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Interview

Halo 3 ODST Interview

Halo 3 ODST is set to be a big, big title, not least because it’s got “Halo” right there in the name. We caught up with Halo designer Lars Bakken and Halo brand product manager Ryan Crosby to find out what’s different and why gamers should be excited about the newest in the hugely popular series. The video is below, with the transcription directly below that.Why did you choose the ODST? Why did you choose the troopers’ story?Lars Bakken: I think the ODST really allowed us to tell the story from a more human perspective. ODSTs are known to our more hardcore fans. They remember them from Halo 2 and Halo 3 as being these badasses that show up in really hot situations, and so it was something – when we first started thinking about doing a side story for Halo 3 – they were one of the groups that basically popped to the top because they were so unique and cool already, and we thought “Hey, what would happen if we told the story from their perspective?” and that’s kind of where it began.Ryan Crosby: It’s kind of an easy choice, right? They’re so interesting as characters and they’re special forces of the UNSC, so it’s kind of an easy pick to go “Okay, look, these guys can really be a lot of fun to play in battle, and they’ve got really interesting personalities, as well,” so I think that probably made it a really easy choice.LB: You’ve got your leader, which is Sgt. Buck, and then you’ve got the four other guys, which are Romeo, your sniper; Dutch which is the heavy weapons guy – he’s the guy with the Spartan Laser – you’ve got Mickey; and he’s your explosives expert, and then you’ve got the rookie, which is the guy that you play as when you drop into New Mombasa; and then you’ve also got Captain Dare. She’s the only special forces officer who’s kind of heading up the entire group, and she’s the one who really knows what’s going on, but you’re just kind of there as grunts, doing her bidding, essentially.I think, you know, certainly, people at first will wonder what to expect when they’re not playing as the Master Chief, but as soon as they pick up their controller they’re going to realise that it is still Halo. It feels almost exactly like Halo 3, with some few key differences: the fact that you’re a little bit shorter, you’re not seven feet tall like the Master Chief; your health does not regenerate; you don’t have a motion tracker which is essentially your radar. So all these things combine together and make you feel a little more vulnerable. Not a lot more – you’re not a civilian walking into these situations. You’re a highly trained special forces operative, so you’re still completely capable in these situations, but you’re just not a recharging genetically-enhanced supersoldier.RC: It gives you a whole new palette to play on, right? I mean it’s a very different way to look at it, and these guys have – I think Master Chief says a few lines in each game; he doesn’t say a whole heck of a lot – and I think these guys have real personalities, really distinct characters, really distinct characteristics, and I think there’s a lot of fun in playing with that and building up stories.Halo 3 ODST is a weird title to have. Why didn’t you just go with Halo ODST?RC: I think the biggest reason is that it really is about – it’s a story that has already sort of been told, in Halo 3. I mean, when you look at it, the events of Halo 3 ODST take place just prior to the events of Halo 3, so it really is a take on the same story, but told from a completely different perspective. I think when you look at it, all of the Halo games up until this point have been told through the eyes of one man, and you’re following one man, the Master Chief, as he works his way through this war. When you take it away from him, there’s a whole new story to tell right within that same area, and right within the plight of the actual humans, the non-supersoldiers, that are down on the ground fighting. I think that these guys – certainly the ODSTs – earn their paycheck in terms of what they put out, so I think that it made the most sense to attach it to where it takes place within the story, but also to throw the ODST in there to make sure people understand it’s not just more of the same – it’s a whole different point of view, a whole different story.LB: All the things that the Master Chief can do, these guys can do as well. Maybe they can’t do it quite as well, like they can’t jump as high, but they can commandeer any vehicle. They’re special forces operatives. They are completely capable of dealing with these types of situations, so anything you can imagine, even down to the fact that these guys can actually rip off turrets just like Master Chief could in Halo 3, as that was a very important, fun piece of gameplay.Why didn’t you guys do that earlier? Seriously?LB, RC: [Laugh]You laugh at me, but it’s one of the things that you would’ve thought “Actually, it makes sense to rip off the turret.” Other games were doing it. Why did it take so long to get to Halo 3?LB: I don’t know why it took so long, that’s a really good question. I think it was just one of those things where we were just ready, at that time, to try it and make it seem useful in the Halo 3 sandbox.Can we expect to see more Halo products over the next few years? If so, are we looking at more first-person shooters?RC: Certainly you know about Halo: Reach, so that’s the first big rock in terms of what we’re doing. That’ll be on its way. We’re always looking at opportunities to expand the Halo universe, and I think it’s safe to say that there will be more stuff coming from the Halo universe. What it is, we’re not ready to talk about right now, but lots of stuff to think about.Are you guys working on DLC, or are you expecting anything soon after release?RC: We don’t have anything to talk about right now, for DLC. We’ll always look at it, I think it’s certainly worth investigating, but there’s nothing to talk about just yet.And for all the religious people that think that Jesus should’ve been involved in Halo 3, what do you have to say to them?LB, RC: [Laughs]RC: They’re just wrong. [Laughs]Thank you very much, guys!LB, RC: Thank you.

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