My level of excitement for new Halo games has dropped off over the years, as the series’ refinements stopped adding up to anything radically different. But a new feature in the upcoming Halo: Reach sounds like a game-changer, and it has nothing to do with shooting.
I’ll just quote Ars Technica’s Ben Kuchera, who got to sample the game’s multiplayer ahead of next month’s public beta:
You also have social settings to choose from, to make sure you play with people who match your style. Do you talk? Are you quiet? Do you play competitively, or simply to enjoy yourself? Do you go Rambo, or enjoy teamwork? Do you like a polite game, or are you a trash talker? By adjusting all these options you’ll be able to filter out people whose play styles may be distasteful, allowing you a better play experience.
The idea is so simple, yet so smart, that I wonder why no one’s thought of it before. Essentially, you’ll be able to play with like-minded people without manually cultivating lists of online friends. Given how obnoxious some online gamers can be, this could breathe new life into Xbox Live.
I’m reminded of when Halo 2 introduced matchmaking more than five years ago. The game automatically found players, created teams and chose maps to play on. At the time, online console games made you manually select from a list of open matches, and if you weren’t quick to join one, they’d fill up and you’d have to refresh the list. This system became unpopular as other games mimicked what Halo 2 pioneered.
The same thing ought to happen with Halo: Reach’s social settings, provided the developer, Bungie, can properly execute the concept.