Sunday, February 28

Reach campaign mission play-testing under way

Marcus blogs:

"Today marks the second day of our first full campaign mission play-test, where participants get to play through every mission of the game and provide feedback. It’s always brutal getting feedback at this stage of development, because the game is really just now coming together, but it’s invaluable for us and allows us to make course corrections if needed. At this stage, AI are still doing really silly things, the environments are not complete, and we still have “robot voice” providing much of our mission dialogue."

Marcus also notes the change for this stage of Reach's development from the original Halo CE game - from 20 people to 150 plus.

Aside: am away in another country for work this week so no posts for at least 3 days. Don't cry, I'll bring you back some duty free OK?

Saturday, February 27

You drive me crazy, Bungie

The Guys at Reach Actual are not exactly the most eloquent of bloggers are they? First they gave us the soon to be classic when we know what it means "Indian Ocean: Present Day" and now we get this one line post:

"steve cotton is working on one of the craziest things ever in a halo game"

Hmmm, if that's not a tease, I've never been tickled, nor watched a Britney Spears video.

Friday, February 26

Oh, it's the interior of Power House!

The Bungie weekly update made it clear the above picture is an  interior screen capture shot of the Powerhouse mulitplayer map and is not concept art as I said earlier.  Here's the other Powerhouse image that was released at the recent X10 event:

Urk says "Technically, the top image above gives you a glimpse into “Powerhouse Level 1.” To get a better look yourself (assuming you’ve spawned in at Green Residence), you’d have to tread lightly through the Rock Garden, head straight past the Boiler Room, skip over the Concrete Walkway (unless you want to drop down into the Upper Spillway to snag some big firepower), and head across the Lower Powerhouse Bridge. While you’re in there, go ahead and smash up all those futuristic monitors. That’s what I do. It makes me giddy. In fact, Tung was trying to give an OMG Serious Face Presentation in Redmond yesterday morning and I made myself quite the nuisance by busting the room up real good while he was droning on and on about all kinds of important adult stuff like “The Production Cycle.”

If you choose to follow in my childish and destructive footsteps you might want to watch out for enemy fire. This little jaunt leading into the lower level is already becoming a well worn path for folks slugging it out in multiplayer. If you make too much noise, you’re gonna draw some well-deserved attention and the Lower Powerhouse Bridge isn’t the only way into this multilevel interior space."

I say, bring on the Beta.

Thursday, February 25

Forerunner Novel in 2011? Probably

Greg Bear has confirmed via a fan on his face book page that the first Forerunner novel will not likley see the light of day until next year (2011).

Here's the exhange between F1rsTxLas7 and the novelist himself:

"Hi Mr. Bear, I'm a huge fan of the Halo book series and was incredibly excited to hear that you were writing a series of Forerunner novels for Bungie. I've heard the first one was supposed to be released sometime this year, but do you have any idea of a more accurate date?"
Bear replied with:

"Working away right now, and enjoying very productive meetings with the Halo folks in their new digs. Lots of revelations being discussed. Take a look at the new HALO-themed short subjects on HALO LEGENDS DVD! Not likely to see the first book until 2011."

Greg Bear has written plenty of his own science fiction stories (notably (Blood Magic), but this Forerunner trip across the universe is not his first telling of a story using another person's IP - he's written for Star Trek (1980!) and Star Wars previously.

Hat Tip: HBO

10 Ten Halo People to Follow on Twitter

Cortana was no twit. 

So Halo Reach Game News got it's 200th Twitter follower this week which I'm pretty happy about. I take every new follower as a small vote of confidence that HRGN is do the job it intends to do - sharing the Halo Love. My 200th follower was a dude who has cramps. I hope you get better soon buddy!

Any ways I thought I'd share who I think are the 10 best people to follow on Twitter if you want Halo news. Obviously, Halo Reach News is the best account to follow but I accept sometimes you need more than my leet blogging skillz to get you through the day. Right? Right*.

10 Teen Halo Twitter Accounts:

Bungie Tweets. They incorporate tweets from and seemingly Halo.Bungie.Org news. Are those guys close or what? Hey Mr Wu - get your own account!

Grunts R Us. For once these boys are noobs at something....

Thel Vadamee. Look, the Arbiter would have my guts for garters if I didn't include him OK?

Achronos. I think he's a ninja or some thing.

Major Nelson. This is the guy that proves Halo is played more than Gears of War, week in, week out. Take that Clif!

Stosh. You know how that Urk dude on always blames Stosh? Now you can too!

BS Angel. A Queen of the Halo community. Also has a filthy bent...

