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Halo 3

Halo 3

Usually, when you hear a video game rumor you have to wait weeks, months or even years for it to be confirmed or denied, but this morning's rumor might have a shelf life of 15 minutes or so. 

The Rumor: Bungie is working on something called Halo: Reach as well as the previously revealed Halo: ODST.

The Source: A sub-forum posted on Bungie's official message board pointed to the existence of the game, but was quickly removed.

The Confirmation: It could be coming at the Microsoft press conference to be held in 15 minutes.

The place to watch it: G4, man! Check it out live on the air, or dig our live, internet stream of the E3 2009 Microsoft press event. 

If you've been looking for new ways to mix up Halo Wars multiplayer, Microsoft has released the "Strategic Options" add-on for 800 Microsoft Points ($10), which adds three new game modes -- Keepaway, Tug of War and Reinforcement.

Microsoft's official descriptions of the new game types:

  • Keepaway Mode: This is the Halo Wars adaptation of "Capture the Flag." Teams battle it out to capture a free-roaming Forerunner Sentinel to score points before the other team. Capture three sentinels to claim victory.
  • Tug of War Mode: This mode is all about having a stronger army than your opponent. Defeating enemies is essential, but success is determined by a combination of the army, buildings, and resources left standing in the end.
  • Reinforcement Mode: All active battle units are provided in successive waves. Adapt to their tactics and use the ever-changing set of units to outwit and outlast the enemy.

Want to know what the new achievements are, too?

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Halo 3 Master Chief Spartan Screenshot

Halo 3 developer Bungie Studios has long promised fans would eventually have the ability to export their recorded in-game movies to the outside world, but the solution has been a long time coming. Fortunately, the wait is nearly over, as Bungie is going to start rolling out the service to Bungie Pro subscribers.

You already need to be a paying subscriber -- it's too late to sign up -- and if you became a Bungie Pro member through a map pack promotion, that doesn't count, either. You have to be already paying space bucks in order to participate. In a few months, if everything goes as planned, everyone else can join in.

The process of turning a saved film into an exported video is as simple a clicking a button and selecting either standard or high-definition resolution. Doing so, however, isn't something you can just go hog wild on. Bandwidth costs money, which is why the export function is connected to Bungie Points.

You spend Bungie Points to export videos. Bungie Pro subscribers will, according to the studio, receive enough to export one film per month at no extra charge, but to produce more, you'll need to purchase Bungie Points. Currently, standard-definition videos will cost 1 point, high-definition videos 5 points.

Bungie expects the limited beta to run through sometime in July. More details on the new feature can be found in the studio's announcement Q&A.

As someone who hasn't played Halo 3 since completing the single-player adventure, this sounds cool but ultimately doesn't interest me. For hardcore users, though, I have to ask: how do you feel about having to pay to export videos? Sound worth it?

'Halo 3' Gets Hypothetical/Chilling NES 'Mega Man' Box Art Treatment

Videogame box art is probably one of the most underappreciated aspects of the entire gaming experience. For as much as we’d hope not to just a game by its box cover, sometimes we just can’t help it, especially if it’s a game we aren’t that familiar with. The box art’s job is to get the customer to pick up the game so that they turn it over and check out a couple screenshots, feature summaries and critic blurbs, and decide if it's worth their time and money.

And , when it comes to famous (or in this case, infamous) box art, few names spring to mind as readily as Mega Man for the NES. Horrible. Just…horrible. Well, the guys over at GameSpy must have had some exquisitely terrifying visions of the offending cover art, because they’ve now envisioned a world wherein the artist behind the original Mega Man box has been driven to apply his “talent” to recreating box art for popular modern day games.

His first hypothetical project? Halo 3 of course, and what a superbly craptastic vision it is.

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Halo: Ghosts of OnyxWhen novels set in the Halo universe are published, they sell many, many copies. That's right, Halo and great literature actually go together, and fans of both Halo's myth-tinged sci-fi universe and book-readin' are numerous enough to propel each novelization of the game series to the top of the New York Times best-seller list for fiction. Crispy Gamer took at look at the phenomena of the Halo books to get to the bottom of this unlikely literary cottage industry.

The books succeed, according to Frank O'Connor, the director of franchise development at Microsoft Game Studios, partially because they do more than simply re-tell the story of the video games in words. The Halo novels expand the game's universe into directions that might not be possible (or interesting) in a video game.

