A typical video game release consists of gamers walking into a store to buy it, maybe a few with pre-orders, but mostly just walk-ins. A typical hyped game involves numerous pre-orders and internet forum activity spiking. But this game, for well over a year now, has reached beyond all of that. Mentioning its name sparks hundreds of comments, both of fandom and annoyance. It is arguably the single most hyped game to ever be released. The game, of course, is Halo 3.
Halo 3 continues the story of the Master Chief, a super soldier fighting hostile alien forces known as the Covenant, 500 years in the future. In Halo 2, the Covenant saw a bit of an internal upheaval. The former guardians of their prophets, the Elites, were usurped by gorilla-like Brutes. Now Chief has the Arbiter, an Elite blamed for the destruction of the first Halo (there are seven structures in all, and the Covenant see these all as holy rings), as a reluctant partner in crime as they fight to save the Earth. And not only that, but they must prevent an infectious, zombie-like race known as The Flood from contaminating Earth, and possibly the rest of the universe.
The description is a bit vague, but not much is known about the game’s story. Bungie Studios, the game’s developer, has been incredibly tight-lipped about most of what is going on with the game. However, Bungie stays loyal to their community by releasing weekly updates every Friday (and a weekly podcast, now), describing different aspects of the game along with their own doings (press events, etc.). And although many delivered heavy criticism for the risks Bungie took with Halo 2’s story, they claim Halo 3 is the best game they have ever made.
In mid-May, Bungie released beta version of the series’ immensely popular multiplayer. Over 800,000 players worldwide put thousands of hours in a few gametypes on three maps. With detailed information logged about deaths, kill spots, equipments/weapons used and so on, Bungie tweaked the multiplayer system to fit consumer demands (how extensively will be seen September 25th). What do they have to out do? Only their own stats: over 5 million unique players having logged billions of hours into playing Halo 2 (source: Bungie News update, 5/9/2007).
So starting September 25, if you see a decrease in your class size, or hear somebody complaining that their significant other is “playing too much of that damn video game,” know that it is most likely because of Halo 3.