Marty. He makes Halo sound like Mozart.

Waypoint. These guys are forging the Halo community from the Microsoft side.

Empress Cortana. Another Good Keen Halo fan.

Extra for Experts: AI Cortana. Another, another Good Keen Halo fan....

There's more good Halo twitter's out there, and fans too - who are yours? Leave some names in the comments! If the Lone Wolf is on Twitter, lemmno OK? I have questions about that Pegasi operation.

*That was an R.E.M. reference for all you EMO kids. I KNOW WHO YOU ARE! STOP RUNNING ACROSS MY LAWN!

Monday, February 22

Grifball to have a permanent home in Reach?

 A superdope home boy from the Oak town

So rumour has it that Halo Reach will have some kind of game variant of Grifball. What the heck is Grifball you may ask?

Set in an empty forged room, players run round with gravity hammers and swords trying to stop the other team from ‘scoring’ by way of arming the bomb that they've been luggin' around. In other words, it's mayhem.

I also think its really boring but hey, it’s spawned it’s own community so each to their own pwning.
How do we know there might be some Grifball in Reach? Urk placed an MP3 in the recent Bungie Weekly Update with 'Halo Announcer' Jeff Steitzer saying “Grifball!  Steitzer is the announcer that makes 'Slayer' sound sexy. He also very kindly informs me of the many, many overkills I make. Included in the update where some smarmy calls too such as 'Cool Spawn Bro' and 'You Suck'. I doubt they'll be placed in Reach....

For those extra curious amongst you, here's the official Grifball website, how to play Grifball and the Halowiki for the game if nothing much makes sense.

So, what are your thoughts on having Grifball as a standard game variant matc making? Fly or Die? Ham or Hammer time?

Hat Tip: Grunts R Us

I realise this is old news, I somehow forgot to press Publish...

It's time for Dawn

There's a new kid in town with a mission to give us some in depth thinking on the Halo Universe.

Forward unto Dawn's purposes is to "provide insight, analysis and speculation into the huge, dynamic Halo franchise and foster a community that is willing to maturely discuss and enjoy the franchise together." I say good luck with that maturely bit!

To kick off Forward unto Dawn has tackled the 'Winter Contingency' in a long discussion about Reach, it's existence before the Covenant found it, and the events that happened on the planet. If you want a comparison of the style of writing, think the exploratory / explanatory articles that may be found at Ascendant Justice.

Here's a taste.

"Light years into deep space rests a blue sphere nestled in the stars. Speckled with swirling white clouds dancing slowly across the planet’s surface. Beneath them, familiar blue oceans surround land masses big and small, mountainous areas shoot up from the lush green forests and grasslands across the planet’s surface. Thunderstorms of crashing rain and howling winds form and disperse, frozen snowy tundra’s lay undisturbed and rivers meander peacefully down various valleys spilling into the seas.

There are farmers working diligently on their farm lands tending to the harvesting of their crops and there are miners coming to and fro from their deep mines where an honest wage is earned extracting valuable metals from the crust. Construction workers laugh and joke as they work hard on their latest construction project, eager to laugh away the hours until they go home for the evening.

It looks rather similar to Earth when viewed from orbit and down on the surface things appear quite familiar. This world is not home, it is Reach, an alien world. Humans have only begun to harvest this world’s rich untapped resources. The oceans’ bright blue seas largely untarnished by pollution or human interference, the green forests lush with trees and vegetation and the brown soil is rich with minerals and organic matter."

Check out the full essay.

A Halo Poem

A Halo Poem

We fell
Then I slipped through space
Memories came flooding back
Checked out the Library
I couldn’t turn the key
The price of Charity was too high
It was a brute of a situation
Lost to space
I’m finished now?

Sunday, February 21

Face Guy Artist is a U2 Fan?

The above picture is an Easter Egg of sorts from ODST's Windward Firefight map. I call him Face Guy. To find him, one must jump off the player zone just beyond where the rocket launcher is housed. As you fall, look towards the wall you just jumped from and you'll spy him. This is the only Easter Egg I found in ODST!

Face Guy has been bugging me for ages as it reminded me some thing. It's nagged me for months. Was it Frankie? Was it a Bungie employee? Someone's self portrait? As I was walking home from work today, I figured out who it was. U2's The First Time came on my iphone - and with it, the album cover of Zooropa.

And there he was, Windward's Face Guy on the album's artwork:

Now, I'm not saying Face Guy is U2's logo but the resemblance was enough for me to go, "ooohhhh!!"  You can argue they are nothing a like but they must surely be from the same family, they have the same ears!

