Gears of Halo - Video game reviews, news and cosplay

Halo and Destiny - news and reviews.

Monday, February 28

Gears of War 3 Box Cover Art Released


Gears of War 3's cover art for the plastic box has been released to the world for us to ponder over. It shows Marcus Fenix's team, ready for action. The skies show airborne battle and the bottom right shows a broken Jack which is apparently going to be a game plot point.


Note the official box art cuts off the widescreen version of the scene featured above.

Interview with Cliff Bleszinski about the GOW3 Beta



Here's an interview with Cliff Bleszinski by The Telegraph's Nick Cowen about the Gears of War 3 beta and how it's a test of the game itself but just as importantly, a marketing ploy to get the game some love from the fans.

Is this the first time Epic has done a Beta for a Triple A release?

We've done limited betas before internally for Gears Of War 2, which obviously didn't suss out all of the problems, because Gears 2's initial online launch wasn't very smooth. This if the first honest-to-God time we've ever launched one on a console. Epic, traditionally, was a company that was happy just to ship a great game and, you know, if God forbid, something goes wrong, we could add a title update.

This is kind of a paradigm shift for us as a studio. We're moving more towards the idea of putting something out ahead of release. TakeBulletstorm, for example. Bulletstorm actually had a demo. We didn't have a demo for some of our previous games. Gears Of War 3 has a beta. Well, we call it a beta, but let's be honest, it's actually also a marketing exercise. Gamers feel like VIPs, they feel like they're in the club with Epic. They feel like they have access to something that nobody else has. They're like: "did you get into the beta? I got into the beta!" This is all good because you want to create a sense of exclusivity. There's that old saying: if everyone's special, then nobody is.

So leveraging that, and doing a beta... and we're also producing the most polished Gears game yet ... Well, basically, the shift of the release date to September allows for that.



So what content are you including in the beta to encourage that sense of exclusivity?


It's a multifaceted approach. First off, how do you get access to the beta? The initial way is to buy Bulletstorm, but there will be other ways to get hold of it – which we haven't announced yet, so keep your ears peeled for that. At the same time we want players to get into the beta, play it, and get that taste of unlocking content.

You want gamers to marry your game, not just date it. You want to get your hooks into their interest. You have to reward them early and reward them often; that's what we like to say. At the end of a match they'll get experience points (XP) and they'll see a little ticker at the bottom of the screen telling them how close they are to unlocking the next item. A lot of games have done this in the past, but shooters have only started doing this in the last three or so years and we've woken up to that fact.

Is this a business model Epic will be using on all your future shooter titles?


It goes back to a statement I made a couple of years ago when I said I believe the future of shooters is RPGs. That's not to say that you're going to be having turn-based combat in a Gears Of War title, but at the same time, long-term goals and XP-based unlockable are key to having the disc stay in the tray for any sort of game.

So the beta encourages communication between Epic and the fans, as well as amongst the fans themselves?

Well, first and foremost, there's the communication on the headsets, as there's always been. But we're also trying to make sure that players have more co-op abilities. Spotting has been a really big thing; it started off as something one of our game designers pitched. It was like, if you're not a huge fan of talking to people on Xbox but all the same, you'd like to point out a weapon on the map to one of the other players, well now you can do that. You can highlight, say, a mortar to another player.

The leaders in our "Capture The Leader" mode can see through walls, so that means they can alert the people in their team to where the opposing forces are. We trying to encourage and facilitate that team-based play. Gears is not just "every man for himself". It's about team-based combat.



Would you then describe this beta as a work in progress while the fans are contributing to it?


I'd say it's a very well-polished work in progress. Even though it's a beta, players still expect a very high quality of gaming experience from day one from Gears - which this time, the dedicated servers will allow for.

That said, there will be bugs, and we want our fans to report back to us and we want them to give us feedback on everything. We want feedback on the maps. Feedback on the cover art. We want to hear from them about the balance on the weapons. Anything that they don't like, that we've tweaked.

At the same time, we're not only going to be listening to what they're saying, we're going to be reading behind the scenes to see what their actual stats are. This is because you can trust your customers about 80 per cent of the time, but occasionally there's the perceived thing about what they believe happened versus what actually happened in the game. So we use a well-balanced version of the two data heaps - message boards as well at the back-end numbers - to figure out what we're going to do with the game.

All of this is aimed at getting players into the multiplayer, right? I remember at a multiplayer event last year for Call Of Duty: Black Ops, Treyarch revealed that out of all the people who'd bought their games in the past, only around 30 to 40 per cent of them didn't bother to play the multiplayer. Has this been an issue with the Gears Of War players in the past?

Well, I don't have those figures off the cuff for you, but I think for Gearsit's lower than that. There's a certain type of player who doesn't want to play online.

