Friday, July 29

One of Seven

One of the ways to ensure a game these days is to create desire for someything before the punters even know what it is. Queue Bungie's ARG games to promote Halo,  T-shirts with unexplained logos and now the mysterious One of Seven Page that HBO duly alerted the troops to overnight.  So what hype are they building to with this One of Seven promo?

What does it all mean? It would appear that Bungie has gone all Willy Wonka on us and put seven magical golden tickets into the recent charity bags that were sold as part of the laudible fundraising efforts during the Bungie Anniversary weekend. Did you get your steak?

Bungie's One of Seven page basically reads as the rules of a compeition but this part is key:

'Bungie is having a One of Seven promotion. Each of the seven tickets entitles you to something extraordinary. On July 7th, 2012 and not a moment before, visit to receive further instructions. Your ticket and the verification code contained therein are personal, one-of-a-kind, and not transferable. Do not reveal the hidden code beneath the scratch off before Bungie Day 2012. Do not share your ticket or code with anyone else. Failure to follow these instructions will render your ticket, and the promise that it holds, null and void.'

July 7 you say? What could this be? The launch date of the first game from Bungie Aerospace? A test to get the Keys to the kingdom ala Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? Something to do with Destiny? More than likely it's something completely unimagined outside Bungie at this stage.

I suspect this is going to drive a few Bungie fans absolutely nuts trying to figure it out!

Waypoint's Com Con Wrap Up Post

"I'm a thief... but I keep what I steal." Cortana

The Halo Bulletin: 7/27/11

The Halo Bulletin: 7/27/11

Spartan Engagement

Is that a ring in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

Sometimes, when you meet that special someone, you know with every fiber of your being that they're the one for you. It could be the sight of the sun dancing along their visor. It could be the way their soft flesh is encased in their battle-hardened armor. Or perhaps it's simply because they put the "super" in super-soldier. Regardless, it's all those things and more that pushed you to finally put a ring on it. A very beautiful—and very large—diamond ring, as a matter of fact. Heck, if you can't give the love of your life a Halo ring, you might as well give 'em the next best thing, right? While you may think I'm trying my hand at writing a Halo-themed fairy tale, this was actually a not-so-little event that took place in front of the Rooster Teeth booth last Saturday in the midst of a bustling San Diego Comic-Con. After performing a scene from a particularly memorable episode of Red vs. Blue, Matt, who was dressed up as Tucker, whipped off his helmet, dropped to one knee, and asked Sister—known in the real world as Grace—if she would marry him. I can neither confirm nor deny the rumor that she accepted. However, I can divulge that the resulting embrace was long, strong, and about to get the friction on. While my words may be perfect for a rap track, I'm not sure they convey the occasion adequately. Therefore, I'd like to request your presence at the play button belonging to the following video. Upon your arrival, please tap it. I mean, hit it. I mean… watch a couple of Spartans as they prepare to ditch Lone Wolves for a lifetime of Double Team!

Romance wasn't the only thing in the air at this year's Comic-Con, though. Many a Halo word was released into the wild, making their way not only to avid attendees' ears but also into numerous videos recording the big moments that took place throughout the extended weekend. Who better to tell the tale than Frankie, who sat on the panels, signed the books, and shared a slew of information?

Halo at San Diego Comic-Con

My name is Frankie, and I'm a water-aholic.

So, one thing you have to remember when visiting San Diego Comic-Con is that hotel rooms and flights get booked very early, which is why Kevin and I paid in advance and unrefundably guaranteed our rooms at a certain marina hotel right next to the con. So to describe us as "surprised" when the hotel said, "We gave away your rooms to a fat Jedi and a Sonic Furry, but we can try to get you a different room at the airport or on that island" is to do an injustice to the gas-face we experienced.

