Gears of Halo - Video game reviews, news and cosplay

Halo and Destiny - news and reviews.

Monday, April 30

Halo 4 live action promo coming online

master chief and cortana

I originally wrote promo as porno which would have got some of our readers very very excited.

However, there's be no live action nude Cortana girl on girl action, instead Halo fans will be treated to "Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn," which will play exclusively on Machinima and Halo Waypoint in the weeks leading up to the releases of Halo 4

Variety reports that "Forward Unto Dawn" will play out over five weekly installments, around 15 minutes each, telling an original story about the game's Master Chief and how he inspired a young UNSC cadet who will eventually become a leader aboard the UNSC Infinity spacecraft. Introduction of the new character will tie in with the plot of "Halo 4," while providing a flashback to the beginning of the "Halo" franchise's war between the humans and the evil Covenant.

You may recall similar live action initiatives for the release of Halo 3 and Reach.

Frankie is quoted as saying: 

"Every time we do a live-action commercial the audience says, 'We want to see more so that we can explore the 'Halo' universe a little bit more," 

and

"Demand grew more and more out of the two little vignettes we'd previously produced."

Sweet, maybe this will demonstrate that a Halo movie is very do able (and bankable).


EDIT: Trainspotters may note this is the 1170th post on Gears of Halo. Halo trainspotters will note those magic numbers 117. Which is awesome as this post is about a guy who's call number is 117!

Friday, April 27

The Primary Colours...

I just found Padinga's short films about video games and their effect on marriage. They're pretty darn clever....

This video is a win for gamers everywhere?




Here's the effect that ME3 can have on certain men...

Halo 4 DLC Spartan Ops DLC hinted at?


cortana on the forward unto dawn

Gameinformer has a pretty sweet article on Halo 4. The key take away for me was Frankie from 343's comments on Spartan Ops (the multiplayer element of the game).

"The Spartan Ops story will stretch out for several weeks, but not months, according to O'Connor. And beyond that? "Season one comes free with the game. If we did another season we would be building that from scratch. Maybe that will be DLC; maybe it goes in the next game. We are still tinkering with that."

Speculation from Frankie or a teaser about DLC? Either way it's important as Frankie never gives up speaks of such things loosely.

Sprinting to Halo 4 and other news


cortana halo 4

Here's a few things I nicked from the 343 weekly update on Halo 4. There's some confirmation on things like Sprint and Forerunner vision which appear to be designed to counter the usual panicky rumours that happen every time something Halo related is announced.

Enjoy with the compliments of BS Angel.

Weapon Drops


Traditionally, power weapons spawn at set locations on a map. After looking at what has worked in the past and what we wanted to change for the future, we decided to build a new weapon spawning system from the ground up for Halo 4. Our primary goal was to make the system accessible to both new and returning Halo players, and also to make it fit within the context of Infinity-a massive vessel that is the new home of Halo multiplayer.

Initial weapon drops happen at the beginning of a match. After that, timers are set for when they drop in, and subtle UI elements communicate the time and destination of their impending arrival. Drops will be appropriate for each map; for instance, long-range weapon drops (i.e., sniper rifles) are likely to occur on large maps while close-range weapon drops (i.e., shotguns) are likely to occur on tight quarter maps.

There are two important things to note about weapon drops: you'll have the ability to customize ordnance in custom games, and not-at-all-random is a more accurate descriptor than random.

Player Spawn System


Evaluating the average number of living players on a map at a time, how long it takes to see an opponent, how quickly you can get back into action after dying, the length of time you're dead versus the length of time you're alive, and overall expected life spans were all things we considered when determining the player spawn system in Halo 4. Ultimately, we opted to give players freedom over this feature.

So, in certain modes (not all), players can control the timing for when they spawn. That means that, when you die, you can choose to spawn immediately, take a short breather to select your loadout, or plan your next strategy based on how the game is going. Objective game types use specially-tuned spawn timers that are designed to suit game length, object respawn times, and scoring.

Just like weapon drops, you'll be able to tweak (or turn off) these settings in custom games.



Sprint


The decisions people make in matchmaking give us an invaluable amount of information about both the game and various gameplay elements. The information we gleaned from Reach allowed us to learn a lot of lessons from Armor Abilities. That and the balancing we've done within the sandbox led us to make the decision that everyone will have Sprint in Halo 4-meaning you will no longer have to choose between base mobility and an extra ability.

