Level: Composer

Level: Composer

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Experience the Level

The left column features videos and descriptions of the major events for each section.

Development and Analysis

The right column focuses on the planning, decisions, and iterations for the section.

This side also includes analysis of the section's successes and failures.

Approaching the Airlocks

An ONI soldier unseals the door the Master Chief will need to take to reach the automated defense controls.  The Chief reminds him to lock the door after he leaves—the Covenant is still desperately looking for the Composer, and these precautions are currently their best hope of keeping it hidden.

On the way to the defense control room, the Chief again encounters Covenant search parties.  This time, they're coming in from the other end of the station, where there are cargo airlocks that the enemies seem to be using as an easy way in...

Gameplay Video

This space starts out with a fun little quirk of development.  Since the Atrium's memory footprint is so large, we needed a small space that we could stop the player in while unloading that area and bringing in the ones ahead—a figurative "airlock" rather than the real airlocks the Chief is heading toward.

It's trifle of a scene, but it works to reinforce the idea that the ONI soldiers have locked down the Atrium... which is why the Didact has yet to discover the location of the Composer.

The next couple of hallways (before reaching the first Airlock room) are intended to put the player in a particular mindset.

As the Chief confronts a couple of Jackal enemies, an emergency lockdown triggers a door to close between the combatants.  This forces the player to look for an alternate route... a conveniently-opened maintenance passage gets him past the blockage and lets him sneak up on the Covenant on the other side.

The pattern plays out again immediately as the player runs into a different sort of obstacle—a Grunt manning a plasma turret emplacement (with an officer Elite behind him for good measure).  The player can certain tackle these threats head-on, but the hope is that they will still have fresh in their minds to look for an alternate passage that may be a better choice.  He who seeks, finds, naturally, a path that lets him approach unobserved, pick up a shotgun, and hit these two otherwise-difficult threats in an advantageous way.

First Airlock Room

The Chief here encounters a unique situation:  the Covenant are using the station's own airlocks to let search parties in to look for the Composer.

Before he can finish with each wave of reinforcements, a new one arrives from outside.  Each time the doors open, the fight gets more and more serious.

But the Chief is known for his tactical use of whatever tools are available and soon realizes that the Covenant's entry points can be used against them...  By triggering the airlocks from the inside, he's able to flush these boarding parties back out into space in a spectacular fashion!


Since this room introduces certain mechanics and a room two areas later pays off the player's understanding of them, it was important to consider the pair as a single whole experience so the challenge could ramp appropriately.

It isn't necessarily expected that the player would be in a position to trigger the airlock-ejection sequence during this fight (the two rounds of it happen quickly), but the player should comprehend that additional threats will be coming in via airlock and be prepared.

If that happens, all we need to do is hope they get lucky / curious and are in position when the interact button turns green...

There are a few additional elements of interest, like a path from the lower floor to the upper one and "secret paths" along some pipes to elevated platforms in the middle of the room, but these exist here mostly for symmetry:  since the next airlock room is virtually identical, the hope (again) is that the player will "learn" the room here and make use of those features the next time!

Gameplay Video

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