Halo 4 came out one year ago today, marking the first time in the series’ history than an FPS title was developed by a studio other than Bungie (who had, at that time, moved on to making Destiny).
343 Industries, the studio that Microsoft created to keep the Halo train rolling, brought forth an admirable effort (we liked the game a lot), but one year after launch, how is Halo 4’s multiplayer user base doing?
According to this NeoGaf thread by user FyreWulff, not very well. Halo 4 had a peak population of just over 400,000 gamers shortly after launch and that number has dropped down to about 50,000. In this thread he lists 343i and Mircosoft’s various missteps with Halo 4, including the early map pack debacle and the weapon tuning and balance changes that occurred six months after launch (Black Ops 2 also sucks up half of Halo 4’s players, but we won’t count that against 343i or Microsoft).
The number tell the tale of Halo 4, it seems. Despite the game impressing critics, it failed to retain the long legs that made Halo 3 and Reach such contenders throughout swaths of Call of Duty releases. What do you guys think of Halo 4’s one year decline? Does this mean bad news for the future of the series?
I’m not sure if it’s because I’m getting older, have less time, or because most multiplayer games are feeling pretty homogenous these days, but I’m barely able to dive into multiplayer matches any longer. What used to keep me up long into the morning hours before school or work just feels like a chore. Fighting guys that use the same cheap tactics, using the same abilities or progression trees that started in Modern Warfare — none of these things interest me any longer. Even Halo 4, a game whose multiplayer I loved, only had my attention for a few weeks. It seems like CS:GO is the only multiplayer game I can dive into a few times per month.
If other players must be involved, what I love these days is a good co-op/horde mode. It’s far better to kill with friends than it is to kill your friends (virtually speaking, lest I end up on an FBI watch list). I’ve had my eyes on Monaco for this very reason. Besides the fact that it’s a co-op heist game (which we talked about on a podcast a few months back), I just really want a game that allows me to yell at my friends.
2012 was a surprisingly robust year for gaming. While we didn’t quite get the bombardment of sequels to huge franchises that we’ve come to expect, we got a year filled with unique titles. 2012 was filled with strategy games, stealth games, new IPs and a new bar for emotional engagement in our favorite medium. Even the sequels found a way to change the game.
Suddenly, the industry gave us something we’ve been clambering for what has felt like years — some variety. And what a nice change of pace it’s been. So, without further ado, here is our list of the top 10 games of 2012. Enjoy, dudes.
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? Continue reading Review: Halo 4
As much as I love gaming, it’s never been able to elicit a reaction from me other than “I am having fun”. True, most games aren’t designed to be tear-jerkers, but 2012 seems to have bucked this trend and has had a collection of titles that has made me feel something other than elation for my polygonal avatar.
2012 started off strong with Journey, Thatgamecompany’s moving study of companionship and triumph. The end of that game is really well crafted and pulls you and your unknown companion together to overcome the nigh-insurmountable odds you’re facing. I never really thought that co-op, especially co-op with someone I didn’t know, would get to me, but Journey proved me wrong.
That’s not to say that Journey is alone in this, however. Spec Ops: The Line, The Walking Dead and Halo 4 have all given me some pretty hardcore feels. With Spec Ops and The Walking Dead I kind of expected it, seeing as how that was what the talk around those two games was centered on, but actually caring about Chief and Cortana’s story in Halo 4 really surprised me.
Cortana has always been, ironically, the human element of the Halo games, but seeing Master Chief’s resolve falter for just a moment made me remember that, underneath the armor and the genetic conditioning and the implied mental defects, there a real person there. 343 did an excellent job turning the Chief into a sympathetic character, something that the Bungie Halos never really touched on.
Overall I was quite surprised with the narative turnout in 2012. I don’t have high hopes for games, but these four titles really surprised me with their emotional depth. Do you agree that 2012 is a banner year for this? What other games have gotten to you in this way?
Greetings, Sushians. I hope this fattiest of holiday weeks finds you well. I’m assuming here that our American Thanksgiving holiday is so important that the rest of the world celebrates it, too. Or at the very least, it should. You can take that as official word from the US that it’s OK for you to celebrate Thanksgiving wherever you are tomorrow. It’s simple, really: eat all the things. And then eat them again.
Anyway, I’ll be celebrating the holiday this week by hanging out with family and playing some games. I’m between jobs right now, so I have a small stretch here where I’m getting to finally play some things that have been on my radar lately. Namely, Halo 4, Assassin’s Creed 3, picking XCOM back up and today, Walking Dead Episode 5. I am super excited about that last one.
So what about you guys? What are you playing this week? What are you eating? Go!
We’re almost back on track with the podcasts as we return with the 56 episode of our illustrious gaming show. In the edition we see the return on Nick, who regales us with the tale of his journey to the International Beard Competition. Or, maybe we just talk about Halo 4, GTA 5 and Assassin’s Creed 3 like a bunch of nerds.
The podcast opens with some Grand Theft Auto 5 talk, including our misgivings about the three playable characters and the changes that Rockstar needs to make to the formula after 4. Halo 4 is, of course, a big topic, with Anthony and I declaring our love for the game with all of its playable modes. We close out the cast with a final dissection of Assassin’s Creed 3 where I expand on my review a little bit.
I don’t think you need to be told what to do at this point, being 56 shows deep, but I’ll remind you anyways because I’m nice: listen to the podcast, rate the podcast, love the podcast. Wanna meet that podcast.
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?
It’s been a while, but we’re back. In the month since we’ve been gone a lot has happened, such as Disney buying LucasFilm and a whole bunch of games coming out. We managed to cover a lot of it, leading to what has to be our longest cast in a while.