The levels in Halo 4 are designed for this faster mobility. You're continually driven right back into action, not away from it. You can try to use Sprint to flee combat, but you're not likely to be successful because everyone else will have it, too, thus ensuring someone will be right on your tail, shooting your back while you attempt to escape, and probably causing your untimely demise.

It's also worth mentioning that just because everybody has Sprint, base movement is not slow. If you're familiar with previous Halo games, we looked at the speed and mobility of Halo 3 as the inspiration for Halo 4.

Forerunner Vision


Forerunner vision, one of the Armor Abilities that will debut in Halo 4, is still being tweaked, so I'm going to keep the details light today. While it's being described as letting you see through walls, it's more accurate to refer to it as sonar, where it sweeps out from its origin point to detect surrounding objects.

As with all Armor Abilities, it has tradeoffs: there is a delay before you get the knowledge of where other players are located, situational awareness is affected by the visual treatment of that mode (in its current iteration, it can best be described as shimmery), and other players within the range receive auditory cues when you activate it. So they will know when you're peeking.

We'll share more about this Armor Ability, and others, in the months leading up to launch. 



Spartan Ops


One of the biggest changes we've made to multiplayer is making story an integral part of the experience. Our new Halo 4 cooperative mode, called Spartan Ops, is an ambitious example of that. If you're a fan of Firefight, we anticipate you'll enjoy this objective-based multiplayer mode.

Along with introducing an ongoing CG series that will tell a story over the course of a season, Spartan Ops will also give you the opportunity to play weekly missions that relate to that fiction. This mode will provide an outlet once you complete the Campaign to further the story past the game's end.

Spartan Ops is part of the Halo 4 package, i.e., not paid DLC.

Wednesday, April 25

James Hawkin's GOW3 concept artwork

master boomer concept art

You might have seen me take the piss out of this 'Savage Grenadier' but if you'd had followed the link you might have found this website by concept artist James Hawkins where he's put up some pretty cool images of the concept design work he did for the Gears of War 3 game. You've heard of it right?

Here's some of the images, full set is here.

gow3 truck concept art



locust dreadnaught concept design

The shotgun

locust seige beast concept artwork



raven's nest gears of war artwork

Silverback design.

Tuesday, April 24

Shane Pierce's Gears of War 3 Concept Art

gears of war 3 concept artwork

Artist Shane Pierce has put up some of the concept artwork he did for the Gears of War 3 game - mostly the images posted are of landscapes and buildings. Pretty awesome design work for the world of Sera!

Check out more of Pierce's artwork here.

gears of war 3 concept artwork

gears of war 3 concept artwork building

gears of war 3 concept artwork building with water



Sunday, April 22

Chuck Beaver on Gears of War " It contains atrocious, offensive violations of story basics"

kantus gears of war

"Story can only ruin a game for those people who care about story, so it's a conditional answer. For instance, Gears of War. It contains atrocious, offensive violations of story basics. Yet it doesn't seem to ruin it for many, many people. It's literally the worst writing in games, but seems to have no ill effects."

So said Chuck Beaver. Best known in the gaming industry as the story producer for Dead Space. And apparently it's causes a wee stir. Or made Cliffy B upset. 

Most importantly, what's my view? I think this statement is most definitely true for the first Gears of War game. The story was bat-shit insanely loose with no fricken clear direction. To this day I still have no idea why General Raam was on that train with the so called Lightmass Bomb. Was he there to stop the bomb or kill our heroes Or both? I have no idea but he was a memorable boss ending for what it was worth. Gears 1 only became a great game because of it's look, feel, game play and full on multiplayer. 

Check Beavers comment is perhaps less true for game's 2 and 3. Game 2 was mildly crazy but then again I have no idea why we had to go inside a giant worm or some secret lab who's real context in the Gears saga was never rely explained well enough in game.

I felt Gears 3 had a clear and direct purpose: find Adam Fenix and save the day. 

dead space mask Beaver was clearly having a discussion about qaulity writing and took the time to think back on the Dead Space story as well:  "We knew so little about story back then, and overruled our writers on a lot. Dead Space was just a   simple haunted house story that we later pasted a personal aspect on top of – a lost girlfriend who is really dead. Dead Space 2 was a huge challenge. All these elements from the original game that were  poorly thought through, like the Marker Lore, Necro ecology, etc., had to move coherently forward into the next narrative. The first story we had was a wreck of unrelated events and broken structure, so we cut our teeth getting that into shape, and didn't fully make it. Plus, we got lost a bit in complicated lore and plot elements that didn't come through. And don't even get me started on the final boss sequence that they put in without me in the meeting! That was fun."

