What we're likely to see in Halo: Reach


With the announcement of Halo: Reach at today's Microsoft press conference, I figured I'd run down what we're likely to see, as I have quite a lot of experience with the Halo series. So let's get started. First off:

What is Reach?

Reach was a UNSC fortress world, the most heavily guarded human world outside of Earth. It was a major UNSC military base and also the training ground for the SPARTAN-II program, which the Master Chief was a member of. It was viewed as almost impenetrable by the Covenant, heavily guarded by UNSC military fleets and orbital guns. However, Reach was destroyed by the Covenant in a surprise attack immediately prior to the events of Halo: Combat Evolved. In fact, if you remember all the way back to 2001, Halo: CE begins with The UNSC Pillar of Autumn coming out of a blind jump into the Halo system- they were fleeing form the rout at Reach. Reach's orbital defenses and fleet were completely overwhelmed, and the planet was bombarded from orbit. There was also heavy action on the ground before the UNSC was routed in space, which is likely what the game will focus on.

Wait... Spartans?

Yes, Reach was the base for the Spartan-II project, as detailed in Eric Nylund's novel, The Fall of Reach (Which has been out since 2002, so this is not a new story whatsoever). The novel actually deals with the entire Spartan-II program, following their training from children. Reach will likely just focus on the battle of Reach as opposed to the story of the younger Spartans. During the battle, most all of the Spartans were deployed to the surface of Reach to protect power generators for the orbital gun platforms orbiting Reach (Cairo station from Halo 2 is one of these gun platforms).  A few select Spartans (including the Master Chief) stayed in orbit to destroy a piece of human wreckage which contained the coordinates to Earth. The Spartan force on the ground faced some heavy action before they were routed by superior Covenant numbers; they lost the power generators and were trapped on-planet while Reach was glassed from orbit. A few Spartans survived by retreating into the UNSC bases under the surface of the planet, but the majority were lost in the bombardment.

Who Are We Likely To See?

This being a prequel to the original Halo, Bungie has a lot of options. We'll likely see these faces though, as they're fairly integral to the story of Reach:
  • Dr. Catherine Halsey: The scientist who created and ran the Spartan-II projet, Dr Halsey was on Reach at the time of the attack. She will likely show up in some capacity, as she's a key figure to the Spartan program, which Reach will likely go into more depth on.
  • Captain Keyes: Keyes was at Reach and involved in the fighting before the planet was lost. He will probbly at least show up over the com as a voice giving you orders.
  • Cortana: Cortana was at Reach during the battle, she may or may not have a role in Halo: Reach
  • The Arbiter: The Arbiter was in charge of one of the fleets, or the primary fleet that attacked Reach. He took his ships and followed the Pillar of Autumn to the Halo ring, which he failed to protect, leading to his disgrace in Halo 2. However, it is quite likely we will see him fighting at Reach before he takes off in pursuit of the Autumn.
  • We likely won't see Master Chief, as he was in orbit while the fighting was taking place on the surface of Reach.

What's Going To Differentiate This?

This one is a bit less clear from what we know right now. The trailer made specific mention of Spartans, which implies that we will be playing as them, or they will at least play a major role. The rumors about a squad-based and third-person Halo game have been quite persistent, and as ODST did not deliver on that, I find it highly likely that Halo: Reach will. A large force of Spartans is on-planet and engaged in group fighting, so it would be the perfect opportunity to explore squad-based gameplay. Spartans are ruthlessly effective teams, going back to Reach allows Bungie to explore this dynamic by having more than one Spartan (Bungie had nothing to do with Halo Wars, remember).

Reach also presents an opportunity to go back to Elites as the primary enemies, as opposed to the Brutes we fought in Halo 3 and will be fighting in ODST. However, portraying the elites as good guys in Halo 3 then making them be villains again in Reach is a bit of a mixed message, something Bungie surely is aware of. Purely story-wise, however, we could be fighting Elites again.

