Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Go vote for Halo to be in the MLG circuit!

Go vote now if you love halo and would like to see it back in the MLG circuit! Halo is the reason most of us play games here at TRU7H, and it also put MLG on the map. GO VOTE!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Halo Bulletin: 7.25.12

What happens in 343, stays in 343

343 Whiteboard

Our studio is more than a little reminiscent of Vegas right now. The soft glow of monitors lights a seemingly endless maze of desks. A steady hum of sandbox-related discussion is punctuated by the ethereal melodies of Halo 4’s soundtrack. And every day, everywhere you look, regardless of the time, somebody, somewhere, is shuffling.

As the clock ticks ever-so-closer to the 100-day out mark, each individual that calls 343 home is heads down in their respective work space, utilizing every single second to make Halo 4 the best it can possibly be. The light at the end of the tunnel is not yet in sight, but we know it’s quickly approaching.

In June, we started to lock down individual segments of the game. When a mission, map, or portion of the game (such as audio or cinematics) is locked down, that doesn’t mean everything relating to that part is completely finished, but it does mean we’re closer to reaching that point. Nearly all the areas are locked down now, and in August, we expect to be fully transitioned to bug fixing.

While our world revolves around a certain Spartan super-soldier, we’re fully aware that isn’t the case outside our studio’s walls. That’s why we regularly take the time to remind people of what’s truly important. Take the following interaction, for instance, where Frankie gently reminds someone of another activity, besides playing Halo 4, they should be taking part in come November 6.

Frank Is Funny

That man has a way with words.

Speaking of words, it’s time to start dipping into the meat of this week’s Bulletin. Along with an overabundance of text, we’re also serving up numerous images many of you have been clamoring for since San Diego Comic-Con. Oh yes, it’s time to talk about the Halo 4 console. Pull up a chair, won’t you?

The Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo 4 Console Bundle

The Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo 4 Console Bundle

For the past few months, whenever anybody would ask if we were going to make a Halo 4 console, my response was, “The Limited Edition is the only thing we’re talking about right now.” Many of you saw through the sneakiness of my carefully crafted words, and those of you that didn’t probably saw the Microsoft Store listing before it was supposed to go live.


Now that the cat is officially out of the bag, we thought we’d share more images with you, along with a little about the design process.

We started off with a few different concepts, but most of them were Forerunner in direction. What was interesting about this process was looking both at our universe for inspiration – as well as the fabrication, material, and tech processes that had become available to us. Figuring out what we could do and how those manufacturing and painting techniques could apply to the unit was a completely organic, two way process.

This process was a collaboration between the hardware team, Claire Gerhardt in particular, our art director Kenneth Scott, our Executive Producer Kiki Wolfkill and of course Tajeen and the audio team for sound. Kenneth sketches designs, the hardware team iterates, experiments, researches and prototypes, and we go through feedback sessions, editing various incarnations into the final form. And of course we have to work with our graphics guys on the box and packaging too.

The Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo 4 Console Bundle The Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo 4 Console Bundle
The Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo 4 Console Bundle The Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo 4 Console Bundle
The Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo 4 Console Bundle The Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo 4 Console Bundle

There were dozens of iterations with hundreds of changing elements, but it’s kind of a continuum of progress and refinement. We landed on the final design as we went through all of the goals – create a Forerunner-themed object that differed significantly from prior consoles (which is why we ended up with translucent gray plastic – in part to differentiate from the simple metallic finish of the Reach console, which would have been an obvious direction otherwise). Now, interestingly, you can do certain types of paint, finish, and material – but structure is dangerous. We’d talked about bevels, bas relief, extrusions and carvings, but the reality is these three dimensional elements can have serious issues with heat dissipation, Wi-Fi signal strength, and more. So lots of our more hair-brained schemes ended in the cold reality of you know, making sure the console actually works.

Unlike some of our “historical” Forerunner stuff, we wanted this to feel new, alive – and functional. And specifically, military. Forerunner stuff has typically felt abandoned, and while this still maintains an element of mystery, it also feels organic and vital in a way our previous monolithic Forerunner stuff has not. An interesting note here is that there are a couple of features you simply can’t see in photographs – including paint and finish on the interior of the console, a touch that provides a subtle depth and detail like insect wings, and the inclusion of blue LEDs on the power button and the jewel on the controller.