But despite this Chuck has said that his original offending words had been taken out of context. He's issued this drippy statement as a result (and following the removal of the actual issue from the EA site). 

"I just wanted to jump in and clarify some of my comments that were taken out of context about Gears of War. First, let me say that I'm a huge fan. It is an epic franchise that has trail-blazed more than a few industry-leading player experiences and mechanics. It is deservedly recognized as a top-tier title. Its success as a property is evidenced by its giant sales and rabid fan base. The industry is far better for Epic's contribution, and we all owe a great deal of inspiration to their work." 

So there we go, we can all go back to being friends?

Does this Savage Grenadier remind you of any one?

Savage Grenadier

So I spied on the internets some dude gave another dude a drawing and I thought, how nice. And then I looked at this picture of the 'Savage Grenadier' from the Gears of War series and I thought that's cool but what does that face remind me of? And then it hit me. It was a subtle nod to one of the worst movies in history.

The Savage Grenadier looks like Howard the Duck:

Howard the Duck

Now haters gonna hate so don't tell me he's got a cloth around his face or anything, aight?

Halo 3 Multiplayer still alive and kicking on the charts



I was checking out Major Nelson's Xbox promotional site and I spied the Xbox live activity chart - as you'd expect the massively popular Call of Duty games are dominating the numbers - Reach is holding it's own at 5 but I was pleased to see Halo 3 managing to stay on the charts with a solid place at 15.


LIVE Activity for week of April 9th
  1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
  2. Call of Duty: Black Ops
  3. FIFA 12
  4. Battlefield 3
  5. Halo: Reach
  6. Modern Warfare 2
  7. Skyrim
  8. Gears of War 3
  9. NBA 2K12
  10. Mass Effect 3
  11. GTA IV
  12. Forza Motorsport 4
  13. NHL12
  14. Madden NFL 12
  15. Halo 3 
  16. Saints Row: The Third
  17. Red Dead Redemption
  18. Call of Duty 4
  19. Call of Duty: World at War
  20. Sniper Elite V2 DEMO 





Come up to the lab, see what's on The Slab


Come up to the lab, see what's on The Slab

I totally missed this for sure but The Slab novel is to be released next month - the fifth Gears of War novel by Karen Travis, it's focus appears to be on the Fenix family - Adam's dealings with that nasty Queen and Marcus' term in the Prison known as the Slab - those who played the original game will recall that's where it starts - with Dom taking Marcus out of his cell. 

Here's some promo guff for the novel.

MARCUS FENIX. WAR HERO. LOYAL SON. TRAITOR.

Ten years after Emergence Day, as the Locust Horde advances on humanity’s last defended area—Ephyra—in a bloody war that has seen billions die, Marcus Fenix does the unthinkable: he defies orders and abandons his post during a critical battle in a bid to rescue his father, weapons scientist Adam Fenix. But Adam is buried in the rubble during a ferocious assault on the Fenix mansion, and Ephyra falls to the enemy. Marcus, grieving for a father everyone believes is dead, is court-martialed for dereliction of duty and sentenced to forty years in the Coalition of Ordered Government’s brutal maximum security prison, known simply as the Slab.

But Adam is very much alive, snatched from the destruction by the elite Onyx Guard on Chairman Richard Prescott’s orders. He’s now a long way from home and in a prison of his own—a COG doomsday bunker on the tropical island of Azura, a place hidden from the rest of Sera since the Pendulum Wars. His own guilty secret has been exposed: Adam knew the Locust existed deep below the surface of Sera long before Emergence Day, and were being driven from their tunnels by a lethal parasite known as the Lambent. Now he has to find a way to destroy the Lambent while the dwindling COG forces fight to hold back a growing Locust army that’s threatening to overrun the city.

As Adam struggles to find redemption in his comfortable island jail, Marcus seeks his own atonement in the squalid, closed world within the Slab’s granite walls. While Dom Santiago and Anya Stroud fight to get him released, ready to make any sacrifice to free him, Marcus gradually finds unexpected kinship among Sera’s most dangerous criminals—and a way to carry on his personal war against the Locust.

-

Cortana revealed - is she Paisha Coffey?

Paisha Coffey cortana model halo 4
Cortana as found in Halo 4
We wondered in January if Paisha Coffey was really going to be the model for Halo 4 and now that some official screen shots of Cortana from the game have been released we can have a look for ourselves and decide. This guy from reddit was pretty convinced and this facebook shot suggests it- what do you think? Is Paisha really Cortana? The nose seems a little similar.....

