Halo 2 Announced
By Matt Soell
August 8, 2002
After Halo shipped, a lot of people assumed they knew what Bungie would do next. "Of course they'll do a sequel to Halo," went the prevailing wisdom. "They'd be stupid not to capitalize on the success of the first game. And there are so many loose ends to tie up. Yeah, there's definitely a sequel in the works." So it may not come as a surprise to you, dear readers, that we formally announced Halo 2 at X02 in New York City this morning.
I think I can assume that anyone reading about Halo 2 on Bungie's own Halo site probably knows the basics already. You already know Halo 2 is the sequel to Halo. You already know Halo walked off with a ton of rave reviews and Game-of-the-Year awards. You already know the bar has been raised and expectations for a sequel are high. You already know Bungie has no intention of disappointing anyone.
What you really want to know is: "What does it look like? What's new? What's the solo campaign all about? What about multiplayer?" And of course the all-important "When can I get my hands on it?"
The game itself is everything you loved about the original Halo, but with all the knobs turned up to 11 this time round. This is not a quickie "Halo 1.5" follow-up using the same engine. We are using a completely rewritten graphics engine which allows our artists to work in previously unimaginable complexity and detail. Anyone who thinks the original Halo stretched the Xbox's graphical abilities to the limit is mistaken. There are gorgeous new realms to be explored, and Halo 2 will take you there. There will be several new weapons in addition to the reliable old standards from the first game. Not to mention the new vehicles you'll ride into battle. Or the many new enemies you'll face. If you had a hard time with the handful of Covenant races you met in the first game, you may wish to start practicing now; you'll need it when they unleash the rest of their army.
Halo 2 returns you to the role of the Master Chief - still humanity's best weapon against the Covenant. Their defeat at Halo was only temporary, and they are pursuing their goal - the complete obliteration of humankind - with renewed zeal. Human military forces are exhausted and unable to stave off the Covenant's rapid advance toward Earth. Even with the Master Chief back in action, the situation looks dire - and this is at the beginning of the game, before things get a lot worse. In true Bungie tradition, the solo campaign in Halo 2 deepens and expands upon the story that began in the first game: old questions will be answered, new mysteries will unfold, and the truly epic nature of the story will finally be revealed.
Multiplayer is an entirely different kettle of fish. Halo 2 is designed from the ground up to support internet multiplayer games over Xbox Live™. You're no longer limited to playing LAN games against friends who live nearby. What's more, the multiplayer experience is being completely redesigned. The first Halo offered just a glimpse of what we originally had in mind; now, in Halo 2, our designers' vision will come to glorious, explosive fruition.
In all honesty, your humble author is a bit giddy with excitement over this game, and I think you will be too. For a quick look at what you can expect to see, check out our Screenshots section. There are seven new Halo 2 screenshots available, including three shots exclusive to bungie.net. These are taken from the Halo 2 trailer shown to the press this morning, which will be released to the internet soon. While you're there, we've also got four glorious new desktops to spiff up your computer. We'll have plenty of Halo 2 coverage here at bungie.net in the months ahead, so be sure to check back.