"When Eric Nylund wrote Fall of Reach," O'Connor said, "he knocked it out of the park and embroidered the Halo universe in directions I don't think gamers were expecting. He took Bungie's rich characters and lore, and gave them a more personal context and a sense of grounded origin that the game, which by its nature is constantly moving forward, can't do easily."

For the entire feature, head to Crispy Gamer and check it out.  And don't forget to revisit my interviews with Contact Harvest author Joseph Staten and Eric Nylund!

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Microsoft Hiring For Social 'Halo' Project For Mobile And Web

Microsoft is hiring for an "out-of-game" Halo project for mobile and web platforms. The project appears to blend social networking and Halo. The company's listing on Careerbuilder.com reads:

"We're looking to blend console, web, and mobile to create an immersive Halo world that follows the dedicated Halo fan wherever they go. We need engineers that can build connected technology while working in astartup environment." 

There's no denying that Halo is a huge franchise and enjoys an enormous following, but do gamers really want a FaceBook-style experience based around one series? It seems a bit odd to me. Then again, Bungie.net has an ardent community so expanding on it and making it mobile could be a pretty big deal. Whatever the project turns out to be, I truly hope that it isn't exclusive to Microsoft's Windows Mobile and Zune platforms.

What do you ladies and gents think? Would you want a social-community experience based around Halo? Would you use it?

Source via Joystiq

Halo 3 map pack

Today's your lucky day, Halo 3 players, the Mythic map pack is up, live and ready for you to download. The eagerly awaited DLC for Bungie's blockbuster FPS contains three multiplayer maps, Assembly, Orbital and Sandbox. It will cost you only 800 Microsoft points, which is a bargain, certainly.

Here's a little more info on each map:

  • Assembly: Named for the Covenant Scarab being constructed overhead, this map is perfect for mid-size Slayer and Team Slayer battles. It also supports objective game-types.
  • Orbital: This is the first map in Halo 3 to be set in outer space, specifically an orbital elevator above earth. It has two overlapping "U" shaped corridors and switches that give access to hard-to-reach areas.
  • Sandbox: Bungie calls it the ultimate Forge map. It supports every item in the Forge, and even gives you some new toys to play with, including a golf club, golf ball and tin cup, in case you want to hit the links. As for the map itself, it's really a huge empty area split into two maps: A "Sky Bubble" you can use to create maps like Guardian and Ascension, and The Crypt. The Crypt is a fully-enclosed arena for creating games like Grifball.

For more info, visit Bungie's site, or check out the below video for more info.

All Access Preview: Halo 3 Mythic Map Pack »


While Raymond Padilla is off at Wrestlemania, hanging out with wrestlers and divas, I'm taking over the task of compiling the list of games TheFeed will be playing this weekend. With Ray away, let me tell ya, there are going to be some serious changes 'round here. First off: This post will not be alphabetized at all!  It's totally random! Anarchy is in full effect!

Secondly... well, there is no secondly. I guess the changes are relatively minor. But, hey, take a second to leave a comment and let us know which game you are playing this weekend, and which of our choices stinks.

Fallout 3

Billy Berghammer: Outside of Ninja-ing around the beach on Saturday with the G4 crew (come join us!), I’m planning on going back and finishing a few games over the weekend. I’m actually torn on what I want to go back to – it’s either going to be Fallout 3 or GTA IV. Either way, I’ll be happily shooting things in the face.

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Halo 3

The results of last week's Xbox LIVE activity are in, and the most played game on the 360 is...you guessed it! Halo 3! Bungie's sci-fi shooter has once again topped both Call of Duty: World at War and Call of Duty 4 for the coveted top spot on the chart.

  1. Halo 3
  2. Call of Duty: WaW
  3. Call of Duty 4
  4. Gears of War 2
  5. GTA IV
  6. RESIDENT EVIL 5
  7. Halo Wars
  8. Left 4 Dead
  9. FIFA 09
  10. STREET FIGHTER IV

Click the cut for the top downloaded games on Arcade, as well as the best-selling community titles, including the exciting, action title TV Calibration.

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Halo 3 Master Chief Spartan Screenshot

Microsoft has settled with PalTalk, which was suing MS for patent-infringement on some of the multiplayer technologies used in the Halo series. The patents were developed by MPath Interactive Inc. and purchased by PalTalk.

The trial for the suit which sought $90 million in damages is over now and a Microsoft spokesperson reports that the settlement was an "amicable agreement." The financial details of the settlement were not disclosed, but it's safe to assume it is less than $90 million.

I've really got to get into the patent business and start taking meetings with companies. Even if they use a different technology (allegedly), I can probably still sue them.

Source

Microsoft Being Sued For $90-Million Over Alleged 'Halo' Patent Infringements

Bloomberg News has reported that Microsoft is being sued for $90-million over patent infringements involving Halo. The game allegedly violates two patents developed by MPath Interactive, a company that Microsoft met with prior to Halo's release. The patents were purchased by PalTalk Holdings for $200,000.

"The trial in Marshall, Texas, centers on technology for ways to control interactive applications over multiple computers. MPath was 'a pioneer in the online video industry in the area of real-time, multiplayer online games,' PalTalk lawyer Max Tribble told the jury. 'Microsoft had many meetings with MPath regarding their technology, and Microsoft found the technology to be very valuable,' he said."

Without seeing any of the specifics, this sounds like one of those lawsuits that will be settled out of court for a large sum of money. Anyone remember Sony's lengthy battle with Immersion over the Dual Shock controller? This smells like the same thing.

Source

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Halo 3

In a verbal bombshell that will rock the very foundations of your soul, Halo franchise development director Frank O'Connor let slip this amazing quote:

"I doubt we have seen the last of Master Chief."

This quote leaves open the possibility of another sequel to Halo!! I'll go out on a limb here and predict Halo 4, 5 and 6. In fact, I predict Halo sequels will continue to be released until people stop buying them. I'm psychic like that.

Source

Halo 3 Master Chief Spartan Screenshot

Bungie has revealed that one billion matchmaking games of Halo 3 have been played since its release. That's insane. To put that into perspective, Halo 2 is currently sitting at 798 million games played and has been out for much longer. Although to be fair, people are probably done playing Halo 2 for the most part.

Using its crazy database skills, Bungie has determined the exact amount of time spent in matchmaking, which does not include singleplayer, offline play, or custom games:

Total Matchmaking Playtime: 2,023,153,340,764 seconds or 64,109 years.

What?!

I'd be really interested in seeing where Call of Duty 4 is with its PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 data, but this is really a great accomplishment for Bungie. 

By the way, I've contributed 991 games to that total! What about you?

Source

Like the rapid deployment of a squad of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers, the original soundtrack album for Halo Wars has made a pre-emptive strike, releasing a couple weeks before the actual game. This is also the first Halo soundtrack that's not done by Martin O’Donnell and Michael Salvatori. Some game music fans may be concerned that the “Halo Sound” isn’t there. If your Spartan helmet has headphones, put it on and listen up.

Composer Stephen Rippy has previously done music for Ensemble’s Age of Empires III and Age of Mythology games. With Halo Wars, Rippy has successfully captured the spirit of what Halo music is expected to sound like, while adding his own touches. The result is a very listenable soundtrack album that has more than earned itself and its composer a place in the Halo pantheon.

Something I have noticed in the comments of reviews past is that many of you will put on a game as a must have. When spun from start to finish, the album plays incredibly well. There are the familiar Halo moments, punctuated with quieter, ambient passages, followed closely by more robust bursts of orchestra. Where as many soundtrack albums (game, movie or otherwise) sometimes suffer as listening experiences based on their running order, Halo Wars feels like the album was intentionally put together to give the listener a true and complete audio narrative.

Sumthing Else Music continues to lead the way as top publishers of domestic soundtrack releases with Halo Wars. The two disc set features 25 songs from the game on disc one, along with a DVD featuring videos, bonus tracks and nine of the game’s key music sequences mixed in 5.1 surround sound. Look, if you are a Halo completist, you probably got your hands on a copy of this disc before I did. If you love the game when it drops, then you should add this to your sonic arsenal. If you still aren’t convinced, then check out both Sumthing and Stephen Rippy’s sites for some free downloadable samples.

             
--Rick “Drives a Flame-sided Warthog” Damigella

Microsoft's Captain Marketing Major Nelson has posted stats on last week's Xbox Live activity. Included in the mix are the top Xbox Live titles based on unique users and the top Xbox Live Arcade games based on full purchases. Nelson has started listing the top Community Games, also based on full purchases, which adds some interesting information for those of you that follow the space. Here are the lists!

Top Xbox Live Games (Based on Unique Users)
1 CoD: World at War
2 Halo 3
3 Call of Duty 4
4 Gears of War 2
5 Left 4 Dead
6 GTA IV
7 Fable II
8 Skate 2 Demo
9 Guitar Hero World Tour
10 FIFA 09

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