Tuesday, August 31

Sunday, August 29

Halo Reach Soundtrack

As you would expect, given how hungry Halo fan's are for Marty and Matt's music, Halo Reach has it's own sound track available for sale on Amazon.

Amusingly Amazon's product description says; "Halo Reach is the story of Noble Team, a squad of heroic Spartan soldiers, and their final stand on the planet Reach, humanity's last line of defense between the terrifying Covenant and Earth." and makes no reference to the music. I guess it's supposed to speak for itself?

Buy it from Amazon here.

Thursday, August 26

Unlock some emblems....


Some news from Bungie on the Flair....

If you missed the news in the Weekly Update, (scroll down to the section with the orange block of game UI), players of classic Bungie games get a head start on making their Reach lobby appearance shiny by unlocking some special nameplate images. 

Two of these need a few extra clicks on your part to become active, so we're letting you get started now - Halo 1 for PC/Mac, and Marathon 2: Durandal for XBLA. To unlock these emblems:

1. Make sure you're signed in to Bungie.net with the account that's linked to the gamertag you want to tie your Halo PC key to. If you tie it to one account, but only played Halo 2 and 3 on a different account, we CAN NOT help you combine them later to get the emblem for playing all 3. Choose wisely! Obviously, this also has to be the gamertag you'll play Reach with.

2. Visit your Bungie.net account page , then click the Game Settings tab, then the Nameplate Settings link below that.

3. Follow the instruction there to unlock your stuff! 

4. Wait an agonizingly long 20 days until 9/14 when you get Reach and play it online

5. Return to the same Nameplate Settings page , where you'll be shown all the nameplates available to you, and you can choose one to use. Return there whenever you feel like changing things up

Tuesday, August 24

How well do you know your Halo history?

Found an interesting article that speculates on some things that may or may not happen in Reach - it's presented by IGN as six things you may not know about Halo.

I think I may know more than six things about Halo myself... How well do you know your Halo history?

A Rebel Spartan  

During the Spartan II project on the planet Reach, some candidates did not fare well during the augmentation process. One of these was Soren-066, who was made incredibly strong by the enhancements fed into his body, but also left irreparably deformed. Soren was rejected by the Spartan program and left to a desk job. His feeling of uselessness and resentment lead him to join insurrectionists in a plot against the UNSC. In the chaos that follows, Sorren escapes a UNSC camp, but is shot down over the forest. Because his body is never recovered, its possible that he continued to live in the wilderness of Reach. 

Cool, maybe I should read some more Halo novels...

Elite Elites  

In one of the short stories from the Halo Universe we briefly encounter a group of Elites, or Sangheili, that use red energy swords and wear complete sets of armor, including full face guards. This equipment appears to be reserved for the special-forces wing of the Elites and is described as easily detecting and taking down cloaked Spartan IIIs. Whether or not there is an official class of Elite soldiers above the golden-armored Elite Zealots that appeared in the other Halo games remains to be seen. We'll likely find out this fall. 

To quote my main man Marcus Fenix, "Bring It!"

Spartan IIIs Are Nuts  

Cigar-chomping Sergeant Major Avery Johnson is perhaps the best known Spartan I, and of course Master Chief is the ultimate hero of the Spartan II program. However, we still have yet to experience the very different Spartan IIIs in a game. What we do know is that the Spartan III program was initiated without the knowledge or consent of Dr. Halsey, who devised the Spartan II recruitment parameters. While taking in eligible candidates the psych profiles were pretty much ignored. This means that Spartan IIIs are more likely to fight through an impossible situation, or take on a suicide mission. It also means that some of them are slightly off-kilter mentally.

Spartan IIIs are also outfitted with experimental technology. We've already seen armor powers like the hologram drop, jet pack, and sprint. The books also allude to upgraded visors that have improved zoom and vision modes that can detect camouflaged Elites. All but one member of Noble team in Halo: Reach is a Spartan III, so we'll get up close and personal with the latest UNSC fighting machines very soon. 