Reach in alpha, new concept art to celebrate

Marcus Lehto put a short note up on the Reach Developer blog:

"Yes, the alpha is done, and everything is getting better day by day. Why else would I be working on a sunny Saturday afternoon. :) The actual MP beta that we release to the public is undergoing massive improvements!"

Released with the note was the above concept art. Note the Spartan hiding in the left of the image! What else is their? Is there one on the far right in the steam? (Probably not..)

Saturday, February 20

Here's how to buy Halo Reach early

How to buy your copy of Halo: Reach early!

Pre book your copy of Halo: Reach online with Amazon. It’s simple as – clicking on this link and buying it. Of course you are only buying Reach early, not getting it early! ;)

Here’s 5 Reasons to buy Halo Reach:
• There’s a Spartan with one arm. That mean’s they are awesome.

• There’s an untold story in the Halo universe with your name all over it.

• It will help you get over the post ODST Blues.

• There’s gonna be some sweet music.

• Two words people: More Halo.

So, if I’ve convinced you, go preorder Halo: Reach  now!!

Full Disclosure: I make some coin if you purchase the game through any of these links.

Thursday, February 18

Tekken a look at this!

No decent Halo News today, unless you count motion capture technology for Reach  or something about Halo Reach nearing Alpha readiness - so you get some gratuitous pictures of the ladies from the new Tekken Movie. I reckon that Tekken is a video game and this is a video game blog, ergo I can post these pics!

First up is Tekken's Mrs Nina Williams. Pretty in Purple. She is one of only four Tekken characters to appear in each game.

Christie Monteiro is the granddaughter of the Capoeira master who taught Eddy Gordo the art of Capoeira during his incarceration in prison. While in prison, Eddy swore an oath to the Master to pass on the art of Capoeira to his granddaughter.... Christie is played by Kelly Overton.

Anna Williams is Nina's sister, a badass and Nina's enemy! Tekken Girl fight!

Oh look, a mini collage:

Ok, here's one for the ladies...

Regular Halo Reach News programming will resume shortly. Come back after you've had a cold shower.

Cortana: Everyone's favourite A.I.

"Fancy a look?"
Everyone's favourite purple A.I., Cortana doesn't appear in Halo 3:ODST, instead we got a guy that liked to Keep it Clean and talked a little weird.

This doesn't mean Cortana is gone forever from the Halo series, she'll be back in all her nude glory when Microsoft surely does a sequel to Halo 3. Her very brief but significant cameo in Halo: Reach hardly counted I reckon...
This doesn't mean we can't relive the past with some pictures of Cortana. She's a sex pot to all the 13 year old Halo players didn't ya know? And then some. There's a reason Cortana's body and boobs got hotter and bigger with the release of the Halo games. It wasn't because of the improvements in coding technology... or was it? Compare the picture at the top of this post to the next:
The mind boggles at what this Halo 3 cut scene was all about.
Contrast is key.....
Not tonight dear, I have a head ache...
Cosplay is a really popular past time with all the Conventions that happen across America and the ROTW, so it's no surprise Cortana is a popular costume choice. Only second to Princess Leia. bikini outfits...

Cosplay at its finest

Here's another popular costume play outfit:

What's the appeal of Cortana? Why the big deal? Let's face it, she's the real Hero of the Halo series, if it wasn't for her, the Master Chief would have unleashed the might of the first Halo Ring on the universe, destroying everyone.

The next image of Cortana is taken from the Halo Legends DVD:

Halo artwork is very popular. I think the artist of the below sketch may have got Cortana's breast proportions all wrong. What do you think?

Shed a tear, cause I'm missing you. 
Sometimes the owners of the Halo IP call in the big guns, and for the Halo Graphic Novel, this artwork was included. You can almost smell the sexual tension between the Chief and Mrs C in the picture below:

What are you looking at? Stop staring at me?

Tuesday, February 16

Are you a Halo fan or A Halo Fan?

Are you a Halo fan or A Halo Fan?

Some gamers can casually play a game of Halo and  simply rather enjoy it. Other gamers seem to take it a lil bit too far and seemingly want to become Halo. Maybe they want dress up as a nude Cortana. Maybe they want the Master Chief to Marry them. Maybe these people are more than Halo fans but are indeed Halo Fans?

How do you tell if you're a Halo Fan or A Halo Fan? Here's a handy guide. What side of the spectrum are you on? And hey Halo Reach Game News doesn't judge, we love EACH AND EVERY HALO FAN!