Falls 2010? What The Hell Does That Mean?

It's a play on words. The battle at Reach was a devastating loss for the humans, and they lost the planet. Reach falls 2010- the planet is lost in fall 2010.

And if you think you've never heard or seen Reach before, it was actually mentioned at the start of Halo 2, briefly. Here's a picture of it after being glassed.

40 Comments
41 Comments
Edited by Lies

With the announcement of Halo: Reach at today's Microsoft press conference, I figured I'd run down what we're likely to see, as I have quite a lot of experience with the Halo series. So let's get started. First off:

What is Reach?

Reach was a UNSC fortress world, the most heavily guarded human world outside of Earth. It was a major UNSC military base and also the training ground for the SPARTAN-II program, which the Master Chief was a member of. It was viewed as almost impenetrable by the Covenant, heavily guarded by UNSC military fleets and orbital guns. However, Reach was destroyed by the Covenant in a surprise attack immediately prior to the events of Halo: Combat Evolved. In fact, if you remember all the way back to 2001, Halo: CE begins with The UNSC Pillar of Autumn coming out of a blind jump into the Halo system- they were fleeing form the rout at Reach. Reach's orbital defenses and fleet were completely overwhelmed, and the planet was bombarded from orbit. There was also heavy action on the ground before the UNSC was routed in space, which is likely what the game will focus on.

Wait... Spartans?

Yes, Reach was the base for the Spartan-II project, as detailed in Eric Nylund's novel, The Fall of Reach (Which has been out since 2002, so this is not a new story whatsoever). The novel actually deals with the entire Spartan-II program, following their training from children. Reach will likely just focus on the battle of Reach as opposed to the story of the younger Spartans. During the battle, most all of the Spartans were deployed to the surface of Reach to protect power generators for the orbital gun platforms orbiting Reach (Cairo station from Halo 2 is one of these gun platforms).  A few select Spartans (including the Master Chief) stayed in orbit to destroy a piece of human wreckage which contained the coordinates to Earth. The Spartan force on the ground faced some heavy action before they were routed by superior Covenant numbers; they lost the power generators and were trapped on-planet while Reach was glassed from orbit. A few Spartans survived by retreating into the UNSC bases under the surface of the planet, but the majority were lost in the bombardment.

Who Are We Likely To See?

This being a prequel to the original Halo, Bungie has a lot of options. We'll likely see these faces though, as they're fairly integral to the story of Reach:
  • Dr. Catherine Halsey: The scientist who created and ran the Spartan-II projet, Dr Halsey was on Reach at the time of the attack. She will likely show up in some capacity, as she's a key figure to the Spartan program, which Reach will likely go into more depth on.
  • Captain Keyes: Keyes was at Reach and involved in the fighting before the planet was lost. He will probbly at least show up over the com as a voice giving you orders.
  • Cortana: Cortana was at Reach during the battle, she may or may not have a role in Halo: Reach
  • The Arbiter: The Arbiter was in charge of one of the fleets, or the primary fleet that attacked Reach. He took his ships and followed the Pillar of Autumn to the Halo ring, which he failed to protect, leading to his disgrace in Halo 2. However, it is quite likely we will see him fighting at Reach before he takes off in pursuit of the Autumn.
  • We likely won't see Master Chief, as he was in orbit while the fighting was taking place on the surface of Reach.

What's Going To Differentiate This?

This one is a bit less clear from what we know right now. The trailer made specific mention of Spartans, which implies that we will be playing as them, or they will at least play a major role. The rumors about a squad-based and third-person Halo game have been quite persistent, and as ODST did not deliver on that, I find it highly likely that Halo: Reach will. A large force of Spartans is on-planet and engaged in group fighting, so it would be the perfect opportunity to explore squad-based gameplay. Spartans are ruthlessly effective teams, going back to Reach allows Bungie to explore this dynamic by having more than one Spartan (Bungie had nothing to do with Halo Wars, remember).