There's a bit of truth to these claims - check out the evaluation of Emile

A Second Human Faction  

Before the arrival of the Covenant the humans were involved in a civil war between the inner and outer colonies. One particularly fierce group of insurrectionists disappeared after a number of encounters with the UNSC. They returned on one occasion with heavily modified craft to aid against the Covenant. The best guess about the goals of this splinter cell of humans is that they are establishing human existence outside of known space to ride out the war and the threat from the Flood. There's a long-shot possibility that Admiral Cole (the originator of The Cole Protocol) managed to escape death in his final confrontation with the Covenant and has joined this group.  

Woah - that's really getting into the speculation!

Cortana is Dying  

Dr. Halsey is the genius responsible for the Spartan II program and the woman behind the existence of Cortana. She made the AI in her own image and like all "smart" artificial intelligence systems Cortana is capable of expanding her abilities and knowledge base. However, after a period of seven years she will amass too much knowledge to properly index all of it and will shut down. This is called rampancy and effectively signals the death of an AI.  

While interesting, I'm mote sure how this is relevant for the Reach game itself - as Cortana is sweet as for the other Halo games... well except for that meltdown she had with the Gravemind!
Master Chief Was at the Battle of Reach  

During the battle of Reach there is a critical mission led by Master Chief to secure data from a space dock just above the planet. The Chief is joined by a small team of Spartans in accomplishing this task just before he escapes aboard the Pillar of Autumn and lands on the original Halo from Halo: Combat Evolved. One of Bungie's big unveils at E3 2010 was space combat, indicating that running into Master Chief is a distinct possibility as the battle on Reach rages on the ground and in the air. 

Yeah, I'm sure 117 will pop up along the way....
Feeling amped? Get your copy of Halo: Reach from Amazon. 

Monday, August 23

Rember Reach is live. That's about it.

So like Rememberreach.com is now live.

My first thoughts were 'wull that's shit'. So perhaps expectations were set too high by myself but a Facebook link up (that requests access to all your FB data!) to 'shine the light' some budget Team Noble biographies and some below par short films? Really C'mon Microsoft, lift your game - the Halo 3 promos were way more in the vein of Full Halo Glory - remember Believe?

Or did I miss something?

Got your copy of the game yet?

Friday, August 20

are there Engineers in Halo: Reach?

Some one asked Bungie, are there Engineers in Halo: Reach?

Bungie graciously answered, Yes. But don’t worry, we’re not going to make you feel like a monster for taking them down this time out and they’re somewhat less of a pain in the ass, all things considered. Even if you don’t have a plasma spewing weapon in hand, you’ll still be able to pop them down from their lofty perches when you notice that your enemies are being overshielded by an engineer floating overhead.

Keen readers will know this was revealed a while back but this is the first decent picture reveal - which was from the Corvette Map

You'll do much better baby on your own

A long time ago in an update far, far away, Roger Wolfson made you the internet a very special promise. Today, he makes good on it. If you’re the type of player who fancies a bit of flair, you’re probably gonna like this next section. I’ll let Roger take it from here.

“I’ve been hearing from a lot of fans who are eagerly awaiting details of the ‘Visual Flair’ we promised in April to people who had played Halo 2 on their current LIVE accounts, and hinted at in a podcast last endless summer to Halo PC and Mac players. The ‘flair’ is a set of nameplate emblems for the matchmaking lobby where you can show off your loyalty to Bungie games old and new, because in addition to Halo PC and Halo 2, we have a few other surprises up our sleeves. So feast your eyes on the smorgasbord of choices available to those most-dedicated of Bungie fans:

From top to bottom:

