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Items relating to Ensemble Studios, developers of "Halo Wars" for the Xbox 360.

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Five Long Years...

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...is apparently how long humanity fought the Covenant over Harvest. It is not, gratefully, the amount of time you'll have to wait for Halo Wars from Ensemble Studios to come out, since supposedly the game is now set for a release sometime in Spring 2009.

So, a little less than one... long... year.

Xbox360Fanboy has the latest Halo Wars trailer, which follows in the vein of the first in showing no gameplay whatsoever, but focusing on cinematic visuals, of the kind more appropriate for a game that actually uses those kinds of visuals. You know, a shooter, and not a strategy game.

TeamXbox also has the trailer and new screens, while the official site has 12 new shots in an "E3 2008" gallery.

UPDATE: I've added those shots into Rampancy's Halo Wars gallery.

This trailer also replaces the original score of the first trailer, which was best described as trite and lackluster, and instead inserted the familiar strains of Marty's "Halo Monks".

Also, despite "Contact Harvest" by Joe Staten saying that Brutes were the primary foot soldiers in the first assaults on that colony, this trailer once again only shows Elites-- no other Covenant units are shown.

It's also difficult to reconcile the idea of a 5-year battle over a single world with everything the Halo series has told us about human-Covenant engagements. While the addition of the Spartans into humanity's troop mix gave them parity, if not an outright advantage, on the ground, we're told that the Covenant always retained air superiority, and since ultimately most colonies were wholly or partially glassed, this was always the deciding factor.

So the story of Halo Wars will have to come up with some good reason why the Covenant wait five years before glassing Harvest, or for some reason choose to assault it without ever glassing it.

One of those shots shows a good look at some of the UNSC... well, there's nothing to call them but mechs, since that's what they look like. Frankly, the devs can go on all they like about how the mechs aren't Spartans, aren't as strong or fast or dangerous as Spartans, and play a different role on the battlefield than Spartans... and it just doesn't matter worth a damn.

You can't look at one of those things in a screenshot and not think "wow, if a Spartan is this good and only a bit bigger and taller than an ODST, then that thing must be awesome. Its visual presence on the field demeans the Spartan, and I don't see that being something that can be explained away.

How do u??

Hey every1,

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Ensemble Publishes Haloverse Timeline

Halo Wars Human Base

Since the trailer was released, the time frame of events in the upcoming Halo Wars RTS have been hot topics for discussion. Did it happen before the Halo FPS games or after? Over a long period of time, or a short one? Where did those battle rifles in the trailer come from if Halo Wars is supposed to chronicle early Human-Covenant conflicts?

Now, Ensemble has published a two-page timeline for the Halo universe (one, two) that gives the backstory. Also, starting with this month's Update, they'll be posted on the front page of HaloWars.com instead of in the forums.

Currently the timeline covers the period from 2160 (early civil conflicts) through 2552 (the events of Halo 1-3). The ship featured in Halo wars, UNSC Spirit of Fire, was built in 2473 and refitted in 2520.

Curiously enough the timeline doesn't actually say when Halo Wars begins or ends, although previous statements have indicated 2531, which on the timeline corresponds to the Battle of Harvest.

Halo 3 Never Forget (Full Version) Music Sheet

Never Forget from the Halo 3 soundtrack. I have the music sheet written out couple weeks ago but never had the time to transfer it to PDF. Maybe someone would want to help me write them into music sheet to share here? I have a video of how the song goes here > http://youtube.com/watch?v=0DzQcAAQldY Please feel free to comment and make suggestions on what I sould make of this.

Devine On Halo Wars: Magic Is In The Disc

Halo Wars Human Base

Avateur in the HBO forum pointed out a Halo Wars Q&A with Ensemble Studio's Graeme Devine over at GameTap. Devine is the lead designer on Halo Wars.

In addition to mentioning how Ensemble must simultaneously respect the Halo canon and being free to make the best Halo RTS game Ensemble could make, rather than the best Halo RTS game Bungie could make, the article touches on the touchy issue of console controls:

GameTap: Obviously, the control scheme is always an important subject when discussing real-time strategy games on consoles, how do you go about striking a balance of offering the depth that RTS games are known for, but at the same time, keeping the controls simple enough as to not be overwhelming?

Graeme Devine: I think this is key. When we started work on Halo Wars we started from scratch, we threw the mouse and keyboard paradigm away and rethought what it meant to control a real-time strategy game. I really think that's one of the big differentiators with Halo Wars because it allows us to bring the depth to the controller while, in our opinion, improving how controllable we can make the genre.

Although no solid date is given, Devine says that Halo Wars has the "magic in the disc" to be one of the "biggest games of 2008" so that seems to indicate fans have twelve months or less to wait before they see the first non-Bungie, non-FPS Halo game hit the shelves.

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