Yesterday was a sad day for gaming soundtrack aficionados and Halo fans everywhere. Marty O’Donnell, the composer of the soundtracks for Halos Combat Evolved through Reach and the upcoming Destiny, was “terminated without cause” by the Bungie board of directors on April the 11, according to his Twitter account. Bungie released their own statement titled “There are those who said this day would never come” on Bungie.Net, saying that Marty had parted “as friends” and wished him luck in his future endeavors.
While we might never know the full story behind this, it’s a shame to see Marty let go from the company that made him a household name to millions. Marty’s score for the Halo games that Bungie developed will always have a place in my music collection and I’m sure that Destiny’s music will be just as iconic.
What do you guys think about this? Are you sad to see Marty go? Do you think he’ll land on his feet fairly quickly?
The reveal of Bungie’s newest property, Destiny, has had me thinking this week about the nature of hype in the video game realm. With everything from years-out announcements to games that get stuck in an endless development cycle, games that get dropped on us just a few months before release and more, we’ve seen the whole gamut of hype. Sometimes it is a bit much for our poor hearts, methinks.
But while I’m excited about the little snippets that Bungie showed off, I can’t help but feel like maybe the announcement had been just a tad overhyped in the week prior. Bungie explained a little of what Destiny is, but there’s still so much we don’t know, and for a game that seems built around its high concept that we may or may not have seen before, it seems like maybe that information is necessary. In the end, it comes down to strategy, and how each developer feels that they can ultimately sell more copies.
All that to ask you guys today’s poll question. How do you prefer your video game hype? Go!
After a couple of years of silence, Bungie has spilled the beans on their ambitious, imaginative project, Destiny. In one of their famous ViDocs, the house that built Halo unveiled its new shared-world shooter. While it’s hard to know what it is exactly at this point, the implication seems to be a persistent online sandbox world, where the players have an affect on the world and the story. It sounds like an MMO, but also with a few elements such as DayZ.
Bungie plans to unfold this universe over the course of 10 years. And what a universe to play in. I could go on and on about the art style, which reminds me of both Halo and Mass Effect, but with a touch of ruin seen from something like Enslaved. While most of what we see in the video is concept art, we do get a couple of bits of gameplay towards the end. You should really just watch it for yourself.
What do you guys think of Destiny, upon its first reveal? I have to admit, it’s a bit bittersweet to see the game’s scope and style, knowing that I had a chance to be at Bungie for all of this. I’m curious to see what else they have in store for us, and what other things they’ll release about the game in the coming months.
Poor Bungie just can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to their new top-secret Activision published shooter, Destiny. The studio has purposefully gone dark about it since Halo: Reach landed, but the world at large seems determined to foil their plans. While the accidental reveal of Destiny’s release schedule during the Infinity Ward vs Activison trial was an unfortunate side effect, this latest leak stems from a reader who passed the information along to IGN so it’s much more deliberate in nature.
The story of Destiny takes place 700 years from now, with mankind living in the shadow of its Golden Age, surviving in a settlement known as The Last City on planet Earth. A strange alien orb known as The Traveler hangs over Earth in very low orbit, and creatures from beyond the edge of space are trying to wipe humanity off the map. The player takes the role of a “knight”, tasked with pushing back the alien hordes. While some might say that Bungie is going back to the thematic well, Destiny is set to take a more fantastical approach than Halo, aiming to be “fun and accessable” according to the document obtained by IGN and is “designed for your inner seven year old”. While the document doesn’t confirm or deny that Destiny will be an MMO as rumored, it does mention that the game is socially oriented and a large focus is put on exploration with your friends.
Bungie themselves went ahead and confirmed that the Destiny details were correct in a post on their site labeled “Well, that just happened…again” and posted another piece of artwork to go along with it.
What do you guys think of this? Feeling bad for Bungie all over again? What do you think about Destiny’s story?