Reach also presents an opportunity to go back to Elites as the primary enemies, as opposed to the Brutes we fought in Halo 3 and will be fighting in ODST. However, portraying the elites as good guys in Halo 3 then making them be villains again in Reach is a bit of a mixed message, something Bungie surely is aware of. Purely story-wise, however, we could be fighting Elites again.

Falls 2010? What The Hell Does That Mean?

It's a play on words. The battle at Reach was a devastating loss for the humans, and they lost the planet. Reach falls 2010- the planet is lost in fall 2010.

And if you think you've never heard or seen Reach before, it was actually mentioned at the start of Halo 2, briefly. Here's a picture of it after being glassed.

Posted by Tylea002

Do you play as Kelly? You should.

Yeah, I read the book.

Posted by Callumrides

cant wait for this game

Posted by Lies

IN addition, the bit about the Multiplayer beta tells us that it will be an all-new multiplayer experience, unlike ODST which is simply Halo 3's multiplayer with some new maps. Reach is going to have completely different multiplayer gameplay, which would again point towards the single player gameplay being different from the norm.

Posted by Gargantuan

All this talk about Halo makes me want to play some Halo 3.
This looks very interesting.

Online
Posted by RsistncE

What are we going to see? More shitty derivative Halo gameplay. Sorry I just hate Halo, definitely not a PS Triple fanboy.

NOOOOOO.

Posted by Pie

Its a squad game i tells ya.

Posted by Porridgelad

Squad mechanics ftw

Posted by Joseppie

I'm pumped for this. I'd like to see a Halo game from Bungie that breaks the mold. Though, I do hope it will be early 2010...but hope is the key word.

Posted by Reaver
@RsistncE said:
"What are we going to see? More shitty derivative Halo gameplay. Sorry I just hate Halo, definitely not a PS Triple fanboy.NOOOOOO."

Explain. I'd be more than honored to shatter your pathetic arguments like I do to everyone. Everyone seems to just hate on Halo because of the name. How about you children and immature adults grow up? There's only one game that can compete with on consoles and that's COD4, even that falls short.

Halo 3 you get a single player experience that is fun and challenging. It's not ultra-linear and you don't need to advance past some invisible checkpoint for enemies to stop respawning. Are you one of the few kids on forums who actually has friends? Well guess what, there's FOUR player co-op. There is a lot of replayablilty in the game because there's a lot to do, just you haters never actually give the game a chance so you won't see it. You have all the skulls you can go find and once you do that, you can put some of them on and do the co-op again or play by yourself. It puts a different twist on the campaign instead of going through the same thing over and over again.

The multiplayer? Most balanced multiplayer and only second to Shadowrun in terms of taking both individual skill and teamwork to win. Winning actually means something in that game, you don't rank up by doing bad every game.

I won't argue anymore, try and tell me what game offers morer than Halo and I might continue, most people can't.
Posted by SenatorSpacer

Great blog man :D

Posted by Stealthoneill

I'm not the biggest Halo fan, I loved the first but didnt ever really get in to the sequels. But I can say I am stoked that we are seeing 2 strong games coming our way to continue the franchise.

I would love to see some squad based tactical action ala Ghost Recon: AW of sorts. Something  like that with a squad of Spartans would be something I would get behind instantly, rather than just another FPS game, the market is saturated with big name FPS games (Including ODST) so I don't think Bungie would go that route.

Multiplayer could be an interesting twist on squad combat, perhaps some sort of co-op option within the campaign because Halo has always pulled that aspect off pretty well.

I won't mind not playing as Master Chief, but I would love to catch a few glances of him through the game. Perhaps as a ship contact or something would just make for that little twinge of nostalgia for the original. Bungie have always been pretty reliable so I am sure what ever they are doing, it won't be destroying the Halo Franchise!

Edited by RsistncE
@Reaver: You can shatter someones opinion on a franchise even though they've played all 3 games in the series and only thought the first one was good? You are god my man.

