Edited by Zeylon on on Nov 19 2005 10:33PM (2 times)
Okay, this is just freaky. This one guy named InsideBungie gave out a tiny bit of insider information on Halo 3 here saying that he was anonymous Ė IGNORE THE ORIGINAL POST, HIS POST ISNíT TILL THE END OF PAGE ONE OF THE THREADÖ http://www.bungie.net/Forums/posts.aspx?postID=5403560
and he was caught by the mod for that. (edit: now you can see his original post either or link to it, but you CAN see a piece of his post in a quote made by a mod who quoted him which proves that he did post in the thread though his posts arenít anywhere to be found on the thread.)

Then later he posts all the information here below in this thread Ö (edit: I guess you canít link to the thread anymore. It just says blacklisted where the thread used to be on my favorites list.)

Thatís the really weird partÖ he and his post was blacklisted (which is odd, he wasnít banned, and his thread wasnít deleted, it was just blacklisted so that no one without special access can see what he posted and now, I canít link to it even). Fortunately, I managed to save a copy of what he posted. Here it is. I donít know if itís accurate but thereís definitely something fishy about all this that makes me think it might be.

-------------------------------------------------SPREAD THE WORD. IF THIS IS LEGIT, THE ONLY WAY TO FIND OUT IS FOR ENOUGH PEOPLE/FORUMS TO SEE IT THAT IGN OR GAMESPOT LOOKS INTO THE INFO FOR THEIR RUMOR MILL. I DON'T HAVE A GAMESPOT OR GAMESPY ACCOUNT! SO PLEASE POST THIS THERE IF YOU HAVE ONE! OR ATLEAST CONTACT/EMAIL THEM ASKING THEM TO LOOK INTO IT!!!----------------------------------------------------------

As you may recall, before I posted a tiny bit of insider info on Halo 3 and was caught by the mods for doing so. Fortunately for me, Iím fairly anonymous on here anyways. I donít care whether or not you believe me and I unfortunately canít tell you any specifics about who I am without risking my job but there is a memo/mission statement circulating between Bungieís various development teams in order to get input from fellow Bungie employees on the various features planned for Halo 3. Iím one of the lucky people who got a chance to read through the memo. And outlined below are as many of the details as I could remember from it. Nothing here is confirmed, just several of the things being considered by Bungie for Halo 3. And donít even expect to hear any solid details on Halo 3ís features till the game is well into development. Though almost all of this is still in the planning stages, I just thought that it might be nice to get the word out and get some input from the hardcore Halo fans.

Changes to Online PlayÖ

Xbox Live games will have many more options and players can choose to play with 31, 15, or 7 other players in the game type and the map of their choice. In Halo 3, players will also be able pick such rudimentary options as whether music tracks on their HDD will play in the background, whether they want infinite grenades and whether all starting primary and secondary weapons as well as the heavy and light vehicles are randomly determined each respawn. Everything in the game from the trees to the giant skyscrapers will be fully destructible in the multiplayer maps as well. Another feature mentioned was an online co-op and counter-op mode with up to 16 players. These 16 player co-op and counter-op modes will only be available for a select few massive open ended single player missions. There will be a ton of additional gameplay modes as well, including one where you spend the whole time on the back of a warthog, one where your job will be to accompany and protect certain individuals. In co-op 15 players play along side you as fellow marines while the counter-op team will assume the roles of elites and other units all over the massive map with the job of preventing your team from completing the mission in the allotted time. When one of the co-op or counter-op players die, they simply assume the role of one of the computer controlled allied or opposing characters should one be available.

Changes to Level DesignÖ

In addition to dual wielding and stealing vehicles (and steal weapons as well using a new disarm attack), Master Chief will be able to swim very quickly and will able to sprint this time and will also be able to quickly duck and roll out of the way in order to avoid charging vehicles and hunters.

Various weather and particle effects including snow, rain, lightning, dust storms (presumably for a desert level), fog (presumably for a rainforest level) as well as many ambient life forms found on Earth, including fish, sharks, alligators, birds, rabbits, stampeding rhinos (in jungles), and civilians in complete panic and disarray (in urban settings) will be included.

The levels will be truly massive in scope, completely destructible (down to every last wall of every building), fully interactive (you can climb to the top of and fight in the rooftops or through the windows of virtually every building) and allow for full free roaming. All of Earthís armies are immersed in a war to determine the fate of Earth itself, and the levels, the tone, and the scale of the gameplay will truly reflect this.

