Tagged: bungie

Halo 3 Almost Done


The latest Bungie update offers word that development work on Halo 3 is winding down and that the highly anticipated game is roughly 99.9% complete. They are currently doing testing and bug fixing, which is the very important .1% bit, through the Epsilon program. It’s a closed, final phase testing for the game, including a lone single-player mission and three multiplayer maps.

The rest of the update talks about playing the game on a huge IMAX screen, their server-side stuff for the game that offers the option for uploading game movies and screenshots (among other things) and storing them online for public viewing, and a sneak peek at a new multiplayer map called Narrows. They have released a couple of screenshots from the map, one of which I have included in this post.

Halo 3 to Feature 4-player Co-op

Yes, it has been confirmed: Halo 3 will include not two, not three, but four-player co-op. In this post on Bungie’s site, the company confirms the inclusion of co-op and details the challenges in making it happen. The mode will be available for up to four players via Xbox Live, as well as System Link with two players on each console.

Apparently, the mode seems to be quite complete as they have been playing it for “quite some time” and having some of their “greatest ever” experiences. Here’s a bit on the gameplay that will be found in co-op mode:

Acting as a team is a fantastic new twist to the Campaign gameplay – something that works as well on foot, in close confines as it does on the battlefield, with large scale vehicle mayhem. Scared of Jackal snipers? Send out a scout to see what dangers lie ahead. Terrified of an open field? Flank your enemies and swipe their rides. The combinations and scenarios are endless – and you’ll be able to enjoy them time and time again in Saved Films of your co-op exploits.

Like every other aspect of Halo 3, this mode is chosen from a Lobby. Simply select Campaign, choose your network (Xbox Live or System Link) and invite your friends to join you, or they can simply join your session once it’s set up and in a lobby (but they cannot join a game once it’s in-progress). They will pop into your lobby instantly, and when you have all the players you need (anywhere from one to four) you can begin the game from the beginning – or from any of your saved checkpoints.

Split-screen co-op is as ever, limited to two players per screen – but they can if they wish join two other friends online or via System Link.

Thankfully, they have decided to add new characters instead of having four Master Chiefs running about. Player one will control Chief himself, with player two joining in as Arbiter. The other two players will don the role of brand new Elite characters, whose biographies have been posted on the site. Interestingly, all characters will have identical abilities, with only their appearance and weapon starts being different.

They’ve also released a nice group screenshots, showing off the four characters posing together. Enjoy:

Halo 3 Co-op

Ways to get into Halo 3 Beta: Buy Crackdown or Play Halo 2

Microsoft has officially announced that specially marked boxes of Crackdown will include an invite to the Halo 3 multiplayer beta when it launches this Spring. Those who purchase the game will simply use the disc as a key to download the beta from Xbox Live Marketplace and join the action. Crackdown is released in the US on February 20, Europe on February 23 and Asia on February 22.

The company also announced another way to get in the beta: play Halo 2! Beginning February 1, 12.01 am PST, all gamers who participate in at least three hours of Halo 2 multiplayer via Xbox Live till February 3, 11.59 pm EST, and be among the first 13,333 to register at the Halo 3 website will get into the beta. This “Rule of Three” program is open to gamers across all regions.

Certain Affinity Founded; Working on Halo 2 Maps

The latest offshoot from Bungie is Certain Affinity, founded by industry veteran Max Hoberman. He has worked on the multiplayer component for Halo 2 and the upcoming Halo 3; developers from Digital Anvil, Origin as well as others from Bungie make up the rest of the team.

Certain Affinity will have a certain affinity towards Halo it seems, as, according to their announcement, the studio’s first project is developing multiplayer maps for Halo 2, which will be released by Microsoft this Spring. The company is also working on a new Xbox 360 title that will be unveiled at a later date.

Halo 3 Multiplayer Beta Registration Opening Monday

For those waiting to sign up for the Halo 3 multiplayer beta, Microsoft has announced that it will open up registration on Halo3.com starting December 4. However, they didn’t give any indication to the criteria that will be used to determine who gets in.

In related news, both Microsoft and Bungie sent word to remind people that a Halo 3 CG advertisement will be shown on ESPN on December 4, between 5:50pm and 6:20pm Pacific Time. Those in the UK will get to view it on TV, when it airs on Channel 4 on December 15 at 22:45. The 60 second ad will also be broadcast simultaneously on Xbox.com and be available for download via Xbox Live Marketplace.

Created by advertising agency McCann Erickson, the highly anticipated ad will provide gamers with a “unique and compelling” look at Master Chief and the world of Halo 3. Attached to this post is a still (full 1920×1080 resolution) still from the advert.

Halo 3 Ad Still

Halo 3 Public Beta, Teaser Ad

The first official Halo 3 news comes in the form of a public beta announcement: gamers will be able to get an exclusive hands-on experience of the highly anticipated second sequel through the Xbox Live multiplayer public beta. The pre-release version of the multiplayer experience of Halo 3 is scheduled for availability in Spring 2007.

