Exclusive Halo 3 Q&A

With the Halo 3 Beta now just a collection of fading memories and YouTube videos, the question remains: how different will the final game be from what we saw? As you may have read earlier, when we asked Brian Jarrard, Bungie Community Lead, he told us that "anything and everything can and will change." But he had a lot morebeans to spillthan just that. So now, as promised, here's that interview in full:

What type of data were you hoping to get from the Halo 3 Beta test period?
Our primary goal was gathering valuable networking and infrastructure data from the real world at a large scale. And after 750,000+ unique players, 7.3 million games and nearly 600,000 shared files, we got all the data we needed and more.

In your view, how effective has the Beta been in achieving this?
The beta was a complete success in terms of the information and data we were trying to obtain. Halo 3 does a lot of new things – most notably allowing people to share large files all across the internet – and it was imperative that we had large scale testing to ensure the final product would live up to the expectations of our community.

What things are you planning to change in the full release game as a result of the Beta?
Some infrastructure changes were made immediately, within the first two days of the beta. We quickly realized that we were a bit under-equipped there and by the second day we had greatly expanded hardware and servers to handle the load. The data also allows our engineers to really evaluate the networking code and make sure matchmaking is working as expected, that people are having good experiences with varying degrees of latency and we wanted to see how the ranking and experience system performed in the wild. Everything in Halo 3 continues to be honed and fine tuned leading up to our release in September.

What map has been best received by the fans and why do you think this is?
This is a little bit of a toss-up depending on who you ask - but overall I’d probably say High Ground was slightly ahead of Valhalla. The reasons will also vary depending on who you ask but I reckon it’s got a lot to do with how accessible yet deep the map is. It works wonderfully for 1 flag CTF matches and it has a variety of conflict points and ways to breech the map. It mixes indoor and outdoor combat and includes vehicles. It really offers something for everyone and visually it’s pretty incredible.