The flood are making an reappearance possibly on Earth!!! (only theyíll now be faster, scarier and more hideous than ever before). And their numbers will be so massive at certain areas that the only way to survive is to sneak past them while destroying critical light sources to be able to hide in the shadows.

The game will center on repelling the covenant invasion of Earth. The levels will be much bigger as will the number of enemies and the number of allies by your side. This will be a full blown massive war between the covenant, humans and flood with tons upon tons of units from each faction engaged in combat at any given time all over the massive levels. The outdoor levels also allow players to free roam and choose which battles they wish to engage in thus giving players the sense that they truly are fighting an epic war for Earthís survival. To facilitate this, the game will be less scripted, the AI will be ramped up quite a bit more (to a degree that bots will require no additional programming time), the multiplayer games will support atleast 32 players at once, and there will be multiple playable characters with unique strengths and weaknesses.

The playable characters being considered include Hunters (bigger targets, slower except when charging someone without a weapon, but they have more life, are much faster and have more varied melee attacks) and the flying Drones found in the first level of Halo 2 (weaker but faster and possessing the ability to fly limited distances). But there is talk that all the characters in Halo will be playable characters.

The bots and AI allies and opponents will be so advanced that not only will they be able to drive realistically, every thing about their actions makes you feel as though you are facing a real human opponent. A feature being considered thatís tied to this includes voice control of nearby marines and bots. If implement, itís possible that by utilizing the headphones used on live, nearby bots and marines will be able to recognize and obey simple commands such as defend this area (whatever area the crosshair is pointed to), retreat and take cover, follow me, drive this vehicle to enemy flag, provide cover fire, wait here, attack in line formation etc.

A map/mission maker is also strongly being considered.

New WeaponsÖ

Bungie is considering just having one type of grenade on the map. But these standard grenades can be made into the sticky plasma grenades, EMP grenades, proximity grenades, or bouncing grenades based on which button the player holds down as they press the trigger to launch the grenade into the air. If no button is pressed, they are launched as standard grenades

EMP grenades - a much larger blast radius that are ideally suited for temporarily disabling all nearby vehicles including planes and helicopters

Proximity grenades Ė explode whenever someone approaches them

Bouncing Grenades Ė Bounce all over the map for 10 seconds until they hit a player or vehicle.

Also under considerationÖ

A gravity gun (only being considered if it proves to be really really fun)

A flame thrower

A new controller exclusively for Halo 3!! Itís a light gun shaped like Master Chiefís rifle complete with a scope through which to look through and zoom in, but with two triggers and two shafts, one to be gripped with each hand. The two triggers allow for independent control of dual weapons, or a weapon and grenades. And each shaft houses the two analog sticks and all the buttons that would found on the controller to allow you to do anything you could do while playing the game using a standard controller. If youíve ever played Silent Scope or any of those games, thatís likely how the controller will be set up. But theyíll be a analog sticks that you can use to control Master Chiefs movements. And obviouslyÖ THE GAME WILL BE PERFECTLY PLAYABLE THROUGH THE STANDARD CONTROLLER.

New Vehicles

A helicopter that basically serves as the human answer to the banshee

A large transport boat for the humans with a cannon and the ability to carry up to three people (expect there to be some extraordinary battles over water)

All of the covenant vehicles (the spectre, wraith, ghost (basically the equivalent of a jet ski) etc.)
can now hover over water as well

The Pelican, Covenent Shadow, Phantom, and Scarab can all now be driven by human players. In fact, occupying and driving the Scarab to the enemy base so that you can destroy it while the opposing team tries to board and regain control of the Scarab (in order to do the same) will be one of the key multiplayer modes available online.

A fast ATV/Motorcycle type vehicle that serves as the human answer to the Ghost is being reconsidered. Only now, it may be in the form of a small fast hover craft that can be driven over bodies of water as well.

The plan seems to be use much of the 360ís processing and graphical power to create much bigger, much more populated, fully destructible levels with a great many enemies, realistic AI, and many simultaneous battles. Halo 3 will not be a scripted action FPS. It will be a dynamic world with combat going on simultaneously at all parts of the world at all times. The player will be able to roam to any part of the level at any time and still find plenty of battles to engage in. The exact same level will pack a very different experience each time you play it depending on the route and strategies you use to get to your objective. In addition, all actions and events will be stored to the HDD so that players will be able to review their gameplay from multiple angles at any desired speed after the level ends and players will even be able to store their favorite clips of gameplay to the HDD. You know how during Live matches, you get to view the gameplay of a fellow teammate from a more aerial perspective. That seems to be similar to what Bungie is going for only you can zoom in on the footage from multiple angles. And while this alone is enough to make the gameplay revolutionary for an FPS, it actually seems to be a part of a revolutionary new gameplay mode that Bungie is trying to implement.

