Seven hours of Halo

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

I finished Halo 3 this weekend and can safely report it is an excellent game. However, I also started the game this weekend and can similarly confirm a fear I had well before beginning -- it is also a very short game. On normal difficulty, the single-player campaign took me about seven hours to complete, which seems way too short.

I remember asking Mike Zak, environment art lead for game developer Bungie Studios, about this very fear -- and how long the single-player game should take -- when I interviewed him last month, and he pretty well glossed around giving a direct answer. With the rise of online gaming, it seems developers are giving short-shrift to the single-player modes in their games in favour of creating deeper multiplayer experiences.

But there are tons of gamers that want nothing to do with the online world. Sure, if you can get your friends on the same game at the same time it's lots of fun, but I've found that entering into games with the general public usually results in one of two (if not both) results: very quick and very frequent in-game deaths and defeats at the hands of people who obviously live and breathe the game and are thus far more skilled, or a constant barrage of ignorant verbal profanity from the good number of morons on Xbox Live.

Nevertheless, such is the tide of progress and far be it from me to stand in its way. But here are a couple of ideas that could help the single players out there. How about creating two versions of a game -- one single-player-mode-only disc and another fully featured disc with all the multiplayer capability built in. The single player disc would, of course, come at a discount -- say $40 -- while the full-featured version would be fully priced, at $70. That will probably never happen, so how about a mandated approximate run-time on the back of the box, similar to what DVDs have? Surely if single-player gamers are being asked to plop down $70 for a game, they should know approximately how much enjoyment they're going to get out of it, and thus decide if it's worth their money?