  • The Septagon – This option returns for anyone who links their LIVE account to their Bungie.net account.
  • The DMR – A pro weapon for Pro members. Get Bungie Pro to bump up your File Share, render videos, and get this emblem. Active subscriptions bought in Halo 3 or Halo 3: ODST carry over to Halo: Reach, of course.
  • Marathon – Play the full version of Marathon: Durandal on Xbox LIVE Arcade to enable the Jjaro Terminal emblem.
  • Halo 1 – Enter your Halo 1 PC/Mac product key to enable this emblem. Each key can only be used once, so you’d better stop reading this and grab that key before your brother does. Since we have no way to validate who has played the Xbox version, this emblem is reserved for that dedicated community of computer gamers, with over 50k unique users still active each month, 7 years after release. Thanks for sticking with us. It’s been quite a ride!
  • Halo 2 – Automatically available if you played Halo 2 for Xbox on your LIVE account before its tearful retirement. If it’s not active for you, no amount of wheedling will change that, sorry.
  • Halo 3 – Take a guess… On the plus side, there’s plenty of time to head to your local purveyor of fine, shrink-wrapped games to snag a copy if you’re the one person who actually reads the news on our site and hasn’t played this game.
  • Halo 3: ODST – Ditto.
  • Assault Rifle – This fine armament goes to anyone who played the Halo: Reach beta a few months ago.
  • Spartan Helmet – CLASSIFIED
  • HALO – Like Blamite out of a Needler, these faceplate options can supercombine. Unlock the emblems for Halo 1, Halo 2, and Halo 3 to get this special emblem.
  • The Star – Who knows? We haven’t come up with a use for this yet. Maybe we will in the future.
  • Not pictured, but of course returning, is the ‘Bungie’ staff emblem, awarded for successfully negotiating the obstacle course that begins at bungie.net/jobs. (Good luck, you're gonna need it.)


While I’ve enjoyed testing the limits of my Bungie.net message inbox by way of the questions I’ve gotten about this feature in recent weeks, I have to clarify that we won’t be making exceptions to these policies. While I understand that you may not find it inconvenient to mail us your physical Halo 1 DVD as proof of purchase, I don’t think it would make a good first impression on our friendly Bellevue letter-carrier to welcome ourselves to the neighborhood by soliciting a shipment of 5 million discs. You might still be able to snap up a copy of Halo 1 for PC at retail, though, (and since my earlier concerns about a working keygen were unfounded, I retract my earlier comment about a May 26th cutoff for first use of keys.)"

When the nameplate system is fully functional, we’ll let you know about it on the front page. When we do, there will be a discussion link provided so Roger and the team can answer any and all questions you may have.

Thursday, August 19


Fork me, all this attention on Reach having drive-able forklifts is getting out of hand. Check out www.forkliftaction.com ....


Saturday, August 14

Why I'm Looking forward to Halo: Reach

halo reach best map

Why I'm Looking forward to Reach being released

Halo is my new Star Wars. Luke and Leia were my cool buddies back in the day and over the last 5 years or so its been 117 and Cortana. I know the cute couple are Lost in Space somewhere so I need new friends and I think Jorge is gonna be that friend. In all the Halo Reach promo stuff the dude just looks awesomely heroic.

I'm looking forward to coming across Buck again as he was kinda cool in ODST, in fact you could almost say he was that game's Han Solo.

I'm looking forward to playing on the Ascension map remake that can be found in Forge World. Rocket grabs, sniper pissing contests and camping with the shotgun in the nooks and crannies were some of my most favoured Halo 2 things on that Map.

I'm looking foward to a totally new story. Halo: Reach is not simply a retelling of the novel The Fall of Reach, it's a new chapter inthe universe. It's unexplored terrortory and you just know it's going to make way more sense that any of the  pa-lava served up in Gears of War!

Space is supposedly the final frontier. In terms of the Halo uiverse, Bungie have cracked it and now we are going to be able to pilot a space ship in a Halo game. It's like we get to fly around in an A-Wing, taking down the Emperor Palpatine's finest pilots.

I'm looking forward to driving around fire rockets from my Warthog:

reach canon

I'm looking forward to awesome assassination moves (though I'm wondering if they might result in me getting killed more!) I'm looking forward to the new weapons and let's face it, I'm gagging for matching making abilities for Firefight. I feel we got sold a pup for ODST's Firefight - let's hope Bungie have learnt their lesson and if they haven't been able to deliver and idea they haven't mentioned it!

I'm also looking forward to Halo: Reach because I may have done my dash with Halo 3 multiplayer - after being spoiled to bits by the Beta test programme, Halo 3 just isn't the same online these days - that's not to say the campaign isn't worth of another run through! And that said, I did a Combat Evolved run through some months ago to get back into the Halo zone and I still loved it - Halo 2 kept the magic, Halo 3 Finished the Fight, ODST was a fun round around the park, I want Reach to have some magic that is greater than the sum of its parts like CE, and given what we've seen, I suspect Bungie may have given us the game they really wanted Halo 3 to be...and that's what I'm really looking forward to.