If you're talking about FPS' on consoles, sure you may be right. I think the CoD games are much better, but admittedly consoles aren't the best place to play shooters to begin with.

As far as CoD4 goes....it had a better single player and a better multiplayer. That's what I think and that's what many others think also, you're just going to have to deal with that.

I like it how people on the internet make rash assumptions and call random people kids. Ad hominem attacks are awesome aren't they.

Shoot, shoot, shoot, MELEE.
Edited by Stephen_Von_Cloud

If it's a squad based game the battles would be massive right?  I mean as Master Chief alone you are taking on huge amounts of enemies.  Could be fun, but how tactical will it be?  I mean, in Halo you're jumping around and there's not a cover system or anything.  I'm wondering exactly what you would be doing tactically.

Posted by pissedoffthewitch

this isn't the game peter jackson's working on is it ? what ever happened to it

Edited by Stephen_Von_Cloud
@pissedoffthewitch said:
" this isn't the game peter jackson's working on is it ? what ever happened to it "
No, thats a different Halo game... it's getting hard to keep track of.  No one has heard anything from that.  A lot of people were assuming we'd see it at E3 (but we haven't).  Anyone else really surprised Bungie is making another Halo game?  I figured they were breaking away from Microsoft to try something new.
Posted by pissedoffthewitch
@Stephen_Von_Cloud said:
"
@pissedoffthewitch said:
" this isn't the game peter jackson's working on is it ? what ever happened to it "
No, thats a different Halo game... it's getting hard to keep track of.  No one has heard anything from that.  A lot of people were assuming we'd see it at E3 (but we haven't).  Anyone else really surprised Bungie is making another Halo game?  I figured they were breaking away from Microsoft to try something new. "
Breaking away to get a bigger portion of the halo money. They cant make a direct sequel, so they make spin offs. Just my guess.
Posted by Lies

Jackson and his crew are supposedly involved on a project called Halo: Chronicles, completely on their own with no assistance from Bungie.

It's been MIA ever since a very vague announcement though, no one is really sure what happened to it.

Posted by Dalai

Fun fact for you all.  It's called Halo: Reach because it features reach-arounds which compliment the tea-bagging.  You heard it here first.

Posted by crunchUK

I'm fairly sure it will be a halo FPS. Basically a sequel, only with the story going backwards.

Posted by nick69

I actually loved the novels, and read all of them.

I'm stoked for this release

Posted by pweidman
@Pie:
Yeah I've been proposing the same thoughts on other forums.  It makes sense considering the senario of multiple spartans battling the covenant on Reach.  Maybe a co-op centric 4 player squad type of gameplay makes the most sense considering the mention of other spartan #'s in the trailer besides John(wiki says spartan 320 I think, is a 'her' and has a Slavic accent btw).  Fps has been pretty much confirmed, but some sort of squad control/tactical orientation, with a cover and shoot mechanic also seems plausible.  All this speculation has me wanting to pick up the Halo novel about the fall of Reach now for some background and reference of the canon and basic premise.

And just an aside, anyone remember Brute Force and all the hype and the subsequent let down after that game finally dropped....it  comes to mind now for me,lol.
Posted by Lies

Here's a higher res version of the teaser image:


From left to right: Gigantic Spartan w/ heavy weapon, lady Spartan right next to him, normal-ish Spartan in the middle, Spartan with a knife?, sniper Spartan.

Interesting specialization- there's been some talk of how the characters match the TF2 archetypes to a degree- Heavy, Medic, Soldier, Spy, Sniper- from left to right again. I've heard people draw class-based multiplayer out of this, but I would bet against Bungie making a Halo skinned TF2 clone. Reach has been confirmed to be first person, so that squashes the third-person scuttlebutt going around. I'd still say squad-based single- it seems unlikely we'd get another formulaic entry into the series at this point and this teaser image of multiple Spartans implies a team of some sort.

