Halo 3

 Halo: Reach

Bungie is still working with their former owners, Microsoft, on Bungie's potentially last Halo game, Halo: Reach. Activision and Bungie's decade-long publishing partnership for an upcoming intellectual property comes as Halo: Reach is about to enter beta for a select number of users.

What does Microsoft think about the deal? The company has issued this brief statement:

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The Reason You Can't Have More Than 100 Xbox Live Friends -- Halo 2

Microsoft isn't going to publish Bungie's next intellectual property, Activision is. Your mind might have melted a bit, but don't worry, the rest of the industry is still reeling from it, too.

What's behind Bungie's decision? The studio should be making the rounds with the press this morning to explain themselves, but Bungie released a brief statement on their website already.

"The story of Bungie is wild, winding, and full of majestic wonder. We’ve treaded many pathways over these last nineteen years. But for all the twists and turns we’ve taken, we’re still doing what we set out to do from the beginning, back when the whole of “Bungie Software Products Corporation” consisted of two friends operating out of a basement in Chicago:

Making kick ass games that we want to play."

Keep reading for the rest of Bungie's color commentary on today's big news.

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In part three of our in-depth look at Halo: Reach multiplayer, we talk to Bungie designers Chris Carney and Derek Carroll and go way into depth about the game's maps. You can't win at Halo unless you know your maps, so get one up on all the other Halo players by checking out the game's battlefields before the beta even launches!

Extended Halo: Reach Multiplayer Combat Overview Part 3 »

Check out Part One, and Part Two.


Halo: Reach Trailer Unveils Multiplayer Gameplay

These days, it seems like most hardcore gamers have managed to purchase both an Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, ensuring they're not locked out of any of the must-have video games that are sometimes exclusive. Some G4tv.com readers, however, are still holding out on one system or another. For example, reader pcNorth_mOnster will be buying an Xbox 360 specifically because of Halo: Reach.

"i dont even own a 360 but im going to soon be buying one and this is going to be on the list for [sure]"

Since 10 other G4tv.com readers gave his comment a thumbs up, is he onto something?


In part three of our in-depth look at Halo: Reach multiplayer, we talk to Bungie designers Chris Carney and Derek Carroll and go way into depth about the game's maps. You can't win at Halo unless you know your maps!


Extended Halo: Reach Multiplayer Combat Overview Part 3 »

Check out Part One and Part Two!



Halo: Reach Multiplayer Beta To Feature

Halo: Reach is going to be a much bigger deal than Halo 3: ODST. How much bigger? In the beta alone, Bungie believes as many as three million gamers could participate -- if not more.

"My expectation is it could be upwards of three million people," said community and franchise director Brian Jarrard in an interview with The Seattle Times. "I think that's a fairly conservative estimate. Certainly there will never be a console beta of this magnitude."

Will you be one of the millions checking out Halo: Reach early next month?

Source: The Seattle Times

Have something to share? Sitting on a news tip? E-mail me. You can also follow me on Twitter.

Bungie Reveals Halo: Reach's All-Encompassing Player Investment System

Why should multiplayer gamers have all the fun? That's part of Bungie's pitch for its ambitious "Player Investment" system being implemented into what could potentially be the studio's final Halo adventure, Halo: Reach.

It's been a while since Bungie had a chance to reinvent their brand of online play and Player Investment is Bungie's response to the more RPG-influenced level-based multiplayer experiences found in dominating games like Infinity Ward's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Whereas Modern Warfare 2 and its ilk confine these experiences to multiplayer, Bungie's hoping to rope all of its Halo fans under a single, player-driven umbrella and involve single-player.

"Whatever your preferred flavor of Halo is, we're gonna find a way to reward you," said Bungie player investment designer (and former games journalist) Luke Smith in a phone interview with me earlier this week. "Whatever you enjoy doing in multiplayer, we're gonna find a way to reward you. Through the Player Investment system, you're going to be building an identity for the first time in a Halo game."

