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All About Halo 3: ODST

Bungie talked plenty of specifics about its upcoming Halo side story at E3.

Things have gotten ugly in New Mombasa.

Amid all the hubbub of E3, it may have slipped your mind that we're mere months away from a new Halo game. It hasn't slipped Bungie's, though, who was on-hand at the show talking details about Halo 3: ODST.

For starters, the game will ship on two discs. The first will be single-player only, containing only the ODST campaign. The other disc will be a sort of Halo 3 multiplayer compilation, with the entire Halo 3 multiplayer framework and all 21 previously released maps included. There will also be three new maps, one of which is Heretic, a remake of the Halo classic Midship. So original Halo 3 owners and people who buy ODST will be able to mix it up online, regardless of which disc they're using.

In demoing the single-player campaign, Bungie proved how much they've improved their engine, artwork, and on-the-fly storytelling. I saw an in-game cutscene that took place from the player's perspective just before the ODSTs drop into the war-torn city of New Mombasa, and just about everything about the visuals--from the detail of the character models to the camera movements--seemed more refined and believable. I never thought the cinematics in past Halo games were particularly strong, so I'm glad to see Bungie stepping up their game in that department.

This scene also gave me a good dose of the ODST commanding officer Buck, who you may know better as... Nathan Fillion! That's right, Firefly's Captain Mal plays a major role in the game, not just with his voice but also his likeness. It was a gratifying geeky moment to see Fillion come in barking orders at the ODSTs, the kind of thing that brings an unstoppable smile to your face. If you're a huge nerd, that is. (I am.)

Firefight seems like an interesting new take on Halo co-op.

Here's something else you might not know about ODST: it's an open-world game. Well, sort of. It's not an open world in the sense that there are bustling citizens and collectible items all over New Mombasa. (Quite the contrary; the beleaguered city looks devoid of human life.) But the game isn't arranged in linear stages like past Halo games. Instead, the playable area of the city is laid out roughly in a circle on the map, with markers indicating available missions that you can approach in any order.

Bungie has updated the game's heads-up elements to help you navigate the new open city. You get contextual information like the map and a compass with waypoint markers popping up on the inside of your ODST's visor, Metroid Prime-style. A lot of this city data is provided by the Superintendent, New Mombasa's friendly municipal AI. The Supe's not exactly ODST's version of Cortana; he's more action than talk, helping you out by opening doors for you and that sort of thing. Bungie's Joe Staten said it's the difference between a "smart AI" and a "dumb AI." Hey, I'll take all the friendly robot help I can get.

Lastly, Bungie talked a little about Firefight, the game's cooperative mode. It's similar to Gears of War 2's Horde mode, or Survival in Left 4 Dead. In other words, it's all about fighting wave after wave of enemies with up to three friends for high scores. Unlike Horde, Firefight has no end; you keep fighting harder and harder waves until everyone is dead. There's a shared pool of lives that all players draw from, and skull modifiers will switch on and off between rounds to change the way the game plays.

ODST is looking like a great way to extend the Halo franchise and its signature dynamic combat without turning out Master Chief for the umpteenth time. I like this slightly different take on the series and I can't wait to play it when it hits stores in September.

Brad Shoemaker on Google+
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Posted by Brad
Things have gotten ugly in New Mombasa.

Amid all the hubbub of E3, it may have slipped your mind that we're mere months away from a new Halo game. It hasn't slipped Bungie's, though, who was on-hand at the show talking details about Halo 3: ODST.

For starters, the game will ship on two discs. The first will be single-player only, containing only the ODST campaign. The other disc will be a sort of Halo 3 multiplayer compilation, with the entire Halo 3 multiplayer framework and all 21 previously released maps included. There will also be three new maps, one of which is Heretic, a remake of the Halo classic Midship. So original Halo 3 owners and people who buy ODST will be able to mix it up online, regardless of which disc they're using.