Unlikely we'll get any more info for a while though :( Here's the full high-res teaser (desktop resolution).

Edited by Jeffsekai
@Lies said:


From left to right: Gigantic Spartan w/ heavy weapon, lady Spartan right next to him, normal-ish Spartan in the middle, Spartan with a knife?, sniper Spartan.

Interesting specialization- there's been some talk of how the characters match the TF2 archetypes to a degree- Heavy, Medic, Soldier, Spy, Sniper- from left to right again. I've heard people draw class-based multiplayer out of this, but I would bet against Bungie making a Halo skinned TF2 clone. Reach has been confirmed to be first person, so that squashes the third-person scuttlebutt going around. I'd still say squad-based single- it seems unlikely we'd get another formulaic entry into the series at this point and this teaser image of multiple Spartans implies a team of some sort.

Unlikely we'll get any more info for a while though :( Here's the full high-res teaser (desktop resolution). "
I think a better explanation than just classes is just the fact that in the book (The Fall of Reach) the Spartans have more defined roles i.e. Kelly is a good sniper, Fred is a good leader etc. So if anything that's just 5 Spartans we will meet (hopefully Fred and Kelly)

EDIT: Kelly wasnt the sniper Linda was, but you get the idea also from another forum

"I'm going to go out and guess the Master Chief is in the middle. Say the one with the sniper is linda because she was the sniper. The one with the knife is fred because he loved playing with his combat knife. Also going to guess the one to the right is Master Chief is kelly because they look fast lol. Lastly the really big one could be sam as he was the biggest. The problem is he died pretty early but he was still in the fall of reach book."   yep


Edited by snoopeasystreet

It makes sense to assume that Halo: Reach is a class based shooter.


Going from left to right I can see the following:

Heavy class
Stealth based class
Assault class
(presumably) Medic/Support class
Sniper Class







It also makes sense that Microsoft would push for this style of multiplayer, it's very popular. We're in a post Call of Duty 4, where for some reason games must have class based multiplayer after all.
Edited by Hitchenson

It IS an FPS, Bungie have said in their most recent Weekly Update. 

"Halo: Reach will be a First Person Shooter. You will shoot stuff from a first person perspective. It will be awesome." - Bungie
Posted by babblinmule
@Hitchenson said:
" It IS an FPS, Bungie have said in their most recent Weekly Update. 
"Halo: Reach will be a First Person Shooter. You will shoot stuff from a first person perspective. It will be awesome." - Bungie
"

I had a strong urge to hit some thing when I read that on the update. Dont get me wrong, I love Halo and its FPS mechanic, but I love the story far more, and so I just wished that they would have the balls to change it up and go 3rd Person.
Posted by crunchUK
@Lies said:
" Here's a higher res version of the teaser image:


From left to right: Gigantic Spartan w/ heavy weapon, lady Spartan right next to him, normal-ish Spartan in the middle, Spartan with a knife?, sniper Spartan.

Interesting specialization- there's been some talk of how the characters match the TF2 archetypes to a degree- Heavy, Medic, Soldier, Spy, Sniper- from left to right again. I've heard people draw class-based multiplayer out of this, but I would bet against Bungie making a Halo skinned TF2 clone. Reach has been confirmed to be first person, so that squashes the third-person scuttlebutt going around. I'd still say squad-based single- it seems unlikely we'd get another formulaic entry into the series at this point and this teaser image of multiple Spartans implies a team of some sort.

Unlikely we'll get any more info for a while though :( Here's the full high-res teaser (desktop resolution). "
Well, BTB in halo 3 is almost class based in a way - You have drivers, gunners, pilots, antivehicle, snpier, groundpounder... Just that you start as default


So maybe halo reach will emphasize on that, meaning you can't just play a game BR-based like current competitive halo.
Posted by Radar

I love the Halo universe but Bungie has done a piss poor job at story telling since Halo 1. Hopefully Reach and ODST change my mind about that and are not just multiplayer games with a shallow story.