How to tell if you're a Halo fan or A Halo Fan?

You’re a Halo fan if you’ve played Lone Wolves a few hundred times. You’re A Halo Fan if you fret you can’t break that 40 plus ranking barrier in each and every match making variant.

You’re a Halo fan if you like the odd game on Valhalla. You’re A Halo Fan if you pine longingly for Blood Gulch.

You’re a Halo fan if you’ve logged on to a few times. You’re A Halo Fan if you’re a Forum Ninja.

You’re a Halo fan if you check your stats on You’re A Halo Fan if you visit HBO.

You're a Halo fan if you liked the new Halo Reach screen shots.

You're A Halo Fan if you decided the game play had a frame rate of 30 FPS.

You’re a Halo fan if you like Black Out. You’re A Halo Fan if you think Bungie just fucked it up.

You’re a Halo fan if you bought ODST. You’re A Halo Fan if you bought Halo Wars.

You’re a Halo fan if you know who Frankie is. You’re A Halo Fan if you know what soccer team he supports.

You’re a Halo fan if you think Spartans are cool. You’re A Halo Fan if you can list 5 differences between a Spartan II and III.

You’re a Halo fan if you once talked to a girl who played Halo. You’re A Halo Fan if you know what the ladies like.

You’re a Halo fan if you saw the Simspon’s episode where Millhouse wore a Spartan costume.  You’re A Halo Fan if you wore a Spartan outfit to the 2010 Super bowl final →

You’re a Halo fan if you downloaded Waypoint to your Xbox. You’re a Halo Fan if you put a Halo theme on your Xbox

You’re a Halo fan if you can spell L33T. You’re a Halo Fan if you can solve WHVIDLDSHBYJSDO

You’re a Halo fan if you bought an Xbox to play Halo 3. You’re A Halo Fan if you turned your xbox into Halo 3.

You’re a Halo fan if you like the Halo theme. You’re A Halo Fan if you can play it like Steve Vai.

You’re a Halo fan if you liked Mass Effect. You’re A Halo Fan if you noticed some random space ship in ME2 reminded you of a game you played 10 years ago.

You're a Halo fan if you know the Halo is a ring. You’re A Halo Fan if you wear the Halo on your ring finger. 

You’re a Halo fan if you bought a Halo Soundtrack. You’re A Halo Fan if you downloaded Beyonce's Halo song.

You’re a Halo fan if you read Contact Harvest. You’re A Halo Fan if you read to the very end of this post!

Proof Buck is in Reach?

There's a toy convention going on some where in America and the line of Halo products is being showcased for sale... Toy Fair 2010 has a whole heap of Halo figurine pictures which give away the not so secret yet not confirmed plot point that Buck from ODST will be Reach...

Well, it looks like Buck any way, its that classic pose of his...

This guy is  a character from Halo Wars called Sargeant Forge. Forge. Hmmm where did that name come from? Hey, it ryhmes with Jorge...!

The pictures also showed a lot of Brutes... of course they could just be Halo figures and not Halo Reach figures but there's also a lot of boxes with the characters in them......sadly I didn't spy a Buck-in-a-Box!

What might this Layout Map be of?

Halo Reach's First Campaign Level? Pete the Duck has been hard at work.... Click picture to enlarge.

Old Joke's Home. Have you ever seen a duck walk backwards? How about a shag then?

Monday, February 15

Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, Spartan?

Kotuku has some news on Halo Reach toys - "Straight from the floor of Toy Fair 2010 here in New York City are the first hints of Halo Reach's toy line from the McFarlane Toy company including dummy action figure boxes. Prototype Reach Warthog also included"

Which is all well and good but you've got to ask yourself one question, why does the Grunt / Ghost combo come with a human pistol and not the plasma? Eh?

Oh, packaging is not final. Lucky...

Sunday, February 14

Why Halo: Reach will be better than Sex

Here's your first reason

Why Halo: Reach will be better than Sex

I guess the first one is obvious, even to people like Tom Cruise, who despite their love of Zenu know in their hearts that Reach will be better than sex because you can never fire blanks in Reach. Every shot a head shot.

Speaking of shots, after landing one in Reach you won't have to clean up the mess.

You can fire your gun as many times as you like in Reach. You can reload in a second and get that double and triple kill and God forbid an overkill of four. Good luck getting a triple thrill in the sack with your missus. Indeed, it's really easy to get three or four players to form a group for a long drawn out session of Halo. Not so easy arranging a group sex session if you're a noob.

