7th Columnist


The Superintendent’s Sorrow
July 20, 2008, 7:37 pm
Filed under: Bungie, E3, Gaming, Halo, News

Following Microsoft’s shock decision last week to suddenly axe Bungie’s E3 announcement, we have to think about who really loses out. The fans? Sure. Bungie? Most certainly. But what about the Superintendent himself, unable to shine and deprived of the media spotlight he deserves?

That’s gotta have an impact on the little guy’s morale.

We were already welling up at the thought of him sitting there, bouncing a rubber ball off the wall of his cell, locked away in a dark and lonely Kirkland. This song (brilliant as it is) hasn’t exactly helped.

Hang in there little buddy. Your time will come… and what a party we’ll have when it does.

Thanks LoadingReadyRun!



Cole Protocol Cover
July 18, 2008, 2:00 am
Filed under: Halo, Merchandise, News

Tobias Buckell, author of the forthcoming Halo novel ‘The Cole Protocol‘, has updated his blog with an early design of the book’s cover – found on Amazon of all places.

The featured image is the work of Bungie’s own Isaac Hannaford, whose skills some of you might remember seeing in the gallery that made up the rear of the Halo Graphic Novel. While this isn’t the final artwork, we have to say it’s looking pretty darn tasty at this early stage, and will sit quite happily in our collection next to rest of the series.

Check out that armour though. That doesn’t look like the standard MJOLNIR to us. Kinda reminds us of the early Master Chief design, back when Halo was pretending to be an RTS. What do you guys think?



Bungie update on E3 fiasco
July 16, 2008, 8:24 pm
Filed under: Bungie, E3, Gaming, Halo, News

A new top story has been posted over at Bungie.net – now that the countdown timer and letter from Harold Ryan have been taken down – detailing once again the situation regarding their missing E3 announcement.

Very little information is given as to why exactly things unfolded the way they did (we may never know the complete in’s and out’s), but the guys do clarify once and for all that the tragic events that have taken place this E3 are deadly serious, and that those still hoping for a surprise announcement from the studio before the week’s end, will be sadly disappointed.

Included in the article is a short but sweet FAQ answering some of the more common questions currently doing the rounds in the community regarding the cancellation:

1. OMG! The announce was posted at 7! This is all part of the plan.

The news was broken to us shortly before 7 p.m. and we decided to keep with tradition to make a clean break.

2. Why leave the splash page up if it’s not happening?

We left the splash page up for the folks who didn’t see the message or were planning on tuning in the following morning before the news vanished into Bungie.net’s ether.

3. But Harold Ryan is only a TESTER this has to be fake!

Harold was a tester, but assumed the position of President a while ago. Crazy Wiki’s and their misinformation.

We’re also told of a couple of Bungie-flavoured treats that were scheduled to debut alongside the announcement, in the shape of a new Bungie Podcast and a special E3 Mockumentary entitled ‘Living the Dream’. Unfortunately, while the podcast has been temporarily shelved until the studio is given the go ahead to make the planned reveal, the E3 video apparently “cannot be salvaged at this time”.

Living the dream eh? After all the Superintendent’s teasing messages telling us to ‘EXPECT DELAYS‘ and ‘REMAIN CALM‘, here at 7th Columnist we’re not sure we can handle any more irony.



Microsoft confirm Bungie working on new Halo
July 16, 2008, 11:13 am
Filed under: Bungie, Gaming, Halo, News

Adding to the chaos of E3 surrounding Bungie’s big announcement and it’s sudden cancellation by Microsoft, a recently shot MTV interview with Microsoft’s head of Xbox business, Don Mattrick, confirms the developer are in fact working on a brand new Halo game.

During the interview, Stephen Totilo of MTV’s Multiplayer blog, asked Mattrick about the lack of Halo news at E3 to which he responded stating that Microsoft’s Monday press conference was already loaded with content and they didn’t feel any announcements for the series were necessary to get gamers excited.

When pushed for more details, inquiring if fans should be worried about the no-show of Ensemble Studio’s Halo Wars, not only did Mattrick say not to worry and that announcements would be coming, but that Microsoft is currently working with Bungie on a brand new Halo game. According to Totilo, who subsequently asked for clarification, this is not Peter Jackson’s Halo project or the aforementioned Halo Wars, but something different altogether.

So there we have it, not all bad news. The last 12 hours or so have been pretty dark for Bungie fans and the Studio alike, but we now know more Halo is coming.

Whether or not this is exactly what Bungie had been setting up to announce today remains unknown – they are after all, a large enough studio to be working on multiple projects – but we’re sure we’ll find out soon enough, along with exactly what form this new Halo title will take.

**UPDATE**

Totilo had one last tidbit of information to deliver regarding the project, echoing something we’ve mentioned before here at 7th Columnist:

Before everyone gets too excited, I should say I’ve heard some people other than Mattrick use the phrase “expansion pack” so we might not be talking about a full new game. I don’t know.

Watch this space.



Bungie Announcement Cancelled!
July 16, 2008, 3:25 am
Filed under: Gaming, News

In what has to be one of the most shocking of E3 related events ever recorded, it would seem tomorrow’s Bungie reveal is no longer taking place.

A quick look over at Bungie.net – where up until a few moments ago a mysterious countdown timer had been ticking towards the announcement – shows a note from Bungie President, Harold Ryan. The note reads:

From: Harold Ryan
Sent: Tuesday, July 15th, 2008 7:00 PM
Subject: E3 Announce

For the last several months, we’ve been building toward a reveal of something exciting that Bungie is working on. We were looking forward to sharing that with our fan community during the week of E3. However, those plans were just changed by our publisher.

We realize that many of our fans are disappointed by this turn of events; members of the Bungie team share that disappointment.

