There is no denying that Halo: Combat Evolved has left its mark on the console industry forever. The title was originally destined for the Mac, then the PC, and as a result of Microsoft’s purchase of the developer, it has spawned into the international console-gaming phenomenon it exists as today.
Bungie began life as a developer of games on the Macintosh platform. They released a list of absolutely phenomenal titles, but this IS the Mac were talking about, the titles didnt sell great. Now go to 2001. The CES show in March was where Microsoft made the announcement that they were entering the console business. Almost over night, an army of skeptics filled with legions of Sony and Nintendo fanboys and haters of Microsoft was formed. Publishers and developers were wary of the console’s potential success or failure.
However, one man on the Microsoft side who was well acquainted with the games industry knew you needed quality to survive. That man was Ed Fries. By listening to his wise words on the status of a certain development house’s track record of great games, Bungie was purchased in June of 2001. Microsoft was now armed with a very formidable weapon in their gaming arsenal.
It is now November 15, 2001. Xbox launch, and the console has one of the best launch title line-ups of any console, ever. Commercials were played nearly everywhere, at any time, and people knew it was coming. There were also loads of commercials for the games as well, including one very memorable one (The “She kicks high” one comes to mind.), but the Halo commercial didnt stand out as much as say, the DOA or Oddworld ones. But what was hidden by a not as memorable commercial, was one of the best FPS, ever. The game was simply incredible. Boasting clean, great looking graphics, a smooth framerate, tight controls that functioned perfectly on a game controller (one of the main gripes most FPS players have with console versions), and a mind blowing story, something few and far between in most FPS.
However, the star of the show is undoubtedly the multiplayer. Its the reason that even three years after the game’s release, people haul their console’s, TV’s, and controllers over to their friend’s houses (or dorm basements, in many cases) to get games of 8, 12, and 16 people going all at it, playing Slayer, CTF, and whatever mode they fancied. In fact, its because of the inclusion of online multiplayer, that Halo 2 is even that much more anticipated.
The first gameplay footage of Halo 2 was seen at e3 2003. The surprise footage sent people into conniptions of excitement, and its rumored that somebody’s head exploded (yet to be verified). The internet was instantly set ablaze. The Xbox had its messiah. The, at the time, fledgling Xbox Live service was given a gift from god, an instant hit that would make people sign up for the service, or even in the extreme, get broadband servive. E3 2004 was filled to the brim with even more Halo 2 goodness, with multiplayer details galore, and something fans wanted more than anything: a release date. November 9th 2004 was set to become a day in gaming history.
In 14 days, the gaming world will be rocked harder than its ever been rocked before. Halo 2 has already shattered the pre-order record with relative ease, and it seems this is no mere game release: This is an EVENT. And frankly, you had best prepare accordingly for this event. Stock up on food. Quit your job, or drop out of school. Halo 2 will be more than merely addicting, Halo 2 will consume your soul.