--they'll throw grenades more often, they'll deploy shields more often, they'll take cover more often, and they’ll flank you more often. Their behaviour is massively different depending on difficulty level.

GS AU: What difficulty levels are best suited for single player and co-op?

FO: I think Heroic is the correct difficulty for single player. For multiplayer, it should be Heroic plus some of the stuff we haven't talked about yet, or Legendary.

GS AU: So an experienced Halo player should definitely skip normal?

FO: Absolutely. If you played Halo 2 and you can do some of the combos, there's no way you should be playing it on normal--it's a waste of your time. Heroic's not just harder, it's also a lot more interesting. You'll see a lot more of Halo 3 if you play at that difficulty level.

CO-OP

GS AU: You've previously unveiled four-player co-op--one Master Chief, one Arbiter, and two Elites. Can you play a four-person game throughout the entire campaign mode?

FO: Yes, all the way through.

GS AU: How does that fit into the game's storyline then?

FO: If you're solo, the Arbiter is with you for some of the missions. There are some plot dependencies that can take him out, but as you'll see when you play through it, he doesn't have to be gone from your side, which is why it still makes sense when he's there during co-op. And the two other Elites--they're not exactly throwaway characters. They have real back stories and bios, and so on. But they serve no functional purpose in the cinematics--they serve a purpose in the fiction, and they're important allies of the Arbiter, but you don't see them in cinematics. We wanted to make sure that when you were playing in co-op, the fiction seems correct, smooth, and seamless.

GS AU: Was it tricky to fit in these extra players into the storyline?

FO: Not really. We had plenty of time to plan it so it wasn't a big deal. We made that decision early on, and it was a difficult decision because people all want to be the Chief. But four Chiefs running around doesn't make a lick of sense. And people had started to dig the Arbiter, so we thought about how we could work that in. We couldn't give people marines to play because marines can't run as fast as the Chief, they don't take as much damage, they don't have the shield mechanics, so it just would have been kind of a mess for the other three players unless we went in this direction.

GS AU: So the four different characters in co-op are essentially equal in strength?

FO: They have the exact same strengths, skills, and abilities, but they all start with different weapon load-outs. The Elite will start off with the Covenant equivalent of whatever the Chief is carrying for that level typically. There are a couple of exceptions to that where it's really useful where they start with plasma weapons, for example. Usually they [Elite characters] will start with a plasma pistol and a carbine if the Chief starts, for example, with a pistol and an assault rifle.

GS AU: Can you jump into co-op at any stage of the game?

FO: Yes and no. Any of the campaign rally checkpoints that you've opened up, you can start from. There are specific checkpoints so it’s nice and seamless when you go in. There are usually two or sometimes three in each level.

MULTIPLAYER

GS AU: You've also previously shown us the new gameplay recording abilities in both multiplayer and single-player. What do you think the Halo community will use this new feature for?

FO: There are two aspects to that. One is the machinima art side of things, and the other is competitive gaming. Obviously you can use this feature to get better at the game--you can follow around any professional gamer and see how they play.

GS AU: Halo 2 was the king of Xbox Live, but it's been overrun by Gears of War. Will Halo 3 beat Gears as the number one on Live?

FO: I hope we will, because we're a new game and people have renewed and fresh interest [in Halo]. But Gears of War has done a lot of great things for Xbox Live. In fact, every time we see Cliffy B at some event, we're always backslapping each other because we're both trying to build the install base with each other's games, so more luck to them. If we overtake Cliffy in the Xbox Live rankings then so be it, it'll be nice.

No PC version to stand alongside the 360 for now.

GENERAL

GS AU: What can you tell us about a possible PC version of the game?

FO: I can tell you for a fact that there's not one line of code written for a PC version at this point. We're not working on it, Microsoft hasn't even chatted to us about it yet. They realise the important thing is to get the 360 version at this point.

GS AU: What is it about Halo that has garnered this following?

FO: From my perspective, just as a player, I think it's a combination of the story and the scale of the universe. And that scale is reflected in what you can do in the game. You can drive, you can walk, you can interact with people. And people like the objects in the game. When people talk of Halo, they tend to think of Warthogs and plasma swords and all these really specific objects. I've said this before--Star Wars has some of that same sort of appeal, with X-Wings and lightsabers and so on. We share some of that, but the difference is we let you interact with it.