The transparent case does a couple of things – the simplest of course is creating a translucent Xbox for collectors – “metallic”, “weird surfaces”, and “translucent” are all popular ‘mod’ schemes for things like custom PCs and consoles, historically. Secondly (and actually more importantly), it speaks to some of the materials and objects you’re going to encounter in the game. The main inspiration comes from an important object in the game that you haven’t seen yet, and while it’s not a literal recreation of that object, having it grounded in the heart of our story was always the number one factor driving our design process – even if it had ended up as a UNSC-themed object (as did one of the controllers) that would have been a prime driver.

The Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo 4 Console Bundle The Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo 4 Console Bundle
The Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo 4 Console Bundle The Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo 4 Console Bundle
The Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo 4 Console Bundle The Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo 4 Console Bundle

Controllers were a little easier to deal with, but not completely without challenges. We decided to make a Forerunner and a UNSC-themed one, given the fact that one would be made available separately and therefore didn’t have to match the Forerunner aesthetic, but we made sure it looked appropriate tonally as part of a set. The Forerunner controller is simply a logical graphical extension of the console itself, but the UNSC one takes elements from Spartan-IV, Infinity and redesigned UNSC liveries. The UNSC branding has undergone a revamp in the wake of the Human/Covenant war – with the starship Infinity leading that resurgent human vanguard, and the imagery is bold, strong, and ascendant. Although the UNSC eagle has a slightly different design when you flip it from positive to negative – a straight reversal resulted in a very snooty looking eagle, so we tweaked it for negative use.

The addition of little audio DSPs lets us add elements of Forerunner flavor to the “activity” buttons (power and eject), which Tajeen and the audio team culled from various Forerunner technologies in the game. They’re not verbatim recreations of specific in-game items, but rather custom-tuned elements that have a kind of crystalline-metallic quality. We’ve done this before, but picking sounds which have the right tonal quality that “speaks” to the function is oddly challenging. You can’t, for example pick a “power” sound that only sounds like “power on” with a lilting uplift – you have one sample for that function, so you have to pick an audio scheme that accommodates on and off, tonally.

We went through dozens of variants – and the real challenge wasn’t finding cool sounds, it was finding sounds that worked well at the low volume and limited frequency range of that tiny speaker. This has historically been challenging and probably drove the bulk of the iteration on that aspect. The ones we ended up choosing fit in the sweet spot between clarity and functionality, with fiction and atmosphere as the umbrella.

The Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo 4 Console Bundle comes with two exclusive controllers, a standard edition copy of Halo 4, a wired headset, a 320GB hard drive, built-in Wi-Fi, and Xbox LIVE tokens for exclusive Halo 4 in-game and avatar marketplace downloadable content (FOTUS Armor Avatar Costume, In-Game FOTUS Spartan Armor, Avatar Promethean Crawler Prop, In-game LightRifle Skin, In-Game Unique Unicorn Emblem). It is available through your favorite retailer while supplies last, priced at $399.99 (U.S. ERP). The standalone Xbox 360 Halo 4 Limited Edition Wireless Controller, which features the United Nations Space Command (UNSC) emblem on a dark grey translucent body, will include an Avatar T-shirt as exclusive downloadable content and will be priced at $59.99 (U.S. ERP).

Pre-order today! ;)

Custom Challenge of the Week

Custom Challenge of the Week

This week, the Halo: Reach Weekly Challenge requires you to complete Tip of the Spear, Legendary, with all Skulls on (LASO). If you’re looking to augment an already enjoyable experience, I highly recommend layering this week’s Custom Challenge of the Week on top of it. What are the particulars? Why, I thought you’d never ask!

