Halo: Reach is gearing up to be the years top game, and with the level of polish that Bungie has applied to their last entry in the Halo franchise this fact is not surprising. The game has been built to be even more epic than the previous three halos, and even more compelling in terms of story than Halo 3: ODST. While I am sure the campaign will be amazing, the feature that interests me the most is the Forge mode built into the game. Forge was bungie’s unique addition to now popular Halo 3 which allowed players to have control over the map environment. Initially created with the idea of manipulating spawn points and weapon placement, Halo Forgers everywhere proved that there was more to be done with this mode. Foundry was then released to assuage some of those passions with the near entirety of the map being deletable and replaceable. This only fired the Forgers up even more and we were then given sandbox, a play space that boasted three usable venues. Throughout this, many Forgers utilized tricks and work arounds to place objects seamlessly into each other and create even more fanciful usages for the simple set of tools the Bungie had provided them. All of the actions did not reach deaf ears or blind eyes, the creators were actively watching what the community did with the tools they were given, and when deciding what to add in Forge for their swansong Bungie clearly decided to go all out.
Forgeworld is the most noticeable of these improvements, it is a single playspace that encompasses the real estate of five maps combined into one seamless environment. Bungie also utlized their new LOD rendering system to full effect in order to maximize the number of objects on the map at any one time.
There are multiple variations of what could only be called “standard’ building blocks, which are aptly named so that anyone with any construction experience be they legos, or brick and mortar will understand. (ex. 5X4, 5X10, etc)
In addition to this assortment, the players will also have access to more complex pre constructed elements such as sniper nests and base doorways, up to entire buildings.
The usual suspect of toys are making a comeback and knowing Bungie there is likely to be a surprise in there as well. Placeable lights which were originally made available in the Mythic Map Pack are also returning, with a few new ones added including a light that slowly pulses in a soft orange hue much like one would expect to find on an aircraft landing pad.
For machinimators and screenshot photographers, the list of visual FX has brought back all the classic FXs players are familar with, and again adding new ones such as an orange,green, and blue filter as well as a purple filter which simulates night time during a full moon. Those who make Machinima will be particularly excited to make use of these new filters as they add a new sense of drama to any future scenes they might envision. I am personally hoping that the colored filters function much as you would expect a colored lense to work in the real world while photographing certain elements. Though I remain skeptical that this is the case as it seems a lot of effort put into such a small feature.
It is unclear at this point what sort of stable of vehicles we can expect to see in the forge maps. Most vehicles are dependent on the map itself, but with the promised forklift fully functional this go around, we can only hope there are more civilian vehicles made available. I personally plan on creating a race variant using only forklifts.
As Gamescom approaches quite soon, Bungie has promised to once again blow our minds and after what we’ve seen so far I have no doubt they’ll pull it off in spades.