So one of the things we're doing for Gears 3 is making it super-easy to get online games underway. When you fire up the menu, there's a party in the top right. Halo did a little of this and we're continuing with it. It's almost harder to get into the game if you don't have a friend along with you, because we want players to experience this blockbuster together. We want them to experience it multiple times.

I think online gameplay in many ways, is going to be the future. It's the ultimate way for us to keep players playing our games, keep them coming back for more. From a business standpoint it's a good way to mitigate rentals and used games. In terms of our games we want players to use it - as much as it's a cliche now to say it - as a service over a product.

-

There's lots of reports across the internet that all Xbox Live Gold member's will get access to the Gears Beta.... 

Sunday, February 27

I'll have some Dedicated Servers with Ketchup please



Here's a guest post from IMurkedU who runs the new gaming site, Straight Clutch. This is a sweet post about how GOW3 will be made so awesome....


 I'll have some Dedicated Servers with Ketchup please.

Picture this senario: You're down to the wire. Two players left and you have managed to Torque Bow one." Sudden Death!" You press back on your controller to see if you have a chance against the last standing player. Your heart drops, he is 13 and 3. You soon realize that he is headed your way and you active reload your shotgun. "Boom! Boom!". You shoot two shots off, dead center to no avail. "What!" you scream. Your opponent shoots one shot off into your foot and pieces fly everywhere! Your foot for heaven sakes!

You know why this shinanagans happens? Because Epic Studios -in all their glory- made a big uh oh. They allotted the player with the best connection to host the match. Meaning, that they will have a stronger weapon and will be a tad quicker, giving them the advantage.

Well I IMurkedU from Straightclutch.com will be more then happy to tell you, "No more host!". Now don't spill your Supercharger Beer clone as you jump up and down with joy. The Epic/OXM promotional page has stated:

"In addition to a swath of online code improvements, we’re bringing dedicated servers to Gears of War 3 to drive a balanced, optimized, and thrilling online experience for Gearheads everywhere".

Everyone now is equal. So you better come in with A game. In Gears of War 3 you'll win or lose totally based on how well of a player you are. Are you up to the challenge?

-

Thanks IMurkedU - I gotta feeling there's gonna be a million or two gear heads up to the challenge.

Do you want to write your own guest post for Gears of Halo? Find out how in the Guest Post Section.

Thursday, February 24

DLC for Mass Effect 2 called The Arrival?


So I thought The Arrival was a shitty aliens landing on earth movie starring Charlie Sheen but it turns out that it's some apparent DLC content for Mass Effect 2. Actually, that sounds like the plot of Mass Effect 3!

Apparently the latest PS3 patch update has revealed clues that the new DLC is on the way. Speculation abounds that this mission will be mission that bridges any gap between the and of game 2 and the beginning of game 3.

It appears that you can get Game Trophies for:
  • "The Ultimate Sacrifice" - Complete the Arrival DLC.
  • "Last Stand" - Survive all five waves in the battle for Object Rho
  • "Covert Action" - Rescue Dr. Amanda Kenson without attracting hostile attention.
Clearly this is for the PSP but who's to say this DLC won't translate into the Xbox 360?

So who is this Dr Amanda Kenson? Is she as smoking hot as Miranda Keyes?

A Cerberus Network note offers some hints:

“Historians and astronomers alike are abuzz tonight over a new paper published by Dr. Amanda Kenson of the University of Arcturus. Her team claims that by testing the dust trapped in the gravity wells around a mass relay, and comparing its composition to that of dust clouds in the same system, scientists can create a timeline of when the relay passed through the dust. Her conclusion? "Only a small fraction of the mass effect relays date back 50,000 years," she writes, "The majority are far older, indicating they were created by a species predating even the Protheans." 

Dr. Aurana T'Meles of the University of Serrice met the information with skepticism: "While Dr. Kenson's methods appear sound, the asari tried a similar procedure centuries ago and discounted it. What civilization could have spanned the galaxy for not thousands, but millions of years? If this were the case, we should have found mountains of evidence of their passing. Where is this species now?"

GOW3 Beta to begin mid April

Did you see that Marcus? His head just went fubar!
It's a good news week for Gears of War 3 fans, first the release date being announced and now news that the GOW3 beta test will start in mid April.

Major Nelson reports:

"Gears of War 3- Kicking off in mid-April, the Gears of War 3 public multiplayer beta will give players a chance to experience three new Versus Multiplayer modes on four new maps, and help shape the year’s biggest blockbuster, set to launch worldwide on Sept. 20 and in Japan on Sept. 22. You can even decide which maps you would like to see in the beta starting today by visiting the Gears of War Facebook page and voting on their favorites. Voting ends on Feb. 28."

Also, remember Gears of Halo has it's own facebook page! Join up today!

Wednesday, February 23

Top 50 Game Characters by Guinness



Guinness World Records has announced its top 50 video game characters of all time.