From now until next Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time, create a Campaign Custom Challenge with the difficulty set to Legendary, and assuming your venture is successful, you’ll be rewarded with a 50% increase to the total credits earned. I don’t want to pressure you or anything, but you should really play this mission, just to see how it feels…

Super Jackpot Weekend

Super Jackpot Weekend

If both Campaign and tips are not your thing, fret not, because this weekend’s Super Jackpot festivities are… wait for it… super! So super, in fact, that we have selected the aptly named Slayer playlist to house the three-day lottery-like activity. That means that starting Friday and ending on Sunday, hopping into the Super Slayer playlist will present you with the chance of receiving a 34,300-credit bonus. With so many credits to be had, it’s probably time to stop reading, and start playing.

Before we part ways, though, I want to mention that I’m not sure what next week holds, Bulletin-wise. I’m heading out of town today (I’m already en route, as we speak) and not expecting to be back until next Thursday. So worst case scenario, you’ll get a Bulletin next Friday instead of Wednesday. Best case scenario, next week will be Bulletin-less. Wait, did I get that right? Yup, I think I did.

Until next time, whenever that may be.

bs angel

P.S. Just in case you're in need of a new desktop ornament, here is this week's Friday Caption Fun image. Embiggen, snag, and then hit the latest installment to contribute your witty quip. Off you go!

Friday Caption Fun

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Halo Bulletin: 7.18.12


As I watch a swarm of rain-swollen clouds descend upon our studio, I am struck by two thoughts: I’m thankful to be back in a place where hoodies are the norm, and I’m pretty sure, as dark and ominous as the sky currently looks, that I could have squeezed more liquid out of the undergarments I wore to both RTX and SDCC than those clouds could ever hope to drop during their entire moisture-laden existence.

Oh yes, it was hot in Austin and San Diego. And I’ll leave it at that.

Halo 4 RTX

Hot Trip #1 – RTX
Location – Austin, TX
Average Temperature – 95 degrees
Felt like – You were sun bathing. On the sun.

RTX, or Rooster Teeth Expo, took place July 7 and 8 at The Austin Convention Center. Amidst the near torturous temperatures, we showed off War Games (the competitive Multiplayer modes of Halo 4) and hosted a panel, all the while wondering why we were there. While that age-old question did not get answered, several others did, especially those about Forge.

You see, during our 60-minute group discussion, we presented a live Forge demo. It wasn’t just any Forge demo, though. It was the first ever Halo 4 Forge demo. Joining us for the festivities were Certain Affinity - a group of people we just happen to have… well, a certain affinity for. They have a long history with Halo, and we’re excited that tradition is continuing with the next installment in the franchise.

If you missed the RTX Halo 4 panel, you can watch it in its entirety here. Not only will you be introduced to Halo 4's Forge mode, but you’ll also get to hear some totally awesome Halo jokes (It’s worth noting only one of the aforementioned statements is true. And I bet you’ll never guess which one...).

Halo 4 SDCC

Hot Trip #2 – San Diego Comic-Con International
Location – San Diego, CA
Average Temperature – 81 degrees
Felt like – You were in a sauna. With 120,000 of your closest friends.

While the heat in Austin was dry, in San Diego it was anything but. The good part about that was the ten-minute walk to the convention center resulted in me losing approximately ten pounds of water weight each and every day. The bad part about that was everybody that visited the Halo 4 booth had to smell the remnants of that water-evaporation process… each and every day.

Those lacking in the olfactory department were treated to numerous Halo 4-related events. Along with having both War Games and Spartan Ops playable on the floor, the Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn cast was on hand to sign posters, as were Steve Downes and Jen Taylor. We also hosted two panels, both of which are currently in a viewable format on YouTube (watch the Halo 4 Fiction panel here, and the Campaign and Multiplayer panel here).

All in all, it was a good, albeit sticky, few weeks.

As is customary when we release a new batch of information, there are questions. So, this week’s Bulletin is dedicated to answering just a few of those inquiries. We’ll resume the normal Bulletin format next week, but for this week, enjoy the RTX and SDCC-themed Q&A, the “Q” of which was provided by you, and the “A” of which was provided by Frankie.

