The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

A world like no other, a gamer’s dream: Halo 3

Photo courtesy Microsoft
Photo courtesy Microsoft

By Patrick Cusack/reporter

Photo courtesy Microsoft
Photo courtesy Microsoft

It has been nearly six years since Bungie Software released Halo: Combat Evolved, which changed the gaming industry.

When Bungie’s developers first started working on Halo in the mid ’90s it was conceptualized as a real-time strategy game in the vein of Warcraft, Command & Conquer and Age of Empires, but in an excessive sci-fi format.

Halo was to be released on the Apple Macintosh platform until fate stepped in after Bungie showed a demo of Halo at the 1999 Macword exposition.

Microsoft soon took interest in acquiring Bungie to develop Halo for its then-secret foray into the console gaming industry now known as the Xbox.

Halo was then transformed from a real-time strategy game into a first-person shooter of FPSs like the infamous Doom and Quake.

Halo: Combat Evolved was released by Microsoft Game Studios in 2001.

Things went well for Halo in its initial release. The graphics were reported in reviews as some of the best console gamers had ever seen.

Articles surfaced comparing the innovation of the cooperative two-player game play to that of the first-person shooter GoldenEye for the Nintendo 64.

Something bigger than game play or graphics had secured Halo into the history books of first-person shooters in gaming—a story.

Console gamers were used to deep plots and evolving story lines in genres such as role playing games or RPGs such as the Final Fantasy and Zelda series.

Gamers were not used to the idea of a FPS having an evolving plot, and the addition did wonders for the genre.

Photo courtesy Microsoft
Photo courtesy Microsoft

For the first time, gamers felt an emotional attachment with the protagonist of the game known only as Master Chief, the green-clad, armored Spartan soldier brought forth to save humanity from certain destruction.

The culmination of all the things Halo brought to gamers paid off for Bungie and Microsoft, which sold one million copies of Halo in the first four months of its release.

It was also given the highly regarded Game of the Year and Console Game of the Year awards by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences.

For Bungie and Microsoft, one thing was certain: they needed another Halo and so did gamers.

A Bungie spokesman said, “A sequel was such a no-brainer that no official green light was given, It was more a case of ‘when will it be ready?’”

Development began on Halo 2, and the public got its first look during the 2003 Electronics Entertainment Expo.

Bungie’s developers went back to the studios after gathering feedback at the expo and went right to work on the three-year development.

Halo 2 was released Nov. 9, 2004 and sold 2.38 million copies, netting over $125 million in the first 24 hours.

Bungie introduced many inno-vations to the game play. Gamers could wield two weapons at once and fire independently with the left and right triggers on the controller.

For the first time in Halo, online game play was introduced with Microsoft’s Xbox Live. Online play had been used in other games but left much to be desired.

Halo 2’s well-executed online play started a culture of its own.

The Xbox Live version of Halo following brought many gamers together from all around the world.

Players were notified when friends were online. Together, they could join one multiplayer game, creating a sense of teamwork never known before in the console gaming world.

Bungie also introduced a new story element of two interweaving plot angles, forcing players to control another character in the last level other than Master Chief.

Many gamers were puzzled as well as enraged with a final two-minute cut-scene that brought the cinema-like cliffhanger into videogames.

That cut-scene cliffhanger would not go unanswered though.

At Electronics Enter-tainment Expo 2006, Halo 3 was unveiled to the world with a cinematic trailer that begged gamers everywhere to “ Finish the Fight.”

Halo 3 was released Sept. 25 to an eager following of fans, who purchased a record-breaking $170 million worth of the games, the biggest day in U.S. entertainment sales history.

Bungie introduced many new weapons and vehicles with Halo 3, but the largest added features to the game were the graphics overhaul, the level-editing feature and the ability to playback recorded game play.

The match playback is considered one of the biggest features in ensuring the game’s social playability.

Within the first two weeks, gamers had gone online and posted videos of lucky shots and kills beyond the impossible, bringing a whole new entertainment aspect to the game.

On the release date, the MIT Tech newspaper ran a photo on its front page of John P. Harvard’s statue wearing Master Chief’s Spartan helmet and an assault rifle.

This shows just how much the Halo franchise has saturated society.

From real-time strategy game to worldwide first-person shooter, the Halo franchise has become one of the biggest players in video gaming history.

Bungie has not commented on what will become of the Halo behemoth.

Bungie officials shocked the industry Oct. 1 by purchasing itself back from Microsoft and calling itself Bungie LLC.

The future of Halo is undecided, but with Bungie back as an independent developer, gamers are feeling good that the franchise will not be disappearing anytime soon.

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