GS AU: There's also this whole universe of fiction outside of the game. Do you keep a close eye on that?

FO: Yes--100 percent. That's certainly part of my job--to work with our partners and vendors, people like Marvel Comics, and come up with story scenarios for those things. And obviously we edit them and fact-check them.

GS AU: Are you working with Ensemble on Halo Wars?

FO: Yes, on the story and script stuff. They're awesome at making RTS games, so we're leaving the game design stuff to them. We just talk to them about units, vehicles, and story.

GS AU: So what's happening next for Bungie?

FO: Well there's the Peter Jackson project--we'll continue to work daily with those guys on that. The next thing for Bungie specifically will be the Peter Jackson stuff, and then some sort of downloadable content for Halo 3.

GS AU: Frank O'Connor, thanks for your time.

Discussion

128 comments
linkyshinks
linkyshinks

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

iuns
iuns

We all know, that the best feture of halo 3 is the ability to mute 12 year olds by just clicking there name !! Shortly followed by all the other awsumness of halo =D

crazyslopytalk
crazyslopytalk

I hope they dont do what they did with halo 2. Remember that awseome trailer with the giant covenant artillary gun? And when we got to play the equivalent level in the game it was not as exciting

truemattyz
truemattyz

this game looks awesome it ashame i have no xbox 360 i really think it is time i traded in my awesome rig for a 360 the best games are coming on 360 or rather all the games i like are coming on x360 this looks awesome and with halos reputation im sure it will be fantastic

jimi_man
jimi_man

Halo 2 was very good, it was only bad due to the crack heads who play it online. Always starting fights, thats the main reason why i stoped playing

Shishio817
Shishio817

Better not be dissapointingly overhyped like *cough* Halo 2 *cough*.

iar099
iar099

i don't own a X360 but i want it, baaaaadddd, like really bad. so bad that i might buy it and a 360. who knows.......!!!

masterchief1994
masterchief1994

Man the thing i hope they fixed is the teleporting thing it was so screwed in Halo but at least it got better in Halo 2. I just thought of something,know how you can kill your marines but some people are invincible.i wonder if on single what would happen if you killed the arbiter? Another thing is what is Halo 3 rated? 10 or 11? I hope their is more levels than there was on Halo and Halo 2. Because I beat them to fast!!!

amulbocus
amulbocus

Sucks that its not coming out on PC yet, just got a 8800 GTS and halo 3 would be perfect for it. 8800 series wipes the floor with the xbox360, but at least well get a far better version later. Plus theres the small matter of CRYSIS coming out next month.

dn3datomiced
dn3datomiced

leem2k1 Bottom line is that when you make a shooter as simple as Halo, it's going to attract kids and ... and that is why the online community sucks. Hurray for mute buttons! Simple? Doom was simple. Halo is just straightforward. Don't confuse the two.

potatoesman
potatoesman

@anixan. odear how depressing. how very depressing you are. this game has topped how many pre orders? people like this game get over it. and 'you' pc users doesnt generalise pc users opinion, it makes you look like a **** coz im a pc user. halo isnt about its graphics, games arent about their graphics are they? its effective in atmosphere and the experience but. halo 3 could be better than crysis you just dont know, it wouldnt matter im not saying it will but the fact is visuals wont make a game. I dont think anyone was dissapointed with halo 2 to be fair people still play it today. go outside and get some sunshine on your face geek

GamerYnoX
GamerYnoX

Great game but i'll w8 for its PC launch to play it cause i know it will eventually come out... Not really a exclusive if it comes to PC... Still nice game, will be worth its time ^_^

anixan
anixan

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

playstation_wii
playstation_wii

very overrated game but I'm still gonna get it since it's one of the best out this season! :D

99adgil
99adgil

eai_plays_halo u u can only have 2 ppl on one xbox ie 2 players on one tv so thats not an issue

xmg0
xmg0

nothing new here : (

Eai_plays_halo
Eai_plays_halo

now if their ggonna make 4-player co-op on live, i think it would be fun to be able to play a 4-player with your friends that live near you, of course it would be kinda hard seeing the screen with four players on one xbox, but you could always system link

laitheybaby
laitheybaby

I have never been so excited for a videogame. The last time I got this hyped was for Revenge of the Sith. Personally, I think Halo 3 will be better!!!