Over 13,000 gaming fans voted to help compile the list, with Guinness proclaiming that "Mario bounced over Solid Snake, Pac-Man chewed up Kratos and Lara Croft barrelled through Donkey Kong".

The character that gives this site some joy was seeing Master Chief  and Marcus Fenix rated so highly.  I don't understand why August Cole from Gears makes an appearance on the list, he just annoys me! Slightly sad that Commander Keen isn't there!

Here's the list of the Top 50  video game characters. 

1. Mario (Donkey Kong, Nintendo, 1981)

2. Link (The Legend of Zelda, Nintendo, 1986)

3. Master Chief (Halo: Combat Evolved, Microsoft, 2001)

4. Solid Snake (Metal Gear, Konami, 1987)

5. Cloud Strife (Final Fantasy VII, Square, 1997)

6. Pac-Man (Pac-Man, Namco, 1980)

7. Lara Croft (Tomb Raider, Eidos 1996)

8. Gordon Freeman (Half-Life, Valve, 1998)

9. Kratos (God of War, Sony, 2005)

10. Sonic (Sonic the Hedgehog, Sega, 1990)

11. Crash (Crash Bandicoot, Sony, 1996)

12. "Soap" MacTavish (Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Activision, 2007)

13. Nico Bellic (Grand Theft Auto IV, Rockstar, 2008)

14. Samus Aran (Metroid, Nintendo 1986)

15. Ratchet (Ratchet & Clank, Sony, 2002)

16. Nathan Drake (Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Sony, 2007)

17. Captain Price (Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Activision, 2007)

18. Kirby (Kirby's Dream Land, Nintendo, 1992)

19. Marcus Fenix (Gears of War, Microsoft, 2006)

20. Pikachu (Pokemon Red/Green, Nintendo 1996)

21. Yoshi (Super Mario World, Nintendo, 1990)

22. "CJ" Johnson (Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Rockstar, 2004)

23. Mega Man (Mega Man, Capcom, 1987)

24. Sam Fisher (Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, Ubisoft, 2002)

25. Shadow (Sonic Adventure 2, Sega, 2001)

26. Jak (Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, Sony, 2001)

27. Duke Nukem (Duke Nukem, Apogee, 1991)

28. Dante (Devil May Cry, Bandai, 2003)

29. Naruto (Naruto: Konoha Ninpoch, Bandai, 2003)

30. Altair (Assassin's Creed, Ubisoft, 2007)

31. Zelda (The Legend of Zelda, Nintendo, 1986)

32. Sephiroth (Final Fantasy VII, Square, 1997)

33. Donkey Kong (Donkey Kong, Nintendo, 1981)

34. The Prince (Prince of Persia, Broderbund, 1989)

35. Ezio (Assassin's Creed II, Ubisoft, 2009)

36. Leon S (Biohazard/ Resident Evil, Capcom, 1996)

37. Ash Ketchum (Pokemon Red/Green, Nintendo, 1996)

38. Guybrush Threepwood (The Secret of Monkey Island, LucasArts, 1990)

39. Spyro (Spyro the Dragon, Universal, 1998)

40. "Ghost" Riley (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, Activision, 2009)

41. Goku (Dragon Daihikyoe, Epoch, 1987)

42. Max Payne (Max Payne, Rockstar, 2001)

43. Jill Valentine (Biohazard/ Resident Evil, Capcom, 1996)

44. Princess Peach (Super Mario Bros., Nintendo, 1985)

45. Larry Laffer (Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards, Sierra, 1987)

46. Augustus Cole (Gears of War, Microsoft, 2006)

47. Bowser (Super Mario Bros, Nintendo, 1985)

48. Eddie Riggs (Brutal Legend, EA, 2009)

49. Ryu (Street Fighter, Capcom, 1987)

50. Sackboy (LittleBigPlanet, Sony, 2008)

Gears of 3 Release Date Confirmed.


Twitter let us know that Gears of War 3's release date has been confirmed for September 20, 2011.

That's such a longgggg wait, but it's sure to be worth it - esp as the delay has meant that Gears will probably be totally polished and bug free.

Right Cliff?

Saturday, February 19

Diablo 3 coming to a console near you?



So the rumours are true and as Attack of the Gameboy notes below, Diablo III is looking very likely to be coming to an xbox console in the future. Blizzard Entertainment has listed a job position which would be to develop a 'Diablo Concept' for consoles. So not necessarily Diablo 3 itself but maybe a version of it (or a whole new story)..... time will tell.

"Blizzard Entertainment is looking for a highly organized individual with outstanding communications and project management skills for the Diablo team. The ideal candidate has prior experience in console game development and has a keen knowledge of how each discipline operates and interacts. Self-direction and follow-up skills are a must, as well as the ability to anticipate production issues and find effective solutions. The candidate must be fully committed to seeing projects through from inception to completion, and delivering games on time with the highest quality."