Fans can relax however, Jen Taylor is definitely doing the voice of Cortana for the game!

Paisha Coffey cortana model
Paisha Coffey, model

Friday, April 20

So when should the big guy sue the little guy?

bethseda's fallout
Copyright Bethseda
The recent example of how Bethseda sicked the laywers on to the Fallout Poster fan site made me think of what a tricky line it is for video game producers and publishers to walk in terms of giving the community but not letting them dictate the terms of that community.

As usual, I have to cite Bungie as the archetype for community management - they have fostered the development of Halo fans so that those fans stay loyal to the game. Even Microsoft who own the Halo intellectual property for Halo allow fans to use game content and the like on the basis that no monetary gain is made (George Lucas is a famous example of this as well). 

However fans don't own the IP so when they make posters that breach copyright or a trade mark those rights holders have to ask themselves. Is this kid worth it? Is he contributing to the community? Or are the abusing it? Are they taking a yard instead of an inch? 

Some video gamers and fanboys (and girls!) can be observed to feeling they are rights to the games themselves. Think the Mass Effect 3 ending. People were outraged that the ending to their game sucked. And then promptly demanded ME3's producers change the ending. 

But fans don't have that right. In the case of the ME3 ending DLC, they might have won this short term battle but they sure as heck have not won the war. 

The converse applies to the issue as well. If a company comes down too hard they run the risk of looking like big giant corporate bullies who don't care about their fans.

So when should the big guy sue the little guy? What do you think?

Thursday, April 19

Why the Halo movie failed by Jamie Russel


Here's a pretty succinct article by Jamie Russel on why the Halo movie fell over. It's acutally from his book: How video games invaded Hollywood

The short answer is money but it's a good read. Here's a snippet from the article:

What was apparent during the Halo deal-making was that Microsoft was far from home, perhaps even surrounded in enemy territory. In the middle of the Halo negotiations, as all parties sat around the table, Shapiro recalls the discussion between Microsoft’s Hollywood liaison Peter Schlessel and Jimmy Horowitz, Universal’s co-president of production, taking an aggressive turn. “Schlessel was getting really tough on some of the terms with Horowitz: ‘Come on, don’t be a jerk, blah, blah, blah…’. It was getting really heated. The guy from Microsoft [Steve Schrek] was like, ‘Wow, this is really good.’ Then we took a break and Schlessel goes to Horowitz, ‘Are you coming over for Passover?’ Because they know each other. You don’t have those kinds of relationships in videogames. In Hollywood you can be getting at each other but then you’re playing golf together the next day.”

Even after the deal was struck, the misunderstanding over how the movie business operated continued to be a problem. Microsoft wanted a big-name director, but Peter Jackson, helmer on The Lord of the Rings trilogy, decided to sign on as a co-producer alongside Peter Schlessel, Mary Parent and Scott Stuber.

Jackson wanted his new protégé, an up-and-coming commercials whiz kid called Neill Blomkamp, to direct. With Jackson’s fee running to several million dollars the studios knew there was an advantage in hiring a cheaper, less well-known talent to sit in the director’s chair. Microsoft was reputedly not happy with the decision.

OXM suggests a new Halo 4 gun?



The May 2012 OXM UK mag cover features the big green fulla - with a new gun? HT/ HBO

Halo 4's Neil Davidge is the lineman for the County


Halo 4 composer Neil Davidge has done an extended interview with Kotaku on the Halo score - how he got the gig, the music process and his favourite singer.....

Here's a cut from the IV:

How far along are you guys? How's it coming together?


We've clocked off about 4 hours of music. It's a huge amount of material. I think we originally signed on to create 150 minutes worth of music, [laughs] we went over that in the first couple of months of working on the project.

Something that occurred to me the other day was that in the last 18 months I've probably written more music than I have probably written in the last 18 years working with Massive Attack. The process has been so painfully slow, in many ways I feel like I've been released, and allowed to just my instincts and follow my gut on this project.

343 have been amazing in that way, and very very trusting, and allowing me to experiment and just gently prodding me every so often when I kind of go off track. [laughs] Well sometimes not quite so gently, but… for the most part, they've applauded my wish to experiment and just to see where we can go with a particular theme or piece of music. And sometimes I go too far, and I'm very aware of this, but it feels necessary when trying to flesh out a whole new universe—this story is a progression, it's a whole new story arc—it's important to me to progress the music as much as the story's progressed.

