Halo 'Blue' emerges, could be a bit Gears-like

"Darker, grittier" squad-based gameplay and no Master Chief rumoured

Fresh rumours have emerged on Bungie's E3 announcement, which is now said to be called 'Halo Blue' thanks to a Walmart product listing on the retailer's intranet.

The new instalment has already been rumoured to not star series protagonist Master Chief, and supposedly it'll be fully unveiled at Microsoft's E3 press conference this evening, which is under 12 hours away.

US site Gamespot has added to the rumour pile, claiming that the new Halo is a "darker, grittier" squad shooter in the vein of Ghost Recon or Gears of War.

The premise supposedly follows a group of colonial marines on the ground, with the entire squad controllable via Xbox Live co-op. Oh yes...

According to the site, the new game is also "less cartoony" and more styled towards the live-action shorts filmed for the launch of Halo 3, which sounds pretty damn appealing to us.

The 'Halo Blue' name - if it doesn't turn out to be just a cyan action figure on Walmart's database - could also mean that the new game follows Blue Harvest, the famous Covenant battle from Halo lore. Or maybe we're being really nerdy.

So far searches for 'Halo Blue' at the US Copyright Office have brought up nothing, and the domain is registered to a Canadian production company.

Only a few hours to wait...