Blizzard also had this to say to Diablo fans:

"We’re exploring a Diablo-related concept for consoles and are currently looking to fill a few senior console-related positions on the Diablo III team. As we’ve said in the past, with proper care the gameplay could suit the console platform, and we’re interested in seeing what talent out there might be interested in such a project. If you’re passionate about all things Diablo and have the requisite skill and experience, then head over to our jobs site to check out the positions and apply.

Please note that this is not an announcement of a console title. We are first and foremost developing Diablo III for Windows and Mac PCs and don’t intend to allow any possibility of a console interpretation to delay or affect the release of the game."

Who know's when Diablo III will be released? 2011? Before Duke Nukem? ;)

Cliff B talks Carmine


Again Cliff B talks about the fate of GOW3's Carmine character:

"I just wanna see him slip and fall in the shower, joked Bleszinski. " I want him to die in the most benign, unspectacular way like he steps on a nail and winds up lock jawed and falls over eventually. Something like that. Something really lame. That's how I want it to happen."

Oh, Just Bring It Already!

Check out my Gears of War 3 review or how I think Gears of War 4 could play out.

Bungie Burbles Back

We still heart you Bungie!
In light of this week's shall we say, slurs, against Bungie's good name, Urk has given further comment in the Weekly Update:

Last week’s impromptu meditation on the Internet’s affinity for rumor and speculation turned out to be a rather lucid premonition, and on Wednesday evening I found myself shocked for the first time in a very long time by something I saw on the Internet. And yes, I have seen that.

Rumors about our future endeavors are one thing. Typically, they’re benign. We expect, and even appreciate, healthy fan speculation about our work. It’s great to see our fans interested and energized about the magic tricks we have hidden up our sleeves. We get it, even if we often have to respectfully decline to officially participate in the conversation. It’s nothing personal – when we’re ready to officially unveil our next title, we intend to make a whole lot of noise. Trust me. We’re more excited than anybody to bring you into our new universe.

But after reading the false claims that we’d just unceremoniously terminated thirty contract workers without cause or provocation, we felt compelled to respond. Our ability to conscript industry talent into our global siege engine is the single most important factor in our mission to make kick ass games. Until our synthetic neural network achieves a stable state of self-awareness, Bungie is quite literally made up of the people who work here. That’s not just an ideal. We made it a reality by earning our independence, and later by transforming Bungie into an employee owned company. When I say that I own this joint, it’s not just with a nudge and a wink – I literally and legally own a piece of Bungie. We all do.

Some people thought I was being “careful” with my words Wednesday night. I was. It was way past my bedtime, I was rocking a sniffling baby in the crook of my arm, and I had my laptop perched precariously on my lap. Let me clarify.

We did not experience layoffs of employees or group terminations of contract workers at Bungie. Activision-Blizzard has never asked us to terminate any of our employees or contract workers. There are still contract employees working here on site, and we are actively seeking more talented folks to come and join our family. In fact, we just recently hired a large group of contract employees, bringing them into the full time fold, and we are still on the hunt to add even more talented folks to our Bungie family.

Hopefully, that’s enough clarity to satisfy even the most enthusiastic rumor mongers out there. Going forward, we don’t plan on responding to any ill-defined accusations provided by anonymous sources. If concrete details are provided, we’ll choose to respond when appropriate, and regardless of what’s written about us on the Internet we will never stop finding ways to improve our work environment for every single member of the Bungie family.

-

So there you have it , Bungie is telling everyone to suck it up. So suck it up Kotaku. 

Urk also mentioned Bungie was making a completely new universe. More confirmation of .... nothing ;)

Image found at bungie.net


Friday, February 18

Destiny: Is Bungie making a Massive Multiplayer Online First-Person Shooter?


So once more the internets run wild with rumours and speculation about what the best xbox coders on the planet, Bungie, have up their sleeves. A seriously wild rumour had suggested that Bungie's whole new world is going to be called Destiny. As in, no fate but what me make from Terminator 2?

We think we've had hints before, such as the mysterious Bungie Aerospace logo (but that was probably a reference to Halo: Reach having a battle in space but now there's rumours of an actual leak that Bungie is planning to release a "Massive Multiplayer Online First-Person Shooter".

So WTF exactly is a Massive Multiplayer Online First-Person Shooter or MMOFPS for short? 

Trusty (!?) wikipedia suggests that a MMOFPS is a "multiplayer video game which is capable of supporting hundreds or thousands of players simultaneously. By necessity, they are played on the Internet, and feature at least one persistent world." and also that MMO games "can enable players to cooperate and compete with each other on a large scale, and sometimes to interact meaningfully with people around the world."

Fuck, Halo crossed with World of Warcraft? I think I just lost my job due to my new internet addition!

