Have you had enough Halo 3 hype yet? Neither have we, so when we ran across this in-depth article on Wired about the science of Halo's play-testing, we sucked it up like a vacuum sucks dirt. The big question: How, exactly, does Bungie, the game's developer, make sure the Halo 3 gives players a "sense of speed and purpose?" In short, how do they ensure it rocks?
According to the article, playtesters have been running through Halo while Bungie employees (presumably wearing lab coats and carrying clipboards) monitor their frustration and/or boredom levels. Six hundred everyday gamers have played 3,000 hours of Halo 3, with Bungie tracking everything from favored weapons to how and where players most frequently get killed.
Data is crunched in maps to make sure players don't get lost too much. Multi-player battlefields are scanned to make sure neither side has an advantage over the other, and everything is scientifically tuned to make sure Halo 3 offers gamers something new and improves on the original two Halo titles.
We can't help but wonder if thousands of hours of play testing with hundreds of gamers making group decisions might mean a game that sinks to the middle level of enjoyment, like an overly focus-grouped Hollywood movie, bereft of originality and catering only to the most average of tastes. Maybe. Maybe not. Halo day will bring the answers.
Wired.com: Halo 3: How Microsoft Labs Invented a New Science of Play