TOKYO--Though yesterday's unveiling of Halo 3: Recon was not entirely unexpected, it did respark interest in Microsoft's sci-fi shooter franchise. Today at the Hotel New Otani next door to the 2008 Tokyo Game Show floor, developer Bungie Studios called a small gathering of journalists to dish out further information about its new project.
On hand was Bungie.net community lead Brian Jarrard and his associate Luke Smith. "Halo 3: Recon is our answer back to our fans," declared Jarrard. "This is a game we felt like we needed to do. Our fans want more Halo 3 content and they want to do more in the Halo universe, and this is really our way to continue to support the Halo 3 fan base and give them something a little bit different than what they were expecting."
Done with the flowery rhetoric, Jarrard got down to brass tacks, describing what Halo 3: Recon is--and what it isn't.
"In a nutshell, Halo 3 Recon is essentially an expansion, but it is also a stand-alone retail product," he said, adding later that there are no plans to distribute it as downloadable content. "It will be sold in a box available next fall and will include hours of new campaign content and an experience from an all-new perspective. You will be playing the role of an ODST [Orbital Drop Shock Trooper], and the Master Chief will not be featured in this game in any way."
"So the events of the trailer take place just as the Covenant blasts out of the city in the end of Halo 2," explained Smith."So while the Master Chief is off on Delta Halo, which is where the original Helljumpers [ODSTs] were introduced, you're back on Earth in the Covenant-occupied city of New Mombasa." When asked if the game's action will be confined to New Mombasa, Smith declined to go into too much detail. "It's less of a galactic romp than Halo 2 and Halo 3, certainly," he said. "[But] the game is certainly rooted in the city environments you see in the trailer."
Like Halo 3, Halo 3: Recon will let up to four players play through a full-blown campaign in co-op mode. Unlike in Halo 3, the single-player campaign will have achievements worth 1,000 gamer points. "In addition, there will be some new multiplayer content as well," continued Jarrard. The new multiplayer maps will be augmented by all the maps from the Halo 3 Mythic Map Pack, which will be released next spring on Xbox Live Marketplace. As has been revealed via a recent official Halo 3 update, the Mythic Map Pack will have its own set of achievements as well.
Then Jarrard and Smith shifted into rumor-debunking mode, declaring that Halo 3: Recon is not third-person nor is it squad-based. It will not be a Splinter Cell-like stealth game, but players will have to take a different approach to combat, as their character will not be a Spartan supersoldier like the Master Chief. This new style of gameplay, however, will not apply to Recon's multiplayer maps, which will support "traditional, classic" Halo 3 modes.
Halo 3: Recon is also not the beginning of a new subset of the Halo franchise, a la Halo Wars. "It's certainly a one-off thing," stated Jarrard. "From Bungie's perspective, this is just us giving back to people who are currently playing Halo 3 and keeping that trilogy and that saga going a little bit longer."
Jarrard also reiterated that Halo 3: Recon is also not the only thing Bungie is working on. "This is just one of a couple projects we have in the studio under way now," he explained. "This is the first time we've tried to have a smaller, nimble, more agile team of people on a project while the rest of the team tackles other projects." He also said that many Recon team members have been at Bungie since work on Halo: Combat Evolved began at the turn of the century. "They're at the core of the Halo universe. This is a fun way for them to try out some ideas they've had on the back burner."