rant

Over at IGN, Erik Brudvik pines for truly "mind-blowing" content from Halo 3 and opines that no news is not good news:

The hype for Halo 3 is already at absurd levels. The ball is in Microsoft and Bungie's court and it's their marketing battle to lose now. A misstep with the beta could be more damaging than many might initially believe. Then again, beta success could send the interest in Halo 3 through the roof. Let's all hope for the best.

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An exchange in the HBO forum led me to try and follow the instructions to bring the Spec Ops Commander, lovingly called Half-Jaw for his mutilated mandibles, to the Control Room of Delta Halo at the end of the Halo 2 level The Great Journey. Dude, Where's My Spectre?
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Captain Jacob Keyes started to have bad luck from the first moments of Halo 1. His ship, preparing for a secret mission, was ambushed when the Covenant attacked Reach. They fled blindly, only to arrive at Halo 04 and find the Covenant waiting for them. After a valiant effort, the ship crashes on Halo and Keyes is taken prisoner.

The Master Chief and Cortana mount a daring rescue, so the player has to get inside a Covenant cruiser, find the captain, and keep him alive until the end of the level.

Almost immediately after, however, the captain's search for hidden weapons to use against the Covenant lead to the discovery of the Flood, who take him captive for the second time in the game. The Chief's second valiant rescue attempt fails, as they recover only the neural implants he needs to set the Pillar of Autumn to self-destruct, destroy Halo 04, and supposedly end this whole nightmare.

Crashed, captured and Floodified.

So perhaps Julie Benz should have known going in that there's a bit of bad luck associated with characters sharing the last name "Keyes" in Halo games.

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Ahh, the Halo rumor mill. When the tabloids fail to satisfy or even titillate, Halo rumors always ride to the rescue.

A Microsoft blogger in Belgium apparently reposted verbatim an electronic mail message sent from a "bigwig" at Microsoft about a video due to hit Xbox Marketplace on December 20th. The email alleged the 7 plus minute video would focus on the Brute race-- which would be playable in Halo 3-- and feature two and a half minutes of gameplay footage.

HBO followed the breadcrumbs on this one, with forumgoers pointing out that a new documentary video was consistent with statements Bungie made last month, but Frankie was quick to quash the "playable Brutes" part in several community forums.

Of course, that didn't stop the discussion there, as many fans debated back and forth about whether Brutes, as a playable race in campaign, would have been a good idea or not, which only brought out all the Arbiter fans and detractors again over whether or not his inclusion in Halo 2 was a good idea.

We already know Bungie isn't doing it... but if they had, would it have made sense? And would fans (at least some of them) have liked it?

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In addition to the text-only transcript of the dialogue and events in the CGTV ad from yesterday, and a preliminary commentary piece (which has already gone through several revisions) offering interpretations of the content in the ad, I've posted a frame-by-frame analysis with

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[image:43168 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0] Establishing shot of two children lying face-up in a clearing in a grassy field. The area is quite verdant, indicating that either this setting is not the same as that in the latter half of the ad, or that considerable change has occurred in the region to change its appearance. More on that later.

The two children appear to be dressed alike, in simplistic black outfits, possibly singlets. They are barefoot.

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Although it is only sixty seconds in length, there's actually quite a bit of content to pore over in the CG animated Halo 3 TV commercial. It starts slow, moves quickly, and ends suddenly, so pay attention.

There's also a transcript of the events in the advertisement pointing out various items, but without any commentary on what they might mean.

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Also at the Escapist today, a Microsoft "perception engineer" confirms something about Halo I've long been terribly annoyed by: the tendency of enemies that are far away and do not see you to luckily dodge just as you are about to shoot.

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The HaloWars.com forums are both new and very busy. It has been difficult at time to get at the interesting discussions because so much time has been taken up by the same issues over and over again. Since the announcement of Halo Wars, some eleven thousand posts have been made. About half of them are about why marines have battle rifles.

Things are improving. Their FAQ, while short, one can assume will be expanded at some point. Two sticky threads, on most-often discussed issues and instructions to new posters have gone up to try and keep duplicates to a minimum.

Still, this has barely stemmed the tide of those who wonder about the battle rifle's presence.

I'll try to put this question to rest once and for all here. Wish me luck.

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Penny Arcade today doesn't mention Bungie or Halo, but it did mention Senator Brownback's Truth in Video Game Rating Act. 1Up posted a news story late last month, and GamePolitics did as well.

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Yep, well I've received a lambasting from a few in IBO, and support from a few others. A lot of focus in this thread has been on whether an RTS is the right medium to go through, and that's getting beside my point. I'm replying to me previous post as to not clutter up the forum with my rants. I think I can sum up my point in a few steps of thought.

1. I consider Halo an art.

2. Artwork is created by an artist in the medium he/she chooses and portrayed in the angles and perspectives he/she wishes.

3. I happen to like the art that this artist creates.

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I'm concerned. I'm all for new Halo content, and that trailer blew me away (give me more cinematic CGI!), but there are some concerns I'd like to toss out there to see if anyone else feels the same.

New Hands.

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While I don't think there's enough actual content in the Halo Wars trailer to do a full-on annotation, as for the Halo 3 trailer, I did think it worthwhile to try and collect some thoughts about yesterday's announcements that will be worth pondering in the time between now and when we actually see these new games. Some are picayune details, and some are big questions. First, the picayune details.

For the entire article, click "read more" from the front page.

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If Halo 3 were going to have boss battles, who would your opponents be?

That's an idea that occurred to me after participating in an HBO forum thread that started out talking about a rather idiotic article wondering if Halo 3 would suck, and ended up morphing into a discussion of boss battles.

I'm not really sure how boss battles got into Halo 2 in the first place. Perhaps somebody asked for them. Perhaps it was felt that Halo 2 needed "bigger" encounters than the first game; conflicts with individual characters instead of anonymous Covenant foot soldiers.

Whatever the reason, some of them worked fairly well, and others garnered a lot of negative feedback, particularly the fights against the Prophet of Regret and Tartarus. Most of the criticism stemmed from the arbitrary and repetetive natures of those encounters; how the rules varied significantly from how the rest of the game was played, and how they evoked stereotypical gameplay situations perhaps better suited for other genres.

With Halo 3, there are still a number of recognizable characters in the story who are potentially sources of conflict for our main characters, the Master Chief and, presuming he returns, the Arbiter. Might any of these be the subject of a boss battle? If so, how might Bungie alter the way those battles work compared to Halo 2?

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With Halo 3 not only stealing the thunder from every other game on the Xbox or Xbox 360, but personally tasked by Bill Gates with submarining the PlayStation 3 launch (guess he didn't know about the proposed $600 price tag, or else he wouldn't have bothered) it's not surprising that a little studio called Wideload that made a funny little game called Stubbs the Zombie might, for at least, awhile, go unnoticed.

Stubbs sold well enough, to be sure, but the gaming press often spoke more about the studio's outsourcing-heavy business model than the game itself. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

So while the hype over Halo is such that Bungie gets taken to task by supposed fans even when they don't say a word (because saying nothing is the best way to hype a game, didn't you know?) then the silence must be deafening in Chicago, where Wideload was actually able to update their website last month without scarcely causing a ripple.

Click 'read more' from the front page for the entire article.

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