Halo: Reach to follow Spartan squad

New trailer for eagerly anticipated sci-fi shooter reveals group of Master Chief-like supersoldiers; source describes "bleak and violent" game as "Gears of War with Spartans."

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Six months after they first teased the game at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, Microsoft and Bungie have released the first full trailer for Halo: Reach. The two-and-a-half-minute spot is taken from the opening cinematic for the sci-fi shooter, which will ship in fall 2010 for the Xbox 360. A multiplayer beta is planned for next spring, and buyers of Halo 3: ODST will receive invites.

Halo: Reach will be
Halo: Reach will be "bleak and violent," according to sources.

The trailer confirms what Halo: Reach's title hinted at: The game will depict some of the same events that took place in the novel Halo: The Fall of Reach by Eric Nylund. The book portrays both the siege of the titular fortress planet by the Covenant and the origins of the Spartan program, which developed dozens of supersoldiers like Halo series hero Master Chief.

While the siege of Reach was briefly shown in the E3 teaser trailer, it is confirmed in the new video spot by a radio message saying "Winter Contingency has been declared." The same line appears in Fall of Reach when the Covenant begins a full assault on the planet, smashing its defenses and landing thousands of dropships on its surface.

The new Halo: Reach trailer also shows multiple Spartan soldiers. According to Microsoft, the six-Spartan group is Noble Squad, the military unit that will be the focus of Halo: Reach. The game will chronicle their battles with the Covenant as they try to protect Reach's human inhabitants from their relentless onslaught.

Speaking with GameSpot, a source who has seen Halo: Reach firsthand describes it as "Gears of War with Spartans" and "very bleak and violent." The trailer hints that the game will be grimmer in tone than previous games, with all members of Noble Squad bearing facial scars and one sporting an artificial arm. Another bears a Gears-like skull on the front of his helmet and wields a kukri-like curved machete, hinting at bloody bladed melee combat.

The trailer also may have offered a clue that Halo: Reach will focus on squad-based gameplay. It depicts a new Spartan joining Noble Squad, whose commander admonishes him to "leave that lone wolf stuff behind." Earlier this year, purportedly leaked shots of the game did indeed show what looked like a squad of Spartans.

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