In demoing the single-player campaign, Bungie proved how much they've improved their engine, artwork, and on-the-fly storytelling. I saw an in-game cutscene that took place from the player's perspective just before the ODSTs drop into the war-torn city of New Mombasa, and just about everything about the visuals--from the detail of the character models to the camera movements--seemed more refined and believable. I never thought the cinematics in past Halo games were particularly strong, so I'm glad to see Bungie stepping up their game in that department.

This scene also gave me a good dose of the ODST commanding officer Buck, who you may know better as... Nathan Fillion! That's right, Firefly's Captain Mal plays a major role in the game, not just with his voice but also his likeness. It was a gratifying geeky moment to see Fillion come in barking orders at the ODSTs, the kind of thing that brings an unstoppable smile to your face. If you're a huge nerd, that is. (I am.)

Firefight seems like an interesting new take on Halo co-op.

Here's something else you might not know about ODST: it's an open-world game. Well, sort of. It's not an open world in the sense that there are bustling citizens and collectible items all over New Mombasa. (Quite the contrary; the beleaguered city looks devoid of human life.) But the game isn't arranged in linear stages like past Halo games. Instead, the playable area of the city is laid out roughly in a circle on the map, with markers indicating available missions that you can approach in any order.

Bungie has updated the game's heads-up elements to help you navigate the new open city. You get contextual information like the map and a compass with waypoint markers popping up on the inside of your ODST's visor, Metroid Prime-style. A lot of this city data is provided by the Superintendent, New Mombasa's friendly municipal AI. The Supe's not exactly ODST's version of Cortana; he's more action than talk, helping you out by opening doors for you and that sort of thing. Bungie's Joe Staten said it's the difference between a "smart AI" and a "dumb AI." Hey, I'll take all the friendly robot help I can get.

Lastly, Bungie talked a little about Firefight, the game's cooperative mode. It's similar to Gears of War 2's Horde mode, or Survival in Left 4 Dead. In other words, it's all about fighting wave after wave of enemies with up to three friends for high scores. Unlike Horde, Firefight has no end; you keep fighting harder and harder waves until everyone is dead. There's a shared pool of lives that all players draw from, and skull modifiers will switch on and off between rounds to change the way the game plays.

ODST is looking like a great way to extend the Halo franchise and its signature dynamic combat without turning out Master Chief for the umpteenth time. I like this slightly different take on the series and I can't wait to play it when it hits stores in September.

Posted by cstrang

Meh.  Unimpressed.

Posted by Black_Rose

I actually think it looks great. Better than the other games in the franchise.

Posted by Seedofpower

Sigh, too bad its about 4-5 months away.

Posted by JazzMaverick

I may be a bit cynical... but it seems Bungie are just keeping the bed warm so to speak,to keep the series in people heads until the next proper Halo is released..

it's obviously just a re-working of Halo3... using the same multiplayer etc.. not that intrested in this tbh.

Posted by Gorillawhat

*Jizz in pants*

Posted by Agnogenic_delete

Firefight sounds incredible. I am definitely sold on ODST. I think I am going to go reserve it tomorrow...

Posted by Agent47CSim2

Definitely getting this, if only for firefight and the three new maps, the campaign also looks superb.

Posted by Reuben
@JazzMaverick said:
" I may be a bit cynical... but it seems Bungie are just keeping the bed warm so to speak,to keep the series in people heads until the next proper Halo is released..it's obviously just a re-working of Halo3... using the same multiplayer etc.. not that intrested in this tbh. "
Same, Not interested, I'll rent it but that's as far as I'm gonna go.
Posted by Azteck

Totally excited for this, getting it without a doubt.