Thursday, August 12

Hey, Pink! Watch out for that land mineQ

So Halo Reach will have land mines in Forge. Which is cool cos I vaguely recall being promised that in a Halo 3 Vidoc and they never turned up...

From the urkstore

"What’s a landmine? Should be obvious, right? A small, metal platter with a flashing red bulb perched on top like a violent, blood-soaked maraschino cherry on a death-dealing sundae. You’d have to be some kind of moran not to instantly know you need to steer clear."

 Ohh, that's purdyyyyy

 And now not so purdy

It's best to zoom past landmines on your moongoose.....

Reach is mission based...

Yep, that's too obvious a title right?...

Here's an interview with Marcus Lehto on Halo Reach:

Bungie brainstormed 150 mission ideas for Halo Reach, before wittling them down to around 20 or so, creative director, Marcus Lehto has revealed.

Speaking to CVG, the Bungie man said that some of the missions in Reach the studio's been waiting "ten years" to pull off.

"That's one of the things we paid special attention to when we began," he said. "We didn't just start off with the story and then try to mash missions into it; we came up with like a hundred and fifty mission ideas that we threw up on a wall.

"And we sat down and critiqued them all and we were like: 'we just have to do some of these; we've been waiting ten years!' So we whittled that down to maybe 20 or so, then we boiled those down to the missions that finally made it into the game."

Lehto explained that although there are a set number of objectives in the studio's final Halo, players can approach them in an abundance of ways.

"That's part of the fun! Halo's a sandbox shooter, so you're right - you can tackle it in a hundred different ways and it'll play out differently every time," he said.

"And if you get bored of that, you can turn on skulls, modifiers, different difficulties... play it co-op on the same box. Matchmaking over Live. There are a lot of neat things to do with campaign."

Bungie is of course set to launch its final instalment in the Halo series on September 14. The developer released a brand new Halo Reach trailer earlier this month - check it out and try not to be excited.

Wednesday, August 11

Halo Reach Easter Eggs

Halo Reach Easter Eggs

As with all the Halo the games, Bungie have thrown some new eggs into the Halo omelette. But what is an easter egg? An Easter egg is an intentional hidden messagein-joke or feature in a video game. The practice draws a parallel with the custom of the Easter egg hunt observed in many Western nations as well as the last Russian imperial family's tradition of giving elaborately jeweled egg-shaped creations by Carl FabergĂ© which contained hidden surprises. How's that for a history lesson?

The DJ and the Disco at Club Errera

After you go to the Hospital in Mission Never Surrender but after you load the next checkpoint you can backtrack to the Hospital to a platform which has two tall slender trees. Land your Falcon on this platform, flip a switch that's present on the wall then head back to Club Errera, where you’ll find that your switch-flicking has just opened up a cool Easter Egg featuring a raging discotheque, full of some grunts doing their best John Travolta impressions to “The Siege of Madrigal.” There's even a DJ rocking some block rocking beats!

Then if you go back outside and fly to the roof  of the same building there will be another switch behind some pipes. Flipping it will change the song in the club to a remix of "the siege of madrigal", which has been featured as an easter egg in every Halo game thus far. If you choose to  kill the DJ brute, the record scratches and the music stops and the party is over.

Long Night of Solace: Marty O'Donnell Reference 

On this level, when you are in the Covenant Corvette, a group of marines should join you. If you look at their names in the lower left of the tv screen, one of their names should be presented as one "M.O Donnell". His service tag is MRTY. This is a direct reference to thee Marty O' Donnell, the composer of  Halo series' music

New Alexandria: Dialogue

When flying in the Falcon as you attempt to rescue prisnors or maybe taking town jammers across the city, you may hear a gunner say "Just like shooting swamprats back home". This is a reference to Luke Skywalker in Star Wars when talking about womprats and  plans to destroy the Death Star .