An unintended side-effect of the long-standing legal battle between former Infinity Ward head honchos Jason West and Vincent Zampella and Activision is the reveal of the specifics behind Bungie’s contract with the publisher. Brought to light as part of the court-case, the 27 page agreement between the Bellevue, Washington studio and Activision details the plans for the studios’ new shooter, code-named Destiny.
There’s plenty of legalese in the document but the basic gist of it is that Bungie has signed on for a four game deal, the first of which is set to drop in 2013 for the Xbox 360. Subsequent games will be released on the next generation systems (aggravatingly, the agreement calls the 360 successor the “Xbox 720″) including the PS3 follow up and PCs. The games will be spaced to come out every other year with additional content packs called “Comet” filling in the gaps. Destiny is not strictly a “sci-fi” game but rather a “sci-fantasy” shooter. What that means exactly isn’t clear, so we’ll have to wait for a more specific reveal on that. The contract also stipulates that Bungie is working to revive their classic Marathon franchise.
Bungie’s official response, entitled “Well, that just happened” all but confirms this as fact, promising that the official reveal is coming soon and we’ll be seeing them starside in 2013.
What do you guys think about this? Is it unfair to Bungie to have their secret work revealed without much fanfare? Is this a low blow by West and Zampella’s lawyers to expose another developer? What do you think of the working conditions Bungie is under in the contract? Thoughts on what “sci-fantasy” means?
It had to happen at some point, folks. As somber as it is, Bungie is finally saying their official goodbye to the Halo series as of August 2nd, they’ll be handing control of Halo: Reach’s matchmaking, etc. over to 343 as they send their legendary franchise off to sea. Or the stars, as it were.
Here’s a bit from their farewell post:
Halo is yours now. In many ways, it always has been. Its new caretakers will strive, just as we did, to be worthy stewards but you have the package. Hold these characters and stories and worlds to the same unflinching standards you did while we were at the helm, but allow them all to blossom and change and grow in the ways that they must.
As such, Bungie says they’ll be running dark after August 2nd, as they continue work on their newest endeavor, a brand new universe that they’re building for publisher Activision. Their final words? “See you starside.”
So how do you guys feel about Halo passing hands? I know some of you don’t care very much about it, and I know we also have some fanboys, myself included. Love it or loathe it, it’s hard to deny such a monumental series and its power, and I’ll be curious to see what happens to it in the future. Thoughts, friends?
One of the biggest criticisms leveraged against Halo: Reach was the astonishingly low quality of the multiplayer maps included in the retail version. The original offerings were either spaces taken from the campaign or Forge World creations and remakes of older maps. Even the Noble Map Pack, released by Bungie on November 30, didn’t measure up to the maps of the previous Halo games, though they were better than the base offerings.
Interestingly, Halo: Reach’s second map pack, the Defiant Map Pack, was crafted by Certain Affinity, who made the Blastacular Map Pack for Halo 2. The Defiant Map Pack includes two new multiplayer spaces and a Firefight arena, but what makes this particular DLC worth your hard earned space bucks?
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!
As a gaming nerd, I’m a big fan of statistics (though not nearly as much as Eddy), so looking at the accumulated kills of Grunts in Halo: Reach is a nice Christmas present from the folks at Bungie. Ever since Halo: Reach dropped back on September 14, the Noble Sixes of the world have been investing a lot of time in the sci-fi shooter, spending about twenty-four thousand years in game and earning nine hundred trillion credits in the process.
Of course, reading stats dry off a page is kind of boring, which is why Bungie whipped up a handy infographic detailing the genocidal, time-wasting nature of Halo players. I’ve posted the whole thing after the jump, so go take a look!
Apparently we’ve been leaving the Would You Rather game off to the side of the road, flopping like a fish out of water. So, being the kind gents we are, we decided to resuscitate it and bring it back to life for your enjoyment. Not that I’d do mouth-to-mouth with a fish. Well, maybe I would.