Halo 4 SDCC

It was mentioned in the Forge demo that there will be multiple Forge environments. Does this mean multiple Forge Worlds with a different setting and theme for each? If so, can we assume different styles of parts for each? - BenPwnsAtGamez

There will be some aesthetic variety we’ll talk about later – as well as the obvious inclusion of aesthetics and Forgeable objects from specific maps (Forerunner vs. UNSC objects, depending on the content of the environment), but most objects will be UNSC themed – although there’s more to come on that front later.

What sounds (open/close tray, power button) will the Halo 4 console make? - r3m1x3d

The “close tray” and “power” button sounds were created by Tajeen and the audio team and are based off of sounds made by Forerunner technology, but are custom built for the console – so they are not repeated anywhere in the game verbatim, but you may recognize the basic elements of those sounds from the game. I would describe their sound as “metallic crystal.” But I am pretentious like that.

Will we see more Armor Abilities than those already revealed, as well as different secondary weapons besides the Pistol and Plasma Pistol? - u4iX

You have not seen all of the weapons yet. We have not fully exposed all of the Armor Abilities yet.

Halo 4 SDCC

So, we've seen the ball-objective have the ability to be thrown from player to player. Are there any specific flag movement modifications? - Heckfu

What you saw was just a tease. You can expect the full story on returning modes soon.

Will any 343-created Forge maps be released into matchmaking alongside the 10 regular maps? - Link1201

We won’t be putting Forge creations in the “main” matchmaking areas initially, at least. Certainly Forged variants may go in (rules, the odd object placement) eventually, but we’re still discussing how to promote and enable Forge creations in a way that maintains a separation of that kind of content from the main mix.

With the console bundle, you announced that it would come with exclusive in-game content. Is this in-game content the same as the Limited Edition bundle content? - The Little Moa

The content is different and unique to each SKU. While we know there are completionists that would like to have it all, it’s not unreasonable to think that we may eventually make all of the content available one day. I would also like to point out, since this is a thing that generates lots of conversation, that the unique or exclusive items are custom created and curated for that purpose or promotion or partner, rather than simply redistributed from stuff created for the shipping game. It’s a subtle distinction I suppose, but in our case a real one.

Halo 4 SDCC

CTF looks to be Yellow vs. Green and Oddball looks like Purple vs. Orange. Any reason behind this? - Xx Overkill VR

Those are the current colors, based on stuff like map palette content, color blindness, all sorts of reasons, but they’re also simply the colors from the build that was ready at Comic-Con, so don’t be shocked if that changes.

How big are the multiple Forge environments compared to Forge World? - bellz1996

The environments will be large enough to accommodate just about any design you can think of, from a Lockout remake to a sprawling racetrack. There will be rolling hills, flat, sterile spaces, big, flat indoor areas and everything in between. The difference is that we’ll use more than one environment – an aesthetic – rather than a giant contiguous space like Forge World. There will also be HUGE FLAT JUMBO Coliseum “walls” that you can instantly place as enormous floor tiles (or walls). All the spaces are being designed with flexibility and performance in mind. The inclusion of a new lighting engine and some unique palettes will make things look more varied and connected. Some simple examples – you can make Lockout and The Pit with relative ease and plenty of room. If you want to do something giant and meandering, you’ll have to incorporate some of the environments existing features (hills, cliffs etc).

With the new dynamic lighting in Forge, will we be able to make almost a nighttime looking map? And will there be lights at our disposal as well? - x HoMiiCiDe

We’ll reveal more about the environments later, and while you won’t be able to make a literal night time version, there will be an element that will enable a starkly different look than the bright daytime maps you’re used to – and the addition of proper lighting and shadowing on and in objects will make a radical difference.

I noticed that there was no "Weapons" menu selection in the Forge demo. Will we have the ability to place weapons on the map in Forge or will we be limited to using ordnance drops and loadouts? - Lehnaru

The menu in the Forge demo was not only a placeholder, but was actually pretty borked – it was dropped in just for RTX. Naturally the final menu will have complete feature parity with “old” Forge, plus several important new additions, and so yes, of course you will be able to place weapons – and vehicles at will. Custom games will also allow you to define your own loadouts so you will not be limited by your progress in the main Infinity progression.