Just across the street at the Hard Rock, however, a very lovely lady hooked us up with more capacious and convenient accommodations. Thanks to her. I believe her name was Sara but she was shining like a Madonna from a Renaissance painting, and her loveliness blinded me to whatever was on her nametag. We arrived on Thursday and our panels were all the following day, but we did attend the Microsoft Xbox showcase the night before and got to play and check out a bunch of our mothership's content, including Forza, Cliffy's latest Gears carnage and the insanely addictive Kinect Fruit Ninja. I also looked at, listened to, and literally sniffed the incredible Star Wars Limited Edition Xbox 360 with the help of Richard Velasquez—who also helped us bring the Reach console to fruition last year. The other thing I did that night was become the subject of mockery and animated gifs as I did some ad hoc interviews with press and bloggers. [Editor's note: If anybody has links to said gifs, please post them in the discussion thread. I may or may not need them for blackmail purposes.] Apparently my hotel-experience-gas-face had carried over from earlier, because I look like I am about to barf. I did not barf. And I was sober in spite of internet claims to the contrary. Because the next day was PANEL DAY.

Three panels, back to back, followed by a book signing.

Halo at San Diego Comic-Con

The first panel was the easiest, because we were well-rested and ready for action. It was on fiction and video games, with me, Karen Traviss, Greg Bear, John Shirley (BioShock), David Gaider (Dragon Age) and Tony Gonzales (EVE Online). Here we got to chat with an engaged crowd about general novel-lyness and sci-fi. Karen dropped hints about the content of Glasslands—which releases in October and tells the tale of the Halo universe in the wake of the Covenant War and the defeat of the Flood. Greg is almost done with Primordium—the sequel to Cryptum, which drops in January 2012.

But we were all saving ourselves for the next and biggest panel (ours, anyway) which was in the colossal room 6 and entirely dedicated to all things Halo. We were following William Shatner and Kevin Smith, who were doing a panel about Star Trek captains. At Comic-Con, this is basically a kind of Rapture, where instead of being transported to paradise, the audience is transported into the presence of William Shatner's immortal charisma. I literally had to follow in Kirk's footsteps. I even had to sit in his now vacated chair. We will not debate his profound wisdom at these proceedings. Of my seat I can only say this: Of all the stools I have encountered in my travels… his was the most… humid.

Looking out at the Halo crowd as they shuffled in and displaced the Star Trek crowd (or not, since a few Trekkies stayed behind to judge or mock our new-fangled sci-fi universe), I got a bit humid myself. That's a lot of Halo fans.

Halo at San Diego Comic-Con

And yes, there will be one Terminal for each level of the game–which is a fact, in itself, connected to the story (written by our very own Kevin Grace). I am done calling this type of animation a "motion comic" because it really is a great deal more than that. It's really just stylized and in some ways, incredibly ambitious animation. There are probably more unique frames by far than in any average Saturday morning cartoon.

Halo at San Diego Comic-Con

After that we introduced Dan Ayoub, Executive Producer on Halo: Anniversary and his trusty sidekick, Dennis "Plasma" Ries, to run through the E3 demo again for the crowd. Because the E3 demo was the most stable and predictable build, we had to go back in time a little, with the non-updated Assault Rifle, rougher graphics and so on, but the crowd loved it. Whoops and cheers galore as we switched between Classic and Anniversary modes.

Like the Terminal videos, a picture speaks a thousand words. So, watch the demo we put up after the panel and decide for yourself.

And Dennis finally redeemed himself, tossing the very last plasma of the demo right into the face of a charging Elite. We were all choked up. It was like the end of Rocky IV.

By the way, as I write this, I am splashing around in the water. I am doing donuts in the water. I am throwing grenades in the water. It turns out that I love any and all video game water. I also have a mania for expecting that there should be a rocket launcher, or other treasure, hidden behind every waterfall, and I continue to be disappointed in this realm.

bs angel here. It's worth noting that as I write this Bulletin, I'm splashing around in the water as well. But my water is tangible—not to mention cold to the touch—because I'm currently on vacation, enjoying the scenic view, fresh air, and numerous bugs that insist on repeatedly biting my now bump-covered body. If you happen to have some time to sit back and relax too—hopefully without being subjected to swarms of starving insects—I highly recommend filling your earholes with the smooth voices of David Ellis and Frank O'Connor with the latest episode of the Sparkast. In this episode, the duo is joined by Karen Traviss, who talks about the process of helping to shape the post-Halo 3 universe. There's even a bonus finale with a special guest. I'd give you a hint about the identity of the special guest, but I don't want to ruin the Max Hoberman surprise. Yup, you won't be getting any spoilers from me, that's for sure! Anyway, tune in here at your earliest convenience, and subscribe via Zune or iTunes while you're at it. Wait, I'm not being demanding, am I? If so, imagine me smiling when I say that. There, all better!

Now, back to business. Just because I'm sitting by the lake, enjoying the gentle waves caressing my lowermost phalanges, that doesn't mean there aren't pressing Anniversary-related questions left over from Comic-Con that still need answers. I refuse to jump into the colder-than-it-should-be-considering-it's-July water, however I'll gladly dive straight into your inquiries. You can't ever say I didn't do anything for you, for the record.

Halo: Reach Screenshot

When will the title update be?....and why do people camp? -GSO Xt3rm1naToR

The Title Update for Reach is currently slated to be available before Anniversary ships—so sometime significantly before November 15th. Both Anniversary owners and Reach owners will get it as it will be included on the Anniversary disc and also released on Xbox LIVE. PS: And it has something to do with s'mores. And the fact that it's a legitimate strategy.

Halo: Reach Screenshot

Is the Combat Evolved Anniversary multiplayer updated CE multiplayer, or will it come with a Reach multiplayer disc like Halo 3: ODST? -J0HNL3I

Anniversary contains the Halo campaign—updated, of course—as well as seven new Multiplayer maps that run in the Reach engine. You do not need Reach to play these, just the Anniversary disc. It all launches from one menu, just as you'd expect. Anniversary players who also own Reach will be able to install those Multiplayer maps right to their HDD. Semi-related: Reach players will be able to get the new maps too, and there will not be a significant gap between the launch of Anniversary and the availability of the seven maps as downloadable content.
Halo: Reach Screenshot

Will there be any big changes in the multiplayer?? –hobbito

For some, yes. Others, no. Let me explain. Stuff that the Title Update enables will be presented via Matchmaking playlists. So for example, you could have a playlist with loads of changes called "ANNIVERSARY PLAYLIST" sitting alongside one called "NORMAL REACH STUFF" which plays with all the Reach rules intact. That means Reach players will be able to try some of the Title Update changes on certain maps and playlists, even if they don't have Anniversary. Naturally Anniversary players will have more access because of the Multiplayer maps they get.
And with that, the lake and the lampreys are calling. Or maybe it's just the lampreys. Either way, until next week... <3,
bs angel PS: While I don't have a Friday Caption Fun image for you this week due to the whole vacation thing, I do have some miscellaneous pictures from the San Diego Comic-Con festivities. I'd also like to take a second to thank Count3D, who graciously supplied many of the images in today's Bulletin. You can check out more of his Comic-Con-related adventures here.

Halo at San Diego Comic-Con
Holy costumes, Batman!
Halo at San Diego Comic-Con
Gabe and Tycho of Penny Arcade, drawing Mister, er Master, Chief.
Halo at San Diego Comic-Con
Todd McFarlane shows off his manly figure.
Halo at San Diego Comic-Con
I think something's wrong with his auto-aim, 'cause he's not taking his eyes off me.
Halo at San Diego Comic-Con
An elegant weapon for a more civilized age. Or a more pink one, anyway.

Blurb description of the Greg Bear's Halo: Primordium Novel

As spied on HBO, Amazon has a blurb description of the Greg Bear's Halo: Primordium Novel.

A long time ago, I was a living, breathing human being. I went mad. I served my enemies. They became my only friends.

Since then, I’ve traveled back and forth across this galaxy, and out to the spaces between galaxies--a greater reach than any human before me.

You have asked me to tell you about that time. Since you are the last true Reclaimer, I must obey. Are you recording? Good. Because my memory is failing rapidly. I doubt I’ll be able to finish the story.

Once, on my birth-world, a world I knew as Erde-Tyrene, and which now is called Earth, my name was Chakas...

