Brutish Halo 3 "ViDoc" now playing

[UPDATE] Seven-minute documentary focuses on new and improved Brutes; gameplay footage includes first peek at game's archvillain. Video now on GameSpot.


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As is its modus operandi, Bungie Studio is ever so slowly building hype for the next installment of Halo by letting details out at a snail's pace. But this morning the Washington-based studio picked up the pace dramatically by releasing a seven-minute Halo 3 "ViDoc" over Xbox Live Marketplace.

The "video documentary" gives the public its first peek at the game's campaign mode--something that has been highly guarded until now. The 97MB video, titled "Et Tu Brute?," focuses largely on the Brutes, the apelike race that act as bodyguards for the Prophets.

The video begins with Bungie talking about the Brutes as they were in Halo 2. "Brutes were added a little late [to Halo 2], we didn't really have time to flesh them out. That's what we're doing in Halo 3," said one Bungie employee.

The short then walks viewers through the changes to the Brutes, concentrating on the race's improved artificial intelligence and new animations. Brutes will now largely move in "packs," and come in three classes--the standard Brute soldier, the Brute captain, and the Brute chieftain--each recognizable by the extravagance of their armor. Chieftains will lead the bunch, and call for team orders such as simultaneous grenade tossing.

While much of the video shows footage from Halo 3, there aren't any real details about the story. However, during a rundown of new Brute animations, the video shows some new features of the game. The highlights include one Brute ripping the arms off of an unfortunate human, another Brute pushing a warthog over, and a dual-plasma-sword-wielding Elite skewering a Brute. Gamers will also get a close look at the Brute's standard-issue weapon, a pistol which appears to have two scythes as bayonets, similar to the Brute Shot from Halo 2.

Though rumors persisted earlier this month that the Brutes would be playable in Halo 3, Bungie quickly debunked the notion. There is no mention of the simian race being playable in the video.

On its Web site, Bungie repeats the disclaimer that the graphics shown in the video are merely works in progress, and that gamers "won't be seeing anything like finished graphics." Bungie also says the video gives the first peek at "the bad guy you will grow to love and hate," but the video doesn't really distinguish the foe from the rest of the Brutes.

Currently, the video is only available on Xbox Live Marketplace but Bungie will be releasing the video in another format "relatively soon." Markets outside the US should get a localized version of the video sometime later today.

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