What changes have been made to the multiplayer sandbox since the build we played at RTX? - CaneCutter

No actual changes have been made, but you only saw a small selection of the potential sandbox content at RTX – specifically, stuff that was firmed up for E3, so it’s older than you think. That being said, there’s been a heck of a lot of tweaking and tuning over the past few months.

In Forge, will the coordinate system we had in Reach be returning? Also, will the Grid be returning as a placeable object in Forge? - Nuclear Taco 42

Coordinates and grids are returning and will be in some ways more useful thanks to other features like magnets and so on.

What can we expect in terms of playlist setup? - JDHarbs19

The Halo 4 team is starting work on that stuff now – the MP design team has always felt that a more concise, streamlined set of playlists is essential to a healthy population of new and returning modes.

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn

Along with the game and console-related questions, there were also several inquiries about Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, our live-action digital series that will debut on Machinima Prime, as well as Halo Waypoint, on Oct. 5, 2012. Mr. Kevin Grace, who stopped by last week with an expertly penned OHI entry, agreed to stop by again this week to answer the most asked queries. Here they are, in no particular order.

So what’s the story with Chief’s armor? Does that design work with canon/Halo Wars/book covers/everything else?

Totally works. That design, influenced heavily by the armor seen in The Package from Halo Legends, fits squarely within the Mark IV line of MJOLNIR armor (and all existing stories/depictions from that timeframe in the canon). Does it look exactly like the armor from Halo Wars? Nope, and that’s 100% okay. MJOLNIR armor is constantly evolving and having special variants developed, just like many other major weapons systems (fighter jets/helicopters/capital ships/tanks). There is no “one design only” for each generation of MJOLNIR, as it would lessen the scope of the MJOLNIR project to suggest that those scientists made one suit and then called it a day for a decade or so. But it is important that each generation shares similar characteristics and a signature look (as well as evokes the big-picture Master Chief gold visor/green armor/overall profile), and we think that this version of the armor works well on all fronts.

What happened to Chief’s voice? That’s not the Steve Downes I was looking (listening) for!

Quite correct, that’s not the heroic growl you’re used to hearing coming out of that helmet, but just like the armor that is the result of some very specific (and challenging) decisions about how to best integrate Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn into the existing fiction. Light spoiler incoming, but we’ve already announced that the series takes place right around the beginning of the Human-Covenant war, which in our universe means we’re somewhere in the neighborhood of the year 2526. Since most of the time we’ve spent with the Master Chief in the games so far takes place right around the end of that war, which means we’re used to hearing Chief’s voice around the year 2552. Applying a bit of maths, the Master Chief you see and hear in the trailer is around 26 years younger than what you’re used to. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t sound the same 26 years ago, and while we love Steve Downes’ voice it wouldn’t make sense for Chief to have had the same exact voice across three decades of war. Because we wanted to maximize consistency, we first tried to “de-age” Steve Downes’ voice, but all efforts there ended up with something that sounded like an awesome reject from Alvin and the Chipmunks. With that option off the table, we turned to the great casting team we used for the rest of the actors in the show to find us a younger sound-alike voice actor to provide younger Chief’s voice, with the aim being that if you close your eyes and squint your ears just a bit, the voice you hear from Chief makes you think “yeah, put that voice through 26 years of hell and battle and he’ll end up sounding like the Chief I know.” This is a really sensitive subject for a lot of people because voices are so important in connecting to a character, but I think we have a solution that works for both character and consistency… give young Chief a shot, and I hope you’ll agree.

Hey, is that the girl from Narnia?

Quite! And she, like all our cast and crew, is most excellent and was just as excited to be a part of Halo as we were to have her join us for the show.

Who designed the armor those cadets are wearing?

That armor is a good example of the production and costume designers on the show working very, very closely with artists at 343 Industries. Like all the Halo projects made by 343, we’re building in tons of meaningful connections to and from the game so every little bit of Halo you can get all feels like it solidly fits together in the same universe. What this means, of course, is that paying very close attention to the show will result in some very interesting Halo 4-specific bits and pieces… but perhaps I’ve already said too much. Let’s move on for now!

