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Catapharact
04-05-06, 23:16
Halo 3 not called "Halo 3"?

Source: A posting on the Xbox.com forums post citing an article in an upcoming issue of Game Informer.

The official story: "Microsoft does not comment on rumors or speculation."--Microsoft rep.

What we heard: Even with all eyes squarely on it, Halo 3 has largely been one of the industry's best-kept secrets. The game's developer, Bungie Studios, hasn't even owned up to a game called "Halo 3" being in development. However, according to one post on the Xbox.com forums, Bungie's claims may merely be a question of semantics.

Forum crawler "DM Duo Maxwell" has transcribed what is claimed to be an article from a future issue of Game Informer. Apparently, someone who has access to Bungie's inner sanctum has seen the developer's next project in action. The bad news for Halo fans is it isn't Halo 3.

Now that you're sitting down and have hopefully recovered from shock, here's the good news: It is indeed a Halo game. The "well connected" source claims the project is called "Forerunner," which Halo fans know is the mysterious ancient civilization that constructed the titular ringworld/WMD. If the game indeed is named Forerunner, then Bungie technically isn't lying when it says it isn't working on Halo 3. Plus, code names are de rigueur for almost every major project, gaming or otherwise. Microsoft itself showed that recently with the Xbox 360, which was referred to only as "Xenon" in all internal documents until just before it was unveiled last spring.

The article in question goes on to talk about the rumored game's details. There is no mention of any release date, so don't ask. Forerunner will reportedly run on a modified Halo 2 engine and is going to be "big" in both scale and ambition. There will be large, persistent worlds, which will be affected dynamically by in-game events. The article gives the example of an enemy weapon depot that needs to be taken over and raided. Should players be successful in the objective, they'll have more access to weapons and munitions. Should they fail that task, the Covenant will come to future battles fully strapped.

Cooperative play will be included for--drumroll please--up to four players. Other multiplayer portions of the game weren't detailed. As the title implies, the game's single-player story will focus heavily on the origin of the Forerunners, and how humans and Master Chief are linked to them.

One thing we do know is that Bungie is currently working on a top-secret project. We also know that the game is "surprisingly playable"--Bungie has admitted that. Could this project be anything but a Halo-related project? Likely not.

The PlayStation 3 is coming this year (provided Sony doesn't revise the console's release date a second time), meaning that Microsoft would be wise to deliver a huge property in order to blunt the PS3's launch. While many speculate that the much-anticipated Gears of War is up to the task, it wouldn't pack the same counterpunch that a new Halo game would--especially in conjunction with an Xbox 360 price drop.

Taking a step back and reviewing all the details of the post, one can easily dismiss the whole thing as a hoax and the product of an overimaginative Halo fan. Claiming the game is being code-named "Forerunner" as a way around Bungie's denials of working on Halo 3 doesn't take the intellect of some crafty spin doctor.

The problem with outright claiming it as bogus is that there aren't glaring holes in the story. The details, as thin as they are, are very plausible and fall in line with Bungie's knack for innovation and surprise (remember the Arbiter?) and Halo 2's notoriously abrupt ending--which featured a Forerunner ship eluding the Master Chief by warping into hyperspace.

However, taking the news under the Rumor Control microscope, there are a few reasons the article wouldn't be true. Next month is April, the month that all game journalists love to pull the public's leg. Though the article specifically claims that it isn't a joke, it could be luring gullible gamers into a false sense of security.

Also, would Bungie risk redubbing such a familiar brand? Next to Grand Theft Auto and Mario, Halo is easily one of the most familiar names in gaming. Branding is one of the staples of marketing and as a rule should never be broken. On the other hand, it could merely be a code name that could be changed to Halo 3, Halo 3: Forerunner, Halo: Forerunner, or even Peter Jackson's Halo: Forerunner, the Official Game of the Movie (let's hope not) when the game is officially announced. For now, only time will tell if Master Chief and company are going Forerunning.

Lost_Raider
04-05-06, 23:23
That is one month old for me...and I believe in the Gamespot article it said this is bogus...