Catherine Halsey's Secret Lab

Here's the video that accompanies the below guide points!
  • Have two players. Yourself and someone else, or just a second controller. 
  • Play "The Package" on legendary. You *can* start the game at Rally Point Bravo, don't worry. 
  • Defeat all of the AI which gets thrown at you until the very end. At which point the control should magically appear. Note: It may appear earlier, but I only found it after I had killed all of the AI so that's all I know. It's easier to explore when no one is shooting at you :P 
  • Grab a jetpack. It may be possible to pull it off without one...but I wouldn't try it. 
  • Watch the video and see for yourself where the magical control spawns at. Follow my steps and you should be able to activate the control too. You'll see why you need a second person too...
  • Now, once you make your way into the shrine you'll find seven terminals. Just like the datapads you can find all through out the game, you activate them and up pops a little display plus a couple of pages of information.
Master Chief in Reach Egg

So after a lot stress about whether the Chief was going to be in Reach, the final answer is that Master Chief does make an appearance as a GIANT EASTER EGG in Halo: Reach after all. You have to do some shenanigans during a cut scene but one can find the Chief aboard the Pillar of Autumn, all hushed in his casket...

Oooh look! A hushed casket. Shall we wake it?
The Reach Racer Easter Egg

To find the egg, be on the Oni: Sword Base map. Attempt to locate and activate two invisible switches that jump start the race. Then hop in a Warthog and race to the finish! Sounds like a bunch of nonsense? Watch this video and the egg will be revealed!

Make four Banshees Spawn on The Package Level 

Halo Reach is awash with Easter Eggs, here’s the newest one. Two players can trigger the appearsance of four banshees near the start of the Reach level, The Package.

The Banshees have been found by pressing two secret switches on "The Package".

When you press both switches the "return to battlefield" message also disappears (Gosh, I hate that message, what a KILLJOY Bungie). You do need at least two people to get the banshees to spawn, as the second switch will disappear if not pressed within a few seconds of the first.

The Reach pundits are wondering if there is something out there Bungie want you to find…

Here’s a pretty sweet video which shows you how to find the banshees.

These are the cool eggs that have been found so far by keen Halo fans (and wow, how do they figure this stuff out?) - have you got any good ones or fave lines? Leave a note in the comments!!

Check out Halo 4's Easter Eggs

Tuesday, August 10

There's hawt chicks in Halo...

Today Halo Reach Game News brings you a wee article with Marcus Lehto. He like, ahhh made Halo all by himself. Kinda. Not really....

Q: You've got more women in the game. Was that a business decision to reflect the market, or influenced by developers with female players in their families?

A: We always want to be sure we're trying to be as inclusive as possible with players. That's one of the reasons in player customization you can choose a real female Spartan now, and choose a real female voice to go with her, and kit her out just like you would male Spartans. You can do some really neat stuff there, and it's really cool too, because contextually all the characters speak to you appropriately then with regards to your gender, in cinematics and also in gameplay itself.

Q: That's new - to have gender-appropriate cinematics even?

A: Yes, that's something I really pushed for on this project. I wanted to make sure both male and female were treated equally as far as player character was concerned and you could really open up the audience, hopefully, to a broader group of folks.

Q: When you make a decision like that, how much is driven by business and marketing decisions about getting X more players?

A: You know it has nothing to do with it honestly. Sure we're thinking, gosh, how can we reach out to more players? But it was more of a conscience thing to me personally. That's one reason that I pushed for it so hard - I wanted to make sure we weren't just focusing on that 19 to 30 something male crowd.

Q: Have you seen trends - more women playing?

A: As the franchise got so popular, and so pervasive throughout media, we did get a huge number of females following the game. Its' a hats off to them to really say hey, look, we really appreciate their support of the game and the franchise.

Q: I look for ways that the real world influences the design of your games. I sense a little Afghanistan in this one. There are women in combat now. Could you talk about that?

A: Sure, we've always had females in combat even since Halo 1. We've had female marines in there. Now we have army troopers are in reach now. We have both army and marine presence within the game and yeah, we're still staying true to that male and female presence on the battlefield. It's important to us to make sure that we are representing that side of the military branch as best as possible. And certainly, modern day conditions politically and with our wars abroad definitely influence the way we think about what we're approaching with the game. In more ways, it allows us to be a little bit more cautious about what we talk about in the cinematics in the story of us and things we represent in the game to make sure we're not being offensive or that we're just treating some subjects delicately.