Posted by crunchUK
@JazzMaverick said:
" I may be a bit cynical... but it seems Bungie are just keeping the bed warm so to speak,to keep the series in people heads until the next proper Halo is released..it's obviously just a re-working of Halo3... using the same multiplayer etc.. not that intrested in this tbh. "
With the popularity of halo 3s multiplayer... i highly doubt they need to do that
Posted by Evil_Eye

It's cool how they got nathan fillion on board

Posted by Pepsicolaboy
@Reuben said:
"
@JazzMaverick said:
" I may be a bit cynical... but it seems Bungie are just keeping the bed warm so to speak,to keep the series in people heads until the next proper Halo is released..it's obviously just a re-working of Halo3... using the same multiplayer etc.. not that intrested in this tbh. "
Same, Not interested, I'll rent it but that's as far as I'm gonna go. "
Dude, Halo has go tot be one of the best multiplayer experiences there is. Seems like 50-60 bucks for a new, full length single player game in a revamped engine, interesting (likely better)
story, new weapons + in game features/modes, all the contents of the Halo 3 multiplayer DLC thus far and the compatability to play with the entire Halo 3 multiplayer community from this
disc is a pretty ok deal. If this seems so uninteresting, then it seems as though Halo 3 shouldnt have been that interesting to you in the first place.

On the other hand, your certainly correct about bungie 'warming the bed'. Economically, they will milk this franshise for everything its got before it needs another shot in the arm from 
another core release. So I agree with you there.

But if this game is their way of milking me, then im the fattest lactating cow on the farm.


Posted by KillerKahuna
@Black_Rose said:
" I actually think it looks great. Better than the other games in the franchise. "

I agree, this looks good
Posted by mordukai

I read that the Bungie didn't want to charge full price for it but Microsoft said other wise and eventually decided to pack all the map packs they released. Kinda sucks for the people that already bought those map packs. I'll give this one a rental and if I really like it then maybe pick up a used copy a couple of months after it comes out. 


Greed never ceases  to amaze me, But I expected that much from Microsoft. 
Posted by Hitchenson

Looks awesome! Can't wait to get this:

Halo 3: ODST LCE

Posted by crunchUK
@Hitchenson said:
" Looks awesome! Can't wait to get this:
Halo 3: ODST LCE

"
Just wondering... how much will that be? Also you get to play as sgt johnson in the limited edition in firefight. Co-op will be incredible in this game.
Posted by Zereta

The main thing that drove me into Halo was the Single player. And this is shaping up to be, in fact, probably the best Halo game Bungie has put out. Even the devs seem to think so, if you listen to the Bungie Podcast.


And damn, was I impressed! I was a really active member of the Bungie forums back in the days before Halo 3. And we had a thread going detailing how we want a Survival Mode and how it should play like. And Bam! Firefight!

Bungie never fails to impress me. I came in expecting a rehashed Halo 3. But, and I'm sure Brad agrees, this truly is the age of ODSTs.
Edited by Hitchenson
@crunchUK said:
"
@Hitchenson said:
" Looks awesome! Can't wait to get this:
Halo 3: ODST LCE

"
Just wondering... how much will that be? Also you get to play as sgt johnson in the limited edition in firefight. Co-op will be incredible in this game. "
No, you don't play as Johnson from the LCE. You get him if you pre-order either the regular or LCE editions at selected retailers.
Posted by Jack_Daniels

Why don't they just make a second season of Firefly? I mean come on!

Posted by sdauz

as a halo fan i thought this a meh kinda game.....brad has just blown my mind, OPEN WORLD HALO GAME..THAT"S AWESOME

Posted by Reuben
@Pepsicolaboy said:
"
@Reuben said:
"
@JazzMaverick said:
" I may be a bit cynical... but it seems Bungie are just keeping the bed warm so to speak,to keep the series in people heads until the next proper Halo is released..it's obviously just a re-working of Halo3... using the same multiplayer etc.. not that intrested in this tbh. "
Same, Not interested, I'll rent it but that's as far as I'm gonna go. "
Dude, Halo has go tot be one of the best multiplayer experiences there is. Seems like 50-60 bucks for a new, full length single player game in a revamped engine, interesting (likely better)
story, new weapons + in game features/modes, all the contents of the Halo 3 multiplayer DLC thus far and the compatability to play with the entire Halo 3 multiplayer community from this
disc is a pretty ok deal. If this seems so uninteresting, then it seems as though Halo 3 shouldnt have been that interesting to you in the first place.

