Bungie Studio’s tactical first person shooter Halo: Combat Evolved has been a controversial title since it was initially announced four years ago on the stages of the 1999 MacWorld Expo. With a grinning Steve Jobs looking on from the sidelines, executive Jason Jones took the spotlight and played a breathtaking movie, rendered in the game’s engine, that introduced the world to a new co-operative multiplayer, tactical first person shooter featuring incredible environments, jaw-dropping effects, and squad-based tactical gameplay with extensive use of vehicles unseen in any other title to date.
As the year unfolded, however, tumultuous changes occurred within Bungie, which resulted in the re-shaping of Halo into a mainly single-player console game, and released in time for the launch of Microsoft’s new Xbox. At the time of the Bungie sale to Microsoft, however, the executives of the award-winning development company made a promise that their company’s breathtaking new title would eventually get released on the Mac. Four years later, thanks to the tenacity of MacSoft President Peter Tamte, and the combined efforts of the hard working crews at Gearbox and Westlake Interactive, Halo will soon be playing on a Mac Near You.
Has this game been worth the wait? Are the computer versions Halo, still one of the Xbox’s best sellers two years after its initial release, going to send shockwaves through the gaming community like it’s Xbox predecessor? Read on and find out. One teaser, however – anybody refusing to play this title based on a pre-conceived bias towards Bungie is doing themselves a major disfavour. If all the press concerning this title is to be believed, Halo will be one of those extremely rare games that simply cannot be missed.
As announced recently on IMG, the PC port of Halo has been completed and is shipping to stores worldwide, while the Mac version of the game is currently listed as being at the Alpha stage. But to call the computer version of the game a “port” of the console game is misrepresenting the tremendous efforts poured into the title by the dozen or so programmers who have been eating, sleeping, and breathing Halo in the recent months. While the Mac & PC versions of Halo retain certain elements of the original console game, like the first person gameplay and the advanced AI and physics engines, most of the game has been retooled and refitted with new engines that take advantage of the very latest technologies found in today’s desktop computers.
The single player side of the game has been carried over to the computer versions of the game pretty much untouched. According to Gearbox president Randy Pitchford, the single player experience is what made Halo so popular on the Xbox, and will be presented to players untarnished. The multiplayer game, however, has completely changed from the Xbox version, and from the looks of it, Halo multiplayer might become the online game to play for quite some time to come.