okassar
okassar

"I think Heroic is the correct difficulty for single player. For multiplayer, it should be Heroic plus some of the stuff we haven't talked about yet, or Legendary.",oooo...what other stuff...manual insetion of more enemies or something?Can't wait to find out what that is.All the stuff above sounds great.

leem2k1
leem2k1

As long as the community isn't 90% mentally deficient morons like Halo 2 then I might play it on XBL. I'm mainly buying it for the single player though. Bottom line is that when you make a shooter as simple as Halo, it's going to attract kids and retards, and that is why the online community sucks. Hurray for mute buttons!

redstormrisen
redstormrisen

nbs-Predator. Cross platform play with what! Its the Xbox 360s flagship franchise. It would not be a multiplat from launch

matheusclifton
matheusclifton

cnt wait for this just preorderd my legendary edition, this game is gonna conquer xbox live until nxt christmas at least

x_kenney_x
x_kenney_x

COd 4 might have 100 player MP battle but 1. it probably going to be un balanced, 2. it doesnt have forge. forge FTW!!!! i'll still get COD4.

nbs-predator
nbs-predator

You would think the flag ship game of microsoft would support cross platform play but other then that it sounds good.

stejmatty
stejmatty

i cant wait to see if you can make your movies into a certain file type to export to your compter, to edit and upload on various tube sites...

hongkingkong
hongkingkong

Lord_midas. COD is big! But Halo is bigger. I'm worried the better looking game [cod4] will be overshadowed by H3. I prefer cod series and the new modern warfare concept with a smooth 60fps and the coolest class system since team fortress and BF2, its bound to be great; but bigger than halo i doubt it.

jcloverboy
jcloverboy

"I can tell you for a fact that there's not one line of code written for a PC version at this point. We're not working on it, Microsoft hasn't even chatted to us about it yet. They realise the important thing is to get the 360 version at this point. " That's what I like to hear. Focus on 360, worry about the rest later.

Zuul13
Zuul13

Halo 3's gonna sweep XBL, no doubt!

Lord_Midas
Lord_Midas

COD4 will beat Halo3 easy. However, I'm biased because I only have a hardcore PC and not a 360 (yet). Halo3, though fun, just can't beat the team based shenanigans of COD.

pete_merlin
pete_merlin

for some reason i cant get hyped up about this game, strange

andalore
andalore

Gears of War was boring, Rainbow Six vegas is the best game on 360, I cant wait for halo 3 though

Gubitz
Gubitz

LOL COD4 beating Halo 3 and Gears I doubt that but the online play of COD4 does look interesting.

FLEEBS
FLEEBS

The more I hear, the more I want to play!

SugarDaddie
SugarDaddie

I don't know how people can even compare Halo 3 to Gears. Sure Gears is an awesome game, but I got bored of it months ago whereas I'm still playing Halo 2!

The_Pro_310
The_Pro_310

No, I think they would do better than that.

SpazH3d
SpazH3d

The DLC is probably new multiplayer maps...I dont really see what else they could make. Edit: Yessh.

Roman_Slayer
Roman_Slayer

Bungie knows how to make a multiplayer game, Gears was so popular only because almost everyone had it. Downloads will probably be maps and updates, but we can hope for bigger things.

peacock1089
peacock1089

u no there's gonna be a flamethrower i just don't want that to change multiplayer dramatically

pigfish2
pigfish2

i wonder what the halo 3 downloadable content will be

dmastor
dmastor

Halo 3 going to kill gears of war on xbox live gears suck online you just run and shot gun all day or sticky bomd people

NinjaMunkey01
NinjaMunkey01

looks pretty nice. as long as the co-op is good then I will get it. perfect_chao interaction means using or doing something with the object, like driving a warthog. that is interaction.

gun_blade25
gun_blade25

Ugh, people bashing a game that isn't even out. Comparing it to 2-3 year old games or other games that aren't even out. The way some of you are carrying on about how awful it is that this game is coming out you would think that Halo raped your mother or something. If you don't want/like a game before you've even played it than by all means feel free to shut the **** up and go on your way. If you want to be productive though, than buy the game when it comes out, play it, and once you have an informed opinion on whether its good or not THAN post about it. Stop **** up the comments please.

perfect_chao
perfect_chao

"You can drive, you can walk, you can interact with people. And people like the objects in the game" What? :S There has never been any real interaction in the halo series" Yeah, if you want a game for a mix of great game play , graphics, interaction with the game world.. you'll want to play half life 2, great game.