So, there was a lot of experimentation. They've given me a lot of free reign in that, and in return I've given them a huge amount of material from which they can then go and choose what is most fitting for the game. What's most fitting for that particular mission or that particular character.

Tuesday, April 17

Missed out on your free Fallout Poster?


Image Source: www.fallout-posters.com


Say you run a fan site about Fallout that allows fans to download fall out posters.... say the IP rights holder is not happy and sicks the lawyers on to you....do you take them down?
This happened to the administrator of Fallout Posters, Erling Anderson. In response to legal demands he stopped the posters from being able to be down loaded and has this to say.
"Now, I’m not out looking for trouble. I set up the website out of pure 'fandom', and the last thing I wanted – or expected – was to be threatened with a lawsuit by Bethesda," Andersen wrote. "What pisses me off isn’t the fact that they’re looking out for their trademark – as they have every right to do so. What I’m pissed about are large companies abusing their monetary power, hiring global law firms to go after a fan online, immediately threating with a lawsuit.
Anderson then went on to say 
"Had they had the slighest bit of PR-savyness, they would have shot me a quick personal mail asking me to remove the (supposed) infringing content – and preferrably sent me some nice Fallout-swag as a nice gesture (yes, I am that corrupt)."

Erling wrote the lawyers back a sweet little letter on his blog but  he's had no response to date. I wonder if Bethseda will take it further given the publicity that's resulted. 
What do you think? Should this fan art be allowed to stay on the interwebs?

Halo 4 release date announced


halo 4 release date

Master Chief Returns With Worldwide Launch of "Halo 4" Beginning Nov. 6

Marking the return of gaming's most iconic hero, the first chapter of a brand new "Halo" saga is the year's most anticipated video game release.

REDMOND, Wash. — April 17, 2012 — The countdown has begun for the landmark entertainment event millions of fans worldwide have been anticipating for more than four years. "Halo 4," the hotly anticipated sequel to the iconic franchise that has shaped entertainment history, will launch worldwide on Nov. 6, 2012.

"Halo 4" marks the return of legendary hero Master Chief, named by Fast Company as "one of the most popular characters in gaming history1," and aims to set a new standard for blockbuster interactive entertainment with the launch. Set four years after the events in "Halo 3," Master Chief returns to confront his destiny and face an ancient evil that threatens the fate of the entire universe. Developed by 343 Industries, "Halo 4" marks a new beginning for the landmark entertainment franchise that has sold more than 40 million games worldwide and inspired multiple New York Times best-selling novels, live-action shorts, comic books, action figures and apparel.

"We are beginning a new saga with 'Halo 4' and embarking on a journey that will encompass the next decade of 'Halo' games and experiences," said Phil Spencer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Studios. "Millions of fans worldwide have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to step back into the boots of Master Chief, and, with 'Halo 4' leading the charge, we're confident 2012 will be the most successful year in Xbox history."

"Halo 3," the biggest consumer product launch of all time when it released in 20072, concluded the original game trilogy, but left many unanswered questions around the fates of the series' beloved hero, the Master Chief, and his artificial intelligence companion, Cortana. On Nov. 6, fans will experience the next chapter of the iconic franchise. Tonight, Conan O'Brien will help celebrate this fall's launch of "Halo 4" with a special segment on "CONAN" on TBS at 11 p.m. PDT/10 p.m. CDT. Those interested should tune in and check out http://www.teamcoco.com or follow @TeamCoco on Twitter for updates and more details.

About 343 Industries
343 Industries is the publisher and developer of the blockbuster "Halo" series of videogames and, as part of Microsoft Studios, oversees the "Halo" franchise, including novels, comics, licensed collectibles, apparel and more. 343 Industries is home to world-class developers working on the "Halo" "Reclaimer Saga," which commences with the arrival of "Halo 4" on Nov. 6, 2012, exclusively on Xbox 360.

About Xbox 360
Xbox 360 is a premier home entertainment and video game system. Thanks to the addition of Kinect, Xbox 360 will forever transform social gaming and entertainment with a whole new way to play — no controller required. Xbox 360 is also home to the best and broadest games as well as one of the world's largest on-demand libraries of music, standard- and high-definition movies, TV shows and digital games, all in one place. The entertainment center of the living room, Xbox 360 blends unbeatable content with a leading social entertainment network of 40 million Xbox LIVE members to create a limitless entertainment experience that can be shared at home or across the globe. More information about Xbox 360 can be found online at http://www.xbox.com.