On the other hand, your certainly correct about bungie 'warming the bed'. Economically, they will milk this franshise for everything its got before it needs another shot in the arm from  another core release. So I agree with you there. But if this game is their way of milking me, then im the fattest lactating cow on the farm. "
Thing is, I'll rent it to play the single player and beat it but I've already got Halo 3 for the MP. Though it definitely will be a package worth picking up for anyone who's interested. Definitely not denying that!
Posted by Hitchenson
@sdauz said:
" as a halo fan i thought this a meh kinda game.....brad has just blown my mind, OPEN WORLD HALO GAME..THAT"S AWESOME "
...That's been know for months? Some Halo fan.
Posted by addictedtopinescent

Nice, I didn't expect this to be coming out so soon 

Posted by Gearhead

Yeah, I really liked this game, and for fourty dollars, really good deal. 

Posted by Manks

I'll probably be getting this. 

Posted by Gorillawhat

I'll definitely be getting the Special Edition for this, it's probably the most practical SE I've ever seen, it comes with a controller! Is it sad that part of me whishes it came with a Recon cat helmet?

I'm surprised that the game is coming on 2 discs though. You think that with ODST being a rather short game they would be able to fit on the Multiplayer, but I guess with all the maps that are going to be on there it could get a bit stuffy. With the amount of time I put into Halo 3 Multiplayer It'll be nice to have a dedicated disc for it, not that it will do or change anything at all, or will it make the maps load faster?


Posted by Parsnip

Alan Tudyk and Adam Baldwin are also voicing dudes in the game apparently. You know, the other dudes from Firefly. Weren't all 3 in Halo 3 as well?

Posted by TheKidNixon

I'm curious how much more attention this game would be getting if it wasn't Halo. The open hub world with mini levels hidden within, operating on a story level as a branch of the investigation that the Rookie is going through, seems like a very ambitious and interesting storytelling device. I'm certainly interested in the structure, even if the Halo universe and gameplay don't exactly appeal to me.

I think its bizarre that they're kind of positioning this as a solo-expansion story with an additional MP disc attached, though. I suspect most of the people super stoked for Halo 3 MP already have the original game, so the majority of that second disc doesn't really hold much appeal to them.

Posted by crunchUK
@Gorillawhat said:
" I'll definitely be getting the Special Edition for this, it's probably the most practical SE I've ever seen, it comes with a controller! Is it sad that part of me whishes it came with a Recon cat helmet?
I'm surprised that the game is coming on 2 discs though. You think that with ODST being a rather short game they would be able to fit on the Multiplayer, but I guess with all the maps that are going to be on there it could get a bit stuffy. With the amount of time I put into Halo 3 Multiplayer It'll be nice to have a dedicated disc for it, not that it will do or change anything at all, or will it make the maps load faster?


"
the DLC ones will load faster than when they're on the hard drive i think (because they will get cached)
Posted by pweidman

Yeah, I totally want to play this and it's day one for me to be honest, but I already paid for all the maps, and 3 more plus the sp that's reportedly short seems like a ripoff bigtime.  With the Halo mp seperate it's so obvious this is M$'s doing.  Typical greedy shit really.  Anyway, I didn't see anything about the Reach beta key....this is why so many hardcore Halo players will ultimately drop the $60+.  Prolly looking forward to firefight the most...anything Halo co-op = win.

Posted by Gorillawhat
@crunchUK said:
"
@Gorillawhat said:
" I'll definitely be getting the Special Edition for this, it's probably the most practical SE I've ever seen, it comes with a controller! Is it sad that part of me whishes it came with a Recon cat helmet?
I'm surprised that the game is coming on 2 discs though. You think that with ODST being a rather short game they would be able to fit on the Multiplayer, but I guess with all the maps that are going to be on there it could get a bit stuffy. With the amount of time I put into Halo 3 Multiplayer It'll be nice to have a dedicated disc for it, not that it will do or change anything at all, or will it make the maps load faster?


