Saturday, July 30, 2011
The Halo Bulletin: 7/27/11
Is that a ring in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?
Sometimes, when you meet that special someone, you know with every fiber of your being that they’re the one for you. It could be the sight of the sun dancing along their visor. It could be the way their soft flesh is encased in their battle-hardened armor. Or perhaps it’s simply because they put the “super” in super-soldier. Regardless, it’s all those things and more that pushed you to finally put a ring on it. A very beautiful—and very large—diamond ring, as a matter of fact. Heck, if you can’t give the love of your life a Halo ring, you might as well give ‘em the next best thing, right?
While you may think I’m trying my hand at writing a Halo-themed fairy tale, this was actually a not-so-little event that took place in front of the Rooster Teeth booth last Saturday in the midst of a bustling San Diego Comic-Con. After performing a scene from a particularly memorable episode of Red vs. Blue, Matt, who was dressed up as Tucker, whipped off his helmet, dropped to one knee, and asked Sister—known in the real world as Grace—if she would marry him. I can neither confirm nor deny the rumor that she accepted. However, I can divulge that the resulting embrace was long, strong, and about to get the friction on.
While my words may be perfect for a rap track, I’m not sure they convey the occasion adequately. Therefore, I’d like to request your presence at the play button belonging to the following video. Upon your arrival, please tap it. I mean, hit it. I mean… watch a couple of Spartans as they prepare to ditch Lone Wolves for a lifetime of Double Team!
Romance wasn't the only thing in the air at this year’s Comic-Con, though. Many a Halo word was released into the wild, making their way not only to avid attendees’ ears but also into numerous videos recording the big moments that took place throughout the extended weekend. Who better to tell the tale than Frankie, who sat on the panels, signed the books, and shared a slew of information?
My name is Frankie, and I’m a water-aholic.
Just across the street at the Hard Rock, however, a very lovely lady hooked us up with more capacious and convenient accommodations. Thanks to her. I believe her name was Sara but she was shining like a Madonna from a Renaissance painting, and her loveliness blinded me to whatever was on her nametag.
We arrived on Thursday and our panels were all the following day, but we did attend the Microsoft Xbox showcase the night before and got to play and check out a bunch of our mothership’s content, including Forza, Cliffy’s latest Gears carnage and the insanely addictive Kinect Fruit Ninja. I also looked at, listened to, and literally sniffed the incredible Star Wars Limited Edition Xbox 360 with the help of Richard Velasquez—who also helped us bring the Reach console to fruition last year.
The other thing I did that night was become the subject of mockery and animated gifs as I did some ad hoc interviews with press and bloggers. [Editor’s note: If anybody has links to said gifs, please post them in the discussion thread. I may or may not need them for blackmail purposes.] Apparently my hotel-experience-gas-face had carried over from earlier, because I look like I am about to barf. I did not barf. And I was sober in spite of internet claims to the contrary. Because the next day was PANEL DAY.
Three panels, back to back, followed by a book signing.
The first panel was the easiest, because we were well-rested and ready for action. It was on fiction and video games, with me, Karen Traviss, Greg Bear, John Shirley (BioShock), David Gaider (Dragon Age) and Tony Gonzales (EVE Online). Here we got to chat with an engaged crowd about general novel-lyness and sci-fi. Karen dropped hints about the content of Glasslands—which releases in October and tells the tale of the Halo universe in the wake of the Covenant War and the defeat of the Flood. Greg is almost done with Primordium—the sequel to Cryptum, which drops in January 2012.
But we were all saving ourselves for the next and biggest panel (ours, anyway) which was in the colossal room 6 and entirely dedicated to all things Halo. We were following William Shatner and Kevin Smith, who were doing a panel about Star Trek captains. At Comic-Con, this is basically a kind of Rapture, where instead of being transported to paradise, the audience is transported into the presence of William Shatner’s immortal charisma.
I literally had to follow in Kirk’s footsteps. I even had to sit in his now vacated chair.
We will not debate his profound wisdom at these proceedings. Of my seat I can only say this: Of all the stools I have encountered in my travels… his was the most… humid.
Looking out at the Halo crowd as they shuffled in and displaced the Star Trek crowd (or not, since a few Trekkies stayed behind to judge or mock our new-fangled sci-fi universe), I got a bit humid myself. That’s a lot of Halo fans.
We got things going with introductions and talked a little about the two new novels. But we quickly moved into Anniversary mode. A brand new trailer for the Terminals was unveiled, showing a few glimpses of Guilty Spark’s incredible backstory, along with some surprises you’ll have to see in the Terminals to fully understand.