In the wake of apparent self-destruction of the Forerunner empire, two humans--Chakas and Riser--are like flotsam washed up on very strange shores indeed.

Captured by the Master Builder, misplaced during a furious battle in space, they now find themselves on an inverted world where horizons rise into the sky, and where humans of all kinds are trapped in a perilous cycle of horror and neglect. For they have become both research animals and strategic pawns in a cosmic game whose madness knows no end--a game of ancient vengeance between the powers who seeded the galaxy with life, and the Forerunners who expect to inherit their sacred Mantle of duty to all living things.

In the company of a young girl and an old man, Chakas begins an epic journey across a lost and damaged Halo in search of a way home, an explanation for the warrior spirits rising up within, and for the Librarian’s tampering with human destiny.

This journey will take them into the Palace of Pain, the domain of a powerful and monstrous intelligence who claims to be the Last Precursor, and who now has control of both this Halo and the fate of Forerunners and Humans alike.

Called the Captive by Forerunners, and the Primordial by ancient human warriors, this intelligence has taken charge of, and retasked, the Master Builder’s cruel researches into the Flood--which it may have itself unleashed on the galaxy more than ten thousand years before.

This book is of course, the sequel to Halo: Cryptum. Here's my review of that Novel.

Thursday, July 28

Terminal Pictures from Halo Anniversary

Here's some Master Chief artwork done by a company called Sequence who might have had a little something to do with the new Halo Anniversary Terminal Videos....  speaking of which - here's a cut from the video that was shown at Comic Con - a poor fellow who looks like he's about to be consumed by the nasty Flood.

And seeing as NEOGAF scored: here's a sweet close up of Guilty Spark (I presume!)

The Ultimate Mass Effect cosplay pictures collection

garrus cosplay
Garuss quietly contemplating life

The Ultimate Mass Effect Cos Play Page

One of the best games we played in recent times was Mass Effect 2. If it wasn't the cool story of bringing together a kick ass suicide squad to deliver some justice to the Reapers, it was definitely some of the characters that hooked me. 

Mordin was a great fellow to have on board the Normandy, I could listen to him ramble on for hours. While Jack was just a crazed b'arch, Samara was a soothing voice in the loneliness of space...... so it's thoughts like that it's no great surprise that Mass Effect fans like to go a lil cosplay crazy with the heroes and villains of the Mass Effect Universe.  

Here's a walk down the ultimate costume players from around the galaxy.

Above is the actual model on whom Samara was modelled on - Rana McAnear- so is this life imitating art?

This Yellow Space Cow Boy was a secret unlockable character if you found every single piece of space dust.
fem shep cosplay mass effect
Female Sheppard means business

Monday, July 25

Choose your Fem Shep Cover for the Game?

My vote for ME3 FemShep
Not quite - Mass Effect's producers are giving fans the chance to vote for the version of FemShep that they would like to see on the cover of Mass Effect 3.

The Femshep with the most votes out of the 6 pictures offered up at this Facebook page will get to grace a version of the game's cover art. Booya.

Ironman's Ironettes take off like a rocket

Ironman and the Ironettes
The Japanese have a lot to answer for. But we'll let everything slide because the Japan 2011 Comic Con has given us this wonderful dance demonstration by the Iron Man's Ironettes. Basically it's an excuse for a whole lot of exy women to run around in red bikinis exalting the big Iron fella's glories. We'll take your sexism Japan, thanks.

How many dudes you know roll like this? Not many, if any

Turns out the Ironettes from Ironman 2 movie have inspired a whole legion of sexy girls to dress up as Tony Stark's personal cheer leaders and show the love:

Is that Ironette on the left your sister bro?

Ass you were ladies

Cosplay loving Ironettes
Cheers Tony!

Epic is taking a very casual approach to Gears

Gears cosplayers bring it!

During the weekends recent Gears of War 3 Panel at the San Diego Comic Con, Cliff Bleszinksi let slip that GOW3 is to have a 'casual mode' for the games multiplayer element. This is supposedly to allow complete noobs to the franchise to have a chance to go head to head with the rest of the community without having that truly awful 'hazing period' when you're just figuring out how to play the game.

