Halo 3

Halo 3 is a first-person shooter video game under development by Bungie Studios for the Xbox 360. An official announcement on the developers' website states that Halo 3 will end the current story arc of the Halo trilogy. Halo 3 is scheduled to be released sometime in 2007.

A trailer (warning, large file - 98 MB) of the game was shown at Microsoft press conference at E3 2006. The trailer ends with the tagline "Finish the Fight 2007".

The trailer opens with a powerful orchestral piece, showing a desolate and dry desert area, a few miles inland of the remaining rubble of New Mombasa, which was destroyed in Halo 2. Parts of the broken space elevator are shown in the background. Through the smoke and rubble of a ruined building Master Chief emerges, obscured occasionally by overlaid transmission images of what appears to be Cortana who utters somewhat distorted messages:

"I have defied gods and demons."
"I am your shield; I am your sword."
"I know you; your past, your future"
"This is the way the world ends."

Several of these lines are spoken in the Cortana Letters; a connection between them and the overall plot of the Halo series is likely.

Cortana's lines use a trochaic tetrameter, which could be compared to the trochaic heptameter used by Gravemind in Halo 2. Fans have speculated that the voice of Gravemind can also be heard, mirroring Cortana's words, leading many to believe Gravemind plays a part in Cortana's speech, possibly even speaking through Cortana to the Master Chief. A scream can be heard before the transmissions, which further supports this hypothesis. Outside forces may also be acting on Cortana - in the 'Behind the Scenes' video, it is stated, "We don't know what has happened to her since then. We don't know it's Cortana. It could be any sort of bizarre, almost Satanic sort of voice. Something seems wrong." The transmission improves drastically with each attempt at communication. Master Chief is seen holding what appears to be an MA5B Assault Rifle from the original Halo, which was not included in Halo 2. A Bungie employee has stated, "Who says it's the standard Assault Rifle? Doesn't look identical to me…", hinting at possible differences from the Assault Rifle seen in Halo: Combat Evolved. The gloves on Master Chief's armor are also somewhat different, potentially hinting at some sort of upgrade for the MJOLNIR armor.

Overhead, a massive Covenant "excavation fleet," as it was called by Bungie, holds position over an enormous crater the Chief is overlooking. The crater contains an expansive circular metallic structure, over three miles in diameter, stated by Bungie to be a Forerunner related structure. Whether this is the Ark or a ship similar to the one the Prophet of Truth took to Earth at the end of Halo 2 is unclear. In the Collector's edition DVD, two screens pulled from the disc show early concept art that looks nearly identical to the structure seen in the Halo 3 trailer. The concept art also shows the words Earth_Ark_09. This refers to the original 9-level Halo 2 concept. In the DVD, Joseph Staten explained the original 9 level design of Halo 2 and mentioned a "grand conclusion" on Earth. The other words in the screen capture, "Chief" and "Dervish" refer to the characters involved. Dervish was the Arbiter's original name. Both the Halo 3 trailer and the concept art here show clear similarities in geographical surroundings and structure. This evidence makes it likely that the structure in the announcement trailer is, or is related to, the Ark.

Above the crater, there is a massive maelstrom in the sky caused by "massive, never before seen subatomic forces," presumably emanating from the gigantic domed structure. Banshees and Covenant warships fly by, but pay no attention to the Master Chief. The camera then switches from the crater to the cliffs as a part of them fall and then zooms in onto the Master Chief's visor.

The camera turns from a glowing reflection on the Chief's visor and zooms out, revealing a grandiose scene as the mysterious structure is awakened. The structure begins to unfold, and parts of it rise above the ground as Covenant ships reverse direction and speed away from it. The device emits an energy pulse into the skies as the trailer ends with Cortana stating the last line, "This is the way the world ends." Cortana's closing words seem to reject T.S. Eliot's famous quote from his poem, The Hollow Men:

This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

However, it could also be that Cortana means: This is the way the world ends, not with a whimper but a bang due to the bright flash during the "This is the way the world ends".

The trailer was produced entirely using the Xbox 360 hardware in real-time. After the E³ showing, Bungie demonstrated the real-time nature of the demo by moving the camera around and moving Master Chief to demonstrate the game's visual effects. The Assault Rifle was also fired to demonstrate that the muzzle flash was also reflected off Chief's visor in real-time.

The music in the trailer utilized a 60 piece orchestra and a 24 piece choir. An interesting usage of trumpets is a new effect added in the music. On Bungie's site, composer Martin O'Donnell states his goals for the trailer's music.

"I want them to feel pride and longing the moment Master Chief walks out of the smoke, I want them to get excited and perhaps even froth at the mouth when they see the Covenant Capital ship and then the incredible buried artifact. I want them to be left with that, 'I can hardly wait to play this game' feeling by the end with a slight, 'I wonder what she meant by that' aftertaste."

Because of speculation as to the identity of the Spartan shown in the trailer, Bungie has confirmed that it is the Master Chief.

One Xbox 360 magazine says that the ending will be somewhat biblical. There were two arks in the Bible; the first protected Noah, his family, and two of every animal from the flood (echoed in Halo by the Flood parasites), the second called the "Ark of the Covenant" that protected the ten commandments.

The only official release date can be found on Bungie's official FAQ for the game, which says only that the game will be released "at an as-yet to be announced date in 2007." It has been speculated that, because of Bungie's preoccupation with the number 7 in various games, Halo 3 will be released on July 7th, 2007 (7/7/07).