About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

1 Source: Fast Company: Why It Feels Good To Get Inside Master Chief's Helmet
2 "Halo 3" generated $170 million in 24 hours in the U.S., surpassing the $125 million day-one record set by "Halo 2" (2004).

Sunday, April 15

Justin Beiber's Mass Effect


Justin Bieber Mass Effect?
What does Justin Bieber have to do with Mass Effect? This cartoon apparently

As found on Kotaku.

Josh Holmes chats about why he's doing Halo 4

Cortana on the forward unto dawn artwork
Cortana needs to wake the chief up
Check out Josh Holmes, who you perhaps recognise creative director of Halo 4 talkng about how he first played Halo and why he joined 343 Industries to make his own Halo game.  


Watch the video here

Thursday, April 12

JJ Reviews: Primordium by Greg Bear

You might have read how much I loved Greg Bear's Halo: Cryptum and that within a short while of reading the last page I had ordered the second in the saga, Primordium. I'm gonna assume you've read Cryptum too as I review it. So do I need to say spoilers?

halo primordium cover
JJ Reviews: Primordium by Greg Bear

Opening with a very quick recap of the events of Cryptum, it's immeadiately clear that this story is a retelling of an adventure that happened to one of the characters from that novel, Chakas. The twist is that he appears to not be himself any more. Is he a collection of thoughts on a disk drive? Has he turned into another being? All, I'm sure is to be revealed.

Chakas finds himself crash landed on a Halo and perhaps almost too quickly falls in love (of a kind) with a local 'inhabitant'. From memory, the Halo games have never shown us as having intelligent life (other than plants and the odd bird) so this sets up an interesting premise.

But it's a premise that takes a little time to really get into gear. As a hero and his two new best friends seek out the abandoned city where Riser might be found, we basically learn nothing except that there are rabbits on the Halo.

But once we are passed that minor hurdle Greg Bear settles into the narrative, drop nice little hints and references along the way about the Librarian, geas and the unspoken plan to keep the reader interested. Which is the point of a book right? (You can tell Jimmy Jangles doesn't have a career in book reviewing ahead of him - Ed.)

Finally (and I really do mean finally as it's a bit of a slog) there's a real sinister turn taken where we realise that the Precursor that was revealed to be alive on the last page of Cryptum is alive and well on Halo and seemingly in charge of the bloody thing. Talk about a bad turn... At least  Chakas has found Riser and they start a great journey, the end of which signals the climax of the plot arc.

Things come to a head. Our hero is confronted with saving the Halo so that it can be used against the Foreunners but does he want that?

The ending largely wraps up well, an adventure here, a near death (?) experince there, souls long dead revived through geas to give us context there, an old warrior servant wreaking havoc there and we're done.

The twist, if you could call it that, was obvious and I'd wondered if that was it a few chapters into the main story but fitted in nicely to traditional Halo lore, so I'll give big ups to Greg Bear for that.

Was I satisfied with Primordium? Not really. I found the journey to get the climax long and ponderous. Some of the detail in describing things was so vague as to not be helpful and the climax itself was a convoluted array of ghosts, monitors and walking corpses. That said, it was ultimately a good ending, perhaps just not as exciting as that of Cryptum.

I did feel however that Cryptum and Primordium were both written at same time as the same book, just split in two. I would bet Greg Bear and his 'Halo team' had the trilogy's essential elements well plotted before the writing began (thus meaning a a huge epic novel could have been written - but where's the money in that?!).

Thus the scene is set for the third novel in the The Forerunners Saga. Or is it? The third, as yet not named book, is going to only be released after Halo 4.... which you might recall Frankie having said the novels feed directly into that game. It will thus be interesting to see how Halo 4's plot will influence or echo that third novel.

Adrianne Curry as Christie from Tekken Cosplay

Adrianne as Christie from tekken
Adrianne as Christie
Adrianne Curry as Christie from Tekken Cosplay

You might have heard that Top Model, Adrianne Curry loves her cosplay - she's upped the anti in the costume stakes this week with a near nude Christine from Tekken outfit.



adrianne curry as christie from tekken
Curry as Christie
That bikini reminds me of a certain gold bikini Ms Curry has been known to wear from time to time....


Sexiest Mario Brother Cos Play ever?

mario brothers cosplay meagan marie

Has Meagan Marie pulled of the most sexiest Mario Brothers cos play costume ever? You decide if you want her to ahh... fix your pipes?

mario brothers cosplay meagan marie

You might remember Meagan from her Anya cosplay from Gears of War outfit.

Wednesday, April 11

What does Massive Attack have to do with Halo 4?