Given the Bungie games have featured the Master 'No Man is an Island but I actually AM' Chief and the Lone Wolf (two separate Spartans people!) the concept of people cooperating in a online game seems amusing, but Halo matching did feature Capture The Flag and other games which needed team work to succeed in so maybe there is something in this concept after all?

Let's be clear, the supposed leak is the same person who has claimed that Bungie has fired a whole lot of it's precious staff - which Bungie refuted 100 percent (they were contractors) - so maybe the name, Destiny is a bunch of freshly laid meadow muffins?

Well, Dear Reader, Gears of Halo isn't finished with the concept of Bungie doing a MMOFPS style game because there's still the issue of what Joseph Staten said a few months back:

"I think it's a shame that we spent so much time working on this world called Halo and then we only let people spend six or eight or 10 hours in it. Wouldn't it be great if we could make a world that was always there for you, with lots of stories to tell, like a big, infinite storytelling horizon? Man, that would be great."

Bungie staffers do not talk idly, or wistfully or simply through shit out there so this was a pretty good indicator - well it would be if we actually had something to hang our hats on. Until we do it's all speculation that Bungie is making some kind of open world universe and as for the name Destiny? I doubt it, it just doesn't have that magical ring to it....

Extra for Experts: And as for the shit about Bungie and supposed poor treatment and firing of contractors, that's exactly what happens with contractors - they are cattle to be farmed for their talents and sent to the meat works when the job has been done. And they get paid well for it too!

Wednesday, February 16

Clint Mansell to do Mass Effect 3 Soundtrack


If you've ever seen a three legged dog, you've seen me....
According to the official Mass Effect Facebook page (?) Chris Mansell is the score composer for Mass Effect 3
The Facebook update read: "Have you ladies and gents seen Black Swan or The Wrestler? Mass Effect 3 scored the same composer! Promises to be a fantastic soundtrack!"
Mr Mansell has been quoted around the traps as saying the following about music and gaming:
“As I was saying about Public Enemy and re-working old hip-hop tunes for Requiem, and kind of re-working old ballet tunes for Black Swan, with something like Mass Effect you're more like a DJ, with all these elements. You've got the holding pattern, then the big explosion where you need the score to kick in. Then you need to take it off on a tangent. You've got all these different elements that change depending on what the player does. You have to figure out an overall symphony, but be able to break it down into component parts. You can bring the pain when required.”
Speaking of Facebook, check out our page!

Tuesday, February 15

I'm on a boat: Halo Style

What could have been: boats in Halo: Reach!
This Issac fellow keeps releasing some great Halo Reach Concept art and this time round the images of a boat and his commentary that we should have seen it 'jump in the water' reveal that Bungie seriously considered having some boating action in Halo: Reach.

Check out more Halo concept art from Issac Hannaford and also his Cortana images here.

Marcus Fenix Ponders something, anything

This time it's personal!
I found this picture of Marcus Fenix at Attackofthefanboy  and I knew I just had to post it.

Sunday, February 13

Ghost Riders in the Sky


Splat spree coming up!
Here's a Ghost toy being ridden by a Covenant Elite figurine that was spied at the Toy Fair. You know the Toy Fair which supposedly was going to reveal news about Bungie's IP ;)

Sourced from Kotaku. I HATE their new page layouts. What do you think?

Saturday, February 12

Urk is being a cock-tease

Urk is simply a big cock-tease. What ever sexy new IP Bungie have under their skirt, he's doing everything he can to tell us it's under the skirt but is staying locked down and hands off:

'It’s been fascinating to see the rumor mill grinding away from the opposite side of the fence these last few years. As a fan, there’s this devilish sense of defiant giddiness that washes over you when you realize you might have been granted access to something much earlier than anyone ever expected. It’s like sneaking downstairs in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve to fondle your presents, surgically removing the tape, and getting your first good look at what will be in store for you in the morning.

Some children get so worked up that they just want to run off, scrawl their name on a scrap of paper, and deliver their triumphant message for the whole entire Internet to see, like a made-for-TV antagonist providing undeniable proof of their dastardly crimes. Others just can’t wait to tear open the wrapping paper and play with some new toys.

Per policy, you probably already know that I’m not going into any details about whatever it is that I'm on about today. I’m already straddling a somewhat ill-defined line with my opening remarks. That said, there is a proper time and a place for this sort of thing, and it won’t be too much longer until everything is out in the open all official like, and things start to make a little more sense.'


Thursday, February 10

DLC for Halo: Reach is called "Defiant Map Pack"?


Word on the street is that the new DLC for Halo: Reach is called "Defiant Map Pack"

The internets reckon that three new multiplayer maps would be called "Condemned," "Unearthed" and "Highlands"

"Condemned reportedly takes place aboard a human frigate, while Unearthed plays host to more open spaces. As for Highlands, its most prominent feature appears to be a giant Covenant cruiser in the process of glassing a planet."