Q: I noticed that Kat had a prosthetic arm. Talk about timely ....

A: Yeah, with Kat, we really wanted her to not only a female Spartan but we wanted her to be one of the stronger members of the team. To really indicate that she put up with some pretty significant odds in the past, she has a story already. That's true of all the Spartans - they modify themselves in some shape or form as they continue to fight on the battlefields and they're survivors. Because Spartan 3s, the way we fictionalized them, initially they were developed as more of a fire and forget weapon. They were put out there into the field to go against immense odds and not expected to come back.

Q: Like red shirts in Star Trek?

A: Exactly. These characters fought that odd and they came back and they have modified themselves on the battlefield. It's outwardly visible then with the characters themselves. If you look at each one of them, they're all very unique in their own right, so they're not like some unified super soldier kind of character. They all have their own unique flavor to them. Kat is one of those great characters that shows - with her prosthetic arm - that she went through some stuff that was pretty bad, probably worse than some of those other characters, and she's continued to keep fighting.

Q: Will their story be told in the first level, or cinematics through the game?

A: We're not overt with telling their history, their background stories. That's the kind of thing for the players who are really interested in it they can delve a little deeper into aspects of the game - little things they can find throughout the environments that might shed a little more light on some of these things with the characters.

Q: How do you tell the last installment - how do you come at the challenge of wrapping it all up and meeting expectations and having a sense of finality?

A: We explored a number of different opportunities with potentially moving on and carrying on the story beyond Halo 3 and going with that but as soon as we started thinking more about that it tuned into some grandiose - it would have taken forever to tell that story so we're like you know what, it's also not very interesting to us at this point. We wanted to bring us back just prior to the events of Halo 1 and really bring this whole franchise full circle - bring in some of the elements that really developed and led to what became Halo 1, the events that led to the possibility of what happened and what launched this franchise. So Reach is this fantastic character as a planet itself - it's a great setting within our fiction, it was the home and ground base for the Spartan program itself. It's one of the great battlegrounds in the fiction where human and covenant forces just had this all out battle. So we were like what better way to end our last installment of Halo with a big, big bang, with this huge epic game, like Reach. In doing so we're also bringing it full circle - let's bring it back to its roots and talk about what's really important about Halo and how it led to Halo 1.

Q: It seems like your option going forward in the story was heading into more exotic science fiction. It's cool but new players wouldn't have known what was going on ...

A: We wanted to do something also that felt a little bit different than your regular Halo game. We wanted to make it feel a little bit more raw, a little bit more exposed than a Halo game has ever felt before. That certainly was influenced by recent events, the issues that we've been in as a country - that certainly has influenced us. It's made us realize that this war is not pretty and we're showing that, that there's significant sacrifice being made right now. That sacrifice is represented by the characters in the story they tell within Reach.

They're human, they're vulnerable , these Spartans are. They're not omnipotent. They'll go into the battlefield and they will get wounded. This is the story about the fall of a planet. So it's a very serious subject when you get down to it but it's a great rich story to tell.

Q: Less superhero?

A: A little bit. We looked at things like Black Hawk Down, we looked at Seven Samurai for character development and bringing rich characters to the screen, and Black Hawk Down for flavor - in terms of bringing some of that raw, powerful kind of element to a game.

Q: I noticed one of the levels had that intense, percussive feel that you get in some of the modern shooting games like Sony's MAG.

A: I sat down with the audio department when we began this game. I'm like, okay, listen, we're going to make this game sound a lot different. It's not only going to look a lot different, we're revamping the engine in order to make this game look amazing. But we want it to sound and feel different as a result - it's not just what it looks like, it's that auditory experience of that crack of the weapon, that ricochet sound off in the distance, that grenade going off next to you, totally blowing your eardrum and making the ground thunk amazingly. We definitely put a huge amount of effort into revamping all of the sounds within the game - so those things you've come to know and love, the sound of the Warthog engine or the sound of the assault rifle, they all got great big facelifts in this game and sound great as a result.

Q: How much of an influence was the competition - Call of Duty - to emphasize more realistic soldiers. They're getting hyper realistic now.

