7th Columnist


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.

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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.



Halo Wars E3 Cinematic
July 14, 2008, 9:13 pm
Filed under: Gaming, Halo Wars, Movies, News

While Microsoft’s Press Conference failed to provide us with any Bungie or Halo related announcements (looks like we’ll have to wait until Wednesday morning for that), the guys over at Ensemble Studios have posted a brand new cinematic trailer for the forthcoming RTS, Halo Wars.

Entitled ‘Five Long Years’ the entirely pre-rendered trailer gives a short minute-and-half glimpse of the five year struggle faced by the UNSC as they battle the Covenant for the first time, and sets up more of the overall Halo Wars narrative.

Though they may not reveal all that much about the game, the Halo Wars trailers thus far have been nothing short of spectacular – delivering hefty amounts of emotional grit, whilst fleshing out the Halo universe. If nothing else, they showcase even further the massive potential for a big budget Halo movie. Bungie, Microsoft, Peter Jackson, whoever… you have got to make this happen.

**UPDATE**

It would seem there’s a whole bunch of new Halo Wars screenshots and renders over at the site too.

**UPDATE 2**

An updated FAQ lets slip news that the Covenant are indeed playable in the game and we can expect a full retail release sometime during Spring 2009!



PLEASE REMAIN CALM
July 14, 2008, 5:32 pm
Filed under: Gaming, News

7:07:07 am PST, Wednesday morning. Looks like we’ll have an announcement.



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…