Today marks a very special day on a Halo fan's calender, a day that will likely leave many of us feeling old. In case you wasn't already aware, today marks the 5th Anniversary of Halo: Reach.
Released on the 14th of September 2010, Halo: Reach was the second title in the series to follow characters other than the Master Chief as well as to offer as a prequel to the original Halo: Combat Evolved (Unless you read the book Fall of Reach, in which case you probably find the game's campaign to be blasphemy). SALTYSNAKEee is salty.
The game's existence (regardless of what you think to how it fits in with the overall Halo lore) is quite symbolic and poetic as it signifies Bungie going full circle on their 10 year legacy with the original Halo trilogy before the passing of the torch to our new overlords at 343 Industries.
To give you a refresher on Halo: Reach's campaign it follows Noble Team of which YOU, yes you have become their sixth member (a hyper lethal vector, no less). You know the end before the beginning *SPOILER ALERT* Reach is glassed, the Pillar of Autumn escapes the planet carrying our lord and saviour; the Master Chief, and the journey along the way can only be described as a 'who can have the noblest death' competition.
Gameplay-wise the game had a fantastic co-op campaign in my own personal opinion, with classic infantry play, vehicular shenanigans, a stealthy night-time mission leaving you feeling like a ninja assassin and oh did I mention that there was dogfight with the covenant in space? Pew pew pew.
The meat and potatoes in the longevity of the overall game's appeal is it's wide array of multiplayer options on offer with matchmaking for every aspect of the game; Campaign, Arena Multiplayer and Firefight, you never had to play any of it alone. Along with all of this vanilla content Halo: Reach also had a fantastic range of tools for user content creation with players able to create custom gametypes for Multiplayer and Firefight, Screenshots and choreographed film clips with Theatre Mode and a remastered Forge Mode that allowed for the creation of custom maps that could be built from scratch where a $10k budget and your imagination was the limit!
Partially thanks to it's appearance as a free title on Games with Gold last year, Halo: Reach is still the most active and most played Halo title to date and is really standing the test of time.
Here's what some other members of the staff here at HaloCustoms had to say about Reach retrospectively;
Debbie: By the time Halo Reach first released in September of 2010, I was already a well established forger in Halo 3. The forging in that game had a fairly heavy reliance on glitches and techniques, such as interlocking, geomerging, and ghost merging for example. Halo Reach eliminated all of that. The physics of phased objects allowed players to freely move pieces into whatever orientation without other obstructions getting in the way. The coordinate system allowed players to accurately place objects to a 3D grid. And, if anyone still wanted to place objects free-handed, we had precision editing for the first time. Even though I wasn't the biggest fan of Reach overall, I must praise the Forge and custom games that helped revolutionize the Halo series into what it has become today. Halo 3 started it all, but Halo Reach certainly pushed it forward.
Duck: It's strange to think that it's been five years since Reach was released. I remember the day it came out: I was in high school, dying to get home and play the game all day. That evening, I played through the first mission or two of the campaign and then played some multiplayer before diving into forge for a few hours. Many of my best memories from the Halo community come from Reach.
Reach was an imperfect game. Its campaign, while incredibly well-designed, rewrote established canon. Its multiplayer, while chock-full of amazing custom game options and enhanced by powerful new forge tools, was a departure from the competitive foundation of the series' past. Reach was a mixed bag, but the aforementioned custom game options and forge tools were enough to make it the pinnacle of the forge and custom game community's history.
My best memories from Reach are of the "summer of BTB". MockKnizzle, Flying Shoe ILR, and myself began designing squad/BTB maps together and played them night after night throughout the summer after Reach came out. It was incredibly fun and became a big part of the foundation of our design experience with the mode.
While it has in many ways been downhill since this time for much of the Halo community, I am confident that that can change with the release of Halo 5. We'll just have to wait and see.
Shoe: I'd fiddled about in Forge in Halo 3, but I really didn't get started until Reach came out. I remember seeing the Forge World vidoc on my birthday and falling out of my seat in excitement. Without Reach's vastly improved forge I doubt I'd have been a part of the Halo community to the extent that I am now. All of my time forging is what led me to want to become a level designer, and consequently what decided on my path through college. I owe a lot to this game, and I can't wait to be able to play it again in November!
So with just over a month left before we continue our journey with Halo 5: Guardians, let's wish a Happy 5th Birthday to Halo: Reach. Why not contribute with your own memories and you've had with Halo: Reach over the past 5 years below?