A select group of journalists venture to Seattle to test Halo 3's campaign.
MSN was chosen as one of the few news outlets to be given access to Halo 3's elusive single-player story mode. The third and fourth stages, Tsavo Highway and The Storm, are both set in South Africa, but feature wildly different experiences. Tsavo Highway serves as the first vehicle-heavy level, lauching in a dark cave that Master Chief and his marines must drive out of only to encounter hostile Covenant craft on the city streets. The Storm drops players underground into a swarm of Brutes, culminating in a Scarab chase scene which can end in various ways, depending on how the player chooses to dispose of the Covenant arachnid.
"In Halo 2, he was a big piece of moving geometry. He wasn't really real," explains sandbox design lead Jaime Griesemer. "He was hand-animated and didn't really react to what you were doing. He had a scripted path that he went on. But in Halo 3, he's an AI (artificial intelligence). He'll chase you around, he'll acquire targets. If he can't find you, he'll search for you. He's the biggest character we've every done, essentially. And there are dozens of ways to kill him."
The single-player meta-game feature offers a point system for reaching minor achievements during the campaign, such as scoring headshots and hijacking vehicles. Points accumulated can then be shared via Bungie's website.
Equipment is collected in the game the same way as weapons: from the bodies of those the player has wasted. "All equipment in multiplayer shows up in single-player and the AI will use it on you," said Griesemer. "It adds a lot of uniqueness to the combat, so instead of fighting the same guys with the same weapons in different environments, every once in a while somebody will just throw something completely unexpected at you and you'll have to deal with it. The main way you're going to get equipment in the single-player game is by killing guys before they can use their own [on you]."