Well, since the game is a mere couple of months out, we thought we should put to rest some of the stranger or more persistent Halo 2 rumors while we had a chance. Some of them are sort of dumb, while others are perfectly understandable. Naturally, there's lots more we're not saying and to be honest, we've debunked all of these at one time or another. But here's the choicest picks, and if you think of any more rumors you'd like put to bed (no plot questions please) then why not
email The Webmaster?
NOTE: Bungie reserves the right to tell packs of lies whenever it chooses.
I HEARD HALO 2 IS COMING TO VECTREX!
Halo 2 is coming out on PS2, Gamecube, Virtual Boy, et al…
The Facts: Bungie, awesomely independent, leather-jacket wearing, gum-chewing, authority-scorning, paintchip-eating rebel though it may be, is also owned by huge corporate behemoth, Microsoft. Microsoft, as you may be aware, is in competition with the good people at Nintendo and Sony for market dominance in the video game console market. Halo, it can be comfortably stated, is the most successful game on the system.
Now you have to ask yourself, why would Microsoft make Halo 2 for PlayStation and Gamecube, and thus give its competitors a great game, and simultaneously lose a big advantage? They wouldn't of course. No more than Nintendo would make Super Mario for Xbox, or Sony would make Ico for Gamecube. Or Donald Trump would get a haircut and wear a nice hat. Doesn't make a lick of sense.
The console is often referred to as the Razor Model – that is, a razor blade company for example will sell the Mach 12 laser-bladed nanorazor (can shave atoms right off of molecules) for a song, but then charge you twenty squillion dollars for two refill cartridges. That's us! The Xbox system itself doesn't make Microsoft much money at all, but software sales and licensing do. Only, it's ironically cheaper to buy a video game than a month's supply of razor blades.
Rumor Rant: This is just dumb. Seriously. Of all the rumors, this is the easiest one to disprove scientifically, while sitting on the toilet, armed only with a magnifying glass and a handbag.
I HEARD HALO 2 IS CONNECTED TO YOUR CHECKING ACCOUNT!
The Bungie.net clan and stat features will require a paid subscription.
The online aspect of Halo 2 – apart from your Xbox Live subscription that is – will be free. Gratis. That means clans, stats, delicious kernels of Bungie.net information and anything else except the contents of the Bungie store, will be yours. To keep. For nothing. Because we love you.
There will possibly even be free downloadable content. That's how awesome we are. Think of it as the game that keeps on giving.
Ahem. Not exactly guilt-free here, since we may or may not have run an April Fool's a few years back, claiming that Bungie.net was going to become subscription based, and offered subscribers access to our secret story bible, extra webcams and possibly mildly erotic massages from staff members. So basically, this one's our fault. For lying.
I HEARD THERE ARE 32, 64, 100,000 PLAYERS ON LIVE!
Halo 2 will feature massively multiplayer combat.
Halo 2 will support 16 players on Live. It will support up to four players per split-screen, on System Link or Live, but there will be a maximum of 16 players in any game. So if there were four players on every box in the game, that would be four Xbox systems total. One player per box? 16 boxes. Two players? Eight boxes. You get the picture. Now, there are plenty of good technical reasons why 16 players is the limit, but only in reference to Halo 2. If the game was simpler, smaller and dumber, you could fit loads more players in a server.
If, instead of battling Spartans and Elites throughout massive interactive levels, blowing up fusion cores, boarding tanks and flying Banshees, you simply moved cubes around a grassy maze, we could probably do 64. But no, we had to go with the whole Covenant/human/vehicle interaction model. Hence, 16 players. That makes for a nice balance of performance, graphics and gameplay balance.
While 24 players could have been stretched out (at the cost of other features) anything more would be stretching credulity. That said, it was never a wholly unreasonable rumor. And who's to say Bungie didn't consider it? But 16 it is.
I HEARD THERE'S FOUR PLAYER CO-OP!
Halo 2 will feature four player split-screen co-op play.
