Confused about Halo 3: Recon? Apparently some folks still are, so Bungie reps Luke Smith and Brian Jarrard wanted to get a few things out of the way, right off the bat, in our lovely afternoon Q&A session. Halo 3: Recon is not a tactical squad based shooter. Halo 3: Recon is not Splinter Cell: Halo. Halo 3: Recon is not Brothers In Arms: Halo. And there's a very, very good chance you'll never, ever run into Master Chief.
He, and the rest of the familiar Halo cast, won't be popping up for cameos. They're busy "relaxing" on the Delta Halo, saving the world and stuff. So what is Halo 3: Recon?
Halo 3: Recon is a first-person shooter, one that's going to feel very much like a Halo game; if it ain't broke, don't fix it, basically. Instead of playing a super space marine, however, you'll play an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper (ODST), one who's not quite so burly or bad-ass.
That means you'll have to pick and choose your battles a bit more carefully than one faceless Spartan would.
Recon is a standalone release, not part of a title update or downloadable content. It will come with new Achievements totaling 1000 Gamerscore and a new aesthetic. The single player campaign, in which your ODST will clean up a Covenant infested city in New Mombasa, will feature plenty of dark, nighttime play.
That said, Bungie says "We're not viewing this as a full game." How that affects Recon's pricing, however, is still to be decided.
Should gamers view it as Bungie's metaphorical Half-Life: Opposing Force, giving Halo fans an alternate look at the events of previous games or merely a contract obligating Guitar Hero: Rocks the 80s?
"I would think of it as our Frozen Throne," Luke Smith told us, pointing to Warcraft III's expansion as the best comparison.
Recon's multiplayer, however, is essentially Halo 3's multiplayer. That means saved films, four-player coop and the map editor Forge will work seamlessly with the expansion. But outside of a new bundle of maps, expect the proven same-old, same-old online play that currently satisfies some 900,000 unique Halo 3 players a day.
And now for the bad news: it appears that there are no plans for a Legendary-style Orbital Drop Shock Trooper helmet that one can trick out their cat with. Shame. What will our nation's retailers clog up their warehouses with, come Spring 2009?