That wasn’t the only piece of news Bungie had for us. A 60-second Halo 3 teaser ad will be aired on December 4 in North America; those in the UK will see the ad on December 15 on Channel 4. Created by advertising agency McCann Erickson, the ad will provide viewers with a look at Master Chief and the world of Halo 3. The ad will be available for download via Xbox Live Marketplace and viewable on Xbox.com.

In addition, new maps for Halo 2 will also be available for download through Xbox Live Marketplace. No details were revealed.

Halo Movie Put "On Hold"

Everyone saw it coming, but here it is anyway: since word got out that both Universal and Fox had backed out of the Halo movie, it was public knowledge that the project would be put on hold. Here’s the official word from Wingnut Films, the guys behind the movie, courtesy of AICN:

As was previously confirmed, we deeply regret that both Universal and Fox did not choose to move forward with financing the Halo film under the original terms of the agreement. At this time Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, along with their partner, Microsoft, have mutually agreed to postpone making a feature film based on the Halo video game universe until we can fulfill the promise we made to millions of Halo fans throughout the world that we would settle for no less than bringing a first class film to the big screen. We are fully supportive of Director Neill Blomkamp’s vision of the film. Neill is a tremendously gifted filmmaker and his preliminary work on Halo is truly awe-inspiring. While it will undoubtedly take a little longer for Halo to reach the big screen, we are confident that the final feature film will be well worth the wait.

Studios Back Out of Halo Movie; Bungie 'Happy'

Bringing extremely bad news to Halo fans is Variety who reports that both Universal and Fox Studios have backed out of the Halo movie adaptation. They cite rising movie costs and apprehension over a director who has no feature film under his belt. Apparently, there was a rumor that the budget for the movie was close to $200 million, the lion’s share of which was supposed to go to Microsoft.

According to Peter Jackson’s agent, the studios asked Microsoft, Bungie and Peter Jackson to ‘significantly reduce their deals’ in the movie. This was “respectfully declined” however, prompting both studios to pull out. In response, Bungie is all “optimism, satisfaction and happiness for reasons can’t go into,” as per a weekly update on its site.

No new studio has been lured in announced yet.

X06 Announcements: Halo Wars, New Halo Game, PGR4, HD-DVD Player Pricing

This year’s X06 saw a couple of big announcements from Microsoft. Very big announcements. Let’s check them out:

  • Peter Jackson, who is currently associated with the upcoming Halo movie, Academy Award-winning screenwriter Fran Walsh and Microsoft Game Studios have teamed up to create two new games exclusively for Xbox 360 and Xbox Live. The first series will be a collaborative with Bungie to co-create the next game in the Halo universe, while the second series will be a completely new IP. Additionally, they have also partnered up to form Wingnut Interactive, the studio which will dedicate itself to bringing these series’ to the next-gen console.
  • Besides the Wingnut Halo game, Ensemble Studios is working on Halo Wars, a new real-time strategy game based on the legendary universe. Before you cry foul, keep in mind that these guys are behind the Age of Empires franchise, which has been a solid series so far. The game is entirely exclusive to Xbox 360.

    For more information, check out the game’s website which hosts a cinematic trailer, as well as these screen grabs from the trailer.

  • Hoping to make a dent in Sony’s future, Microsoft revealed that the Xbox 360 version of Grand Theft Auto IV will receive two exclusive downloadable, “epic” episodes via Xbox Live, each with many hours of entirely new gameplay. These episodes will be available just months after the game’s release next year.

    Both the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game will ship at the same time in October 2007.

  • In a move that is very uncharacteristic of Ubisoft, the publisher confirmed that the next Splinter Cell title after Double Agent will be a console-exclusive on Xbox 360. It will also be released on PC for those without the console.
  • Yes, BioShock is also exclusive to the console. It’s on PC as well.
  • Banjo-Kazooie is back, courtesy of Rare! Another exclusive to Xbox 360, the title will feature the much beloved characters, who, according to the press release, will thankfully retain their “sharp wit and hilarious sense of humor.”
  • Another exclusive: Marvel Universe Online. In development at Cryptic Studios, the game will also be released for Windows Vista.
  • Everyone saw this coming, but not this soon: Project Gotham Racing 4. The game was unveiled at the show, though it is not expected until late next year, or 2008.
  • id Software’s DOOM and Codemasters’ Sensible World of Soccer are now available on Xbox Live Arcade.
  • And finally, the Xbox 360 HD-DVD player will be released in North America, UK, France and Germany this November. It will retail for $200 in North America and €200/£130 in U.K., France and Germany. The player will also come with a copy of King Kong on HD-DVD and the Xbox 360 Universal Media Remote.