There’s been a lot of excitement surrounding Bungie’s new saved films feature implemented for Halo 3, not only from those wanting to relive glory moments from their favourite battles, but also from the thriving machinima community that has manifested since the first game launched all those years ago. Thanks to a handy little exploit (aiming directly at the ground) it was possible to lower the weapons of characters, whilst keeping their heads up, and simulate talking with a wiggle of an analogue stick. Series’ such as Red Vs. Blue and Fire Team Charlie made great use of this feature to craft epic serial adventures, essentially online cartoons set in the world of Halo, to great acclaim.
By the time Halo 2 launched, Halo machinima was really flying. Everyone wanted a piece of the action due to the ease at which it could be created. Bungie, aware of the success of Halo in this area decided to make things a little easier for the fans. They gave us a button. No more were we required to aim at the floor to lower our guns (making it incredibly difficult to control the characters), instead a simple press down on the d-pad or (when out of grenades) holding of the left trigger, would make your character lower his weapon. Perfect for filming purposes.
So in walks Halo 3. With it’s freely detachable camera allowing for great viewing angles and cutting out the need for any letterboxing, it’s slowmo and multiple perspectives, not to mention the fact that every game is stored, saving plenty of precious hard drive space. Then there’s Forge. Giving players the ability to remodel maps and set scenes as they see fit, another perfect tool for any budding filmmaker. It looked as though machinimakers were getting more than they could ever wish for, with Bungie fully on side to help them create the epic features they’ve all been wanting to.
As it turns out, pressing down on the d-pad this time around does nothing. Nor does holding the the left trigger when out of grenades.
To lower a character’s weapon in Halo 3 you have to do is this:
Hold down left bumper, right bumper, left analogue stick, down on the d-pad and the A button… AT THE SAME TIME… for three seconds!
It’s a ridiculous feat in itself that feels as clumsy as pulling off a ‘fatality’ in Mortal Kombat. Worse yet, the feature can only be used in system link and local play, NOT over Xbox Live where many machinima pieces (This Spartan Life, for example) are filmed due to the ease of using ‘actors’ from anywhere in the world.
Machinimakers are furious. I’m furious. As this seems to not only be an incredible wasted opportunity on Bungie’s part, but also a massive step backwards in terms of usability for wannabe filmmakers – in a game literally rammed full of features seemingly created to make things easier.
Over the years the Halo community has produced some astonishingly good pieces of machinima and really helped propel the medium forwards. Sure, we shouldn’t expect all this from developers at all, but with machinima playing such a huge part in Halo from day one… we do.
So Bungie if you’re listening, you have to fix this. We need this to work over live and we need it to be a simpler process to lower the weapons as we play. Fix that… and Halo 3 will truly be the perfect game we all thought it would be. Otherwise, shame on you for taking away one of the best things about our beloved community.
Swap d-pad down for d-pad up and you’ll be given global coordinates and look vectors for the camera, allowing you to reproduce a specific camera position for advanced shots.
Dark Red Productions put together a handy little machinima video eplaining how to pull the technique off.
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