"
the DLC ones will load faster than when they're on the hard drive i think (because they will get cached) "
Oh shit! Will I be able to install the multiplayer? Because I was really dissapointed when I couldn't do that with Halo 3, seeing as my Xbox sounds like a Vacuum and I'm playing H3 multiplayer daily.
Posted by MeatSim

Brad's like a workhorse pumping out all these previews at once.

Posted by borgmaster

also....IT COMES WITH TEH RECONZ!!!1!!111!!!........as long as you get the four achievements associated with it....

Posted by stinky

Halo died for me when they took out the side step.

Posted by killdave

Bring on O D S T !

2 discs ? sweet

Posted by Death_Unicorn

a Halo game about an ODST is all I need to buy this.

Posted by crunchUK
@stinky said:
" Halo died for me when they took out the side step. "
what are you talking about?
Edited by BigBoss1911

Looks pretty cool,but honestly all this halo stuff is geting old.They have this and then theres halo reach.

Posted by atejas

Sounds like it resembles the original more than the uninspired 2 and 3.

Wait and see, wait and see.

Posted by Zeouterlimits

*sings* I cannot wait, really cannot.
I've got to stop fapping over this game, but come on, it's more well.

Oh weeeell, the wait continues.

Posted by tactis

day one special edition purchase for me good thing i have only bought one map-pack too so this is gonna be a sweet deal plus beta for halo:reach and a new co-op mode!! woot!!

Posted by Grim_Fandango

All they needed to say was firefight, and I was sold... Horde, here I come.

Posted by Kojacked

Better storyline in Halo and better ways of telling is certainly a good thing. That was my main gripe in Halo series though they improved somewhat in Halo 3, this seems to be miles better. I'm looking forward to this now, not a big multiplayer Halo fan but the single player here seems to be quite content heavy.

Posted by wh1terav3n
@crunchUK said:
"
@Hitchenson said:
" Looks awesome! Can't wait to get this:
Halo 3: ODST LCE

"
Just wondering... how much will that be? Also you get to play as sgt johnson in the limited edition in firefight. Co-op will be incredible in this game. "
$100, which really isn't a bad deal. For $40 you get a new wireless limited edition controller, and a regular wireless controller's $50...looks like I'll continue the tradition of buy CE on all of the Halo games...
Edited by zombie2011
@Hitchenson said:
" Looks awesome! Can't wait to get this:
Halo 3: ODST LCE

"
Wow this might might be the first LCE i buy seeing it has something useful. Besides i need a new controller.

Open world halo game...im pumped.
Posted by TomA

will...be...awesome...

Posted by SynAzrael

Never been too much of a fan of Halo.  This looks like it could be genuinely interesting though.  Well....time will tell.

Posted by JukeboxJoe

Not overly bothered about the game but... NATHAN FILLION!

Posted by Hitchenson
@Gorillawhat said:
"
@crunchUK said:
"
@Gorillawhat said:
" I'll definitely be getting the Special Edition for this, it's probably the most practical SE I've ever seen, it comes with a controller! Is it sad that part of me whishes it came with a Recon cat helmet?
I'm surprised that the game is coming on 2 discs though. You think that with ODST being a rather short game they would be able to fit on the Multiplayer, but I guess with all the maps that are going to be on there it could get a bit stuffy. With the amount of time I put into Halo 3 Multiplayer It'll be nice to have a dedicated disc for it, not that it will do or change anything at all, or will it make the maps load faster?


"
the DLC ones will load faster than when they're on the hard drive i think (because they will get cached) "
Oh shit! Will I be able to install the multiplayer? Because I was really dissapointed when I couldn't do that with Halo 3, seeing as my Xbox sounds like a Vacuum and I'm playing H3 multiplayer daily.
"

I've got regular Halo 3 installed anyway; there seriously isn't that much difference between search/load times. If you're playing Halo 3 multiplayer that regularly, install it dude.

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