When a game has 4 million preorders before the press even sees a running beta, the gaming press is downgraded to spectator status. Last Friday night’s Halo 3 preview event in San Francisco was a veritable who’s-who of gaming journalists – even the louder-than-life Editor-in-Chief of PC Gamer, Greg Vederman dropped by to see his console cousins’ prodigy at play.
We weren’t disappointed. Microsoft simply let us loose on the three new multiplayer maps and we entered the online Rumble Pit, where some very seasoned veterans lay in wait for the impotent press to drop into their online abattoir.
It’s not difficult to sense how differently Microsoft is treating the media concerning Halo 3. Simply put, it was obvious that they didn’t really care. Despite the fact that Halo is Microsoft’s baby – its system seller – there was to be no hand-holding; no controlled play sessions that Microsoft’s spin masters at Edelman PR are famous for. The train has already left the building, and the Halo juggernaut shall be deemed a commercial success before a critical gaze ever falls upon it.
Last year, developer Bungie unveiled an amazing Halo 3 trailer at E3 that set an impossibly high hurdle – but one that seemed justified after they claimed the excruciatingly high-definition preview was created A