Visit Halo Destiny and check out more detail and pictures for yourself. You know you want to. 

Bad Englund Confuses Bungie fans?

A release from Activision potentially let slip that something Bungie related may be announced next week:

These opportunities include Blizzard Entertainment's games currently in development, robust investment in forthcoming Call of Duty titles, the development of a best-in-class digital community surrounding the Call of Duty franchise, a new property from Bungie and an innovative new universe with broad appeal that will be revealed at Toy Fair later this week and will bring the world of toys, video games and the Internet together in an unprecedented way.

But I seriously doubt that Bungie's new IP would be announced at a Toy Fair and would suggest an event like E3 would be more likely. 

What do you think dudes?

Hat Tip: HBO

Update: Urk sets the record straight.

Also found swirling around the glistening bowl that is the Internet this week, a bit of terse prose from our beloved publisher, Activision, concerning some new intellectual properties that they’re really charged up about:

…a new property from Bungie and an innovative new universe with broad appeal that will be revealed at Toy Fair later this week.

Which, when run through the tubes became: "Bungie revealing new IP at Toy Fair this week!" and "Bungie's New IP based around line of toys."

While there’s no doubt that we could totally Own the Message™ at Toy Fair this year with a proper reveal of our brand new IP, I can confirm that there are two very distinct, and very different subjects being discussed in that sentence making the rounds. They are:
  • A “new property from Bungie” (that’s us!)
  • An “innovative new universe with broad appeal that will be revealed at Toy Fair later this week” (that’s NOT us)
Apologies if you traveled cross country this week only to find yourself surrounded by grown ass men fingering action figures, or if you desperately wanted our new IP to be all about dolls. While the logical leaps aren't our fault, we can’t help but feel partly responsible.

Wednesday, February 9

New GO3 screen shots

Here's some newly released screen shots from Gears of War 3:

Anya and GOG Friend (Samantha?) taking on locust:


Marcus displaying extremely emotion:


Anya and Carmine laying down the law:

Gears of War Kinect to be set on a train?


Gears of War Kinect to be set on a train?


Kotaku says “Sources claiming to be familiar with the project” are saying that an early demo of the game used game assets and events from Gears of War 2. Oh, and surprise…it was set on-rails.

“While we don't yet know the extent to which Kinect controls might be implemented, a source indicates that movement in this Gears of War spin-off would be controlled not by the player, but set on-rails.”

I’m taking on rails to mean a train setting? 

The above picture is apparently from a beta version of the game but who know's if this is real or not.

"A source also said that while the implemented Kinect functionality may not be fully worked out yet, the game will likely be an on-rails shooter. This means that players would have little to no control over the movement of their character, and would presumably use their hands to aim and shoot at enemies."

Presumably all this com chatter is tied in with Gears of War: Exile

Monday, February 7

Is Joseph Staten actually the Master Chief?

Joe Staten on the left
Joseph Staten, pretty much one of the foundation rocks of Bungie, has done a interview with Industry Gamers website. The interview  is part of a series of interviews with game publishers to "form a baseline on what motivates studios to develop and create characters. That in turn will help form an idea as to what drives gamers to purchase games."

Staten was able to give some interesting insights into how Bungie saw the Master Chief:

Industry Gamer: The Master Chief has become one of the most recognizable characters in gaming, and yet most gamers know nothing of the character as a person. Why did you decide to leave out details about his background from the games and expand upon them in the expanded universe of the series?

Mr Staten: We left-out details to increase immersion; the less players knew about the Chief, we believed, the more they would feel like the Chief. When it came to the Halo novels and other products of the expanded universe, immersion wasn’t as important as deepening understanding.

Check out the full interview here.

Extra for Experts: It was Joseph who first wore the clothing that featured the intriguing Bungie Aerospace logo.....

Sunday, February 6

More speculation on the Halo: CE remake - Joystiq think they know


Joystiq has apparently learned that the previously rumored remake of Halo: Combat Evolved will indeed launch this holiday season for Xbox 360 with a full visual overhaul.

Joystiq states "Sources explain that the re-release is not Bungie's 2001 Xbox game simply running at a higher resolution -- it's being remade with new art assets. While Halo's audio will likely remain unaltered, the controls will allow for more recent Halo configurations."

Of course, theses sources are not stated so this news must be taken with a huge grain of salt. Joystiq does go on to make some fairly detailed claims about the remake:

"The Halo: Combat Evolved remake is allegedly being developed by New Jersey-based Saber Interactive, the company behind TimeShift and Namco's upcoming Inversion, but we've been unable to confirm the nature of the engine powering it. We understand that it's something other than the Reach engine.