Consider me hyped.

Edited by Jeffsekai

@snoopeasystreet said:
" It makes sense to assume that Halo: Reach is a class based shooter.

Going from left to right I can see the following:

Heavy class
Stealth based class
Assault class
(presumably) Medic/Support class
Sniper Class







It also makes sense that Microsoft would push for this style of multiplayer, it's very popular. We're in a post Call of Duty 4, where for some reason games must have class based multiplayer after all.
"
See my above post



Btw at some point in the trailer a lady voice says this is seirra two three zero. So there's deff gonna be some lady  Spartans running around.
Posted by Sweep

woah, I'm glad someone is keeping up with this shit! Halo itself as a brand doesn't really appeal, but as a connoisseur of the video gaming world I shall follow quality in whatever form it appears.

Moderator
Posted by Lashe

I am perfectly content that this isn't a third person shooter.

I mean c'mon - RE5, Dead Space, GeOW, nearly every new Grin title, Uncharted 2, Alan Wake..

As much as there are far more first person shooters, I do find that I tire of third person games a lot quicker for whatever reason. So long as it boasts a new engine, I don't really mind.

Posted by DarkGamerOO7

Bungie stated themselves that Halo: Reach is a first person shooter.....maybe it will be like Star Wars: Republic Commando?

Posted by Rhaknar

even tho i finished halo 2, 3 and halo wars (and played halo 1 until the flood part, then lost my save game and could never be arsed to start it again back in the day), i never really got this "the covenant glasses planets" thing... maybe i just dont remember the story of the games very well, or just missed it being mentioned (i just finished halo wars a few days ago in fact and dont remember it being mentioned?), but can someone briefly explain what it is?

Posted by Agnogenic_delete
@Rhaknar: Your answer can be found here.
Posted by jakob187

Here what I think we'll see:


Covenant Elites
Spartans
Guns
Space
Planets
Testicles
Posted by Deusoma

I'm sure if Bungie keeps their efforts as high as always, the game will be fun to play, it's just I can't help but think: Reach was destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of people died. No matter how they spin it, this game is going to have a downer ending.

Posted by Lies
@Rhaknar said:
" even tho i finished halo 2, 3 and halo wars (and played halo 1 until the flood part, then lost my save game and could never be arsed to start it again back in the day), i never really got this "the covenant glasses planets" thing... maybe i just dont remember the story of the games very well, or just missed it being mentioned (i just finished halo wars a few days ago in fact and dont remember it being mentioned?), but can someone briefly explain what it is? "
Essentially they wipe out the fleet orbiting a planet, then use their ships to shoot plasma at the planet's surface from orbit, superheating it and essentially turning it to glass. Hence the term: "glassing". Never really explicitly mentioned in the games, except for a brief mention at the beginning of Halo 2. It allows them to destroy a planet and entirely bypass the ground defenses.
Posted by crunchUK
@Lies said:
"
@Rhaknar said:
" even tho i finished halo 2, 3 and halo wars (and played halo 1 until the flood part, then lost my save game and could never be arsed to start it again back in the day), i never really got this "the covenant glasses planets" thing... maybe i just dont remember the story of the games very well, or just missed it being mentioned (i just finished halo wars a few days ago in fact and dont remember it being mentioned?), but can someone briefly explain what it is? "
Essentially they wipe out the fleet orbiting a planet, then use their ships to shoot plasma at the planet's surface from orbit, superheating it and essentially turning it to glass. Hence the term: "glassing". Never really explicitly mentioned in the games, except for a brief mention at the beginning of Halo 2. It allows them to destroy a planet and entirely bypass the ground defenses. "
That;s cheating...
Posted by DrawnPaladin

Thats awesome thanks for redirecting me here great information that answers all my questions

Posted by L4wz
@RsistncE:
Obvious troll is......