After that we introduced Dan Ayoub, Executive Producer on Halo: Anniversary and his trusty sidekick, Dennis “Plasma” Ries, to run through the E3 demo again for the crowd. Because the E3 demo was the most stable and predictable build, we had to go back in time a little, with the non-updated Assault Rifle, rougher graphics and so on, but the crowd loved it. Whoops and cheers galore as we switched between Classic and Anniversary modes.
By the way, as I write this, I am splashing around in the water. I am doing donuts in the water. I am throwing grenades in the water. It turns out that I love any and all video game water. I also have a mania for expecting that there should be a rocket launcher, or other treasure, hidden behind every waterfall, and I continue to be disappointed in this realm.
bs angel here. It’s worth noting that as I write this Bulletin, I’m splashing around in the water as well. But my water is tangible—not to mention cold to the touch—because I’m currently on vacation, enjoying the scenic view, fresh air, and numerous bugs that insist on repeatedly biting my now bump-covered body. If you happen to have some time to sit back and relax too—hopefully without being subjected to swarms of starving insects—I highly recommend filling your earholes with the smooth voices of David Ellis and Frank O'Connor with the latest episode of the Sparkast. In this episode, the duo is joined by Karen Traviss, who talks about the process of helping to shape the post-Halo 3 universe. There’s even a bonus finale with a special guest. I’d give you a hint about the identity of the special guest, but I don’t want to ruin the Max Hoberman surprise. Yup, you won’t be getting any spoilers from me, that’s for sure! Anyway, tune in here at your earliest convenience, and subscribe via Zune or iTunes while you’re at it. Wait, I’m not being demanding, am I? If so, imagine me smiling when I say that. There, all better!
Now, back to business. Just because I’m sitting by the lake, enjoying the gentle waves caressing my lowermost phalanges, that doesn’t mean there aren’t pressing Anniversary-related questions left over from Comic-Con that still need answers. I refuse to jump into the colder-than-it-should-be-considering-it’s-July water, however I’ll gladly dive straight into your inquiries. You can’t ever say I didn’t do anything for you, for the record.
When will the title update be?....and why do people camp? -GSO Xt3rm1naToR
The Title Update for Reach is currently slated to be available before Anniversary ships—so sometime significantly before November 15th. Both Anniversary owners and Reach owners will get it as it will be included on the Anniversary disc and also released on Xbox LIVE.
PS: And it has something to do with s’mores. And the fact that it’s a legitimate strategy.
Is the Combat Evolved Anniversary multiplayer updated CE multiplayer, or will it come with a Reach multiplayer disc like Halo 3: ODST? -J0HNL3I
Anniversary contains the Halo campaign—updated, of course—as well as seven new Multiplayer maps that run in the Reach engine. You do not need Reach to play these, just the Anniversary disc. It all launches from one menu, just as you’d expect. Anniversary players who also own Reach will be able to install those Multiplayer maps right to their HDD. Semi-related: Reach players will be able to get the new maps too, and there will not be a significant gap between the launch of Anniversary and the availability of the seven maps as downloadable content.
Will there be any big changes in the multiplayer?? –hobbito
For some, yes. Others, no. Let me explain. Stuff that the Title Update enables will be presented via Matchmaking playlists. So for example, you could have a playlist with loads of changes called “ANNIVERSARY PLAYLIST” sitting alongside one called “NORMAL REACH STUFF” which plays with all the Reach rules intact. That means Reach players will be able to try some of the Title Update changes on certain maps and playlists, even if they don’t have Anniversary. Naturally Anniversary players will have more access because of the Multiplayer maps they get.
And with that, the lake and the lampreys are calling. Or maybe it’s just the lampreys. Either way, until next week...
PS: While I don’t have a Friday Caption Fun image for you this week due to the whole vacation thing, I do have some miscellaneous pictures from the San Diego Comic-Con festivities. I’d also like to take a second to thank Count3D, who graciously supplied many of the images in today’s Bulletin. You can check out more of his Comic-Con-related adventures here.
Holy costumes, Batman!
Gabe and Tycho of Penny Arcade, drawing Mister, er Master, Chief.
Todd McFarlane shows off his manly figure.
I think something’s wrong with his auto-aim, ‘cause he’s not taking his eyes off me.
An elegant weapon for a more civilized age. Or a more pink one, anyway.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Halo Reach Multiplayer
(Here's to hoping that the Extras will include a Halo 4 Beta in the future)
This week, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary ranked as the No. 8 best-selling pre-order product at Gamestop.com.
This is some pretty cool news!
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNDQN7nwZlw&feature=player_detailpage
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=6eTVXbsadro
Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=jUAU5giE2_4
Part 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=RfR3nJTXL8I
Saturday, July 23, 2011
This one is Dan Ayoub narrating a play through of Silent Cartographer on an older build and this one is a hand recorded terminal clip that you have to find in the game
Friday, July 22, 2011
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Click to make bigger ^^
Thanks The Alpha ELite, its very much appreciated.
