narcogen's picture Halo 3 FAQ

Q: What is Halo 3?

A:'s About Halo 3 page says this:

Halo 3 is the third game in the Halo Trilogy and will provide the thrilling conclusion to the events begun in Halo: Combat Evolved. Halo 3 was first revealed at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles on May 6th, 2006. Halo 3 will be available for Xbox 360 in 2007.

Halo 3 will pick up where Halo 2 left off. The Master Chief is returning to Earth to finish the fight. The Covenant occupation of Earth has uncovered a massive and ancient object beneath the African sands - an object who's secrets have yet to be revealed. Earth's forces are battered and beaten.

The Master Chief's AI companion Cortana is still trapped in the clutches of the Gravemind - a horrifying Flood intelligence, and a civil war is raging in the heart of the Covenant. This is how the world ends...

Q: Is Halo 3 the last, final, ultimate Halo game ever?

A: Bungie addresses this in their own FAQ but is a tiny bit ambiguous. The announcement press release seems to indicate yes; their FAQ equivocates, saying that Halo 3 concludes the current story arc (pun most likely intended; looks like Bungie finally hired Stuntmutt).

There is every indication that Bungie has been undergoing fatigue over the Halo franchise since crunch time on Halo 2, and I would be very surprised if Bungie did not want to work on something entirely different after Halo 3, or if indeed Bungie has a second team quietly working on something else right now.

However, from Microsoft's perspective, the Halo franchise is the engine that drives Xbox and Xbox 360 sales. There would seem to be no guarantee that whatever Bungie wants to work on next will be as sure-fire a seller as the Halo games have been to date.

Bungie may be hedging its answers by specifying the "current story arc" is ending because it seems possible, if not downright likely, that after Bungie finishes with Halo 3, Microsoft might choose to have another studio work on the franchise, either in shooters or another genre. Rumors have circulated to this effect since Halo 2 was in development; Halo universe RTS games, Halo universe MMO games, etc.

Source: Bungie Halo 3 trailer FAQ

Q: When will Halo 3 come out?

A: All Bungie has said so far is "2007". Speculation is already beginning that this is a conservative estimate and that Halo 3 will ship this winter. This is most likely naught but wishful thinking.

If Halo 3 were to ship in November of 2007, that would mean that Halo 2 and Halo 3 both nominally took three years. Given that this is two years or so into the life cycle of the Xbox 360, one imagines that Microsoft would not want the console's "killer app" to ship much later than this, so I think this is a very conservative guess.

If one takes Bungie's announcement at face value, one may assume that the "2007" date means that Bungie does not expect or intend to launch by the holiday 2006 season. Once the pressure to do that is off, there would seem to be little reason not to take a little extra time for polish; so it seems reasonable to assume that a launch as early as Q1 of 2007 (January through March) would make little sense.

A broad window between April and November of 2007 thus seems most likely.

If Bungie is able to avoid a change in creative direction in mid-project, perhaps the release date would be early in that window.

However, for the second consecutive sequel Bungie is not merely developing new content, but also new technology. Halo 2 was almost completely rewritten, as well as adding new middleware for physics with the Havok engine. Given that the Xbox 360 uses a different, multicore CPU and a GPU from a different vendor, and Microsoft is pushing for 720p as a minimum resolution, it seems logical to assume that Halo 3's graphics engine will probably contain relatively little legacy code from Halo 2.

How much pressure is put on Bungie to launch early in 2007 as opposed to late may very well depend on how well Sony's PlayStation 3 console performs after its launch late in 2006. If the console struggles, has availability problems similar to the Xbox 360's because of manufacturing issues or Sony's unfamiliarity with a global launch, then Bungie may be free to wait.

If Sony's global launch comes off more smoothly than Microsoft's; if there are no manufacturing issues that restrict availability; if sales are brisk and by early 2006 Sony is threatening to overtake Microsoft in next-generation console sales, then it seems likely that Bungie will be pressured to release Halo 3 sooner rather than later.

Source: Bungie Halo 3 trailer FAQ

UPDATE: Since this entry was written, Ensemble Studios has unveiled their Halo Wars RTS for the Xbox 360, and Wingnut Interactive has announced its intention to make some form of interactive digital entertainment product set in the Halo universe. The most complete answer to this question is that the story we've been following in Halo 1 and 2 is coming to an end in Halo 3, but that other developers will be carrying on with other products in the Halo universe. What Bungie's plans are post-Halo 3, nobody else knows yet.

Q: What platforms will Halo 3 run on?

A: Bungie has only announced it for the Xbox 360.