The Halo: Combat Evolved update, one of two Halo games currently in development under the watchful eye of 343 Industries, is expected to support 1080p resolution and 3D televisions. Details on multiplayer are supposedly still being worked out, but we understand the remake will likely feature online co-op (the original game supported two-player split-screen co-op). "

Joystiq also suggested that the remake would be released on the 10 year anniversary of the Halo release date, November 10, 2010. 

I think I read somewhere recently that Microsoft had declared there would be no statements about Halo games this year - but if this rumour is true, obviously MS has been playing smoke and mirrors.

www.kinecthalo.com registered by Microsoft


So sometimes I’m a lil bit slow – I ony just realised that Microsoft has registered the domain name ‘KinectHalo.com’ This happened half way through 2010.

What’s the big deal you say? Well it potentially suggests that Halo will indeed be developed with the Kinect technology in mind.

That’s a maybe as the who is look up shows that Microsoft has over 482,304 other domains registered and I’ll guarantee most of those are unsued and simply there to protect against cyber squatters using Microsoft’s Intellectual Property such as Halo. As an aside -  imagine the yearly bill for all those domain name renewals!

Microsoft has made no formal announcements about the next Halo game but Frankie from 343 Industries who is in charge of Halo did recently say "I think that there are a lot of questions that fans of the series want answered, and we'll certainly be in the business of answering those questions" which is a good lil bit of double speak if you ask me!

So what do you think? Could Kinect enhance the Halo playing experience?

Saturday, February 5

Top Xbox 360 Top LIVE Titles of 2010

I read that sex sells so here you go.
Major Nelson has put together his list for the top Xbox 360 Top LIVE Titles of 2010

The Major wants you to note 'that the rankings are based on the games' first seven days of activity on the Xbox LIVE service and only include games released in 2010."

Seven day's hardly seems like a worth while length of time to assess a game's online popularity but I guess it's one way to balance out games that got released earlier in the year than others etc.

Xbox 360 Top LIVE Titles of 2010 (based on Unique Users during the first week of launch)

1 Call of Duty: Black Ops 
2 Halo: Reach
3 Red Dead Redemption 
4 Fable III
5 Battlefield: Bad Co. 2
6 Medal of Honor
7 Mass Effect 2 
8 FIFA Soccer 11
9 Fallout: New Vegas
10 BioShock 2
11 Madden NFL 11
12 Splinter Cell Conviction
13 Assassin's Creed Brotherhood
14 Dead Rising 2
15 Kinect Adventures!
16 NBA 2K11
17 Crackdown 2
18 Aliens vs Predator
19 Mafia II
20 Army of TWO: TFD

It's amusing to note that Kinect: Adventures made it onto the list - I expect that it is because it was bundled with the initial roll out of the Kinect.  Further amused to see the number of sequels in there!

Friday, February 4

Want a job making the next Halo game?


It's no secret that Microsoft is making a new Halo adventure for us fan boys to take part it in, but did you know it was being made by 343 Industries? Bungie said goodbye with Halo Reach, and now Frankie and the crew he's been quietly putting together are working on something big that's probably gonna be called Halo 4 (or maybe a Halo: Remake?).

The only way to know for sure is get a job at 343 Industries, wherein after being sworn to secrecy you'll be given the keys to the Halo Castle. So if you're a animator, engineer, designer why don't you check out the jobs going at 343 and get yourself on the inside?

Jimmy Jangles Reviews: Mass Effect 2

mass effect 2

So like I finally completed Mass Effect 2 and it's quite the game eh? But you already knew that didn't you? I tend to be very picky with my Xbox game purchases and will often only purchase a game well after the hype has died and the reviews and reflections of seasoned gamers are to be found. That was how I found the original Mass Effect and when the price was right, I snapped it up. 

After that Magnificent game, I don't know why I delayed getting ME2 for so long. It's a triumph of story telling, it's your own pick-a-path in space - knowing the choices I make for our hero Commander Sheppard have repercussions in game and in ME3 can make for a tortuous exercise at times! 

Knowing that I have a renegade Sheppard game saved for another run through meant I could generally keep a firm line - I usually chose a paragon action over the renegade but once in a while it was literally fun to stab someone in the back. 

The characters to be found in ME2 are almost larger than life. When you get passed the dullsville that is Jacob, the Krogan known as Grunt, and to a certain extent, Miranda, the Mass Effect universe is full of interesting characters. I really enjoyed chatting with Mordin Solus about the ethics of the genophage and Samara's views on vigilante justice. I was disappointed when I managed to let her die during the suicide mission - I won't let that happen on my second run though!

I found the combat to be improved this time round, I don't know if was all my training with the sniper rifle in Halo: Reach or that they made it easier but this was my goto weapon for most encounters. I liked how ME2 made the whole weapons arrangement systems 'automatic' and you didn't have to mess around buying so much crap.