You can always wear your big green spartan space suit while playing Reach. Good luck wearing a green and gold spartan helmet with your nearest and dearest when playing 'hide the sausage'. For some reason, other halves seem to frown on that stuff?

Halo Reach will not get upset if you play with more than one Xbox 360. With sex, you are generally lucky to have a box to slip your di$k in. Some times you have to pay $360 for the priviledge of slipping it in. 

If your gun in Reach bolts of fierce green fire, people will admire you. If your gun, while having sex fires green, see Dr Halsey, like now. Seriously, now. You booked the appointment right?

With Reach you can take pictures and movies of your sweet moves from any angle, put them on the internet and share them with your friends and no one will  Unless you are Paris Hilton, you don't want a video of your ass crack winking at the world on the internet do ya?

Post is a retread of one I did at The Optimus Prime Experiment.

Has anyone solved the "whvidldshbyjsdo" anacronym yet?

Has anyone solved the "whvidldshbyjsdo" acronym/puzzle yet?
It's one of those crazy acronym that Bungie have thrown out over the years. This one was put out in blatant site for all to ponder as the url for their ODST game page:

Can anyone solve this teaser? A tasty toasted cheese and bacon sandwhich for the first person to solve the mystery!*

I have a theory it might have been an actual line of a dialogue from ODST... maybe the cut scenes or one of those extra lines one gets when you turn that special skull on.... in the way that 'I Would Have Been Your Daddy' was uttered by Sgt Johnson in the Halo 1 level 'Assault on the Control Room'. The rest of the line is 'but the dog beat me over the fence!'

This wikia has a list of suppossed other acronyms... they are pretty random!

*Will courier to the States, can't guarantee it will get past hungry Customs Officials.

Is the Master Chief Noble 6?

Update: Played the game, he aint in it. :(

Update 2: The Master Chief appears in Reach as an Easter Egg

Update 3: Check out the anger in the comments!

Is the Master Chief Noble 6? No. The Master Chief is not the spartan referred to as Noble 6. Noble 6 is the Lone Wolf. The Unnamed Spartan. The Ghost Who Walks. You know, the spartan that survived Pegasi, sir. In fact you are Noble 6. You get to inhabit the character as you venture across the planet Reach with team Noble. 

This is not the Master Chief. He's having a sleep on the Amber Clad.

Damn, so is 117 in Reach at all? Only as a guest cameo Easter Egg:

It's not all lost though - Microsoft has confirmed the Chief will be back for other Halo games...

This is the Master Chief.  Awake.

Will the Engineers be in Reach?

In a word, yes. Bungie leave nothing to chance so when you see a picture of an engineer in a Halo Reach Vidoc, you can take it to the bank that an Engineer will appear in some shape or form in Halo Reach. You want the proof? Here's a still image from the vidoc that clearly shows a Huragok.

It's also so proof that dude needs a hair cut and at at least some conditioner! I jest, just the conditioner! If you want to see the Engineers in action, check out ODST and also the short anime film Midnight in the Heart of the Midlothian which is available on Halo Waypoint on your Xbox right now.

Also spied briefly in the vidoc was proof that Brutes might turn up in the campaign trail somewhere.

I borrowed this brute picture and the engineer image from Grunts R Us. Those boys possibly love Halo more than me....

Eagle eyes may have also spotted that Jonesy the cat is still missing.... keep an eye out for him please troopers!

Friday, February 12

Lost Calico Cat still Missing!

Bungie, have laid on an Easter egg in the new Reach Vidoc which is a replay on the semi-infamous lost cat poster from Halo CE.

At about 1 minute 16 into the youtube version of the Vidoc is a screen of post-it-notes style presentation with this one near the bottom "Lost Calico Cat Answer to Jonesy"

Jonesy is the supposed name of a calico cat aboard the UNSC Pillar of Autumn. It was probably a pet of someone on board the Autumn and was on board during the Battle of Reach and when the Autumn reached Installation 04.

This message appeared in Halo CE and also H3 in the Crow's Nest level. Jonesy is reference to Lt. Ripley's cat of the same name on the Nostromo, from the first Alien movie. Read more on Halo using Alien inspiration here.

I guess Bungie knows that Halo fans pour over every detail of these Vidocs, looking for clues as to the game's nature. By adding in the Jonesy cat, I guess it shows Bungie knows this and is sharing the love. And the next question must thus be, where with the note appear in Reach? (and can it continuity wise? ;) )

Extra For Experts: Note in the second picture, the message board also contains a Keep It Clean message. Those who've played ODST will recognise that as one of that game's slogans (it was used on in the promotional work).