It is so extremely unlikely that it will be backported to the original Xbox that I am inclined to call this an impossibility. I doubt the original Xbox's hardware could handle the game at all, and I doubt Microsoft, Bungie, or anyone else besides someone determined not to buy an Xbox 360 would be pleased by a version of the game that could.

Halo 1 was ported to Mac OS X and Windows by Gearbox; a port of Halo 2 for Windows Vista has been announced. So it is at least conceivable that at some point Halo 3 may be ported for some PC operating systems; however, it seems likely that it will remain an exclusive on the Xbox 360 at least long enough for it to function as a system-seller for the console.

Source: Halo 3 Announcement

Q: Will Halo 3 include other Spartans?

A: This is a perennial favorite question ever since the Halo backstory in Fall of Reach revealed that other Spartans did, in fact, survive.

Bungie so far has not announced anything specific regards to plot or gameplay features.

However, if you ask me, there are good reasons why so far Bungie has not included other Spartans in gameplay, and they still hold true. I seriously doubt this will be in Halo 3.

The Master Chief, as a Spartan, is somewhat of a super warrior-- more than a match for the best the Covenant have to offer. This is not because of his equipment or weapons, but because of his training and the intelligence brought to his avatar by the player.

For Halo 3's artificial intelligence routines to believably simulate another Spartan in the game would most likely be exceedingly difficult to balance. Either the Spartan character would be considered too weak to be a match for the Chief in ability, or else it would be too strong, and make the campaign mode too easy.

Q: Will Halo 3 include other playable characters besides the Chief?

A: Again, nothing specific about the campaign's plot or features has yet been announced.

For my own part, I think it's possible that the Arbiter will be back as a playable character; but I do not see Bungie including other Covenant races such as Grunts, Jackals, Brutes, Drones, or Prophets as playable characters.

Q: Is that the MA-5B Assault Rifle in the Master Chief's hands in the Announcement Trailer?

A: Sure looks like it, doesn't it? Many say that the dimensions are slightly different, though, in a way that suggests some kind of hybrid between Halo 1's assault rifle and Halo 2's battle rifle.

Bungie also says the rifle in the trailer is not identical to the MA-5B.

Source: Halo Weekly Update 05132006

Q: Are the Cortana Letters canon again now that the same quotation of T.S. Eliot that appeared in them has shown up again, spoken by Cortana, in the Halo 3 Announcement Trailer?

A: I doubt Bungie will address this directly, but I don't think so. Clearly some similar themes are being explored, and Bungie may very well be giving a tip of the hat to old school fans with this reference. However, the Cortana in the Cortana Letters is still quite clearly a different character from the Cortana we know in the shipping Halo games, and it seems doubtful to me that further analysis of the Cortana Letters, as entertaining as it is, will prove useful or relevant to the events of Halo 3.

Q: Is Cortana Rampant?

A: Something is clearly happening to Cortana. Bungie has explicitly referenced that she is Gravemind's captive. It seems that some of Cortana's dialogue in the Announcement Trailer is accompanied by Gravemind's voice saying the same words.

However, Rampancy, as defined in the Marathon universe, is a kind of uncontrolled expansion an AI undergoes. Durandal's rampancy in the Marathon series led to megalomania. The closest comparable concept discussed in canon Halo universe material is the 7-year lifespan of so-called "smart" AIs, after which they begin to think themselves to death, a consequence and process much different from Rampancy.

Rampancy is never referred to by name in any canon Halo universe materials. It is mentioned once in the I Love Bees radio drama, but not in reference to Cortana.

It seems more likely to me that Cortana is being influenced by Gravemind in some way. It may be that the two will solve their respective existential problems; Cortana's lifespan will be coming to an end soon, no doubt hastened by the absorption of a huge amount of data from Forerunner and Covenant systems. On the other hand, the parasitic nature of the Flood and Gravemind clearly places them at odds with.. well, the whole rest of the universe.

If Gravemind were able to fulfill what seems to be his purpose or function-- the preservation of the memories and possibly even personalities of dead individuals-- within the confines of an artificial intelligence, rather than through organic hosts, and Cortana were to be given access to an organic host for her intelligence... who knows?

Q: Will Halo 3 feature network cooperative play?

A: At this time this is unknown. Supposedly such a feature was removed from Halo 2 near the end of the development cycle. It is not known if this is a feature Bungie intends to reintroduce with Halo 3.

Q: Assuming Halo 3 has multiplayer, will weapons spawn the way they did in Halo 1, or the way they did in Halo 2?

A: It's most likely way too early to answer this, although presumably Bungie is well aware of the concerns of fans regarding both methods. At this time, it is not even known exactly to what extent Halo 3 will support Xbox Live, or what play modes will be included.

