Gears of Halo

News and views about Xbox games including a lot of Halo.

Wednesday, April 16

Marty O'Donnell has been fired from Bungie

If you ever played any of the Halo games  right up to Reach you will have listened to the wonderful music of Marty O'Donnell. He's one of the pillars (among many) who built Halo into a massive game franchise and in doing so helped put Bungie on the map.

And now just prior to the release of Destiny, Bungie's board fired him. Here's the tweet of his announcement:

We don't know the full details but scuttlebutt across the net suggests a dispute with the board over pay.

Bungie has posted on their site:

"For more than a decade, Marty O'Donnell filled our worlds with unforgettable sounds and soundtracks, and left an indelible mark on our fans. Today, as friends, we say goodbye. We know that wherever his journey takes him, he will always have a bright and hopeful future.

We wish him luck in all his future endeavors."

Which is a mere kiss off. 

One can imagine Bungie's legion of fans will be pretty unimpressed with this decision.

One can also guess that Micheal Salvatori will pick up the reins as he has been O'Donnell's counterpart for many years now. 

Tuesday, April 15

"What is Halo?"

If you ask the Cortana assistant on a Windows smart phone,"What is Halo?", you'll get an amusing answer! Nice work Microsoft!

Thursday, March 20

Didact cosplay from Halo 4

The Didact from Halo 4 by way of a cosplayer. So presumably the first Didact, not the second one....

didact cosplay

Sunday, March 16

Phil Spencer knows Halo 5 has to be great

Halo 5 concept art

Phil Spencer is a Xbox big wig. He was at the fore of the Xbox One’s release (yeah, he had his moments #dealwithit) and has general responsibility for selling a lot of consoles for Bill Gates. 

Recently he had cause to chat with Wall Street Journal about Halo. Here’s what he had to say:

 “The journey begins in 2014. I like to say it’s the reason why I still have a job, because, in many ways, the original Halo justified the original Xbox as a gaming platform. It became the breakout hit. It was foundational in creating Xbox Live when Halo 2 came out. I’m really excited to see what 343 does with Halo on Xbox One. I think that’s going to be great.”

Is foundational even a word?

When asked why Halo 5 was not a launch title for Xbox One:

“Halo is our most important entertainment franchise at the company. It’s a $3 billion franchise if you look at all the products that have been sold for Halo. As a standalone business, as a standalone entity, it’s a really important franchise. 

You want to make sure you have the right product in market. There’s the axiom that a game is only late once, but it’s bad forever. There’s the axiom that a game is only late once, but it’s bad forever.

Which basically means 343 Industries is taking their time with Halo’s development and are most definitely not in the mindset of the Call of Duty producers who seem to release the same game annually. 

"You want to make sure when that game comes out that it’s true to the heritage of what Halo is. Halo’s been a strong franchise for us for over a decade and I want to keep it that way."

This is great to hear and we can’t wait until we get some real news from Frankie and co about the game. I think this concept art is the only stuff we’ve seen since the announcement.

Monday, February 24

Cliff speaks about Gears being sold.

It's a month after he first posted it, so for those late to the party, Cliff's thoughts on the sale of Gears of War. 



Waking up today I was drowning in a deluge of emails, tweets, direct messages and smoke signals.

My former employer has sold the Gears of War IP/franchise to Microsoft and my friend Rod Fergusson is going to be working on it.

To be honest, I don’t think the franchise could be in better hands. Heck, Rod’s Twitter handle, to this day, is “Gears Viking.” Gears is just as much Rod’s baby as it was mine. He’ll take good care of her. (Rod, I owe you a girly drink at GDC.)

Phil Spencer went out of his way to give me a phone call to inform me of the transaction last week. Phil, you didn’t have to do that, you’re a gentleman. I appreciate it; that goes a long way. 343 knocked it out of the park with Halo and I think Black Tusk will do a fantastic job with Gears.

I suppose this puts the nail in the coffin of the question “Will Gears ever come to Playstation?”

Safe to say that’s not likely to happen. (Besides, it gives me something to look forward to on Xbox One besides Titanfall and Project Spark…oh and more Halo, of course.)

Now that that’s out of the way…

I’m not going to move to Vancouver and work on it.

I’m not going to consult on it.

My headspace is in the future now, not the past. I have come to realize that until you give people something new to focus on they will obsess about the past. (good problem to have!)

To those of you who love Gears, I love you as well, and I appreciate your support through the years. The fandom, the cosplay, the tattoos, it all means more than any amount of money could ever mean.

