We said Fall 2007, but did you expect Halo 3’s release date to be just two days into the Fall? On September 25, 2007 (just two days after the Autumnal Equinox), players will be able to finish the fight they started in Halo: Combat Evolved and continued in Halo 2. Halo 3 will release in Europe on September 26, 2007. Worldwide dates may vary slightly depending on local rules and conditions.
What does a release date mean to the team, aside from a concrete date when folks can go home to their wives and children? I chatted with Executive Producer Jonty Barnes, to see how announcing a release date affects Bungie.
Q: Jonty, describe what your day to day job at Bungie entails:
As Executive Producer on Halo 3, pretty much every day is different. Essentially at this point in the project all the hard-planned scheduling time is behind us and we’re no longer reevaluating or unblocking dependencies we’re moving into polish the game.
What this means is when I’m looking at the game now it’s a representative experience and working with the team to make targeted and iterative improvements.
Today’s world is more about design polish and using feedback from the Public Beta to make improvements. Plus fixing enough bugs and keeping the team sane.
Q: September 25 is the big day, does announcing the release date actually change anything internally for Bungie?
A: Nope not much for Bungie, that’s been the plan for months and months. The only thing it does however is make the end seem very, very real to people.
To be honest, the critics in the studio are those who drive and stress the team the most. External dates and announcements just bring home the excitement and expectation the public has for the game, and this makes the hard work feel worth it.
Q: Previously, making games at Bungie has been described as “trying to assemble a cathedral in a hurricane,” does this metaphor apply to Halo 3’s process? Give us your own, appropriately British and erudite metaphor to describe Halo 3’s development cycle this time?
A: Hmm… it’s more like a swarm of ants devouring a food mountain at a picnic with rain clouds heading towards us.
This time around the team is bigger and more coordinated, the goals are known but the scope is greater than we’re used to, and irrespective of being far more organized it’s not without chaotic elements looming… not least September 25th.
Q: In terms of snack foods, how crunchy is a Bungie Crunch?
A: Like a meteor hitting a sea of Doritos.
The concluding third of the Halo trilogy takes place on September 25, but other major events dot history's horizon. Here's a few, courtesy of the Internet.
1513 Vasco Nunez de Balboa is 1st European to see Pacific Ocean
1639 1st printing press in America
1926 Henry Ford announces 8 hour, 5-day work week
1956 The first trans-Atlantic telephone cable is put into service from Oban, Scotland to Clarenville, Newfoundland.
1970 Ringo releases his "Beaucoups of Blues" album
1992 "Barry Manilow's Showstoppers" opens at Paramount New York City