Despite lots of complaints from people, I didn't mind the mining operation part of the game to fund weapon upgrades and the like. Sometimes a bit of toil can bring rewards and I figure doing all of that helped build to a successful suicide mission outcome (maybe further run throughs with different choices may render that idea redundant?). 

The original game was perhaps infamous as it allowed your character to pursue sexual conquests with your team mate. Clearly the ME2 designers had still not been told of the expression, never screw the crew, because I managed to get it on with Miranda. Here's my reward:

 miranda mass effect bra sex scene

It was amusing to meet ME's original love, Ashely on a mission wherein she immediately got all mad at Sheppard for dying on her, not calling or whatever and basically threw a sulking tantrum only to apologise by an email later on. Does sleeping with Miranda after 'chat' that mean Sheppard cheated on Ashley? What repercussions if any will this have for Mass Effect 3? Either way, I stayed away from that Jack girl. She got crazy coming out her ears!

I did appeciate how the choices made in ME1 had some influence on this new story. While I may have shot a certain grumpy Krogan because he bored me and let the Arachni Queen live simply because I like spiders, I was pleased to see these actions had relevance in ME2 - and also, seeing how the alien races in universe of ME are slowly banding together as a result of in game actions is a great example of game play and story telling.

Overall I immensely enjoyed my first run through of Mass Effect, it as a mulitude of stories to tell, many aliens to shoot and the graphics and cut scenes were top notch. Bring on Sheppard saving Earth in ME3!


Pre-order Mass Effect 3 from Amazon

Thursday, February 3

Cliff B chats about Gears's inspiration and women...


Gears of War 3 is coming this fall (so that means spring for  those who live below the equator) and it’s promisng to be the ultimate game in the trilogy. Cliff Bleszinski has been the mouth piece for the game’s reign in the charts and the forthcoming release means the comm chatter has stepped up a notch.

But first, some context and background about wear GOW3 is headed. It is set eighteen months after the fall of Jacinto witnessed at the end of Gears 2. The Gears including our heroes Marcus and Dom as well as what’s left of The Stranded are living aboard a converted hovercraft on the island of Vectes but with the emulsion infected Lambent on the rise, it is only a matter of time before both the Gears and the Locust are threatened by this new enemy.

While Gears of War can be described  as a work of science fiction, horror has been just as important in shaping its design aesthetics.  Cliff Bleszinski has cited two sci-fi horror films as having a particularly big impact on the look, feel, and evolution of the series: John McTiernan's Predator (1987) and John Carpenter's The Thing (1982).

Mr Carpenter's movie about a shape-shifting alien slaughtering scientists in the Antarctic inspired Gears of War 3's new Lambent breeds, which are Locusts that mutated due to prolonged exposure to Imulsion. 

"What we're doing in Gears 3 with the rapidly mutating Lambent threat...it's safe to say that we're all fans of Carpenter's The Thing." I love that spider thing that eats the dog myself!


There are also a host of  new playable female protagonists in Gears 3 which are based on people from Bleszinski's own life: "Samantha 'Sam' Byrne is named after a Sri Lankan girl that I know, and Anya is based on someone I used to know."

In addition to Anya and Sam, another important relationship the upcoming sequel explores was influenced by one of the most painful things in life: the death of a parent. "Several of the leads-myself included-lost their fathers at early ages," Bleszinski says, "which is why Adam Fenix, Marcus' father, is seemingly back from the dead in Gears of War 3."

I personally think the 'back from the dead' line is a bit of a stretch given anyone who watched the end credits of G2 will know Adam Fenix is alive.

Sam and Anya Stroud joining the ranks of Delta Squad is a significant shift from the male dominate point of view the previous games. Cliff Bleszinski explains that the new female recruits are just as battle-ready as the rest of Delta Squad. We're seeing women on the battlefield now in Gears because of a greater demand for more soldiers regardless of sex and a society where gender lines are less relevant. "In the fiction of Gears of War, the gloves are now off, and everyone needs to grab a gun," Bleszinski says. "Previously, any female capable of breeding was tasked with procreating. But we're past that point now. The women of Sera need to curbstomp with the rest of 'em."

Cliff says that Gears of War 3 will answer a majority of the questions raised over the course of the series, particularly about the history of the world.

Resolution will be reached, but Bleszinski says bringing closure to everything that's happened since the original Gears of War is impossible. "We're not answering everything mysterious about the world," he says, "just many important, outstanding questions. We have more exposition in Gears of War 3-so we've had to be very careful with piecing together the story while balancing it with the action. But I think we're hitting a sweet spot of action-filled crunchy shooter gameplay with exposition this time.”

So it sounds like Cliff and the boys are making a huge effort to up the ante for Gears of War 3 to make sure the series goes out with a band.

This is not necessarily the end for the Gears franchise however as eagle eyed fans have spotted that Gears of War: Exile has been trade marked. This could be a possible spin off and also may take advantage of the new Xbox Kinect technology.