For the uninitiated, in Would You Rather, I simply ask a series of questions, and you follow up with your answers. Give as much or as little explanation as you want for your choices, but we all know that we like to see the reasoning behind the madness.
But beware, lest your answers be terrible and full of fail. For if they are, Jeff will use his vast eyebrow powers to blink you straight out of existence. Either that or he will call you names that hurt your feelings. He’s good at both, but it really depends on his mood that day. Anyway, have at it, folks.
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:
I think I’ve mentioned this little factoid on here before, but I am kind of a spoiler hound. There are very few occasions where I manage to keep myself totally in the dark about a story for any book, movie or game. Case in point, I was playing through the new Mass Effect 2 DLC last night, Lair of the Shadow Broker, and I looked up the end of the level while I was playing it. If that isn’t crazy behavior, I don’t know what is. Just to make the wait for Halo: Reach even more unbareable, Bungie has seen fit to release a walkthrough of one of the campaign’s levels called Tip of the Spear, complete with commentary straight from the developers. I’m going to try and avoid watching this, but if you’re so inclined, I’ve embedded the video below:
If you did watch the video, what did you think? Pretty interesting, or are you trying to keep yourself squeaky clean for the next six days?
Well, we’ve finally reached (get it?) September, the month where Bungie will bid adieu to the Halo franchise with the highly anticipated, even by me, Halo: Reach. In honor of this momentous and bittersweet occasion, I thought I would ask you guys which game in the Halo series stands out to you as the best.
I never played Halo: Combat Evolved until 2007, when I finally bought a used Xbox for fifty bucks from a friend. Even years after its release, it was still a blast to play and all the whining about the Library level was way overblown. The backtracking did suck, though. Honestly, I think that one is still my favorite to this day, although I haven’t played ODST yet, but a certain Canadian speaks very highly of it. And the less said about Halo 2′s ending, or lack thereof, the better.
So what do you guys think? What game is your favorite and why? Is there a particular one that you don’t think stands up the high quality of the others? Let your opinions Flood (ha ha) over this post…now!
Some people are persistent, there’s no doubt about that. Even when games are hidden inside Microsoft’s own fortress of code and priced at over $1250 on Xbox LIVE, pirates still find a way to get what they want. Halo: Reach, which is slated to come out in less than a month, has been grabbed from Microsoft via some skullduggery on their very own servers. The prohibitively expensive version of Reach (statue not included) was intended to be available to reviewers so Microsoft does not have to ship out box copies. Furthermore, even if you manage to scrounge up that many Microsoft Points, you still need a special download code to get it (Microsoft had done something similar with Crackdown 2, which is still not available publicly via LIVE).
While there’s been plenty of debate on this site about piracy and whether it’s good or bad, this is a pretty ballsy move even by Internet standards. Most games are pirated after their release or shortly before, but never from Microsoft’s own website. Spoiler-related threads are springing up all over the Web, so if you’d like to stay pure for September 14, batten down the hatches. Until the Cyber Police get this leak under control, there will be much chaos in the house of Xbox.
What do you guys think about this development? Are you going spoiler hunting or avoiding forums at all costs?
Psst. You got that itch? That little feeling in your hands, the one where you just ache to throw a plasma grenade at somebody and feel that awesome tingle of joy when it sticks to their body and you watch them run around like they just found out they were adopted before they explode? Yeah, me too.
Sadly, we have another month to go before Halo: Reach hits store shelves, so I can’t do anything about your desire to blow people up or LOCK BLOCK them, but I can give you a small taste of what you will be doing for the next few months. Enjoy and remember…the first hit is always free:
Even though the Reach Beta is far behind us, my mind is still consumed with thoughts of running around Boneyard and Powerhouse, throwing mini-nuke grenades and Lock Blocking some fools. Needless to say, I’m greatly looking forward to the game’s release on September 14, and I’ve even taken a couple days off of work to fully absorb it (that and go to a wedding, but we know which is more important). Bungie recently played host to a variety of media outlets – while snubbing my tear-filled pleas to be invited – and the fruits of those visits are finally hitting the internet. IGN got to take a look at three of the maps being shipped with Reach, and two of them should be familiar to Halo 2 veterans.