Is this an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper (ODST) training academy?

Corbulo Academy of Military Science is an academy for the children of high-ranking UNSC officers from all branches of service, and in turn it prepares cadets for careers all across the UNSC. That ODST cadence you heard in the teaser trailer released a few weeks ago is definitely an ODST reference, but that’s more a representation of how respected the ODSTs are among everyone in the UNSC than of a specific course of training for those cadets. Those cadence calls are often ways to remind you how tough you are as you’re running your feet off on tour around the grounds, and what’s tougher to compare yourself to than an ODST? Hint: Not much.

I heard that the Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn Special Edition that comes with Halo 4 LE will be digital content. Is that true? If so, as one of the minority whose internet connection isn’t good enough to stream video content without obscene hours of buffering, please tell me that a physical copy will one day exist. -Stolen Snapshot

Yes, we’re working on making the full show available for sale both digitally and in stores in case you’re not lucky enough to snag one of the Halo 4 limited versions. Plans are still very much in progress and more details on those options will come later. Please stay tuned.

I feel like Kevin may have said more than he should have. Oh well, as long as nobody mentions the space mop, we should be okay…

bs angel

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Halo Bulletin: 7.12.12

Forward Unto San Diego

San Diego Comic-Con International

When you are mere months away from releasing a video game, traveling becomes the norm. As you hop between states, and sometimes even countries, you learn to love your suitcase, room service, and well-intentioned cavity searches (I succumb in the name of security. Don’t judge).

Last weekend, a few of us were in Austin, attending RTX and demoing Forge by day, and battling jumping, chirping bugs by night. This week we’re in San Diego, braving both sun and beach so we can partake in the annual Comic-Con festivities.

We’ve been looking forward to SDCC for months, because we knew this was the perfect place to unveil Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn. While details up until now have been sparse, the time to share cast and storyline specifics, along with a full trailer has arrived.

As I can finally talk freely about this particular project, I have something very important to say: Daniel Cudmore is a dreamboat.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s rewind a bit and cover the basics.

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn is a live-action digital series that takes you back to the beginning of the human and Covenant war and leading into the events of Halo 4. It will unfold through a series of five episodes, and will be initially distributed worldwide by Machinima, debuting on its new channel, Machinima Prime, as well as here on Halo Waypoint, on Oct. 5, 2012.

Set against the backdrop of a United Nations Space Command military academy, a group of highborn cadets are training to be the next generation of soldiers in the UNSC’s ongoing war with insurrectionists in the outer colonial planets. Among these cadets, Thomas Lasky struggles with his doubts about this war, and with the burden of expectations he may not be able to carry. As Lasky comes to terms with his potential as a military leader, the terrifying alien alliance known as the Covenant arrives and turns his world upside down. Inspired by the Master Chief, he must decide what it means to be a hero.

Halo: 4 Forward Unto Dawn Cast and Crew

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn

Directed by Stewart Hendler (H+, Sorority Row) and written by Todd Helbing and Aaron Helbing (Smallville, Spartacus), Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn features a diverse cast of established and up-and-coming Hollywood talent, including Tom Green (Dance Academy) as Thomas Lasky, Anna Popplewell (The Chronicles of Narnia) as Chyler Silva, Daniel Cudmore (X2, X-Men: The Last Stand, The Twilight Saga) as the Master Chief, Ayelet Zurer (Angels & Demons, Munich) as Mehaffey, Mike Dopud (Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol) as General Black, Enisha Brewster (Footloose) as April Orenski, Masam Holden (Grey’s Anatomy, Elizabethtown) as Michael “Sully” Sullivan, Osric Chau (2012) as JJ Chen, Iain Belcher (Supernatural) as Vickers, and Kat De Lieva as Dimah.

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn is backed by a top-tier production team led by executive producers Lydia Antonini and Josh Feldman, former Warner Bros. and Playtone executives, respectively. Legacy Effects (The Hunger Games, The Avengers, Avatar) is creating specialized costumes and armor, and visual effects are being designed by an award-winning team led by John Sullivan (The Pacific). Production services are provided by Herzog & Co.

