One of the closed door events at X’10 this year was for the highly anticipated final chapter of Halo, at least from Bungie. Unfortunately, once we were ushered behind the heavy curtains we weren’t allowed to actually record anything, but we did get to see the first single player missions, Noble Actual and Winter Contingency in action. The single player gameplay was exactly what one would expect out of Halo, with even more polish put on the engine itself. While Reach introduces squad play, there’s no real squad mechanic in the gameplay itself. The rest of your team will fight along side you, but Reach hasn’t morphed into Ghost Recon.
The Forge map editor, introduced in Halo 3, has seen what can only be described as a massive overhaul. The original Forge allowed players to modify and add items to existing multiplayer maps. In Halo Reach, Forge has become Forge World, the largest map in all the Halo series. Forge world is a modified and greatly expanded version of the Blood Gulch map from the original Halo: Combat Evolved, and allows players to build their maps anywhere in the environment. Players have access to a wide variety of building blocks to create their maps, each with a point cost attached. As each player builds out their map, they draw from a common pool of points. This cost is fixed, and designed to prevent people from building maps that the engine would choke on.
Previously, there were two options when adding a building block, either affected by gravity or not. In Forge World, Bungie has added a phased mode, which allows objects to pass through each other, so that more custom shapes can be built. When the game ships in September, there will be 6 maps available in Forge World, with more to come after launch.
For a look at multiplayer gameplay, see our previous article on the beta.