"Halo fans deserve better than this," declared Dan Ayoub, executive producer at 343 Industries, Microsoft's new studio dedicated entirely to flagship franchise Halo. Ayoub was referring to the recent spate of HD remakes which simply slapped on a coat of high-definition paint and threw the result towards store shelves. With the upcoming Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition, 343 is looking to ensure it's a "celebration of 10 years of Halo".
We've already witnessed the new engine at work - a modified version of Reach's which can also be switched out on the fly with Combat Evolved's ten year-old tech for the misty eyed - but now we have another visual upgrade to get excited for; 3D. Yes, if you have a 3D display you'll be able to slap on a pair of glasses and play Halo HD in three dimensions. But is this all enough?
But before Ayoub and fellow 343 producer, Dennis Reese, were quite ready to show off the new 3D support, they demonstrated the all new Terminal inclusions in the Anniversary Edition. Terminals turned up in Halo 3, abandoned Forerunner libraries of knowledge that filled us in on the first Forerunner-Flood war that led to the creation of the Halo installations. Previously, Terminals had been purely text-based affairs, but for the Anniversary Edition 343 has created a wealth of animated content for intrepid fans to find.
Ayoub demonstrated the first Terminal you can find, firing up a stylish vignette preceding your crash-land arrival on the first Halo ring, where the maniacal AI caretaker, 343 Guilty Spark, detects the incoming Pillar of Autumn and its pursuing Covenant fleet. 343 is unimpressed, until he scans the UNSC vessel and finds Master Chief in cryo-sleep. "A Reclaimer," he muses in a sing-song voice. Cue instant applause.Click here for more on Terminals, 3D and multiplayer!
Are you psyched for Halo CE Anniversary's mysterious Kinect functionality? Well, according to 343 Industry's head honcho, you probably shouldn't be. Ex-Bungie staffer Frank O'Connor has suggested that the Kinect features will be fairly understated and may revolve around voice commands; "cool," but not something most gamers will get particularly excited about.
"I don't think it's going to be something that people need to be hyper-excited about. It'll be cool, but it's not something you'd put on the front of the box."
"I don't want to downplay it, but I think of it like this - I use voice on Netflix and it's awesome, and that's what this'll be. Something that enhances your overall experience." - Frank O'Connor to OXM
Any guesses? Since Kinect can be used as an external microphone in any game, we assume that there must be some sort of menu switching or server browsing with voice commands. Either way, I'm doing my best to not get hyper-excited. Thanks for the heads-up, 343.
343 Industries has it all to prove this year, that it can successfully update arguable the most beloved Xbox game of all time without tinkering with too much as to undermine the already sterling work put in by Bungie over ten years ago. We've now laid eyes on the game itself, which showcases the work 343 is putting in to ensure the Anniversary Edition can visually stand toe-to-toe with the current crop. However, that's not all they're up to, as evidenced in the latest dev diary, revealing the all new Terminals scattered across the Halo ring, begging to be found and their secrets duly spilled.Hit the jump for the new Halo HD trailer
Halo lore is as rich and vast as the universe in which it takes place, Master Chief's epic story surrounded by books and comics filling in all the gaps and providing fans with much canon to gorge upon. It'll be a while until the next Halo adventure - the fourth title, the start of a new trilogy, isn't likely to show its face until 2012 at the earliest - but it appears Microsoft has some plans in store to set up 343's first title, with the upcoming HD remake of Karen Traviss' novel all tying into Halo 4's story.Click here for more
If you haven't pre-ordered Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition yet, Microsoft have revealed a number of incentives to sway your hand - and wallet. The HD remake for the title that defined an entire generation and single-handedly plucked the original Xbox from oblivion is due on November 15th, 2011, and showing your love with an early pre-order will net you exclusive goodies!Click here for info, screens and a new vidoc!