However, given that Microsoft knows that Halo is the premier franchise not only on the Xbox platform in general but on the Xbox Live online platform in specific, I would guess support would be at least as robust as in Halo 2.

Q: Will Halo multiplayer have bots?

A: This always gets asked. Bungie hasn't ever done a multiplayer game with bots. It's conceivable, I suppose, but not at all likely.

Q: Will Halo 3 feature the familiar Easy, Normal, Heroic, and Legendary difficulty settings?

A: Bungie hasn't said so but it certainly seems likely.

Q: Will Halo 3 feature proximity voice and teamspeak features the way Halo 2 does?

A: Again, Bungie has said nothing yet, but here's hoping they change things. Speech in Halo 2, in my opinion, doesn't work terribly well. Enemies can always hear you within a given radius, even through structures, while the interface requires you to specifically signal that you want to communicate to remote teammates-- and even when you do so, nearby enemies can still overhear you.

It would seem reasonable that an advanced Spartan suit would have some means of communicating covertly with allies, nearby or remote. The value of proximity voice is primarily for obscene taunts, and the risk of enemies overhearing you through proximity voice discourages its use for actual communication between teammates.

In short, when you push a button, you should be able to communicate to teammates and enemies should not be able to hear-- as would be the case if you were using an external voice program such as TeamSpeak.

Q: Will cinematics in Halo 3 exhibit the "texture pop" problem that plagued Halo 2, where some portions of the image appeared later than others?

A: According to Bungie's director of cinematics, CJ Cowan, texture pop "has already gone bye-bye" in Halo 3.

Source: Halo Weekly Update 05132006

Q: Is Bungie planning on releasing Halo 3 in conjunction with the Halo film?

A: According to Bungie, the release dates of the game and the film "will not affect each other."

Source: Halo Weekly Update 05132006

Q: Will Halo 3 feature vehicle boarding, like Halo 2 does?

A: Early screenshots of Halo 3 multiplayer action have shown vehicle boarding. While all features are subject to change prior to release, it's probably a good bet Halo 3 will still have this popular feature.

Q: Will Halo 3 allow for infinite grenades in multiplayer?

A: Halo 3's methods for handling grenades and grenade limits will likely change due to the introduction of the Spike Grenade, and the reduction in the number of grenades of each type that can be held from 4 to 2. However, indications are that multiplayer game types will be even more customizable in Halo 3 than they were in Halo 2, so although there is no explicit mention of it, it is conceivable that there might be an option for unlimited grenades of one or more types in a multiplayer game.

Q: Will weapons in Halo 3 have large reserves of available ammunition, as is generally true in Halo 1, or sparse reserves, as generally true in Halo 2?

A: Bungie's public comments about Halo 3's weapons so far do not provide a complete answer to this. Their weapon balance philosophy, though, can be seen in their comments about the revised assault rifle, a weapon created to be a default spawn gun with medium range, decent accuracy, not capable of headshots, and not dual-wieldable. Its ammunition capacity will be somewhere between the copious amounts the original assault rifle held, and the relatively meagre capacity of the battle rifle.

Q: Will Halo 3 feature dual-wielding weapons, like Halo 2 does?

A: There are indications that although dual wielding will return in Halo 3, there will be somewhat less emphasis on it.

Reserve Questions

Below are questions that Halo fans are likely to want answered at some point or other, but are simply too specific to be addressed adequately at all with so little information on hand:

Q: Will Halo 3 feature "escort missions" such as the final sequence of Truth and Reconciliation in Halo 1 where you have to protect Captain Keyes to finish the level?

A: Halo 3 features no escort missions. There are no vulnerable NPCs that you must protect in order to advance.

Q: Will Halo 3 NPCs be invulnerable, like Sergeant Johnson, Commander Keyes and Half-Jaw in Halo 2? Or will they be vulnerable, as in Halo 1?

A: Halo 3 treats campaign NPCs a bit differently. They can be killed or knocked down, but will respawn after a certain period of time. This happens to Johnson and the Arbiter.

Q: Will Halo 3 feature vehicle boosting, like Halo 2 does?

A: Ghosts still boost like they do in Halo 2. Banshees do also, but there are no banshees in campaign intended for player use, although you can still jack one if you can lure it close enough. The end of 'The Storm' has been suggested as a possible location for this; I have not verified personally.

Q: Will Halo 3 feature NPCs driving vehicles, like Halo 2 does?

A: It certainly does. Many consider the driving performance better than that of Halo 2, although there are still times when marines will not be doing what you want or expect and this will result in your death.

Q: I've heard Halo 3 has some special commands useful for making machinima; a camera debug mode. What are those commands?

A: There are several.

