Bungie has been dropping hints about the exploratory nature of Halo 3's campaign levels, but caution against us getting all excited about how freeform it is.
In the usual weekly website update, webmaster Frank O'Connor said he'd been playing the campaign mode "purely for kicks". "Exploring, in fact. There's lots of the feel of the original Halo, where you'll find yourself in a huge (dangerous) and intrinsically fascinating environment and just want to go tool around and check things out," he wrote.
"At this stage in development, the encounters are very carefully placed. Sometimes that means you're in frantic firefights (on a significantly bigger scale than in Halo 2, although all I will confirm numerically is at least one more Grunt) but there's also time for exploratory reflection and the, 'Oooh, maybe I can climb up there and check that thing out,' sort of play," he said.
But he added a qualifier too. "Don't get me wrong. It's not GTA - it's still Halo, but there's a bigger feeling scope to some of these levels that has me reminiscing about the original game. And yet, conversely, I'm super excited about the new stuff. Using the debug menu, I dropped in a couple of items of new equipment. Maybe they're for killing, maybe they're for getting around, maybe they're for both. Who's to say?"
Well, apparently not Frankie. Not now anyway. More Halo murmurings as and when.