This post will eventually focus on my reflections of the Halo franchise and my expectations for Halo: Reach. However, first I feel it is necessary to rip an article I read earlier today. The article?s title was ?Halo: Reach won?t be a disappointment for 30 million waiting fans.? Now I?m certainly not a mathematician, but I?m kind of interested in how this particular author came up with the number 30 million. Well lets take a look, Halo 3 sold (as of January 2008) 8.1 million copies, Halo 2 sold 8.46 million copies worldwide, and the original Halo sold 5 million copies. So if we tally up the three Halo games, ODST, and Halo Wars we come up to a number just above 34 million. Not sure how total unit sales over six games equals total number of fans, but my college degree has only been in full swing for a few months, so I might be missing something. I certainly never purchased another Halo game after the original, like seriously what was this guy thinking?
Anyways, now that I have expressed my displeasure with one Halo: Reach article I can finally start to focus. Halo: Reach is so close that we no longer have to count months or even weeks, but rather days (16). What I called the number four most anticipated game for the industry is number one on my personal list. Reach represents an end of an era for the gaming industry. The Halo franchise set the bar on so many aspects of gaming its heard not to marvel at all that Bungie has accomplished. While I?m certain that Bungie?s future projects will be of high quality, none will ever achieve what Halo did.
I was recently talking with a long time friend, someone who I have played games competitively with online since 2002 (the launch of Xbox Live), and we were reminiscing about our favorite gaming experiences. I mentioned my experiences in Rainbow Six: Vegas and he mentioned Return to Castle Wolfenstein, but after some deliberation we both agreed Halo 2 was our favorite online experience. Halo 2 was special on so many levels it would be impossible to mention them all. However, the two biggest for me was the matchmaking system (with stat integration to the website), and the ability to finally test your muscle against people who claimed to be dominant at the original Halo. It truly was an unrivaled multiplayer experience and its two year run atop the Xbox Live chart simply reinforces that.
When Halo 3 launched I was more excited to see how Master Chief?s story would end instead of the multiplayer experience that awaited. Perhaps, it was the feeling that Halo 3 couldn?t top the experience of Halo 2 that diluted my excitement. Whatever it was, Halo 3 multiplayer certainly left a lot to be desired (in my opinion), and as we turn to the release of Halo: Reach it becomes imperative that Bungie leaves a lasting legacy on the franchise they created. Bungie can?t just raise the bar, but will have to once again set it for the industry.
All indications looks like Bungie won?t disappoint. For those few who were fortunate enough to play through a few levels of the Halo: Reach campaign they have walked away very impressed. The reports claim the scope of Reach will be greater then anything we have seen in a Halo game, both online and in singleplayer. The gameplay is also said to offer a very different and unique experience for Halo fans, which has me nervous but I have faith in Bungie.
The fact is Halo is no longer the biggest kid on the block (sure its one of them) but it now has to compete with the likes of Call of Duty, and in order to do so it needs to adapt. That adaptation has to include customization and diversification in a rich and fulfilling multiplayer experience. If Reach can achieve that then I don?t think the 30 million fans out there will be disappointed.
Of course what would Halo be without an amazing marketing campaign thanks to Microsoft, here is the latest video: