When Halo: Reach launched, the future of the Halo games became rather uncertain. Sure, we knew that Microsoft had formed 343 Industries to shepherd the series now that Bungie was moving on from the games that made them famous, but there were still doubts as to whether 343i had the chops to take over. Their first video game effort didn’t come until 2011 with the re-release of Halo: Combat Evolved. While it was a nice update to this classic game, it was still just standing on the shoulders of giants.
Leading up to Halo 4 you could kind of sense the uncertainty surrounding it. An unproven studio with Microsoft’s most valuable franchise making a game that promised to uphold everything Halo stood for? 343i was in a tricky position, because if they played it too close to Bungie’s territory they’d be looked down on and if their Halo was wildly different, the backlash would have been immense. They needed to strike a balance between making a Halo game while at the same time moving it in an entirely new direction. Now that the game is finally out, have they become the Reclaimers to Bungie’s Forerunners?
We’re a day late on this one, but who can blame us? Halo 4 is finally out, riding a wave of excellent reviews. I beat the campaign on Heroic last night, and I have to say that 343 Industries did a fantastic job. I was a bit worried about how Halo would fare under their stewardship, because new things are always scary, but hot damn did they pull it off.
To start, the game is freaking gorgeous, whether it’s the exquisitely rendered cutscenes or the in-game visuals. This is the best a Halo game has ever looked, and it still manages to feel like Halo despite the new flourishes 343i put on their designs. The voice acting and the story are very strong too, as the Chief and Cortana’s relationship gets fleshed out like never before. I seriously got a little emotional at the end of the game, and I wonder where 343i will take the Reclaimer Trilogy next.
There’s so many things I want to talk about regarding the campaign, but it would all stray into spoiler city. I’m going to be checking out multiplayer and Spartan Ops tonight, both of which I hear are quite fun.
So what about you guys? Have you been playing Halo 4? Hope to pick it up? Do you have any non-spoiler thoughts on the campaign?
While Halo 4 is a still a few days out, the review embargo for the game lifted in the wee hours of the morning. I remarked on Twitter the other day that removing the embargo for the game so far in advance of its release meant that Microsoft and 343 Industries must have been plenty confident in their product.
Turns out that they have every right to be, because Halo 4 is cleaning house when it comes to reviews. The reviews I’ve read for the game so far have been glowing, and have maxed out my hype meter. I’ve tried to restrain myself, but the critics haven’t been able to and it’s kind of infectious. Here’s a sampling of some of the scores:
So yeah, Halo 4 has apparently ousted Bungie is the minds of the reviewers. While Bungie’s legacy will always remain, I’m happy to see that 343 Industries has managed to carve out their own territory within this well-worn franchise.
The only negative aspect of Halo 4 that I’ve heard about is that some parts of the story might be a bit too complex for people who haven’t read Greg Bear’s Forerunner Trilogy and the plot relies a little too heavily on hidden terminals for backstory. I haven’t read those books myself, but I always enjoy item hunting and as long as the combat is tight, I’ll forgive them this one misstep.
Now that the review scores are out in the wild, how is your excitement for Halo 4 faring? Reaching a fevered pitch? Has it perhaps chipped away at your armored resolve not to get the game?
It’s no secret that Halo 4 has a lot to live up in in terms of multiplayer, but this new video from 343 Industries fills me with confidence that they can deliver. Working in collaboration with Certain Affinity, the development team that made the best maps for Halo: Reach, 343 Industries has retooled Halo 4′s multiplayer with their own spin on things. While Ordnance Drops and Load-outs do sound like they came right out of the Call of Duty playbook, combining them with everything else in Halo 4 just seems to work. Check out this behind the scenes look at Halo 4′s Infinity multiplayer mode and see for yourself.
I don’t know about you guys, but this video made me genuinely excited in a way I haven’t been in quite a while. 343 Industries might have a huge team of talented people and giant development budget, but they seem to genuinely care about giving players an authentic, but fresh, Halo experience. I’m particularly excited for Dominion, which may turn out to be what Invasion from Halo: Reach promised but ultimately couldn’t deliver. What do you guys think about Halo 4′s Infinity multiplayer? Are you on board? Did this video make you a convert, or are you perhaps more wary now?
Live action Halo adaptions have a lot to live up to, what with Landfall, We Are ODST and Deliver Hope setting the bar pretty high. Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn is set primarily during the United Nations Space Command’s war with the Insurection, years before the Covenant invasion. It follows the story of one Thomas Laskey, a new recruit at the Corbulo Academy of Military Science. Along the way, he ends up meeting the Master Chief, an event which changes his life and puts him on track to be a highly-placed office on the UNSC Infinity, the giant spaceship in Halo 4. You can check part one here, with part two after the jump.
Hey, it’s been a while guys, but I’ve been busy with…stuff. Let’s not look to closely at my flimsy excuse, and rather take a gander at the new Halo 4 ViDoc from 343 Industries, which is, in a word, hot. Halo 4 is looking pretty good, and this new trailer does an adequate job of building the hype.
After 343′s attempts at cracking Halo into other mediums, I was a little concerned that they would have the chops to pull off a sequel to Bungie’s blockbuster series, but my fears are being slowly put to rest. I’ll reserve my final judgement for when I actually play the damn thing, but for now consider me on board. What do you guys think of Halo 4? Is this a must have?
I was originally going to title this post “Halo Fourge Mode” but I realized that nobody would search for that term, ever. Bungie left some big shoes to fill, what with their Halo titles raising the bar for extra features in a console game. The Theater and Forge mode of Halo 3 and Reach spawned hours of awesome creations, so 343 and Certain Affinity (the developers of Halo 4′s take on Forge) have their work cut out for them.
Convention goers at RTX 2012 (which our very own Eddy Rivas attended and had a panel in) got to look at Forge mode and the new toys that are being packed in. There’s a 15-minute plus demo floating around, and while it is off-screen, it’s still a good look at what we’ll be getting our hands on come November.
While I never had the patience to mess around too much in Forge, some of the maps and gametypes that have come out of it are simply stunning. With all the new tools in the box, I can’t wait to see what people come up with. What do you guys think about Halo 4′s Forge Mode? Can 343 and Certain Affinity step up to the plate?
After playing Bungie-crafted Halo games for over ten years, how will 343 Industries fare when they take a stab at the mode the revolutionized multiplayer on consoles? If the new War Games trailer out of E3 is any indication, Halo 4′s multiplayer will be fast, brutal and more than a little bit flashy. Bungie’s Halo was always a more considered shooter, the slower pace leading to careful skirmishes rather than balls-to-the-wall gunfights. It worked well with the old games, but can 343 kick Halo into overdrive?
Overall the multiplayer of Halo 4 seems very similar to Halo: Reach: there are assassinations and armor abilities, but the new Spartans IVs are moving a lot faster than their Spartan III counterparts. I’m liking the look of Halo 4 a lot, but the sound design needs a little tuning. The melee attacks sound to squishy for a bunch of dudes in one ton suits of armor. What do you guys think? Does this trailer carry on the Halo legacy, or is Halo 4 turning into its own game?
With 343 having officially taken the reins of the Halo universe from the old masters at Bungie, it seems that we’re finally starting to get little trickles of information about the upcoming sequel, Halo 4. On top of the recent news that Massive Attack producer Neil Davidge will be scoring the game, 343 has also given some juicy ammunition to Game Informer over the last week.
While there are new screenshots and other bits to take away from the reports of the Game Informer story, the most curious bit is what lies in store for Halo 4′s co-op. Yes, the campaign will still have 4 player co-op. However, it seems that Firefight is getting the axe – or the gravity hammer, perhaps. That’s right, Firefight is history, but in its place, 343 is providing Spartan Ops, an episodic 4 player co-op campaign with its own story. The most interesting part of all of this, though, is that 343 plans on releasing regular free updates to Spartan Ops, allowing players to devour its content in a weekly format almost like that of a TV show, with new gameplay to experience with each one.
I have to say, this is some interesting news. While I think that booting a (now) series staple like Firefight is probably the wrong move, Spartan Ops will provide a welcome new flavor into the franchise. I love the idea of regular episodic content, as it’s something that nobody has done just yet. Which is odd, considering that this generation is finally ready for something like that.
What do you guys think of the idea of Spartan Ops for the Halo 4? Would you like to see more games experiment with regular episodic content like this? Go!
Get your fanboy hats on, folks, because it looks like the rumored HD remake of Halo: Combat Evolved that I posted about back in November is the real deal. Joystiq, citing an unamed source, has learned that the game that kick-started Bungie’s rise to power and revolutionized First Person Shooters on the console is getting remade in High Definition with new art assets.
We’re not just talking about a tuned up re-release, no sir. This game is using an entirely new engine (Joystiq claims that the engine behind Reach is not powering this remake, contrary to popular belief), and is being made by Saber Interactive. The game will support 1080p and 3D as well, if that’s your thing. Multiplayer is still being worked out, but the game is confirmed to have online co-op (the original shipped with split-screen two player co-op).
Furthermore, this remake is apparently one of two Halo games under the 343 Industries banner, so expect more news from the Halo front. For a release date, we’re looking at November 15, 2011, ten years after the original launch of Halo: Combat Evolved.
On an unofficial note, that makes me feel really old, because that will mean I was 14 when the original Halo came out. Are you guys excited about a Halo: Combat Evolved HD remake? Nervous? Nauseous? Go!
Apparently someone at 343 Industries was taking their crazy pills and signed off on Apt. 117, a cartoon about a “normal, average guy who lives with a Halo fanboy.” Sort of like the Odd Couple, but with more man-boobs. Actually, maybe the exact same amount. Anyways, the trailer for this cartoon recently went up, and you can watch it below if you’re so inclined.
If that didn’t excite you then maybe it’s doing its job, as the cartoon is described as purposely underwhelming. I don’t know if I’ve ever invested my time into being specifically disapointed but hey, this might be a new untapped market. Personally, I think a cartoon dedicated to Spartan 1337 would be better, as his short was the only one from Halo: Legends I enjoyed. Apt. 117 will be hitting Halo: Waypoint on X-Box LIVE soon, making it the only time in history that I will consciously stay far, far away from something Halo. Thoughts?
Now that the release of Halo: Reach is behind us, did you think that we were at the end of the Halo related posts? We’re not out of the woods yet, kiddies, because Microsoft has a bit of news for us. Hot on the heels of Bungie’s super-awesome swan song, Microsoft and 343 Industries (the folks taking over the Halo franchise) have announced that they have a few plans for Master Chief and pals, and the first step is to ramp up the number of Halo releases we’re going to see. Typically, it’s a fairly long length of time between Halo games, about three years, but the success Activsion has had with yearly Call of Duty releases has been a source of inspiration for MS and 343.
Corporate Vice President for Microsoft Game Studios Phil Spencer recently had a little talk with IGN about the future of Halo post-Bungie and what we can look forward to for the next few years. While Mr. Spencer did say that a yearly schedule wasn’t the rule, he did also state the the long delay between releases is detrimental for fans of the series. Out of sight, out of mind, that sort of thing (ignoring the fact that Halo 3 is still charting on the top ten played XBL games to this day, but anyways). Phil went on the explain exactly how their new business model got its roots from Activision and Call of Duty:
It’s actually kind of surprising that the Halo franchise has been bereft of a film adaptation at this point; considering the massive amount of acclaim the series has garnered, bringing it to the screen, big or small, has been a curious process. A few years back, it looked as if Halo was making definite strides towards a movie: Peter Jackson was tied to the project with promising newcomer Neill Blomkamp tapped to direct. A short film directed by Blomkamp surfaced around E3 2007 depicting a battle between human soldiers and Covenant troops and it was widely praised. After that, though, the Halo film got caught in development hell and it has since been canceled.
The next mention of a cinematic Halo came at ComicCon 2009 where Microsoft announced the creation of 343 Industries, an internal company focused solely on the management of the Halo IP. With former Bungie veteran Frank O’Conner leading the newly formed team, 343 showed off a trailer for Halo: Legends, a collaborative effort with several renowned Anime companies.
Comprised of seven short films, all about ten minutes in length, Legends promised to give an in-depth look at snippets of the Halo universe, including a peek at the oft-mention but curiously absent Forerunners, the race that built the titular ring-shaped space stations of the series. A couple of the shorts were released as a preview on the X-Box LIVE exclusive Halo Waypoint, with the full retail version hitting stores on February 16. Now that the whole product it out in the wild, how does it stand up?
Most of you have probably figured this little factoid out already, but I am GamerSushi’s resident Halo fan-boy. I seriously loves me some Halo, so naturally you would figure that a series of animated shorts would be right up my alley.
Well, as anyone who becomes engrossed with a franchises’ fictional history can tell you, if you outsource a project to a collection of companies and they do not get it exactly right you will have a large amount of butt-hurt nerds on your hands. That sounds weird, but I digress. If you haven’t caught any of the Halo animes on Waypoint, now’s your chance to see what you haven’t been missing.
The full DVD/Blu-Ray (irony lol) release is in early Feburary, but I think I’ll pass. What about you guys?