It's now official, Halo: Reach
, the final game of the series as it stands, is now finished and ready for mass production. Joseph Tung, executive producer at Bungie spoke to the Sydney Morning Herald
about Halo: Reach
confirming the information. "We went gold last night, so yeah, it's pretty much in the can". Aside from the relief he expressed at having the 'weight off his chest', he also explained the tinge of sadness felt by himself and others in office after saying goodbye to a series which has been their life for the last ten years.
When questioned on whether Halo: Reach
would be a case of the 'best Halo to date yet', Tung was confident in what the team has pulled out of the bag, spurred on by the knowledge that they knew it was to be their very last in the Halo series. In light of this, Tung expressed how the development team really pulled out all the stops to bring in exciting new elements to the game and creating new gaming experiences:
It is a hugely feature-rich game. We went out of our way to build experiences that I think we wouldn't have built in the past because they were more specialised. Space is a perfect example, that we showed at E3. It's definitely outside of the 30 second combat cycle. But we wanted to go out big and do stuff like space combat that we had never done before. That's only one of the things that you will see of the big novel moments in the game.
Tung also admitted that one of the biggest challenges on working on a sequel to the previous Halo
titles is trying to innovate whilst remaining true to past titles and keeping the fan base satisified. As gamers ourselves here on this site, we can surely relate to this. Sometimes it's the smallest thing in a game which you can latch on to, and to see it removed or altered in a sequel steals a little piece of that game and nostalgia from you.
That is one of the biggest challenges of making a game like this. If you change the number of rounds in the assault rifle by one, someone cared about that, someone was passionate about that. That is the balance for us. What can we change without pissing people off, without changing something that people thought was core. And at the same time, how do we push the envelope as far as we possibly can. I think with Reach we really pushed it.
And of course, in a title such as Halo: Reach
, the driving force is without doubt the power to tell a story in a moving and convincing manner. Tung pulled no punches however stating that the Campaign will 'absolutely surprise people in terms of what they have come to expect from a Halo campaign'. Speaking of the title as a whole, it is his belief that the team at Bungie have pushed and stretched themselves and their abilities as far as is possible.
None of this came easily though thanks to the development cycles for other games in the Halo
universe causing overlaps between development teams.
[Different teams making games simultaneously meant] it was a little bit harder to look back at what the ODST team had done because we were also in production at that time. But I think we definitely tried to take the best of all of the games. We looked at Halo 1 for the inspiration, for the tone, for the mystery, for the exploration, for the big open environments. Halo 2 was the first game that brought online multi-player into the mix and we've looked at that as the foundation for all of the improvements that we've made. Halo 3 was the first time there was Forge. Reach really is the culmination of 10 years making the franchise, creating the universe..
Despite it being the last game in the Halo universe, Tung has affirmed that support for Halo: Reach
will be sustained and as good as it was for past titles promising that the team is already hard at work on the 'sustain plan' for 'updating the hoppers'. Furthermore, he's acknowledged that the team will be monitoring the online activities of players to see what custom made maps are popular to observe if there's 'anything that warrants being put into matchmaking'.
So with the game now gold and fans eager to conclude their Halo experience and the curtain already dropping behind the scenes, Tung has but one hope when the title goes on general release:
I hope people view it as the definitive Halo title from Bungie.
Gamers will very soon be able to make up their minds and voice their views with a little over a month left until release. September 14th
is the confirmed release worldwide, though I doubt many Halo fans needed to be reminded.