Recording sessions for the Halo 4 soundtrack
Recording sessions for the Halo 4 soundtrack
What does Massive Attack have to do with Halo 4?


The link is round about in the that composer Neil Davidge is the lead composer for the Halo 4 soundtrack. David produced Massive Attacks' albums, perhaps most notably Mezzanine.

Neil Davidge halo 4 composer
Neil Davidge
He's now landed the role of the Halo 4 composer and had this to say:

“Music has always been at the heart of what makes Halo so captivating and iconic. With Halo 4, we want to build upon the franchise’s amazing legacy and create a score that captures the awe and wonder of the Halo universe, and reinforces the deeper and more emotionally impactful journey Master Chief will embark on.” Which sounds like complete PR spin to me ;)

This vidoc however strongly suggests he and 343 are on the right track for Halo 4's soundtrack.



Sotaro Tojima, Audio Director for Halo 4 had this to say of Neil "When we met up, it was perfect—I discovered that he was a huge fan of the Halo series and had an equally strong passion for matching the next Halo score with his technique and experience. He was also willing and, indeed, enthusiastic to have strong communication, collaboration, and tough iteration with 343 to build something really special with Halo fans in mind. We were exactly on the same page! For me, there was no reason to look any further."
And here's a sample of the music released by 343:



What do you think? Does the music sound like Halo? Is it too different? I reckon it's it's pretty epic with some nice chord changes.

You can download a short sample track right here - thanks 343!

Tuesday, April 10

Gears of War: Exile canned by Bleszinski

gears of war exile

You might recall the stir that hit the interwebs last year when it was noticed that Gears of War: Exile had been trade marked.

It was supposedly going to be announced at a trade event but that got axed.  It was rumoured to be a Kinect based game.

Gears of War producer lead guy dude Cliff Blezsinksi told Gamepot "Let's just bury the hatchet now, Gears of War: Exile was an unannounced game that I can't give any details about that has since been cancelled."

So there you have it, we'll just have to see if any thing Gears related is announced....





How a Halo blogger reaches out via Twitter


Here's a post I thought I'd write for Twitip but it appears to be a dormant site so here you go...

A fair while I ago was delighted that Twitip chose to publish a couple of articles I wrote, 'You know you're addicted to twitter when' and 'The Angels and Demons Guide to Good Twitter Etiquette'. Since that time I've just got on with the job of blogging and using twitter to reach out to my readers. I thought I'd share what I've learned.

How a Halo blogger reaches out via Twitter


Halo is a massively popular series of games for the Xbox 360 and I’m a bit of a Halo nut and soon enough I created Gears of Halo, a blog dedicated to promoting and sharing the ‘fan boy love’ for Halo and other video games I enjoy.

The blog has been steadily building a faithful audience and I believe a stong part of this reader growth is due to using a dedicated Halo Twitter account.

Here’s the lessons I learnt on the way.
  • Bite the bullet, forget your general twitter account and create a new account directly for your blog. It allows like to match to like – people who are only interested in your subject but not what you did on Saturday night will appreciate it. 
  • Follow movers and shakers in your subject niche. I go for two sets of people. The producers of the video games and their industry associates. Another other group to target were the other fans who are clearly ‘talkers’ about Halo games. I know they sometimes check my site out and occasionally give out a RT. 
  • Link your blog posts to your twitter account so when you publish a post, a tweet announcing the fact is made to your followers. Set the tweet so it’s clear it is a ‘New Post’ tweet. I use Twitterfeed
  • Retweet news that other twitter folk come up with or create. This could help you noticed by the watchers and lurkers as being being someone with your finger on the pulse. When it’s time for you to show off your “L33T skillz”, they may just give you a RT. 
  • Come to the party. In the Halo universe and other genres there are plenty of colourful characters – some have taken these over to the Twitterverse and tweet in character – playful engagement with these types of twitterers can help get you noticed in your subject area. Check out the famous Darth Vader twitter account as an example. The twitter force is strong with that one!
  • Write a blog post about the Top Ten People to follow on Twitter in your niche. Let those people know about it and being flattered, they might just retweet the post giving you more exposure. Trust me, it works! 
  • Aim to have more people following you than you follow yourself. It’s a ‘people like them so I'll like them’ psychology. I suspect there’s some kind of mental accounting people do when deciding whether to follow someone – having more followers than you follow might suggest your audience is more than just your friends and thus are worth following. 
  • That said, anytime a follower engages with you, consider following them back. It may help cement their loyalty to you, your twitter account and perhaps more importantly, your blog. 
  • How do you get more followers? Make it clear on your blog you have a twitter account. Invite people to follow you. I have a note at the bottom of every post, suggesting people follow. 
It's my conclusion that as a result of having a dedicated twitter account with followers that are specifically interested in your website’s subject matter, you're more likely to get more readers of your posts than without it.