Bill Gates, Microsoft's chairman, stated in a May 2005 Time Magazine interview that Halo 3 would be released as close to the PlayStation 3's launch as possible, to divert sales. Best Buy has posted that Halo 3 will be released on November 16, 2006, the day before the PlayStation 3 is released. (But the game will not be released if Bungie isn't ready) . "It's perfect," Gates said. "The day Sony launches [PlayStation 3], they walk right into Halo 3." (Time.com article, registration required; relevant quotes on Gamespot.com). When asked shortly afterwards however, Microsoft senior vice president Robbie Bach was less definite, saying: "We haven't announced anything on what Bungie is doing or where we're going with the future of the 'Halo' franchise... With all respect to Bill, I don't run Bungie's studio, and neither does he. We'll work with the Bungie guys and let people know [when they have something to announce]".

An article in Game Informer in November 2005 reports that: "Halo developer Bungie is so paranoid about the storyline for Halo 3 leaking out that two different story lines are being worked on so that even the company's employees are in the dark as to the plot of the game." Game Informer has also mentioned that Bungie is working on a "non-Halo" project as well as possibly Halo 3, although Bungie staffers have since commented that Bungie will only be working on one game at a time, and Bungie has made no subsequent mention of any other current game projects either in their Weekly Updates or during E3.

Soon after the Xbox 360 was unveiled in May 2005, EB Games and FYE started taking preorders for Halo 3, despite having no official word from Bungie on whether they would make another Halo game. The preorder page has since been taken down, but other retailers have followed suit.

On May 9, 2006, exactly a year and a half after the release of Halo 2, the announcement trailer to Halo 3 appeared on the Xbox Live Marketplace, shortly before the trailer made its appearance at E3, due in part to the E3 conference starting late. Halo 3's announcement was soon carried on other gaming sites, including Gamespot. After some downtime on the official Bungie Website, the game was announced officially and the trailer was made available for download.

There is also an "easter egg" hidden within the trailer: a wobbling sign on the side of the road which appears to be a "Grunt Crossing" sign. Bungie's official response to the sign was "The New Mombasa City Council had an incredibly efficient public works department until and even during the tragic and devastating Covenant invasion,".

On June 6, 2006, Bungie Studios released a behind-the-scenes look at the E3 announcement trailer on their website. The video included many elements intended to produce speculation in the fan community. Some of these elements include a glimpses of the updated look of the UNSC Marines, an unknown race holding a new weapon, and Master Chief holding the M90 Shotgun from previous Halo titles. Thus, a total of 4 weapons have been revealed for Halo 3: The Assault Rifle, the Shotgun, The Covenant Beam Rifle and the new alien weapon. The video also showed different angles and takes of the announcement video, showing how powerful the engine was (and proving the video was not pre-rendered).

As of July 31st, 2006, Best Buy has the Halo 3 Set release date as November 16th, 2006, although it is also stated on the same page that an official release date for Halo 3 has not yet been announced by Microsoft. UK website Play.com set the release date for Halo 3 as November 24th 2007, though with no notice that it is unofficial.

Elements of Halo 3 that are confirmed for inclusion, and specifically those returning from the other titles in the Halo series that have been confirmed:


* Master Chief
* Cortana
* Gravemind


* Covenant Grunts
* Unknown Enemy, larger than grunts


* UNSC Marine
o UNSC Marine Dropship Pilot


* Warthog
* Covenant Banshee
* Covenant Phantom
* Covenant Capital Ship


* Assault Rifle (modified from the original)
* M90 Shotgun
* Particle Beam Rifle (modified from the original)
* Unknown Covenant Weapon


* Earth
o Kenya, East African Protectorate
+ New Mombasa and Old Mombasa
+ The Forerunner Structure
+ Mt. Kilimanjaro

* Bungie has confirmed the following basic plot points as revealed through the teaser trailer: Master Chief is back on a thoroughly conquered and Covenant controlled Earth. Cortana is still trapped with the Gravemind. Finally, the Covenant ships are hovering over an excavation site only a few miles from New Mombasa.

* Bungie has confirmed via their Weekly Update that multiplayer as well as single-player testing are currently in progress for the title, in varying stages of completion.

* Bungie revealed that the game would have a new "materials system" so advanced that "you could see light reflect off the ground and onto his armor", which will be able to "[show] the difference between his armor and the rubber undersuit". The site also includes that "It's so detailed that if you bring the camera close to the Master Chief's visor, you see everything in front of him reflected in it, right down to the ammo counter in his rifle". In addition, there would be new advanced texturing to reflect permanent, persistent damage.

* With the release of the trailer Bungie has declared publicly that Gravemind, who originally appeared midway through Halo 2, is an intelligence of Flood origin.

* Bungie has also stated that the rising structure seen in the trailer should be familiar to Halo fans. To that end, seven pairs of tower structures ringing the dome call to mind the Rampancy logo. In addition, speculation suggests that it might also be the mysterious "Ark" mentioned at the end of Halo 2.

* Halo 3 and the Halo movie will not necessarily come out at the same time. "The two will not affect each other in terms of release dates."

* Although Halo 3 was planned to end the Halo series, future Halo games haven't been entirely ruled out. On the Halo 3 FAQ from the official Bungie website it says, "Q: Is this the last ever Halo game? A: It is the conclusion to this story arc." Fans note that it is therefore possible that future games could be produced in the Halo universe, even if this particular story arc isn't continued.

* A quote from the end of the short film released by Bungie about the making of Halo 3 trailer: “You won’t just finish one fight, you will finish all of the fights that you started in Halo 1."

* The graphics that were seen in the trailer are confirmed to be running in real time and everything is real geometry.

* Bungie has also stated that they have redesigned the UI (user interface) from Halo 2 apparently making it easier to generate a custom game in Halo 3 multiplayer.

* Bungie has stated that there will be "a map location that will look familiar, but not identical to an old favorite."Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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