She's beaten Halo 3

Sept 7, 2007

Writing about videogames for a living definitely has its perks. Exclusive parties. Cool coworkers. Enough free t-shirts to clothe a small nation.

But the real reason we get into this business, of course, is to play all the games. Better yet? Experiencing them days, weeks, maybe even months before anyone else. And best of all? Knowing you're the first person to play something PERIOD.

So imagine what it must feel like to be the first journalist - in fact, the first hardcore fan outside of Bungie and Microsoft - to complete the biggest and most anticipated product of the year, Halo 3. You've battled through every mission... competed on every multiplayer map... watched every cut scene, including the ending to the entire trilogy.

Imagine no more. That journalist - Francesca Reyes, Editor-in-Chief of Official Xbox Magazine - works right down the hall from GamesRadar (another lucky perk of the job, eh?). We talked to her about her one-of-a-kind trip to Bungie to finish the fight before anyone else.

Editor's Note: Look for Fran's 10-page (!) review of Halo 3 in the next issue of Official Xbox Magazine, hitting newsstands the same day the game releases, September 25.

GamesRadar: You're the first journalist - the first fan outside of Bungie and Microsoft - to see and play Halo 3 in its entirety. How does it feel?

Francesca Reyes, Editor-in-Chief of Official Xbox Magazine: You know? I think I was kind of in a state of shock for most of it, especially after I finished the campaign. I was happy, yes - but it didn't really hit me until I was back in San Francisco and eating a big bowl of ramen at some neighborhood joint. I sat there at the table with my bowl of ramen and a copy of Wired (the one with Master Chief on the cover which I bought for the flight home) - and I thought to myself: Wow. I can't believe I just did something that hundreds of thousands of people have been waiting years to do. I can't believe I just did something that I'VE been waiting years to do. It was one of those epiphany moments when I got really, really happy and realized how much I loved my job. You kinda wanted to call all your friends up and blab on and on…but because I'm still under embargo, I can't exactly do that, so I have to just be happy knowing what happened, even if I can't tell anyone about it.

GamesRadar: How difficult has it been to stay quiet? Are people bugging you for information? Besides us?

Fran: Hella hard. You want to really go into detail and tell people everything you saw and played, but you can't. I mean, because of the nature of how we do the magazine, we have to share information among the OXM staff - but other than that, mum's the word, really.

Charlie Barratt
I enjoy sunshine, the company of kittens and turning frowns upside down. I am also a fan of sarcasm. Let's be friends!