These recent events have steeled my resolve to make something entirely new.

Time for new cosplay, new tattoos, new fandom.

Fingers crossed there will be news soon.

Stay tuned.



Monday, January 27

There will definitely be more Gears of War games as MS has brought the rights from Epic

Gears of War has been brought by Microsoft which means we are gonna get moar Gears!

Here's the official Statements from MS and Epic:

Today we're excited to announce that Microsoft Studios has acquired the rights to the “Gears of War” franchise from Epic Games, including rights to all existing and future games, entertainment experiences and merchandise. In addition, we are excited to announce that Black Tusk Studios in Vancouver, BC will take over development of the “Gears of War” franchise and that Rod Fergusson, former Director of Production at Epic Games on the “Gears of War” franchise, will join Microsoft and play a key studio leadership role at Black Tusk on the development of the franchise going forward.

We had a chance to chat with Phil Spencer, Head of Microsoft Studios, Hanno Lemke, General Manager of Black Tusk Studios at Microsoft Studios, and Rod Fergusson about the big news.

Why did Microsoft purchase the “Gears of War” franchise?

Phil Spencer: It all comes back to our commitment to Xbox fans. The “Gears of War” franchise has a very strong, passionate and valued fan base on Xbox. Over twenty-two million units have been sold across all “Gears of War” titles worldwide, grossing over $1B dollars (US). This franchise, and these fans, are part of the soul of Xbox. By acquiring this franchise, Microsoft Studios will continue to offer them more of their favorite games and entertainment experiences from the “Gears of War” universe.

Why did Epic Games agree to this acquisition?

Hanno Lemke: Epic has been a tremendous partner to work with, and it has been a privilege for Microsoft to be Epic’s publishing partner and work together to achieve the phenomenal success of the “Gears of War” games. Epic remains great partners and good friends of Microsoft Studios. In fact we will collaborate closely with Epic to ensure the inclusion of the Unreal Engine technology into the “Gears of War” franchise going forward remains consistent with the high quality fans have come to expect from the franchise.

Why was an as-yet-unproven studio like Black Tusk chosen to lead the “Gears of War” development over a more established studio?

Phil Spencer: Black Tusk has assembled a world-class team with deep experience and passion for the shooter space, and specifically the “Gears of War” franchise. I am extremely confident that under the leadership of Hanno Lemke, Rod Fergusson and our other leaders in the studio, Black Tusk is well equipped to take on the future development of the “Gears of War” franchise.

Are there plans to bring anyone who worked on previous “Gears of War” games onboard to work on the future of the series?

Hanno Lemke: The news that Rod Fergusson is joining Black Tusk should be really exciting for fans of the franchise. Rod has played a leadership role at Epic on all of the “Gears of Wars” games, he understands the franchise deeply but equally importantly he understands the fans of the franchise – what they love, where they want to see the franchise evolve. Once the news spreads about the opportunities at Black Tusk, I’m confident we’ll see interest from a number of talented developers who share the same passion for the “Gears” franchise as the developers at Black Tusk.

When can we expect to hear more about the plans for the “Gears of War” franchise?
Hanno Lemke: We hope to be able to share more news about “Gears of War” later this year.

Anya cosplay
You’re moving back to Canada and back to working on the “Gears” franchise. Is it like a homecoming for you?

Rod Fergusson: I’m extremely excited to be joining Black Tusk Studios to oversee development on the “Gears of War” franchise. I’ve been privileged to work on a lot of great games with a lot of great teams, but “Gears” has had the most impact on me professionally and personally, so this really feels like a homecoming. I can’t wait to share more with you all soon.

Epic Game's statement

“Epic Games has reached an agreement to sell the ‘Gears of War’ intellectual property rights to Microsoft. We’re very proud of the franchise we built in close partnership with Microsoft over the past decade and are happy that this agreement enables Microsoft to forge ahead with the ‘Gears’ universe on their industry-leading platforms as Epic concentrates its efforts on new projects,” said Epic founder and CEO Tim Sweeney. “Epic remains totally dedicated to supporting Xbox One and is licensing the Unreal Engine 4 technology to Microsoft in support of their future projects.”

Thursday, January 9

Halo 5 concept artwork released by 343 Industries.

Nicolas “Sparth” Bouvier Halo 5

It’s been fair while since the new Halo game teaser was released to eager fans and now Josh Holmes has finally given us a bone, here is some concept artwork of “ an early exploration of a new location that features prominently in a little game project we’re tinkering with…. “. Which obviously means Halo 5. Not that Halo 5 is actually called Halo 5 yet.