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If you're excited about the upcoming, collaborative animation project, Halo Legends, check this out. Warner Bros. has released a near 2 minute clip of "The Babysitter", the episode from Japanese animation house Studio 4°C (Lunar Knights, Rogue Galaxy, Linkin Park - "Breaking the Habit", The Animatrix - "Beyond"). This along with 6 other short films are looking to make any Halo fan craving more, jovial.

Halo Legends "The Babysitter" Clip »

Starting with Halo 2, the complicated mythology took hold of the story in Halo games. Bungie, in my eyes, successfully reigned in the problems with that path in Halo 3: ODST, which allowed you to enjoy a Halo story without being left out because you haven't read a Halo encyclopedia, too. According to Bungie, that's going to be the approach for the upcoming Halo: Reach, too.

"Reach will continue that, because it doesn't have the burden of continuing a story like Halo 2 and Halo 3 had to carry," said creative director Marcus Lehto to Edge. "It was a true burden for us when we were making those games, because we sometimes wanted to do something but couldn't because the story wouldn't let us, or we had to support this giant steamroller of a story. Reach allowed us to start afresh."

The Halo mythology is full of interesting characters and stories, but, for example, I couldn't tell you what the hell the Gravemind from Halo 2 was. There was too much to follow, too much that required outside research to enjoy. No doubt, Halo: Reach will have plenty for the hardcore to chew on, but if Halo: Reach can make the story a little more accessible for the rest of us, I'm game.

Source: Edge

Have something to share? Sitting on a news tip? E-mail me. You can also follow me on Twitter.

343 Industries Picks Up Metal Gear Solid 4's Sound Director

The internal Microsoft division handling the future of the Halo franchise, 343 Industries, has picked up another employee from Kojima Productions: Sotaro Tojima, last seen working as the sound director on the PlayStation 3 exclusive Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

343 Industries announced the news through their Twitter account.

Tojima marks the second employee 343 Industries has plucked from the Kojima Productions ranks. Early on, 343 Industries brought on Ryan Payton as creative director. Previously, Payton was an assistant producer working alongside designer Hideo Kojima at his Konami studio.

It's widely rumored 343 Industries is working on the Halo title to follow Halo: Reach. 343 Industries has also overseen the launch of Halo Waypoint and other extensions of the brand.

Have something to share? Have a news tip? E-mail me. You can also follow me on Twitter.

Nathan Fillion (Aka Buck) Could Return In Halo: Reach Next Year

Halo 3: ODST may have been mostly a success for Bungie, but there haven't been many indications the developer is interested in making the adventures of the ODST a regular occurrence. It was a spin-off, a one-time thing. But that doesn't mean we've seen the last of the cast of characters Bungie introduced in Halo 3: ODST. At the end of our post-release interview with Bungie, writer and creative director Joseph Statten dropped a hint about Buck, voiced by Firefly actor Nathan Fillion.

"I can’t comment on any future plans for our ODSTs," said Statten, crushing hopes. "But it would be a shame if we made a game about the planet Reach -- a place where Buck, the ODST’s squad leader, was known to be -- and not have him appear in some way shape or form…"

Sounds like a classic class of a non-confirmation confirmation. In other words, Fillion should have a role in Halo: Reach, though it's impossible to say whether it will actually be substantial.

Have something to share? Have a news tip? E-mail me. You can also follow me on Twitter.


Halo 3: ODST Available For Preorder, Sgt. Johnson Exclusive Ready To Roll Out At Launch

A constant source of criticism for Halo 3: ODST has been the lack of matchmaking for the popular Firefight mode. You can't jump into a random Firefight game; matches must be coordinated with friends. Since it's a cooperative-dependent mode, most people would want to partner up with friends anyway, but the lack of a randomized option was clearly a sore spot that's haunted the game.

As it turns out, Bungie wanted matchmaking in Firefight, too. Bungie recently revealed why matchmaking didn't make it into Halo 3: ODST's Firefight in a post-release interview with G4.