So why am I putting so much emphasis on the zoomed out camera mode and the massive level sizes? Why is Bungie dedicating so much time to programming in an AI smart enough to literally take over for a human player for short periods of time? Why are there going to be so many characters engaged in combat all over the level at any one time? Why did Bungie spend such a large part of Halo 2 introducing a new covenant ally that is also a playable character? Because Bungieís current plan is to take the Halo universe back to itís original roots in some of massive outdoor maps in the single player campaign. And by itís original roots, Iím referring to how Halo originally started as an RTS. This caught me by surprise when I first read it as well. Fear not, a top priority seems to be (and I say so because it was emphasized multiple times on the memo) is that this will be integrated into the gameplay seamlessly so that players can easily switch back and forth from the aerial RTS perspective whenever they desire. Halo is still fully designed to be an FPS first and foremost and you will be able to play through the entire game without once having to try the RTS aspect of the game if you so desire. Every level starts from the FPS perspective and ends with the FPS perspective. Sure in some of the massive outdoor single player levels, you will be able to zoom out to a more aerial perspective for some RTS functionality at any time, but this is by no means a critical component of the game, just a fun diversion of sorts.

So how will this feature be implemented? From what I can gather, everything about this mode, including whether or not it will even be included, is still very much up in the air. Several Bungie employees are unsure how fans will react to this addition, no matter how well itís implemented or how unobtrusive it will be to the FPS mode. So if youíre indeed interested in seeing this feature be implemented, I strongly recommend that you contact Bungie with your opinion. But hereís how the mode is being approached for now. Cortona will be rescued early on and will take charge of coordinating Earthís forces against the invading hordes. She will be observing the entire battlefield from an aerial perspective. And in certain levels, you can opt to switch to her perspective by pressing a button (likely the black button) giving the AI control of Master Chief or the Arbiter or whichever character you were commanding. The AI plays far more conservatively with these characters than a normal human player so they wonít die on their own losing you the mission. But since they are not nearly as aggressive as human players, assuming their character will be essential to complete missions. As Cortana, you will assume Cortanaís various duties but can at anytime opt to switch back to your character, or possibly any allied character found on the battle field that you select.

So what exactly will you be able to do as Cortana and how will you be able to execute these commands with so few buttons? According to the memo, this seems to be the current plan. Cortanaís primary job will be coordinate troop movements. All allied forces will be divided into various squads that Cortana can cycle through with the press of a button. You use one joy stick to move the pointer around the map and the other to change the camera angle and zoom in and out. While the various squads will use their AI to direct their general actions and will often follow Master Chief or the Arbiterís lead, Cortana will be able to order the selected squads to go to any point selected by the pointer and will be able to command them with basic voice commands such as defend this area, assault or attack this area etc. Cortana will also be able to select individual units on the map using the pointer and give them commands such as (using the pointer as an indicator) drive this vehicle, man this turret, take this sniper rifle, leave your squad and go to this high point and snipe this area, be the gunner of this vehicle and she can then use the pointer to select the entire vehicle and order it to attack a certain point etc.

Good squad coordination to take advantage of choke points, good sniping spots, defend critical buildings, provide supporting fire to another squad in trouble, sneak into and destroy critical enemy structures, destroy critical vehicles will all make the level much easier for Master Chief and/or the Arbiter. In addition, there will be various drop ships all over the battlefield that pick up newly built vehicles or newly trained troop squads and drop them off in needed regions on the battlefield. While this process is completely automated, Cortana can use a button to cycle through and take control of active drop ships to ensure that the drop ships take the safest, fastest route possible and drop off supplies to the squads that you intend to use for future assaults etc. Bungie is also considering implementing an influence bar for Cortana.