Halo 5 concept art

The artwork is by “Sparth” who has done a fair bit of design work for Halo as Lead Concept Artist. Josh announced that Sparth is now Art Director for 343 Industries which means Sparth's Halo vision will be an even more strong influence on the franchise. 

I’m guessing but this appears to be some kind of ‘ship yard' or a hangar port. What do you think?

Wednesday, November 27

Download the original Gears of War for free to your Xbox 360 in December

December's Games with Gold brings fans the original Gears of War game. GoW was one of the first blockbusters for the Xbox360 and it spawned a fairly large franchise with three further games. 

While the third in theserious was arguably the best, the GoW original is a classic game bring some memorable gaming moments. While the plot was at times completely incomprehensible the back drop of a word taken over by the locus horde was fairly original.

If you’ve never played GOW, I’d totally recommend you have a crack, and if you've traded in the original, go back for a nostalgic run through!

You can download the game to your Xbox 360 from 1 Dec through the 15th.

Wednesday, November 13

Halo: Spartan Assault Xbox Version Achievements

Halo: Spartan Assault is coming to the Xbox One and Xbox 360 this December with a new online Co-op mode that brings the Flood into the fray. But with new content comes new achievements, and below you'll find the achievement lists for Xbox One and Xbox 360. We've broken up the Gamerscore points for which achievements are new to Halo: Spartan Assault, which are exclusive to the Xbox One version, and the original Halo: Spartan Assault achievements from the Windows 8/Windows Phone version making their way over to the console versions.
For additional information including videos, screenshots and more, check out the official Halo: Spartan Assault page.

Halo: Spartan Assault Co-op Achievements:
Complete all co-op missions
30 GS
60 GS
Earn all co-op medals at least once
50 GS
100 GS
Dynamic Duo
Earn all Gold stars in all co-op missions
30 GS
60 GS
Kill 10,000 enemies in co-op
30 GS
60 GS
The Company of Strangers
Complete a co-op mission with at least 5 different players
10 GS
20 GS
Halo: Spartan Assault Xbox One Exclusive Achievements:
The Enemy of my Friend
Get a higher individual score than your partner on all co-op missions
100 GS
Finish a co-op mission without becoming infected
100 GS
Original Halo: Spartan Assault Achievements:
Complete Operation A
10 GS
20 GS
Switched On
Complete Operation B
10 GS
20 GS
Switched Off
Complete Operation C
10 GS
20 GS
Complete Operation D
10 GS
20 GS
Complete Operation E
10 GS
20 GS
Escort Service
Keep all Wolverines intact in Operation A, Mission 3
5 GS
10 GS
Nowhere to Hide
Prevent all Jackals from regenerating their shield in Operation B, Mission 3
10 GS
20 GS
Never Knew What Hit Them
Kill a convoy target with every stationary gun in Operation C, Mission 3
10 GS
20 GS
Brute Force
Finish the objectives using only the Brute Shot, melee and grenades in Operation D, Mission 1
10 GS
20 GS
Foot Soldier
Finish the objective without using any vehicles/turrets in Operation E, Mission 4
10 GS
20 GS
Earn a star of any type in an operation mission
5 GS
10 GS
Earn your first Gold star in an operation mission
5 GS
10 GS
Earn all Gold stars in all operation missions
20 GS
40 GS
Distinguished Service
Earn all medals in the game at least once
15 GS
30 GS
Weapon of Choice
Score a kill with every handheld weapon (excluding Rocket Launcher and Spartan Laser)
5 GS
10 GS
Powered by MJOLNIR
Use every ability at least once (excluding Overshield and Seeker Drone)
10 GS
20 GS
Skull Combo
Complete any mission with the maximum number of Skulls active
10 GS
20 GS
Vidmaster Challenge
Complete Operation 5, Mission 1 with the Hollow and Black Eye Skulls active
15 GS
30 GS
Extra Credit
Complete 75 challenges
10 GS
20 GS
Pension Plan
Earn 25000 Spartan Points throughout your career
10 GS
20 GS
Complete Operation F
10 GS
20 GS
Destroy all Mega Turrets with the Grizzly tank in Operation F, Mission 2
10 GS
20 GS
Vidmaster Challenge 2.0
Complete Operation F, Mission 4 with the Blind and Thunderstorm Skulls active
15 GS
30 GS

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