Apparently the Casual mode for GoW3 will be exclusive to noobs who have never played a Gears game before. According to IGN, you won't be have access to Casual mode if you've unlocked any Achievements from Gears of War or Gears of War 2. Beta testers for Gears 3, who no doubt gained a lot of experience in the game's multiplayer, will be similarly excluded.

Which all makes perfect sense - except for the name - it's hardly 'casual' if the point is to help some one get out the kiddie pool and into where the Great White Sharks roam, eating men, right?

Casual implies it's a mode to just run round in have fun.

The Gears propaganda is building to a Crescendo

Gears of War 3 Storms San Diego Comic-Con with American Chopper Partnership News and New Crescendo: The Making of Gears 3 Video
Enter to win a custom motorcycle inspired by the design team of American Chopper on Discovery Channel
From choppers to chainsaws and oil to graffiti, Gears of War 3 rolled out the big guns at an exclusive panel at San Diego’s Comic-Con International this evening. Starring Epic Games’ Cliff Bleszinski and Rod Fergusson and moderated by G4 TV’s Adam Sessler, the team sat down with thousands of fans to debut a behind the scenes look at the making of Gears of War 3, and reveal a new custom “Gears of War 3” chopper created by legendary Paul Jr. Designs for Discovery Channel’s “American Chopper” television series.
During the 60-minute panel, Bleszinski and Fergusson shared insights about the emotional journey that went into closing the trilogy and developing the team’s biggest, most ambitious game ever. Elaborating on how they took the story of an epic war and made it a personal saga of brotherhood and survival, fans the world over can now hear from the team in the new ViDoc that premiered at the show, entitled Crescendo: The Making of Gears of War 3.
Additionally, panel goers got a deeper look into the team’s creative collaboration with renowned graffiti artist OG Slick. With his contribution of unique street art designs, political posters, and in-game graffiti, Slick adds a layer of emotional realism to further engross fans in the world of Gears.
Capping off the evening, Bleszinski led the crowd out of the Convention Center and across the street to the Hard Rock Hotel where American Chopper’s Paul Teutul Jr. unveiled his team’s latest creation – a custom, one-of-a-kind Gears of War chopper. With a design that could have been pulled straight out of the Gears universe, fans will be able to watch the story of the bike’s creation on two episodes of the Discovery Channel’s “American Chopper: Junior vs. Senior” on Sept. 19 and Sept. 26.
But one lucky fan will get to do more than watch… A second custom bike inspired by the launch of Gears of War 3 will be the grand prize of the Best Buy Gears of War 3 Sweepstakes. Other contest prizes include a VIP trip to the Gears of War 3 Launch Event in New York City, Gears of War 3 prize packages, and spending cash.
 For full details and to enter for a chance to win, visit

Saturday, July 23

Comic Con 2011 Cos Play Round Up 2

Power Girl makes time stand still
So here's round two of Gears of Halo's pictures of cosplayers at Comic Con 2011.

After the riots of Day One, the event organisers got some Cylon Toasters to calm down the fan boys.

They were particularly excited about the ample assets of Power Girl who appeared to make time stand still....

Other great cosplay photos were taken of Boba Phat and his Princess Leia squadron, Lady Gaga after being bitten by a Zombie, a sad face Dalek and a very hungry venom....

Pink Princess and a few friends
Security at Comic Con was positively robot like.
A scheming Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy patiently wait to enter Comic Con 2011
sexy captain america girl cosplay
You can call her Mrs Captain America
Did Lady Gaga get bitten by a Zombie?
Venom gets ready to eat a happy Comic Con attendee...
Some Fun Guys (or gals)
princess leia cosplay trio
We're going to get pulverized if we stay out here much longer. Princess Leia is a hugely popular costume choice.
Boba Phat and his legion of Leias.
and you can be my cow girl
This is Anya
duke nukem cosplay
Let God sort 'em out
This Dr Who Dalek forgot to charge up over night