Nick is absent yet again, but you have the regular crew, albeit with a couple of us fighting off coughing fits at several points. Eddy just plain forgets that he can mute himself, so in a couple spots you’ll hear him coughing or chomping on a cough drop. It’s not too bad, but I’ve decided to christen the cast in his honor.
You know how it goes by now, being veterans of our show. Listen, rate and be excellent to each other. We’ll see you soon!
This is it. The month we have all been waiting for. The final month of fall 2012. Sure, there are a few games out in December, (Far Cry 3 is the only one that springs to mind, but whatever) but we all know November is where the big boys come to play. Usually the home of Call of Duty, a new challenger steps forward, but wait…it’s actually an old challenger!
That’s right, Halo 4 vs. Call of Duty. It’s not exactly a fair fight because CoD is multiplatform, but let’s face it: the two biggest FPS franchises in the world both releasing in the same month is the industry equivalent of a heavyweight title fight. For myself, it’s all about Halo 4. With glowing reviews that came out today, the gauntlet has been thrown down by the 343 Studios team. Can Call of Duty rise to the challenge?
Oh and something called the Wii U is also releasing this month. Not sure what it is. Probably an add-on for the Wii. And some new Mario game. I would do more research, but between Star Wars: Episode VII and Halo 4, I am in somewhat of a catatonic state.
So let us know what November release you are most looking forward to by voting in the poll and commenting in the…uh…comments. COMMENCE!
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.
It’s been a few weeks, faithful listeners, but we’re back. It’s kind of hard to get a balance going once we start the podcast again, but we’ll probably be back up to weekly casts right before we go on another break. C’est la vie, non?
In this episode we’ve got some apologizing to do around Resident Evil 6, which is apparently the worst game ever. Seriously, we’re really sorry about how much time we devoted to this game over the past year.
We also talk about Cliffy B and the BioWare Doctors leaving the industry which evolves into a talk of whether there are anymore big name people left beyond the standards (Newell, Miamoto and the like). It’s a really cool talk about the state of the industry and how faceless it’s become in some ways.
We also talk about Borderlands 2 (nee Bonerhands) for a while and then we chat about our most anticipated games for the rest of the year.
So! You know how it goes. Listen, rate, and please accept our apologies.
0:00 – 1:33 Intro
1:33 – 14:25 Resident Evil 6
14:26 – 17:17 Over/Under Checkup
17:18 – 31:10 Cliffy B and the BioWare Docs
31:11 – 40:42 Borderlands 2
40:43 – 53:00 Most anticipated game of the rest of 2012
53:00 – 54:45 Outro
Crow has been the on the menu at GamerSushi HQ this past week, as the demo and subsequent reviews of Resident Evil 6 shattered the hearts and broke the minds of your beloved GS staff. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth, finger-pointing, accusations, allegations, recriminations and even a fight club. As the dust cleared and the fires finally faded, we were left with the acrid taste of disappointment that appears when an anticipated game turns out to be a letdown.
Which got me thinking about the future and the next time that this travesty will occur. So I ask you, dear readers, what Triple-A title will be the next to smash the hopes of millions of gamers? Generally, I am thinking of games from established franchises when I ask this, such as Assassin’s Creed 3? Doubtful. Ubisoft has shown a remarkable consistency, which is an achievement considering it has become an annual release. Bioshock Infinite? The delays may be disturbing, but it does point to a concerted effort to get things right. Personally, I don’t know. Some think it might be Halo 4. I certainly hope not, but there is a lot riding on that one, so it could be the one.
What say you? What future game from an existing franchise will be the next Resident Evil 6? GO!
One of the most exciting things about the Halo series are the varied enemies. Each enemy is unique in appearance and behavior, from the cannon fodder of the Grunts to the charging ferocity of the Brutes. It’s a trademark of the franchise and something other games just can’t quite nail. When 343 Studios took over the reins, some fans were concerned that they wouldn’t be able to live up to the strong legacy set by Bungie.
Well, this gallery of Promethean enemy classes, brought you by All Games Beta, shows those concerns just might be unfounded. The different classes and behaviors, not to mention weapons that are showcased in the gallery, lead me to believe that 343 is on point with Halo 4. The Knight alone sounds scary enough, but the Knight Commander seems like an uber-powerful version that might make me wet my pants the first time we meet. Hopefully, Master Chief can snag some of those bad-ass weapons and do some damage himself.
What say you? Do the Prometheans look like they carry on the Halo tradition or do they look generic to you? Hit the comments!
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?
The timing worked out pretty well this year with Episode 50 being both the Drunk Cast and our E3 predictions show and Episode 51 as the book-end for both of those events. Sadly, a lot of our guesses about E3 2012 were off the mark, but that’s all right, I’m sure our next-gen console predictions will come true some day.
We start this cast of with a nice game of Grades, bringing back Anthony’s famous “GAME TIME” clip for the first time in a few shows. We talk about the Big Three conferences and then dip into the various games that we saw and what intrigued us. We fit in a little industry news at the end too, just as a special treat.
I’m sure that you know the drill by now, but listen, rate and enjoy the podcast. Don’t be dicks to each other and we’ll see you soon.
0:00 – 3:10 Intro
3:11 GAME TIME (grades)
3:12 – 15:30 Microsoft
15: 31 – 26:11 Sony
26: 12 – 38:48 Nintendo
38:49 – 43:47 Watch Dogs
43:48 – 47: 22 Star Wars 1313
47:23 – 52:35 Tomb Raider
52:36 – 56:03 Dead Space 3
56:04 – 56:39 Assassin’s Creed 3
56:40 – 57:00 Gearbox Studios
57:01 – 57:20 Need for Speed
57:22 – 57:53 EA are jerks
57:54 – 58:25 New old-school Final Fantasy
58:26 – 1:00:42 Jason Rubin trash-talks Saint’s Row
1:00:43 – 1:02:36 Outo