*I Have decided that im going to be posting the Halo Bulletin from now on right here if you wanna read it from my site, or Here it is right at halo.xbox.com
The Halo Bulletin: 7/20/11
I Bet I Can’t Stick It!
The inescapable sizzling sound it makes that signals impending detonation. The trail of gas it leaves ever-so-lightly in its wake. The feeling of satisfaction one feels after delivering a heaping pile of, “All I can see is blue!!” These are all reasons why the Type-1 Antipersonnel Grenade has always been, and always will be, my most favorite weapon ever. If there are ever any on a map, rest assured I’ll make a beeline for them the second I spawn. Shortly after, I’ll plant one on someone’s visor. And maybe, if I’m lucky, that someone won’t be me.
The Plasma Grenade has been an endless source of entertainment—for me, my teammates, and anybody who prefers a pocketful of blueberries—since the days of Combat Evolved. The first time I stuck myself was on Midship, when a clingy orb bounced off one of the half-walls only to land front-and-center on my chestplate. Since then it’s been a common occurrence, with Plasma Grenades ricocheting off various overhangs, fortifications, and anything and everything solid enough to provide a rebound experience.
My most memorable self-stick happened on the Halo 3 map of Sandbox. Amidst frenetic fighting in front of one of the bases, I prepared to launch a glyph-covered grenade at an opponent at the precise moment a teammate threw down a bubble shield. The small explosive bounced off the inside of the translucent sphere, reattached itself to my battle-scarred Spartan, and then promptly exploded, taking not only my life but also those of three teammates that had sought refuge in the geodesic-like dome. Not a particularly fine moment, mind you, but definitely one of my more humorous Halo happenstances.
I’m not the only one who has trouble with these gummy globs, though. Check out this tale from the person who ran the demos at E3!
From Dennis, Who Has a Face with Tremendous Gravitational Pull
"During E3, as a matter of fact, during one of our last Anniversary Campaign demos, I was tired. It had been a long show. I had played through that demo perfectly several times. I charged up the hill, blasting grunts with the AR, and tossing grenades, willy hilly. I picked up two replacement Plasma Grenades from the ground. Now, a dirty demo secret. The game was set to god mode so that I didn't accidentally kill myself and ruin the short, heavily scheduled demos.
However, mistakes were made. In an incredibly unlikely and rare fluke, I tossed a Plasma Grenade, but whirred the throw and it slid up and off a rock, and I charged face first into it. It stuck. I exploded. People laughed.
Well, they laughed the first time. Seconds later, when I did it again, there was a kind of embarrassed hush. Like my pants had fallen off."
Been there, done that. Well, with the pants thing, anyway.
I Have Methane, You Want?
Assuming you like the little blue bundles of joy as much as I do, I’m going to guess you were excited to hear about the special Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary pre-order bonuses. Or, pro-order bonuses if you caught my typo in the press release. Whether you just need a recap or this is the first time you’re hearing about it, let’s chat a little about the Grunt Funeral skull. Sending out Halo’s most lowly and lovable enemy in style, this exclusive, game-modifying skull makes the Grunts' already explosive methane tanks pop like a Plasma Grenade. Yes, that means you can strategically shoot them when they’re in the vicinity of an Elite. Yes, that means you can start a crazy awesome domino-like chain reaction when they present themselves in a somewhat orderly fashion. And yes, that means "Assault on the Control Room" has the potential to be especially entertaining. Seriously. Think about it for a second…
While we’re on the subject, I thought you’d enjoy reading some behind-the-scenes information about this light-hearted game changer, so I cornered Chad—a designer working in our publishing group—and politely requested he type up everything he could think of relating to this skull. And by politely requested, I mean I chained him to his desk and threatened to sing the song about the last day of the work week over and over at the top of my lungs until he acquiesced.
From Chad, Who Happens to Have Strong Arms
"The greatest challenge we had with skulls was how restricted our options were. A lot of skulls in Halos 3 through Reach functioned through changing character behaviors for AI, or replacing AI units with tougher versions. We were deathly afraid that any change to the game that involved mucking around with the AI might in some way affect the AI itself. Preserving Halo 1’s AI was critical, and we just didn’t feel it was worth the risk. As such, we had a few different ideas that, upon examination, had to be cut because they involved some kind of change to character behavior, or how the game would spawn AI into the game. In particular, we had one skull that would cause Grunts to immediately panic upon sighting a player. Funny on paper, but it broke the rule of leaving the AI code untouched. As such, we cut the skull, and found ourselves left with a hole in our lineup, and a desire to mess with the Grunts beyond just Birthday Party. Thus Grunt Funeral was born.
