One of the rules of E3 is that unknown quantities are more memorable than known quantities. Gamers are asking all sorts of questions about Kinect, 3DS and Twisted Metal because they're new and new is exciting. But let us not dismiss the known quantities so easily. Halo: Reach, for example, a game out in a few months, is perhaps a more signifcant release than The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Killzone 3 and Gears of War 3. It will be the first Halo game to feature vehicle combat in space. But, more importantly, Halo: Reach will be the last Bungie-developed Halo game. Give yourself 30 seconds to let that sink in. Halo: Reach will be the last Bungie-developed Halo game. So it is with a heavy heart that we sit down with executive producer Joe Tung and writer and community developer Eric Osborne for what may well be our last ever chat with Bungie about Halo. A minute's silence, please.
Q: Space is a new battlefield for Bungie. Did you look to other flight combat games on other consoles to see what they were doing right or wrong, or was it something you were happy to innovate off of your own backs?
JT: Sage Merrill, who's our sandbox designer for Reach, he actually worked on Crimson Skies. He absolutely looked at lots of other flight games that were out there. But you know we didn't want to make a flight simulator for Reach. We wanted to make a very accessible, easy to use and fun to play space mission. So there's a little bit of a difference in trying to make a fully-featured flight sim and the mission we made, I think. Sage did an amazing job of nailing the Saber.
Q: So is the flight mission all his work?
JT: The Saber is his work and then he works with the mission designer to put together what you see there.
Q: So space combat is only in one level in the game?
JT: It is.
Q: Can you use it in multiplayer?
JT: You can play four-player co-op and everyone will have their own Saber.
Q: Can we expect to see any new gameplay mechanics?
JT: There are quite a lot of other new things in the game. There's nothing else we can talk about today. But there's some really exciting stuff in campaign and multiplayer that we've yet to announce.
Q: Is the Saber limited to campaign?
EO: The Saber is limited to campaign, so you can play campaign co-op four players, and you'll all have your own Saber like Joe says. You can go in and take the mission on. The full mission isn't Saber start to finish. As you saw you start on the beach a little bit, you work your way up, there's also some combat afterwards that we're not revealing at this time. There's plenty of stuff in the campaign that's going to be sweet. This is just a taste of what's going to be in Reach. It's one small facet of the overall campaign that we're putting together. We're super excited and unfortunately we can't talk about all of the stuff we're really excited about.
JT: I can't say enough how much this is just a tiny slice of the entire game. The game is pretty epic in scope.
Q: What sort of length are we looking at for the campaign? ODST was a bit short.
JT: Reach is absolutely a full-fledged project at Bungie. The number of features that you're going to see in the game overall is greater than any other project that we've ever shipped.
EO: It's super ambitious. The game's super big.
Q: Would you say length wise it's comparable to Halo 3?
EO: We're actually not talking about length at all at this point. It's a full campaign. Definitely a full campaign. Tons of features packed in. It's a three year offering, like Joe said, we've been working on it, just a full development cycle.