Some new rumours about the third instalment in the Halo series are doing the rounds, thanks to some bloke who claims his mate's uncle works for Bungie. [As the always-enjoyable Kotaku notes, "Yeah, it's that reliable." - Ed]
According to his post on the Team Xbox message board, Halo 3 will have a "darker and more gritty" storyline, though there's thankfully no mention of urban settings or gangster turf wars as yet. The opening scenes are set "thousands of years before the timeline of the original Halo: Combat Evolved", apparently.
We're told that Bungie is "attempting to maintain an online co-operative component for the campaign supporting more than two players at once," and that Halo 3 "will have a multiplayer mode which pits players against bots in scenarios that are directly connected to the story of the game." They're aiming to support more than fifty players on Xbox Live for certain maps, too.
Zanzibar, Sidewinder and Hang Em High will be available in multiplayer mode, but "completely reworked. Zanzibar will be mangled and torn apart as though after the battle, the sky will be dark red. Sidewinder will have four legs instead of just two, with bases at each end. Hang Em High will have a massive tree at its center and the structure will be deteriorated."
The poster also says that Bungie is working on a map editor and movie maker for the game, so you can send and receive maps and movies via Xbox Live. "This would apparently be on a separate disc, and they have an entire team working just on these projects." Gosh.
He adds that he "can't confirm" whether or not these rumours are true, since he's just taking his mate's word "at face value." Hrm. Microsoft was unavailable for comment.
There's no official release date for Halo 3 as yet, but none other than Bill Gates himself has has previously suggested it'll be out next spring, to coincide with the launch of the PS3. We'll keep you posted.