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Halo Reach Beta 

Halo: Reach hits multiplayer beta on May 3rd, and so far has gamers in a tizzy.  From what has been unveiled so far it would appear that Reach has the potential to take game of the year, and according to is currently ranking second in the top 10 most anticipated Xbox 360 games of 2010.  So what is it that is pushing this upcoming title to such a coveted spot?  Well it all goes back to the design process.  The developers over at Bungie have talked for some time now about how they have rebuilt the entire game engine and filled it with new content. But what exactly has changed since ODST?

I remember my first time playing Halo, and I was in that first level, and after winding through these technical corridors fighting aliens and then I step out into this world and it just opens out in front of me, and it’s just beautiful and alien, and huge.   

Steve Scott – Halo Reach Lead Effects Artist

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Bungie went back to its roots, Halo CE, to discover what it was that made the game so awe inspiring and developed such a devoted fanbase.  The World, it was the immense world of the Halo universe that brought it the initial fame.  The feel of stepping out of the enclosed spaces of a ship and out into an unknown alien world.  To bring that feeling of wonder back, that was the goal.  To do so they gutted nearly the entire engine and reworking and adding features that would make it run faster, better, and support far more open areas and be capable of rendering at higher qualities without sacrificing gameplay in either single or multi-player mode.

We really needed the attention to real-world detail, try to make these characters faces really feel believable, we really took the time to go and look at new ways to rig and texture…a difference of several million polygons.

Scott Shepherd – Lead 3D Artist

“Uphill both ways” Image courtesy of

A million polygons is a loa lotr games even by today’s standards.  But the new engine wasn’t the only upgrade for Bungie.  Many of the classic and favorite gametypes return in this newest installment along with some new ones, and the hint at more in the future.  Most of the new content will not be playable in Beta, but Bungie was kind enough to give us a peak at what made the cut for it.

…the upgraded tools at our multi-player team’s disposal mean that they can create and iterate on new gametypes on the fly without worrying about bringing in the experts to make the functional stuff happen in code. They now have access to their very own, designer-focused scripting language to make all that multi-player magic a much faster reality. –

For starters one of the first things you may notice when you first log into Beta on May 3rd, may likely be the armor attribute system, meant to function somewhat like the Perks system in Modern Warfare 2.  However the new game modes should snag your attention. First of all the only features available will be Theater and Matchmaking, but you certainly won’t find yourself short of anything to do.

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First off we have the grab bag, this is the classic collection of go-to gametypes.  You will see the typical mix of Slayer, 1 Flag, Crazy King, Oddball,Juggernaut, and the Halo 2 style Three Plots back by popular demand, and a new take on Slayer called Covie Slayer (Elite on Elite).


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Next we have a set of new modes, the first being Headhunter, this one seems to be pretty straightforward. Killing opponents drops skulls, pick up said skulls to score points, get 25 to win or if you can cash in 10 at one time you get the Skullamanjaro which ends the game.  Next we have Stockpile, two teams fight over 4 flags, bring the flags to your teams area and protect them till the timer hits zero to score.  Either score 10 flags or the most in 10 minutes to win.

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Last up we have Generator Defense and Invasion.  Generator Defense has three Spartans defending three generators from three Elites. There’s not a lot of information on it so far but it sounds alot like Sabotage from Modern Warfare 2.  As for Invasion, Bungie is keeping it tight lipped, so we will just have to wait and see what happens.

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This post was written by Patrick Barnhardt

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