One of the biggest announcements at this years E3 was the anniversary addition of Halo, Halo: Combat Evolved. At this years Tokyo game show, Microsoft held an event to show case some of the game play of Halo, as well as gave us a chance to ask some questions about their upcoming title.
I was very surprised when I walked into the room to find that Halo was in 3D. Given that Halo is a science fiction style game, the weaponry is always fairly visible. This makes for an awesome 3D experience with laser beams shooting out of the screen and into my field of vision. Of course you would need a 3D television for this to work, but it was still a pretty awesome viewing experience.
One of the biggest features of Halo: Combat Evolved is ability to move between the original game, and the remastered version. I am told that you will be able to use voice control to do this, as well as the controller but sadly the voice recognition isn’t up and running in Australia. Elements like this, and the lack of delay between swamping game styles are added in to make the experience of moving between games as seamless as possible. The aesthetics of the game have changed significantly to coincide with the change in aesthetics that happened in the 10 years since the release of the original game. One of the most notable is the change in uniforms.
The game has just been reworked visually, but also in terms of audio. All of the audio has been re-recorded. Not only were all of the voice overs recorded again with the same actors, but the soundtrack has also been completely re-recorded and remastered. Microsoft also revealed that the soundtrack would be released on two Cds as well as a limited edition vinyl.
The game play of Halo Anniversary looks very similar, if not exactly the same as the original game. But I guess that is the point. It was important to maintain the original game play, but bring in new elements for players who have played the game already. If playing the game in the newer mode, computer terminals have hidden through out 10 levels and have a message on them. These messages then construct a narrative through out the game. These story elements will effect how you play through out the game, with out disturbing the original game play.
Staying true to the original game was always a priority when developing the anniversary edition. While the goal may have been to update the game to fit within contemporary video gaming, some of the more primitive things, so to speak, about Halo are the things people enjoy. Some of the user testing resulted in people asking about bugs in the original game that weren’t present in the updated version.
Lastly, there has been a huge update to the multi-player capabilities of the Halo franchise. The multi-player will be using the Reach engine, so you wont be able to view classic mode during multi-player. However, for those who don’t own the anniversary addition, and perhaps only have Reach, the newer maps of anniversary will be available as downloadable content. This way there is no need for disc swapping as well. This was done to keep the multi-player mode as seamless as possible and not interrupt the eco-system of the game.
Overall, Halo: Combat Evolved looks like a visually stunning game, and seems much more than just a revamping of an old title. The game will be released on November 15th in the US, exactly 10 years after the original launch of Halo.