Those readers are perhaps also more likely to engage with you on the site, for instance, they might leave comments.

Lastly, as your ‘authority’ as an being an expert within your subject niche grows, so does the chance that that authority will create more authority by way of new followers and increased through-put readership of your blog.

Now, how l33t are your retweet skillz?

ME3 Resurgence pack DLC is free!


Bioware have been busy with Mass Effect stuff lately with the patch release, the Extended Cut and now some new free DLC for ME3 multiplayer fans comes in the form of Resurgence pack.

I wonder in light of the fiasco around the ending (which I kinda liked) that Bioware chose not to charge a fee for the DLC so as to keep fans happy...? What do you think?

You can down load the DLC right now. 

Here's the promotional guff from Bioware.

Join the war for Earth in Mass Effect 3! Owners of Mass Effect 3 can download the first multiplayer expansion for no additional cost. The Mass Effect 3 Resurgence Pack adds new unlockable content: deadly weapons, new consumables, and powerful characters for each class in multiplayer, including the Asari Justicar, Batarian, Geth, and Krogan Battlemaster. Additionally, the Mass Effect 3 Resurgence Pack also includes 2 new maps, Firebase Condor and Firebase Hydra. Download this pack on April 10th and take the battle online in the critically acclaimed Mass Effect 3 multiplayer experience.

NEW CHARACTERS



CHARACTERS

Asari Justicar Adept


Asari are fierce, graceful warriors. They are incredibly powerful natural biotics. The asari excel at hit-and-run tactics that ruthlessly eliminate their opponents from the battlefield.

Krogan Battlemaster Vanguard


Krogan Vanguards are a brutish specimen. These fully mature krogan might be old and slow, but their biotic charge ability makes up for it. Their heavy shields and ability in close makes them a menace on the battlefield.

Geth Infiltrator

Geth Infiltrators converge quickly on a target while remaining undetected. Their unique perception systems give Geth Infiltrators an unsurpassed understanding of the battlefield.

Geth Engineer
Geth Engineers are elite support specialists. Their unique perception systems give Geth Engineers an unsurpassed understanding of the battlefield.

Batarian Soldier & Sentinel

Batarians are large brawlers that use nets and spiked weapons to capture targets… or to bleed them dry on the battlefield. If an opponent gets too close, a Batarian bludgeons them with spiked armor and enforcement gauntlets.

NEW MAPS







MAPS

• Firebase Condor – A warzone outpost located on one of Palaven’s moons, Firebase Condor represents a crucial asset in the defense of the Turian homeworld, providing the beleaguered turian fleet with a place to refuel and repair. Its loss could grant the Reapers unparalleled access to the Inner Council Theatre.

• Firebase Hydra – Firebase Hydra is located in an old abandoned Quarian colony which humans took over when they originally settled the world of Ontarom. It has since been converted into a massive dam facility which powers the communications hub located at Firebase Dagger and the kinetic barrier which protects it. Without this critical power source, Systems Alliance communications within the entire theatre would go dark.

NEW WEAPONS

WEAPONS

• Striker Assault Rifle – Krogan rifle with explosive rounds. Its rate of fire increases when the trigger is held.
• Kishock Harpoon Gun – Deadly one-shot batarian weapon. Causes bleed-out or disruption of target.
• Geth Plasma SMG – Fully-automatic geth submachine gun. Its rate of fire increases when the trigger is held.

FAQ

When is the Resurgence Pack available?


The Resurgence Pack is available on April 10th for Xbox 360 and PC worldwide. For PlayStation 3 owners the pack will be available on April 10th in North American and April 11th in Europe.
What exactly is included in the Resurgence Pack?

Firebase Hydra and Firebase Condor are available to play on as soon as the Resurgence Pack is downloaded. The new weapons, characters, and equipment are available as rewards inside Reinforcement Packs.

How many new characters are there total?


There is a new character for each class in the game, so 6 new characters to play as total. There are also new races introduced including the Geth and Batarians.

Does each new character come with new abilities?


Yes the new characters will have their own unique abilities and loadouts.

How much does the Resurgence Pack cost to download?

The Resurgence Pack is available at no additional cost for Mass Effect 3 game owners.