There's two player co-op, but that's it. Four player co-op is quite possible, but it would be a mess in split-screen. Spartans would overwhelm the Covenant with sheer weight of numbers. There'd be so many Spartans on your tiny split screen, that you'd have to blast through them just to get at the bad guys. It would also be absurdly easy. And with that many Spartans, we should probably be invading the Covenant Homeworlds, not the other way around.
Anyway four player co-op WOULD be a totally cool idea if each player had their own screen and rank. In fact the basis for that type of game is already in there, since AI players play valuable roles in the game. A player could simply assume the role of say, Sgt. Johnson, or an ODST. Or if they were totally weak and just liked flapping their lips instead of fighting, they could be Cortana. But none of that is in Halo 2. And of course, the usefulness of sharing a screen would be gone too.
Again, a sorta kinda believable rumor, that you wouldn't have to drink enormous amounts of Kool-Aid to believe. But it isn't true.
I HEARD THERE WILL BE MAD BOTS!
Halo 2 will feature AI opponents in multiplayer games.
We never mentioned bots. Not once. Except when we were saying, "No, there's really no bots." Or, "We don't think we can get bots in the game." Now, before I even start explaining why there's no bots, let me first preface my excuse by admitting that adding bots would be hard work. But that's not why they're not in there. Sure it would be extra slog, and extra time and lots of resources, but bots simply weren't in the plan.
After all, Halo 2 does feature nice, sturdy enemy AI, which has pathfinding, line of sight, auditory and other methods of finding good guys. Why not just apply that to bots? Well, it would be a lot harder than that for one thing, but more importantly. Halo 2 is a single and multiplayer game. We have a rock solid single player mode and rock solid multiplayer modes. Bots is a combination of the two.
But the really simple answer is that we're also not putting in a dance mode, or mini-games, or any other number of features that might or might not be cool. We're just sticking to the plan, and putting as much of it into practice as time allows.
Me personally? I don't like bots, except as filler. I don't take any satisfaction from shooting them, and I have never encountered a perfectly tuned bot. They seem to go from rock-like stupidity, to being able to kill you with the merest pass of gas, and don't visit the cozy area of feeling like a real opponent in between. Mind you, I haven't played everything.
Oh, if you're reading this, and you're seventy, a "bot" is a computer-controlled opponent that plays against you in otherwise empty multiplayer matches. And a computer is an electric box that thinks, just like a common monkey!
We never said there would be bots, but other games have them, so it's hardly a ridiculous theory.
I HEARD IT HAD ULTIMATE DOUBLE FISTING!
Players can dual-wield any weapon in the game.
Although dual rocket launchers could conceivably cause sanity issues, the real reason for that NOT being a possibility is the high stupidity factor involved. So all of the dual wieldable guns in Halo 2, are ones you could feasibly hold in a single hand. That means rifles, shotguns, launchers and anything else that would require the user to have a couple of hands available, cannot be dual-wielded.
This choice has the added bonus of not filling the Xbox Live servers with crazy, twin-rocket launching space-freaks who can also drive ATVs in zero G. And punch your soul off with a Fisticator.
Not totally crazy, since it is possible to look cool and fire a pump action shotgun with one hand, just massively impractical. And whatever you do, don't try to light a cigar while doing that.
I HEARD THERE WAS A LOST HALO!
Halo 1.5 is coming out for Xbox
In some ways, the ultimate rumor. We're two months from the launch of Halo 2, and people still think we might have time to squeeze in the mythical Halo 1.5 – an online enabled version of the original game with a few new maps and some graphical improvements. Well, the PC and Mac versions certainly have those features, but they're NOT Halo 1.5, they're simply Halo.
Halo 1.5 is a decent idea, but the fact remains, we were never working on it. We had to finish Halo and then devote every available resource to Halo 2. There was no time for monkey business.
We actually denied it as bunch of times. Vociferously in fact. If you go back and look at Bungie denials of the past, they invariably stick.