Office of Halo Intelligence: Part 9

Office of Halo Intelligence

Countless people have been working day in and day out on Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, with the goal of making it something truly special. One of those people is 343 Industries Franchise Manager Kevin Grace. In between trips to Canada and California, I asked him if he would be willing to provide you with an inside look at the making of this live-action series. He said no. I then informed him that if I beat him at an arm wrestling match, he’d have to write it anyway. I’ll let you guess who came out on top that day, after you read his very special OHI entry.

Hello from sunny, crazy, excited and nervous San Diego just about 24 hours before the start of our next big drop of Halo 4 info! By the time you read this, we’ll have already gotten through the Fiction of Halo 4 panel with lots of talk of the Chief’s new story and the trouble we’re going to get him into, Halo Infinity Multiplayer and Spartan Ops’ continuing story payloads in the months after launch, and all of the scheming we’ve been doing to spin books, terminals, and even our new live-action series into the perfect mix of “what’s going to happen next?” just in time for Halo 4’s landing on 11/6. And that’s just the start for San Diego, since we have the Halo 4 gameplay panel coming up soon…

But Ms. Angel asked me here today to write up a quick intro to Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn for those who just saw the trailer or just found out about that REAL LIVE MASTER CHIEF we have running around on screen. It’s dangerous to say no to bs angel, I’ve learned (the hard way) so here goes:

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn is the new live-action digital series we’ve been working on in (mostly) secret for the last year or so. The “live-action” up there means we have real live actors,a real live awesome suit of MJOLNIR armor and a real live Warthog to cruise around in. “Digital series” means that once we’re done, we’ll be bringing the show to you first on Machinima Prime (Machinima’s new YouTube channel) and Halo Waypoint once a week starting on 10/5 and leading right up to the launch of Halo 4. First viewing is on us, so to speak, so hey…why not check it out?

The story of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn hops in the way-back machine a little bit to take you about 30 years in Halo history before the games you know (Halos CE through Reach) to a moment when humanity was fighting essentially a civil war, an insurrection of the outer colonies against the colonies closer to (and including) Earth. In order to keep the officers flowing for this war, the United Nations Space Command set up the Corbulo Academy of Military Science to teach the children of the UNSC’s elite leadership how to lead the war and, just as importantly, how to believe in that war.

The “believing” part is where it breaks down for Cadet Thomas Lasky, though. He doesn’t buy that this is a justified war and his willingness to question the war doesn’t exactly make him a lot of friends at the academy. He has all kinds of potential to be a true leader, but his questions and some physical problems with cryosleep training drive him to finally deciding that the UNSC isn’t the right place for him…but right as he’s about to sign his exit papers, everything changes. The Covenant attack, almost everyone he knows dies and his only chance to survive is to trust an armored green giant he knows only as the Master Chief.

After that, it’s explosions and awesome and huge spoilers, so I won’t go any further…for now.

If you’d like to hear more about Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, check out the latest Sparkcast, which I believe should now be up for your listening enjoyment. We cover a lot in our talk with Mr. Ellis, so bs angel said we could put this write-up on pause for now to let you watch the trailer, listen to the podcast, and maybe check out the panel steam on the web. Then next week we’ll gather back here and answer some of the questions folks will have once they’ve had a chance to meet the show properly.

So if it’s ok with you, I’ll be back next week with a full report from San Diego and a small bag of answers. Okay? Okay!


Wait, did Kevin just agree to come back next week and answer questions about Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn? I think he did! You can leave your inquiry in the discussion thread linked at the end of this Bulletin. And no, “Anna Popplewell is hawt” does not count as a question (It does count as the truth, though).

So I leave you with a brand new trailer, a brand new Sparkast (Zune, iTunes, RSS), and some brand new pictures, all for your viewing and listening pleasure. I do hope you enjoy all the goodies.

Halo: 4 Forward Unto Dawn Image Gallery

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn

By the way, if you’re at Comic-Con this week, stop by the booth and say hi. Halo 4 would love to make your acquaintance.

Until next week…

bs angel