A: As much as we wanted to make things feel better, we always focus on making sure that it is for the betterment of making the game-play experience better. It's never to try to replicate something in real life necessarily. We definitely wanted to make the characters feel a lot more believable and make their performance on the battlefield and in cinematics a lot more believable as well. So we definitely put a ton of effort into brand new animation systems for the game and new engineering under the hood for the graphics engine and that animation system, for AI so the characters behave smarter on the battlefield as well. We took great efforts across the board in all of these areas to make sure those performances of characters came to life a lot better.

Honestly it was all for us because we wanted to make sure what we're doing for the game is the best quality we can possibly put out there. Certainly we want to be able to compete against all of these other games that are coming out. We know there are some really amazing games coming out so we needed to stand toe to toe with them. It's not replicate anything they're doing, it's to make sure what we're doing is for the betterment of the gameplay experience. Also just for the quality of this franchise - we care about that and want to make sure we put out the best quality product we possibly can.

Q: I noticed a lot more polish on things - details like the Warthog's dashboard.

A: Yeah. It was hard for us too because you know with Halo 1, 2 and 3, sure the battlefield got a little bit bigger and things got a little bit more complex. But honestly with Halo 3 things got so complex we actually had to shrink the battlefield down just a little bit because we couldn't actually push that many polygons and render that many textures on the screen. So this time we're going to explode that view, we're going to bring it open far bigger than what we've ever done before. In addition we're going to pack twice as much detail into it.

Q: How do you do that?

A: I sat down with the engineering team and they scratched their head for awhile and they're like, "Marcus you're crazy, what are you asking for here? This is insane - to do that is directly at odds with what we can currently do with the engine." So we retooled the engine. We came up with brand new level of detail systems that allow us to render things much further than we've been able to - not only with objects we place in the scenes but with the environment geometry itself. It's a different beast as far as content is concerned. We created those environments so we have much longer distance views than you've ever been able to see. We put a new level of detail system into our AI system as well ... we put up to 60 AI in a scene. We could only do 20 before. So now we have tons of characters out there, there's all kinds of fun things to do in the sandbox as you play through the game as a result. You've got a lot of different opportunity to attack and encounter as well.

Q: You got all that onto one disc?

A: Amazingly enough we were able to cram it all into one.

Monday, August 9

Reach screen shots for wallpaper

Here's some cool Reach screen shots - good for wallpaper

Jorge is gonna be a fan favourite, I'm sure!


Saturday, August 7

Reach is Gold

Halo: Reach has gone gold. The game is officially, officially done and dusted. No more bug fixes. No tweaks to animations. Done.

So what's to steal from the weekly Bungie Update? This week it's the vehicles of Reach. Fucking A, I can't wait till the Hog with rockets. Moar rockets please!

I’m Driving!

Along with the Midship misfires, the new vehicle stable seems to have thrown some people for a loop. Let’s talk traversal.

Aerial Assault

The Revenant is a cherry red Covenant assault vehicle featuring room for two and a terrifying plasma cannon affixed to the top of the chassis. It’s nasty. If you run into it in campaign, you’ll want to commandeer it, or kill it immediately. Come to think of it, same goes for multiplayer.

Ridin' Dirty

Some shots made it look like the passenger might ride dirty on the backside, but as you can see, if you call shotgun you’re hanging off the side. The driver fires the mortar. It’s not nearly as powerful as the Wraith’s cannon, and the arc is less pronounced, but the rate of fire is cranked up a few ticks and the Revenant’s propulsion systems also make it nice and agile. (All the better to splat people with.)


The Rocket Hog should be fairly self-explanatory. It’s a Warthog with Rockets and it is awesome.


Drive it towards stuff and watch that stuff asplode.

Ghost is Busted!

The Falcon seats five for campaign dramatics, but when you fly the friendly skies, you’ll only be able to cart three into the battlefield. You on the stick and two friends on the guns. In campaign, you’ll run into a few different configurations, including one outfitted with some meatier mounted guns, but in multiplayer, the only armaments are the two machine gun turrets dangling dangerously over the side rail.

In for Some Chop.

Make sure you take a wing-man in multiplayer. If you’re flying solo, you’re a sitting duck. 

Hitching a Ride.