Microsoft chose the decidedly non-"Halo"-crazy nation of Japan as the spot from which to announce the next major "Halo" game on Thursday (October 9). As part of a presentation at the Tokyo Game Show, the Xbox 360 manufacturer revealed that "Halo 3: Recon" is coming in the fall of 2009.
The new "Halo" game is being described in Microsoft press materials as a stand-alone expansion of "Halo 3." It is being developed by Bungie Studios, the creative team behind the first three "Halo," confirming news broken by MTV News this summer that Bungie had another project related to the series in the works.
"Halo 3: Recon" will not star longtime series hero Master Chief. Instead, it puts players in the boots of an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper during events leading up to "Halo 3." A Microsoft press release indicated that "Recon" will include "hours of new campaign excursions and multiplayer gameplay." The release further indicates that the game will be set on Earth and that "[while] the feel of this new chapter greatly resembles that of previous 'Halo' experiences, 'Halo 3: Recon' will require you to employ more elements of stealth and cunning than ever before."
The "Recon" expansion will also include new multiplayer maps and added items for the Forge multiplayer level-creation tool in "Halo 3."
The announcement of "Halo 3: Recon" adds a third Xbox 360 title to the pending "Halo" release calendar. An experimental "Halo"-based game overseen by filmmaker Peter Jackson was announced in September 2006. Jackson had promised then to make something that wouldn't be classified purely as a game but rather as "interactive entertainments that are not for the hard-core crowd." Microsoft is also planning to release "Halo: Wars," a real-time strategy game that allows players to control large squads of forces from various sides of the "Halo" conflict in large-scale battles in early 2009.
As rich as Microsoft's upcoming "Halo" slate is, the word surrounding the projects has not been altogether positive. Jackson's "Halo" project has been missing in action, even though other games announced at the same time are already hitting store shelves. The "Halo Wars" project, which showed well at this year's E3 in July, nevertheless took a lump when Microsoft confirmed last month that it was closing the development company that is making it, Ensemble Studios, once that game is completed.
There have been some positive public developments in the "Halo" development scene recently, including the announcement of the staffing of an internal Microsoft "Halo" development studio staffed by the likes of respected programmer Corinne Yu and "Metal Gear Solid IV" assistant producer Ryan Payton. And Bungie, which had potentially finished with "Halo" after the release of last year's "Halo 3" and subsequent splintering from Microsoft, has since revealed a commitment to the series with the announcement of "Recon."
No pricing details for "Halo 3: Recon" have been announced, but an age-gated trailer can be seen at the official Xbox 360 site.
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