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Halo 3: ODST

It's difficult to manage expectations, especially in this age of downloadable content, expanded universes, and cost-conscious (and tempermental) audiences who love you one minute and write snarky things about you on the Internet the next. Few development studios know this like Bungie, who when developing Halo 3: ODST made the bold decision to bench their All-Star character and start a team of rookies. But did that really hurt them in the long run? Is there value in making something in just over a year, even with the Halo name cranking up the pressure cooker? Are there lessons to be learned going into Halo: Reach? We asked the always-affable guys at Bungie these questions (and more). Providing the answers are:

  • Joseph Staten, Writer & Creative Director
  • Lars Bakken, Design Lead
  • Curtis Creamer, Executive Producer
  • Brian Jarrard, Community Director

G4: What did the omission of Master Chief give you the freedom to do in ODST?

Lars Bakken: It really opened up the storytelling in a way that we hadn't been able to do before. We didn't have to tell the epic universe-saving story of the last Spartan rescuing the entire human race. We could tell a more intimate story, with more realistic characters.

Joseph Staten: The Halo universe isn’t all ancient ring artifacts and parasitic plagues. Sure, it’s a universe that’s gripped by war. But not all of the human characters are focused on Saving the Human Race. Most of them are fighting for the man (or woman) standing next to them, which is to say they’re fighting for their own, personal reasons. It was really refreshing to let players experience Halo from these kinds of characters’ points-of-view. And even better: not all of these characters are soldiers e.g., Sadie and the Superintendent. 

G4: How many gamers have e-mailed you asking..."where the heck is Master Chief?" Has the backlash -- or lack thereof, if that's the case -- been about what you expected from Halo fans?

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This Reader Unlocked Every Halo Achievement (Even That Halo Wars One)

"Significantly less" than 1% of Halo players have managed to unlock every achievement across every Halo game, according to the developers of the recently launched Halo hub Halo Waypoint. One of the biggest stumbling blocks for the Halo devoted is picking up all the Halo Wars achievements -- specifically, the "Generals" multiplayer achievement, requiring a significant time investment.

I was contacted by one excited reader who'd claimed to have mastered all of the Halo achievements, a man by the gamertag of Ghosty Taco. Upon further inspection, however, I realized he didn't have the "Generals" achievement. I tasked him with fixing this and come back to me when the job was done.

He did.

One of you has managed to rack up all 3,950 achievements for the Halo series. He might be slightly insane. You can verify Ghosty Taco's achievements for yourself on his Xbox Live profile.

So, how'd he do it? A tried and true tradition, of course: Exploiting "noobs."

"I got stuck with some noobs," said Ghosty Taco, "with this map that has flood doors and he kept sending units at me while i keep opening the doors and i kept doing it for every noob i meet on that map because it gives me a totaty of 33600 points every match :D"

Bravo, Ghosty Taco. Bravo.

Have something to share? Have a news tip? E-mail me. You can also follow me on Twitter.

UPDATE: Only 4 days left to submit your Sarkathlon 4 run! Details below...

X-Play's Mr Sark has a history of dropping some amazing Halo 3 prizes on the winner of the Sarkathlon, a contest storied in legend and history, appearing only a few times to the chosen few... or whenever new Halo 3 multiplayer maps are available.

Previously, Mr Sark has bestowed the coveted Recon armor on winners, but with the release of Halo 3: ODST, that isn't so special anymore, right? You're absolutely correct. That's why Mr Sark and Bungie are going to be giving the winner of Sarkathlon 4...

Bungie Exclusive Flaming Armor!

Mr Sark's Halo 3 Sarkathlon 4 - Do You Want The Bungie Exclusive Flaming Armor?

To compete, you'll need to acquire a copy of Halo 3: ODST because this content takes place on the map Longshore. Once you have ODST loaded up, you'll need to download the map and gametype for Sarkathlon 4 from Mr Sark's Bungie.net file share. After that, load it up, find all 8 grenades, and cross the finish line faster than anyone else. Simple, right?

Mr Sark's Halo 3 Sarkathlon 4 »

Sarkathlon 4 ends at Sunday, November 8th at Midnight! Save a full replay of your run and put it on your Bungie.net file share. Then, email mrsark@g4tv.com with a link to your replay to enter the contest!

Before you get started, however, hit the break for an extended interview with Mr Sark for a behind-the-scenes look at Sarkathlon 4 and some tips to help you shave valuable seconds off of your time.

Read More »

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