7th Columnist


Halo 3 Assembly Gameplay Video
August 30, 2008, 4:19 am
Filed under: Bungie, Halo 3, Multiplayer, New Content, News, PAX

Loads to catch up on, and it’s the middle of the night here, so I’m gonna have to hit the sack. Not without delivering this little nugget of goodness first though. We’s gots prioritees ‘n stuff.

You should now be aware that PAX 2008 is in full mighty swing, and that Bungie is in attendence showing the latest addition to Halo 3’s multiplayer maps, Purple Reign – now officially known as Assembly. Well, the latest Bungie Weekly Update has delivered, offering up a tasty selection of shots of the new level for anyone unable to attend the show (go take a look now!). And we’ve got an off-screen video walkthrough, courtesy of CrunchGear.

Feast your eyes on all-new purple hotness below:

We’ve zoomed in a little bit for a fancier look, but you can see the whole unaltered video here.

Not a lot is known about the map as of yet – no setting, release date, price or anything. Bungie’s keeping that information close to the chest, letting the map itself do all the talking. Certainly looks good enough to us!

We’ll be back in the morning with more news. In the meantime, share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Auto Update 2.0
August 2, 2008, 10:03 pm
Filed under: Bungie, Gaming, Halo 3, Multiplayer, News

This week’s Bungie Update lets rip all the info on the forthcoming Autoupdate heading to Halo 3, with some big changes and new functionality to the current EXP system.

First up, what’s NOT changing, just to be clear. Bungie are not resetting your “Skill”. Your Trueskill value will not change. Nor are they resetting your current EXP. Your total EXP will still be displayed in your Service Record on B.net and that Rank will still be displayed in your Service Record. Got that?

Right, so nothing’s being lost. Except maybe us during the following explanation of what actually IS changing. With that in mind then, and in the interest of KEEPING IT CLEAN, we’re gonna let Luke tell it exactly like it is:

At the Playlist level, things are changing noticeably.

While your total experience will still continue to climb in your Service Record, when AU2 goes live, we are enabling individual Experience ratings in each playlist. Playlist Ratings are based on how much experience you’ve accrued in a given Playlist. We’ll be basing your rating in a given playlist off of this value. When AU2 is released, we’ll begin tracking your experience per playlist, in that respect, everyone begins fresh. These new Playlist emblems will be familiar to Halo 3 players, but they have received a light graphical pass in game to distinguish Playlist Ratings from your Overall Rating.

In the simplest terms this means that becoming a General in Team Slayer is no longer dependent on reaching Level 50 and acquiring a certain number of total experience points. Via Playlist Ratings, players can reach General in as many playlists as they want .The currency powering these new Playlist Ratings is Experience.

Under this system, however, players will have individual Ratings in each playlist and they’ll see a graphical treatment of that here on Bungie.net and they’ll see their current status for the playlist that they are in. In custom games, the Rating on a player’s Service Record will be the icon that other players see.

Still confuzzled? Then here’s a few choice answers to some of the internet’s (that’s you) more common questions regarding the update:

Will each playlist have a seperate rank?
Yes. Ranked and Social lists each have their own ranks.

When the update goes live, when I go into a playlist, willl my rank show as a recruit?
When you enter a playlist for the first time after AU2 you will be a Recruit in that playlist. In a Ranked playlist your SKILL number will still show.

Do you still have to be a 50 to be a general?
To be a General on your service record you must still be a 50 in a playlist, that is your Overall Rank. At the playlist level you can reach General from gaining Experience. Skill number is not required.

So there you have it. Some big changes to Halo 3’s online ranking are on their way. Be sure to head over to Bungie.net for the full update – including news on August’s playlist changes and in light of recent disturbing events, the extreme wrath of the banhammer.



Believa Pinata
August 1, 2008, 12:42 am
Filed under: Gaming, Halo 3, News

Remember the Halo 3 ‘Believe’ Ads that ran during the lead up to the game’s launch last year? More specifically, the gigantic diorama created just for those ads, showing Master Chief and the UNSC in an epic final struggle?

‘Course you do. But just in case you don’t, here’s a reminder… of sorts.

Apparently made using the Viva Pinata Burger King toys currently available in the states, this faithful ‘fan-made’ recreation of Halo 3’s ad is nothing short of incredible. In fact, it’s almost too good. We wouldn’t be at all surprised if Buzzlegum01 is currently under the employment of Rare in some form, and this video is little more than a sneaky, well produced, excellent piece of viral marketing.

Either way, Viva Pinata just moved a little higher up our wishlist.



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.



Halo “Blue” Hitting this September?
July 14, 2008, 11:40 am
Filed under: Gaming, Halo, Halo 3, Multiplayer, News

Now this is interesting. E3 starts tonight, kicking off with the Microsoft Press Conference where we can defintely expect some sort of Halo-based announcement, maybe even a few. In time honoured tradition of the expo, rumours are flying about all over the place, steadily gaining weight at every turn… and Halo is no exception.

The latest concerns a tip off from a source at Wal-Mart who has sent in an image apparently taken from the company’s intranet, showing a bizarre listing for Halo “Blue” and a release date of September 30th 2008.

Exactly what “Blue” is, is a mystery, though we here at 7th Columnist – judging from the Wal-Mart source – reckon it’s more likely to be a special edition version of the game (perhaps including previous and forthcoming map packs) or even a stand alone map pack expansion similar to what Microsoft released for Halo 2 rather than a new game itself.

With E3 starting in just a matter of hours, what would you like to see from the Halo series?

The list goes on. And all that’s without thinking even thinking about Bungie, who may not even be working on something Halo related, but have certainly teased us with the prospect of an announcement of some sort.

KEEP IT CLEAN!

It’s going to be a very exciting press conference ths year…



Cold Storage available NOW!
July 7, 2008, 9:28 am
Filed under: Downloads, Forge, Gaming, Halo, Halo 3, Multiplayer, New Content, News

It’s here, along with the updated matchmaking playlist especially for Bungie Day – Icy Treats – incorporating the new map and a variety of different gametypes (in particular look out for infection).

We’ll have more news a little bit later on all the celebrations and goodies coming out of Bungie HQ this fine day, but right now, forgive us – it’s time to go Chill Out on Cold Storage! We hope to see you there.

**UPDATE**

Don’t forget to grab the limited edition Bungie Day ’08 gamerpics and dashboard theme from Xbox Live Marketplace too!

These are available exclusively for today only, after which they shall be gone forever. Don’t miss out!

**UPDATE TWO**

A quick Q&A for Cold Storage has been posted over at Bungie.net, with answers coming direct from some of the guys who worked on the map.

**UPDATE THREE!**

The Bungie Podcast has returned! With an extra special Bungie Day edition of the show, Luke and Brian sit down with numerous guests, featuring the likes of: Lars Bakken (Designer), Shishka (Designer), Allen Murray (Producer), Joe Tung (Producer), Jerome Simpson (Security), Chris Carney (Mission Architect) and Steve Lopez (IT Manager) That’s a lot of Bungie, this is a lot of chatter.