Halo 3's first in-game footage inside

The very first Halo 3 footage has now been released, and we've got it, right up there behind that Movies tab. Open the video player and give the one titled "Et Tu Brutes video documentary 12-20-06" a click to see a seven-minute-long trailer for Halo 3that appeared on Xbox Live Marketplace. It reveals a horde of new details about how developer Bungie has beefed up the Brutes. Plus it shows off the first footage of Campaign mode and reveals the team's own disappointment with Halo 2.

The video documentary doesn't feature finalized graphics from the game but still manages to look very nice, while also teasing us with plenty of little nuggets of detail about this - the most anticipated sequel ever. So get right-clicking on that Movies tab right now.

Above: The Brutes have been redesigned and given new animations and habits to make them more interesting.

The first surprise as you watch the clip will be how, even at this late stage, it looks so much like the original game. The levels are clearly larger than the ones found in Halo 2, though, with bigger open spaces and less of the linear sections that lead you though the game via unbranching tunnels.

Seasoned Master Chief players will notice how the action seems to be a little faster than before, with the Brutes closing on the Chief more quickly and firefights seeming a little more frantic and crammed.

The second key bit of knowledge to take home from the trailer is how the action now looks more brutal; along with seeing one of the redesigned Brutes ripping both a Marine's arms off, we see a dual wielding Elite and a Brute using a sword. The same animation tests also reveal that, instead of merely swiping with the swords, the Elite can now plunge their blades into a Brute's chest, rather than just cutting them with it.

And that isn't all; really keen-eyed fans will spot that a fourth grenade type appears on the slightly Metroid-inspired new HUD. Is it another hint at thenew shield device seen in the previous trailer? We just don't know at the moment but our forum will be the ideal place to debate it.

December 20, 2006