Are You Ready For Some… Halo 3?

Today the original ‘Halo’ turns five and makes all of us feel just a little bit older. To celebrate what is being dubbed ‘Halo Day,’ Microsoft and Bungie have announced a number of Halo universe goodies coming to a screen near you over the next year or so.

The first, and frankly odd bombshell is a collaboration between Bungie and Digital Domain to create a photorealistic CGI commercial for ‘Halo 3’ that will air during December 4’s Monday Night Football game. Bungie will be providing the assets and Digital Domain will be doing the animation and photorealism.

What do we think of this? Much like EA’s infamous ‘Madden’ CGI trailer that aired during the NFL Draft, this non-gameplay trailer will surely set lofty expectations for casual Halo fans around the globe. My advice is to treat the trailer more like a glimpse of what Peter Jackson’s upcoming (and I use that term loosely) Halo movie *might* look like, even though it will use characters/weapons/vehicles and environments associated with the third game.

An even bigger bombshell is news Bungie and Microsoft are planning a public beta test for the online component of ‘Halo 3’ sometime in either the Spring or Summer of 2007. The demo will, of course, require an Xbox 360 but other details are being kept under wraps for the time being. I can hear the fanboys wetting their pants now.

And lastly, long-rumored new multiplayer maps for ‘Halo 2’ have been confirmed to be in development with a target release timeframe of Spring 2007. These maps will cost money to grab off Xbox Live Marketplace, though just how much will be kept secret for the time being. What is known is, at present, an Xbox 360 will be required to play these maps even though ‘Halo 2’ is an Xbox game. Bungie is working on alternatives but can’t provide any reassurance to the slice of gamers either unwilling or unable to make the jump to Xbox 360.

For even more insight from Bungie on these updates, check out this news post at the official Bungie website.

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