The Halo Reach Sandbox

Game Informer once again has been given a scoop interview with the Bungie Kids in a discussion about the Halo Reach sand box. By 'sand box' it is meant the weapons and other items that a Spartan or Elite can carry... bring it on then!

Here's some exceprts:

How many of the weapons, armor abilities, levels, and other features will be available to play in the upcoming public beta, in comparison with the final retail build several months later?

The public beta is going to include a huge chunk of Reach sandbox goodness. I think players will actually be surprised at how much is there, but in order to maintain the core game experience and get useful feedback, we needed to include a well-rounded offering. Suffice it to say there will still be surprises waiting in the final game this fall.
We hear there are some new weapons that will be available during the beta. Can you walk us through those?

One new weapon we’ve yet to really talk about is the focus rifle. This is the Covenant really long-range “reach out and burn your face off” sniper-slot weapon. We didn’t want to make just another sniper rifle, but we did want to fulfill that type of role so we made the focus rifle that utilizes a slightly different, “tracking” skillset. It’s not an instant kill weapon, it does significant damage, but you need to hold it on your opponent for approximately one and a half seconds to kill them. It’s more about long range suppression than instant death, but it still falls into the category of pseudo “power weapon” so it won’t be all over the map or included in load-outs.

Another new weapon in the beta is the plasma repeater. It’s basically the Elite answer to the assault rifle.

We needed a good equivalent to the AR that we could include in multiplayer but not have it break the campaign. We needed to leave the plasma rifle as fairly weak with slower projectiles in single-player to fight against but we also needed something similar, but better, for the Elites to wield in multiplayer. It is their “jack of all trades, master of none” mid-range weapon. The main defining aspect is that it’s heat-based.

Can you explain the concept of a “load-out” in Halo: Reach? How much flexibility will players have to dictate their own load-out before a match begins?

Load-outs let players pick from a set of weapons and armor abilities, suited to their play style, which they’ll get access to when they spawn. For example, the “Airborne” load-out includes the jetpack, assault rifle, and magnum. The available load-out options will vary depending on which gametype is being played. In matchmaking this is something Bungie will configure but in custom games, players will be able to define their own load-out options. Things get very interesting in team games as players coordinate their load-outs and respective strategies while their opponents counter with their own tactics.
Will all the weapons and armor abilities be unlocked for players from the start, or is there some process to unlock them?

Nothing needs to be unlocked or “earned.” All the weapons and abilities in the game will be available from the outset but not all will be included in every campaign mission or multiplayer gametype. There will be plenty of items to unlock in the armory to customize your Spartan but they are strictly visual upgrades.

How many armor abilities will players be able to utilize during the beta? Can you tell us something about each of them?

An ability that we haven’t talked about yet is Armor Lock. It’s kind of a throwback to the old school bubble shield but you always have it on your person and it’s intended to keep you safe. It’s kind of like a block. If your opponent closes on you with a shotgun or is about to land a melee blow or run you over with a vehicle, you can engage Armor Lock and become temporarily invulnerable. You can’t move, aim, or shoot. You’re stuck there, but you can’t be killed. You can do that up to three times on one charge or you can do one sustained lock for a few seconds.

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