When you think of Halo, I bet the first though that comes to mind is the multiplayer. While the Halo games have always had a good campaign mode (personal interpretation, here), it’s the online chaos that have drawn people to the games, and Bungie’s up-coming Halo: Reach looks to improve on what has come before. In a recent sit-down with Shacknews, Bungie Studios gave an in-depth look at the ranking system for the sci-fi FPS.
A lot of changes have been made under the hood for Reach, and the plan is to make it more accessible than Halo 3’s system was. While the friend’s list in Halo 3 was obtuse at best, Reach’s new friends interface, called Active Roster, is being made to fix some of the problems inherit with the previous model. It’s omnipresent throughout all of Reach’s menus, and it provides you with real-time updates on all of your friends and what they’re currently doing in Reach. Part of the overhaul is the “queue” option, where you can wait to join your friends automatically once they leave their current game, instead of having to do the complicated rigmarole of repeated invites and lobby joining.
It’s a real shame that May 3rd is so far away, because watching this multiplayer trailer for Halo: Reach makes me pine for some Halo-flavored action. Actually, that’s not the best way to phrase it because Reach takes what the previous Halos did then mashes it up with Red Faction: Guerrilla (jetpacks) and Call of Duty (loadouts). The prior Halos were good times in multiplayer, but this trailer makes it look like Bungie took their game, as one aging rockstar said, “to eleven.” Have a peek:
Is that some hot stuff or what? Anyone else starting to feel the return of the dreaded but oh-so-sweet Halo hype? This is almost enough for me to forgive the franchise for Legends. What do you guys think about the trailer?
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?
When you’ve been basing all your games for the past ten years around one franchise, at a certain point I’d imagine that you’d like to spread your wings a bit and try something different. With Halo: Reach drawing ever closer, various Bungie employees are starting the hype machine for their next title after Reach, a game that will be set in a brand new universe; “something totally original from Bungie”, in the words of Brian Jarrard, the studio’s Community Director.
It’s been a recurring theme whenever anything Halo crops up: people come out of the woodwork maintaining that Bungie can’t do anything but make sub-par (yet extremely popular and lucrative) shooters set in the same generic sci-fi universe. As an avid Halo fan, my automatic response is to defend these claims but after ten years I’d like the see what else Bungie can make. While their talents for building worlds and back-stories haven’t really come across in the games themselves, those of us who cared to read the Halo novels found that the setting of Halo was a lot more deep and varied than a guy in green armor smearing aliens into paste. I for one would be interested to see Bungie take a stab at a Western-style RPG, but that’s just me.
Now that Bungie is an independent studio it’s no longer tied to Microsoft’s whims, so it’ll be interesting to see where their next title ends up. I’m guessing that they will still be a 360-focused studio, but the thought of Bungie making a PlayStation 3 title has me interested. What do you guys want to see out of Bungie post Reach? Do you think this is actually Bungie’s last Halo game, a claim they’ve made in the past? Sound off!
Microsoft’s X10 event wrapped up yesterday, and what a day it was for casual fans and X-Bots alike. Long-coming psychological thriller Alan Wake actually has a release date, and Crackdown 2 is looking very fine in my opinion. The only real disappointment to come out of X10 was the rough-looking trailer for Dead Rising 2, which tempered my excitement for the zombie-slaying sequel a bit. The best news to come out of X10, though, was the announcement of the date for the Halo: Reach beta! Slated for May 3, this beta may be a bit far away but I’m sure that Bungie has some excellent treats to keep the rabid fans sated for a while, like the following ViDoc.
This documentary, even though it’s full of Alpha footage and concept art, has me ridiculously excited for this game. Honestly, when the video gives you a comparison of the graphical changes of the Marine and assault rifle models from Halo 3 to Reach, it’s enough to warm my jaded heart. What do you guys think? Can Bungie finally pull off a more human Halo story? Who else is getting this game?
Like it or lump it, there’s no denying that one of 2010’s biggest titles will be Halo: Reach, Bungie’s (supposed) final game in the Halo series. The next issue of Game Informer was confirmed last week to include a bunch of new information on the upcoming sci-fi shooter, and some kind soul has seen fit to scan an advanced copy onto the internet. The scans are fairly clear considering that they’re straight off a magazine, and I have to say that the game is looking sharp. The infamous “ugly-people” produced by the Halo 3 engine are gone, and the marines in Reach look like actual futuristic grunts as opposed to cartoon characters. Speaking of Grunts, the Covenant species have been given a face-lift and there’s one new type of enemy confirmed, a Jackal look-alike of some sorts.
The article expands upon the setting and the various characters and there’s a lot of info for Halo canon nerds (like myself) to obsess over. Go check out the scans and tell us you thoughts!
Spike’s Video Game Awards were last night, and for the most part I think the accolades handed out were fairly accurate. Besides doling out some weird monkey statues, the VGAs also played host to a smattering of game announcements from the obvious (Halo: REACH), to the puzzling (Green Day: Rockband), and finally to the completely mind-blowing. If you missed the first few minutes of the awards show like I did, you may have missed this trailer. I don’t want to ruin the surprise, so take a gander.
What did you guys think of the awards show, and, more specifically, what did you think of the premiers and the winners? Hit the jump for a couple more trailers.
As I’ve said before in other places, E3 really is the pinnacle of the gaming year. It’s a magical time where gamers get to find out what they can expect for the next year and a half or so, gaming-wise. We’re able to speculate, drool and generally get excited about all the things we love.
The week saw a lot of crazy things. There’s Project Natal from Microsoft which actually looks to show some promise despite my earlier misgivings about it. There’s also the Team Ninja Metroid and Final Fantasy XIV for the PS3. Halo: Reach was a pretty big announcement, as well. On top of that, we got to see some gameplay for things coming out soon, like Assassin’s Creed 2, Mass Effect 2 and Modern Warfare 2.
My favorite game of the show though was probably Uncharted 2 or Splinter Cell: Conviction. I wasn’t expecting much from the next Splinter Cell at all, but they’ve really overhauled the gameplay since the last time we saw the game, and for the better.
So what about you guys? What was the most impressive E3 thing you saw this week?