At X'10 I was able to get behind some closed doors (well, really more of a curtain) to see what the newest (and, says Joseph Tung, the executive producer, the last) Halo game to bring us back into the world of the Spartans and the Covenant. This game serves as a prequel to show us the final days of Reach, the last bastion of defence between the Earth and the deadly forces of the Covenant. Billed as the "most ambitious project" in the Halo franchise, I was interested to see what the developers could add to the game.
The first thing we were showed was the new and improved Forge, the level-development tool that allows users to create and build whatever kinds of multiplayer maps they want. With Reach, Forge has become much more complex, offerings such things as a larger palette with an easier interface, better user interface tools, and new types of levels to create, like obstacle courses to traverse. Another new addition is that of the Forge World, a massive map that is to be used as a huge playground for Forge.
There are also new Firefight modes available (my favourite is Gruntpocalypse, all grunts, all the time). There's also a wide variety of customization available for any round you play, such as the enemies that can spawn, weaponry, timing, and a number of other options. And once you've created a set of options, you can upload them online for others to try, just like Forge-created levels.
After demonstrating what could be done with the new Forge and customization options, and the wide variety of ways to customize your own Spartan (far beyond what previous Halo titles have offered), we were shown the first part of the Reach campaign, a level called Noble Actual, where your fully customized Spartan meets the Noble Squad, and begins the end in the year 2552.
There's not much to say about the level we were shown, but the presentation of the game is the same as the other Halo games, though the scope feels much broader and the storyline much darker having the very first scene of the game being a Spartan's helmet with a bullet hole through the visor will do that.
It looks like Halo: Reach is going to be a good title when it's released, though whether or not it's going to be the final Halo game is certainly up for debate. Regardless, if you have any interest in the series, you'll probably be looking for Reach when it's released on September 14.