When the right time comes, we look forward to sharing this exciting announcement with you. Until then, we appreciate your continued support and patience.

Harold Ryan
President
Bungie LLC

We’ve no idea what’s happened leading to this awful situation, but can CONFIRM that this is not a hoax, nor is it a media setup from Bungie. As of right now, tomorrow will see no announcement.

Stay tuned for more news.



Halo 3 to get more Campaign?
July 15, 2008, 11:02 am
Filed under: Campaign, Downloads, Gaming, Halo, Halo 3, News

As the countdown to Bungie’s big announcement (or perhaps, announcements) continues, so does the rampant speculation. Only now, even more tantalising information has been brought to light, suggesting that Bungie aren’t quite done with Halo 3 just yet. And no, we’re not talking about multiplayer maps.

Gencon, a gaming convention held at the beginning of the month in Brisbane, Australia apparently played host to a number of stars from the Sci-fi circuit. In particular, Firefly and Serenity’s Alan Tudyk, Nathon Fillion and Adam Baldwin – all of which have previously provided voices for marines in Halo 3.

According to an attendees write up of the event, during a Q&A session, Alan Tudyk was asked what sci-fi shows he’d like to see crossover, to which he replied “Ok, so I’m imagining that Firefly’s still on the air, that’s great, that’s working out and I’m still alive, but we have the sets and the costumes from the movie”. He then went on to say he’d like Tricia Helfer of Battlestar Galactica, and that he didn’t care if anyone else from BSG was on the show, but that the crossover could literally be just her.

And you can hardly blame him. But what’s so interesting about this, and why are you reading about it here?

Well, he mentioned he’d seen her recently too, and that she, Nathan, Adam and himself had recently recorded voices for a Halo 3 supplemental. The star even quipped it was “just like the last time”, with Nathan having all the leader lines and him just having to act scared.

A Halo 3 supplemental? Like say, Halo ‘Blue’? Or Peter Jackson’s project? The jury’s still out on that one, but with actors returning to reprise their roles, it seems likely we’re going to see some more Halo 3 narrative at some point. Let’s take a few wild guesses as to how:

A standalone multiplayer map pack

Similar to what was released for Halo 2, Bungie and Microsoft may be putting together a retail release of all the DLC content released so far fro Halo 3. That’s seven maps so far, with the potential for a forthcoming DLC batch bringing the total up to the nice round number of ten. Could this be Halo ‘Blue’, the Wal-mart leaked title supposedly scheduled for September 30th? If so, then the reason for the dialogue recording could simply be for an exclusive Halo 3 cutscene for the disc, much in the same way the short ‘Another Day at the Beach‘ was included on the Halo 2 release.

The rumoured Squad-based shooter

Gamespot made headlines earlier this week reporting a story from an insider source claiming Bungie were hard at work on “darker, grittier” Halo game resembling “a cross between Ghost Recon and Gears of War”. Alledgedly a tactical shooter following a squad of colonial marines or orbital-drop shock troopers, but no Master Chief. Were the voiceovers the new ‘stars’ of this game?

Peter Jackson’s Halo Chronicles

We know nothing. Almost less than that infact, about Peter Jackson’s ‘playable fiction’ set in the Halo universe. But if one thing’s for sure, it’s that development is well underway (albeit outside of Bungie). It seems unlikely, but could it be…?

Halo 3 Campaign Extension

Could it be that the rumours currently flying around are all pointing towards the same thing? An extension to the Halo 3 campaign mode. Providing a new perspective to the story, without the Chief – maybe from the eyes of a squad of marines, or the mysterious Superintendent. Are we about to see the beginning of episodic content a la Half Life 2? Valve’s business model and the success of the short game experience seen in Portal suggest it’s at the very least viable. Perhaps this is the real reason Frankie left Bungie for Microsoft to continue working with the series on forthcoming projects: Halo ‘Blue’.

Anyone else notice the Legendary edition of Halo 3 has space for one more game box under the helmet? Now there’s some food for thought… and with voices commonly recorded towards the end of development, a September 30th release date doesn’t seem all that inconcievable at all.

Whatever’s happening, we’ll find out soon enough… E3 ain’t over and the clock is ticking.



Bungie Superintendent *IS* Halo Related
July 15, 2008, 1:39 am
Filed under: Gaming, Halo 3, News

Ever since Bungie started throwing around their plumber-like Superintendent figure back in May, speculation as to what exactly the little fella referred to has been running wild. Many thought he was something to do with a totally new IP, separate to Halo.

An XBLA arcade game? A 2D mario-esque platformer? A Wii game?? Perhaps. Though with all the strange goings on over at B.net at the moment, new evidence suggests otherwise and that the cute green mascot is in fact, almost certainly, Halo related.

You see, he’s now turning up in Halo 3. As of right now, if you head into matchmaking and hit the start button you’ll notice things aren’t quite as they should be. The Cold Storage ad banner that usually displays is eerily scrambled, and features none other than the Superintendent himself (complete with a somewhat unhappy face) in the top right-hand corner. Click the image above for a full screenshot.

What does this mean exactly? We’re not sure, but we’re willing to bet this confirms his relation to the Halo series and not some other new property. New maps? Old maps? New features? Halo ‘Blue’??

We’ll have to wait and see, but now seems like a pretty good time to remind you of Luke’s parting comments in last week’s Bungie Update:

Future Tense

As a reader, I can only imagine just how frustrating it is to not have any new information just yet. Rest assured, dear vengeful, hypertense reader many things are in motion. Many things. These numerous things include the following:

-Major changes to the Halo 3 Online experience
-Sweet Announcements
-Poignant Clarifications
-Certain-point-of-view Truths
-Things you will love
-Things you will argue about
-Things you will make angry videos about

Something BIG is coming. And it’s coming to Halo 3.