Sunday, June 07, 2009

Halo 3: ODST Gameplay Trailer, Content and Pricing Revealed

At E3, Microsoft Game Studios and Bungie released the first gameplay trailer for their upcoming stand-alone expansion: Halo 3: ODST. Set during the events of Halo 2, Halo 3: ODST sees players stepping into the shoes of the Rookie, an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper who's deployed with his squad to New Mombassa in a battle to resist Covenant occupation of the city.

Sweet, just awesome. The intro looks stellar, and the twists from the Halo norm on gameplay look invigorating. I'm also absolutely psyched for Firefight, Halo 3:ODST's own version of Horde from Gears of War 2.

With the DLC milkage train on high speed, expansion sets are a thing of the past. Gone are the days of quality add-ons, and today we're saturated with nothing but overpriced, lower quality gameplay add-ons.

Not so with Bungie. With Halo 3: ODST, we're getting a full fledged expansion set featuring the following:

- a new Campaign, about 5 hours in length
- Firefight Co-Op mode
- 3 Weapons not featured in Halo 3 (A silenced SMG, a silenced/scoped Pistol, return of the Brute Plasma Rifle)
-Every Halo 3 Multiplayer Map Pack released to date
- 3 additional Halo 3 Multiplayer Maps
- An invitation to the Halo: Reach beta in 2010

That, my friends, is one hell of a solid expansion set and should set a standard for other lazy developers. Should, sadly, is the key word here. Then comes along Microsoft Game Studios to fuck it all up.

An expansion set is not a full game, it's not a new game. Simply put, an expansion set is meant to add in an extensive amount of new content to an existing game while we wait for a proper sequel. It invigorates that title a year or so after release and, well, expands its gameplay. That's why expansion sets always retail for $10.00 to $30.00 below retail cost; they're not a full retail game.

Halo 3: ODST will retail for $69.99. There will also be a Halo 3: ODST Collector's Pack bundled with a special edition Wireless Controller for $100.00 (US).

I went completely Brute-shit when I found this out. You're telling me, Microsoft Game Studios, that you're expecting me to pay full retail price for an expansion set!?!? And one with only a 5 hour Campaign at that! I'm sorry, but no matter the quality, no matter the developer, no matter the IP, no expansion set is worth full retail cost.

This is simply an insult, a berserk punch in the face, and sadly, business. The industry is bastardized yet again. Look at any forum on the interweb, and most gamers are singing Halo 3: ODST's praise, anxiously "preparing to drop" full retail price on a product that doesn't even contain the content of a full retail game.

It's sad really, how many lemmings there are in the gaming gene pool. Heck, it's cause of lemmings that the DLC milkage machine is doing so well.

So, this means I won't be getting Halo 3: ODST at launch, though I'll rent it if I can. $49.99 is the maximum cost I'd be willing to pay for a stand-alone expansion in today's market, and that's at the extreme upper echelon. Compare the contents of Halo 3: ODST to another recent expansion, like The Elder Scrolls IV: Shivering Isles to see what I mean regarding content and cost. That expansion retailed for only $34.99, and was well worth that cost.

For those still interested, the Halo 3: ODST site has been re-launched with loads of new details here.

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