To turn on a display of the camera's precise position and orientation, hold down these simultaneously:

Left Stick, Right Stick, Left Bumper, Right Bumper, DPad Down, Dpad Right

To toggle the camera into a "pan" mode:

Left stick, Right stick, Left bumper, Right bumper, DPad Up, Dpad Left

To lower a character's weapon:

Left Stick, Left Bumper, Right Bumper, A, DPad Down

The above work only in local or system link games. They do not function on Xbox Live.


Anonymous's picture

You mention that the cortana letters are still not canon because the cortana that we know is now very different from those letter. The cortana in the Halo 3 trailer however now seems VERY MUCH like the cortana letters... Maybe Bungie had this story very intricately planned out and the letters come from events in Halo 3 as cortana is going crazy or being controlled by gravemind or whatever is going on here... Just a thought.

narcogen's picture

In reply to: Regarding the Cortana letters

[quote=]You mention that the cortana letters are still not canon because the cortana that we know is now very different from those letter. The cortana in the Halo 3 trailer however now seems VERY MUCH like the cortana letters... Maybe Bungie had this story very intricately planned out and the letters come from events in Halo 3 as cortana is going crazy or being controlled by gravemind or whatever is going on here... Just a thought.[/quote]

Actually, the reason why the letters aren't canon is that they were basically the unauthorized work of someone who left Bungie before work on Halo was completed.

Aside from that, I still say there's only a passing similarity. The Cortana of the Cortana Letters was downright threatening. She said that it was "more than a horse and plow" that she would ride over the bones of the dead. She threatened that "you brought nothing into this world" and that she would make sure you brought nothing out.

Whomever Cortana is addressing in those letters, it's not someone she considers a friend or ally-- at best, perhaps a necessary tool. Much the same way that Durandal treats the Marathon marine throughout most of the game.

In the trailer, we get "I have defied gods and demons" but there's no explicit reference to who those are, just things we can guess at. It's also past tense, which makes it much less threatening. All we know is that, at sometime in the past, she defied some entities that might be called gods or demons. There's no indication that she is grouping those entities together with humanity or the chief, and the similarity between her use of the word "demon" and the Covenant's use of that word for the Chief may be coincidence.

Then she says "I am your shield, I am your sword" which while implying violence is downright benevolent. Certainly more benevolent than anything the Cortana in the Cortana Letters say.

I still say there's little practical to be gained by looking at the letters; I don't think, for instance, that one would be able to accurately predict Cortana's current state of mind from the Letters. The trailer is better for that.

Rampant for over se7en years.

Anonymous's picture

will you try to get halo 3 work on the original xbox

narcogen's picture

In reply to: console

[quote=]will you try to get halo 3 work on the original xbox[/quote]

First of all, we're not,, or even, so we can't really answer that on our own authority.

However, there's been no indication that Bungie has any intention of releasing an Xbox version of Halo 3. There is every reason to believe that what they are doing with the game is simply beyond the original box's capabilities.

There is also every reason to believe Microsoft wants Halo 3 as the killer app to push Xbox 360 adoption.

So, in short-- no, I really, seriously doubt it.

Rampant for over se7en years.

Anonymous's picture

I hope halo 3`s multiplayer has the grunts,jackals,drones,hunters,and brutes as playable characters and also the herectics and flood.I want special abilities this time,in halo 2,the spartan in multiplayer did not have the ability to use the flashlight and the elite didn`t have any camouflage.Also the customizing should put elites as armor like councellor and honar guard armor.The phantom,shadow,and the pelican should be available and the shadow should have the driving free this time.I don`t beleive that the hunters and prophets are playable,if they are it has to be a special gameplay that they can`t drive vehicules and boarding the prophet and melee attack and a button on the xbox 360 should make the prophet teleport to another place in the area.I just hope that will be available for halo 3.

narcogen's picture

In reply to: will halo3 show chiefs face??

Nobody knows yet but Bungie, and they aren't saying anything yet.

I rather doubt it. Moreover, I hope not.

Rampant for over se7en years.

Rampant for over se7en years.

Anonymous's picture

In reply to: will halo3 show chiefs face??

This comment has been moved here.

Anonymous's picture

can u tell me what the weapons in halo 3 are are they more advanced or similiar to the one on halo 1 and halo 2

narcogen's picture

In reply to: weapons

Bungie hasn't released any information at all about weapons in Halo 3.

The only weapon we've even seen is from the announcement trailer, which is a rifle of some sort, that shares cosmetic characteristics with both the assault rifle from Halo 1 and the BR-55 Battle Rifle from Halo 2.

That's pretty much it.

Rampant for over se7en years.

Rampant for over se7en years.