While new squads of troops may be trained at the barracks on the battle field and dropped off for deployment, Cortana can also use up her influence (with the press of a white button) to request additional troops, weapons, or vehicles be dropped off to the area indicated by the pointer via drop ships from bases that are some distance away from the battle field and thus out of the levelís view. Her influence bar will increase as allied forces destroy enemy vehicles, units and buildings. And this bar is depleted slightly everytime Cortana requests additional units or vehicles. Cortana will not be able to construct new buildings or rapidly repair entire buildings as is possible in most other RTS as itís not realistic having a building pop up in the middle of a battle. But there will likely be various buildings already on the map that Cortana will have to defend and utilize. And Cortana will be able to cycle through the various buildings on the level with the press of a button.

For example, there may be various powerstations on the battlefield that you as Cortana will have to defend. Should one of them be damaged or destroyed, Cortana will choose which of the support buildings will be powered down (indicated by all the lights inside the building going off). These support building will likely include turrets surrounding key choke points, various factories that can produce a couple of vehicles of Cortanaís choice throughout the course of a battle, repair facilities that can fix damaged vehicles. Cortana will be coordinating both human forces and allied covenant forces led by the arbiter and will thus have access to human drop ships on some levels and covenant drop ships and units and vehicles in other levels. All of these tasks are automated and most of these actions occur without you having to order them. Squads attack nearby enemies on their own. Drop ships drop off supplies on their own etc.

When playing as Master Chief or the Arbiter, players wonít even really notice all this stuff going on in the background. Occasionally, Cortana tells you where to go. Occasionally, drop ships drop off additional marine squads, weapons, and vehicles for you to use. This aspect of the game will feel identical to how Halo 1 and 2 feel. They maybe able to request additional supplies or troops dropped off by cortana. And it's likely they will be able to request air strikes from support ships onto specific locations. But these won't significantly alter the gameplay. The only key differences will be more open ended level design, gameplay, fully destructable environments, and more enemies on screen for those particular levels where the Cortana mode is available. Other levels such as indoor levels will feature objective based gameplay with various check points as before. But as Cortana you can take charge and coordinate how these all background tasks occur. According to my friend, Bungie really wants to find a way to incorporate this new mode into online play (perhaps having one player on each team play Cortanaís role for the team defending various buildings and commanding all the drop ships while all the units on screen are played by real people). But this is a task thatís far easier said than done.
There were some other stuff but this is all that I can remember at this time. If I get another look at the memo or remember anything else, Iíll add an update.

Some feedback I received from Halo players that Iíve told about this and my responses to them...

"In Single player, it maybe awesome but playing as hunter or drone in Multiplayer is going to fail , the cool thing in Multiplayer is that Spartans are all equal, no one is more powerful than the other ones, I donít want this to be unbalanced."

First, I'm not sure if you will be able to play as these characters in multiplayer too or be able to take on their role in some of the large outdoors single player levels by switching to Cortona and then clicking on any allied character on the map and pressing the black button. Even if your character is choosable in multiplayer custom games. Iím sure that in ranked games, everyone playing will have to play as either MC or the Arbiter to keep it fair. But in custom games, it doesn't seem like a bad idea to let a human army with 16 players many using different characters, take on a diverse covenent army.

"I love the RTS aspects of it that may offer a nice change of pace, but only if it means that when I want to play it the game as an FPS, I can play through the game in itís entirety as a FPS."

Like I said, this seemed to be a top priority at Bungie as well. If they do go ahead and implement the RTS components, they will make certain that everyone that wants to can play through the whole game as MC or the Arbiter without ever once having to play as Cortana atleast from what I got off the memo. And in the indoor levels, playing as Cortana probably isn't even an option. Those players who don't want to play from the new perspective likely won't have to. That's a lesson that Bungie learned from the feedback they got on making people as the Arbiter. The memo mentioned a lot of people loved it, but some hated it. So this time, they're going to make sure those that hate it can simply opt to ignore it without it changing their gameplay at all while keeping those that like the idea satisfied. And the memo mentions that Bungieís research suggests even those that didn't want to play the RTS elements still really liked the notion of being able to request additional troops, or call down air strikes which such a mode would make possible. You will probably be able to request air strikes and such as MC as well.

So there is no reason to ever switch to Cortona, unless you geninuely want to. And I believe that the plan is, that even when you're Cortana, things will be automated as if you were MC. Dropships will automatically drop off supplies and possibly pick up damaged vehicles for repair. You just have the ability to redirect the squads or dropships to go on a different path, in order to make the game easier. Bungie seems to want to keep this simple and entirely optional. Even for those that don't opt to play the RTS component, this will provide a means for them to play as any character in the map, rather than just MC.