Grunt Funeral is based on the first version of Grunt Birthday, as it was seen in Halo 2. In Halo 2, you didn’t get the confetti or the applause of children people are now used to. Instead, taking a Grunt out with a headshot caused an explosion that’d actually hurt anything within the blast radius. With Grunt Birthday Party active in Halo 2, you could clear a squad of Grunts in a single shot.
Imitation is allegedly the sincerest form of flattery, but we didn’t want to just take the Halo 2 idea 1:1 and ship it. Aside from just being a fun way to take out Grunts, we thought it’d be fun if players found that they had to be wary of the effects of the skull for their own safety as well. So, instead of tying the affect to headshots, we tied it to when a Grunt died. The change was extremely significant. Now, packs of Grunts are like mobile cluster bombs. Taking out one can lead to an explosion that kills more Grunts nearby, who then explode. Further, meleeing a Grunt to death can be lethal. Remember the rooms in Assault on the Control Room where you turn a corner and are surrounded by napping Grunts? I like to think of those areas as minefields.
Testing Grunt Funeral has been pretty straight forward. The only significant bug we’ve ran into so far was in one iteration where, when the Grunt exploded, it also sent a lit Plasma Grenade straight up into the air. Several stories into the air, in fact. Players would take out a group of Grunts, but not notice the little blue love parcels being launched as they were focused on combat. We found players would clear a group of Grunts, and move in to deal with the next group, only to be rained on by explosive plasma. Hilarious to watch, but the additional treachery was not intentional."
I read that last part and immediately started singing, “It's raining plasma! Hallelujah, it’s raining plasma!” Those lyrics have potential, yes? I’ll work on rewriting the rest of that song when I’m done with this Bulletin. For now, though, I have one more pre-order-related tidbit to tell you about. I’ll even give you a hint: It starts with “Master Chief” and ends with “Avatar Armor.” That’s right, in honor of the 10th anniversary of John 117, you will finally be able to adorn your Xbox 360 Mini-Me with Master Chief’s signature MJOLNIR Powered Assault Armor. You may be wondering, after getting all the specifics, just how much this set of pre-order bonuses is worth. I’d estimate their value at… ONE MILLION DOLLARS!! Oh wait, maybe it was one hundred billion. Either way, it’s a lot. But don’t quote me on that. What you can quote me on, however, is that this is a global pre-order program. So keep an eye on your favorite retailers as they’ll be rolling out everything shortly.
Now obviously I can’t talk about Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary without mentioning our upcoming celebratory bash. Halo Fest is, by definition, an event commemorating ten incredible years of Halo. Happening alongside PAX Prime, passes sold out on May 31st. Fret not, though, because we just got word that we have 20 three-day badges to bestow upon people still hoping to join the fun. The giveaway will happen on our official Twitter account as a special Free Stuff Friday festivity, and it’s slated to start just as soon as I can get off my butt and get this whole thing going. I’m thinking we’ll do ten days of giveaways in honor of the 10th anniversary, but don’t hold me to that. Details are subject to change and all that jazz.
And now, what you undoubtedly haven’t been waiting for, it’s time for yet another round of questions from the community!
I saw the press release for Halo: Primordium yesterday. Any way I can get the cover art without the text?
No. Semi-related, answering these questions is getting easier and easier every week!
What’s up with the Halo: Reach Title Update? Has anything changed in the last week?
I actually sat in on a meeting about this very subject recently, and I’m pleased to report that everything is proceeding swimmingly. I’m still not allowed to divulge any details (since the information is being shared at Halo Fest), but I’ve been trying to sneak some subtle hints into the Bulletins. I must tell you, though, last week’s clue went completely undetected. I didn’t see a single peep about it on the forums or social networks. Son, I am disappoint. And that’s all I have to say about that.
So. Skulls. In Halo: Anniversary. Confirmed, yes?
I can neither confirm nor deny the rumor that there are skulls in Halo: Anniversary. I can say, however, that we would never bring back your favorites without adding a few to the mix. Wait, I didn’t accidentally just reveal something, did I? (Reads over first sentence.) Nope, looks like I’m good!
Dude, you spent this entire Bulletin talking about the Grunt Funeral skull, and then you say you can neither confirm nor deny the rumor that there are skulls in Anniversary. What are you, a freak?!
Actually, yes. And to prove that, I’ll leave you with this little limerick I wrote celebrating the whole Grunts exploding thing. Until next week, my friends…
There once was a Grunt from Nantucket
Who told Master Chief he could suck it.
He then tried to scurry
Away in a hurry
Only to hear Chief say, "I stuck it!"
PS: You didn’t think I would forget about highlighting your funny Friday Caption Fun responses, did you? ‘Cause I almost forgot about highlighting your funny Friday Caption Fun responses. Doh! Wipe my absentmindedness from your memory by partaking in the latest quip fest.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
The first is a suit of Master Chief's mark V MJOLNIR armor for your little avatar counterpart.