It all looks pretty good to me, especially the prospect of flying Falcons in multiplayer. How is it looking to you guys?
One thing that can put a damper on a good night of fun in the online world of gaming would have to be the advent of rage quitting, something that plagues even the most congenial of multiplayer matches. It’s hard to escape, really. As long as there are people playing games, there will be people that grief and people that quit.
And this is something that Bungie hopes to put a stop to. In a recent chat with Xbox360 Achievements, Bungie community director Brian Jarrard had a few things to say about a new system they’re implementing into Halo: Reach to help weed out the rage quitters from the rest of the population. The idea is that these people will be penalized in order to keep the overall experience more enjoyable.
We’ve talked about the idea of when to quit online matches, but I still thought I’d bring this up. What do you guys think of punishing people that habitually quit games? Personally, I’m of two minds about it. On the one hand, I think it does indeed ruin the experience for other people in some ways. But on the other, if I pay 60 bucks for a game, I feel like it’s almost my right to enjoy it how I please, and that doesn’t include letting someone grief me for an entire match or playing a really hated gametype. Obviously, it’s a tricky ground to navigate, but my advice would be to find better ways to penalize griefers before penalizing quitters, but that’s just me.
So what do you guys think about quitting online games? Do you agree with Bungie’s new proposed tactic? Go!
Your resident Halo fanboy is back, this time with the campaign trailer for Bungie Studio’s upcoming Halo swan song, Halo: Reach. You can debate whether this game is actually the most anticipated title of 2010 (please don’t), but there’s no denying that the excitement for Reach is building to a fevered pitch. With Firefight 2.0, Forge World and a swath of player customization options, it looks like Bungie’s last Halo game will be very fine indeed. Check out the trailer below:
Very nice in my opinion, if a little reminiscent of Modern Warfare 2 in some parts. Like all of Bungie’s trailers, this stuff is all in engine, and damn if it doesn’t look sublime. What do you guys think? Any more excited, or are you like me, veritably bursting at the seams with apprehension?
If you listened to the totally sweet new podcast, then you’ll know that we geeked out for awhile about mods and how awesome the gaming community is at creating cool new content for our most beloved games. While this mostly happens on PC, one of the primary examples of this done well on a console is the variety of custom content produced by Halo 3′s avid Forge community. Even years later, they are still pumping out cool new game types that are totally worth playing.
Which is why Bungie has kicked it up a notch for Halo: Reach with the introduction of Forge World. There’s not really a whole lot I can say about this other than implore you to watch. Because seriously, wow… I am so excited about the possibilities that the team at Bungie is creating for this. The fact that they are even shipping some maps built in Forge World to show what all it can do is sure to inspire.
Who else just got even more excited for Halo: Reach because of this video?
While last year’s Halo 3: ODST divided a lot of people with its price point and the short length of the campaign, I think that we can mostly agree that Firefight, the four-person co-op survival mode, was pretty freaking awesome. Players would band together against ever increasing waves of Covenant troops, competing for points but using teamwork to stay alive. Since Firefight was so well received, fans have been hoping and wondering if Firefight was going to make a reappearance in Halo: Reach, Bungie’s final (?) foray into the Halo-verse. Well, wonder no more, Spartans! Firefight is back and better than ever. Check out the trailer:
Just watching that trailer makes me salivate a little bit, because the thought of Firefight with Reach’s refined mechanics is a delicious one indeed. Better yet, the mode will feature matchmaking this time around, which was a point of contention when it was excluded from ODST. What do you guys think? Who here got even more excited for Reach, and who’s had their opinions changed?