Much like Uncharted 2: Among Thieves demonstrated in 2009, Halo: Reach will be expected to deliver an experience that not only speaks highly of its developer, but also of the technological capabilities and commercial identity of its home platform. Whereas Halo 3: ODST was built upon Bungie's 2007 space hoop outing (has it already been that long?), the developer tells Edge that its next shooter is already "bending the Xbox as far as it'll bend." Surely that voids the warranty?

"We are... taking every advantage of everything on the CPU and GPU, and every bit of memory in order to produce the look of Reach beyond anything of Halo 3, " creative director Marcus Lehto noted, attributing the evolution -- which also benefits the size of environments and complexity of the AI -- to increased understanding of the hardware. "We're pushing it as far as we can go," Lehto said. "With every iteration we understand what more we can exploit with the hardware."

Chalk up another win for longer console life cycles -- and for long-running franchises.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.