Bungie Weekly Update: 06/05/09
Posted by urk at 6/5/2009 5:32 PM PDT
Once again we find ourselves face to face with a Friday update offering nothing in the way of fresh news. Wonder what Major Nelson is doing right now? His LIVE activity list is always good for a few hundred words. Oh well, guess we’ll just dig right in.

And yeah, sarcasm.

Strike First.  Strike Hard...

The Bungie E3 Strike Team dropped into Los Angeles and cut a brutal swath of destruction that began with the Microsoft Keynote and didn’t end until the final throes of the Electronic Entertainment Expo this past Thursday. Any press outlet that mustered up enough courage to request hands-on time with Halo 3: ODST was rewarded for their bravery with no mercy and lashing roundhouse kicks.  Oh, and plenty of hands-on time.

For a recap of all the Bungie E3 action, go ahead and get into some of the Post Carnage we’ve compiled in our blog. There are already dozens of early impressions, including a good number of hands-on videos and some written analysis of what we’ve been putting on display.

We also tried to deliver the goods right here on Bungie.net for you. We know that plenty of you couldn’t attend E3 in person and we didn’t want you to feel left out in the cold, so we compiled heaps of Halo 3: ODST news and plenty of early intel to help keep you warm. Go ahead and wrap yourself up in the comforting folds of our Halo 3: ODST Project Page.

We also kicked out a number of news articles detailing the aspects of Halo 3: ODST we announced and put on display at E3, so if you missed out on any of the coverage, you can click into the links below and get yourself back up to speed.  If you've already given 'em a good read, why not check 'em out a second time?  Remember that time you read our E3 news articles?  Yeah...that was great.

  • Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach – The initial E3 coverage and reveal of the brand spankin' new Project Pages.
  • Halo 3: ODST Podcastin’ – A new podcast just in time for E3, featuring Joe Staten, Paul Bertone, Lars Bakken, and Dan Miller. Oh, and some crappy jokes.
  • Meet the Squad – Bios, images, and information about the Orbital Drop Shock Troopers in Halo 3: ODST. Speculate about the glassing of Madrigal! Print out the cutouts and put on a puppet show! Sky’s the limit!
  • Feet First – Wanna know what it’s like to strap on a pair of ODST’s boots? Get out your charcoal inserts and click the link.
  • Drop Into Firefight – Coverage and tactical analysis for Halo 3: ODST’s brand new mode, Firefight. Also, some taunting. You should play on Normal mode, chump. Yeah, I said it.

And of course, we don’t only have old news to relay in today’s update, we’ve also got some new media ready for you to check out. Remember all those times you said the update sucked and didn’t have any awesome information or really cool stuff? I forgive you. Check out an exclusive panoramic screenshot and a QuickTime turnaround taken from inside the city of New Mombasa, whipped up by our very own guy who whips things up, Stosh.

Click to Make Huge

Halo: Reach at E3

Halo 3: ODST wasn’t the only Bungie title to make a little bit of noise at E3. We also announced our next big thing. It’s called Halo: Reach. You might have already guessed from the tagline attached that we’re targeting a release date sometime in the fall of next year. Of course, as more information comes online we’ll make sure that you're kept up to speed.

For now, you should check out the trailer. You can snag it right here in several formats and resolutions, or you can grab it over Xbox LIVE Marketplace and watch it on your Xbox 360. Either way, we recommend you listen to it with some 5.1 magic and crank up the bass. When the bombardment starts, you might have a better idea of what in the world I was talking about last week when I was quite literally sitting on the teaser trailer.

In terms of solid Halo: Reach information, we’re not ready to disclose much of anything. We’ve been working on it in secret. We’re still working on it now.  If you want in early, you can snag an invitation to the Xbox LIVE multiplayer beta by picking up Halo 3: ODST (available at all retailers, everywhere on September 22nd, 2009) and holding onto your disc.

Keep it secret.  Keep it safe. You won't find a code or tear away card packed inside Halo 3: ODST. When the beta goes live, you’ll access it directly through Halo 3: ODST’s main menu.

We know that’s not a lot of information for now, but hopefully the teaser trailer and imagery that have been released are enough to give you some small hints at what you can expect. If you want to take a look at the imagery in higher resolution, we’ll slap it in line for you below. Turn it into a desktop, hang it up under the top bunk while you wonder what’s up there, or just gaze longingly into the image to see if you can coax out any secrets via the power of your will alone. We believe in you.

And for the dude who started up a sweet thread to note that we’re “terrible at Photoshop,” no the Covenant ships are not “shooting the wrong way.” It’s an optical illusion. There are two compositional elements at play in the image: the planet Reach as seen from orbit, and some shadowy figures silhouetted on the horizon. I can't believe I have to explain this.  Take Tylenol for any headaches. (Non-aspirin, if your doctor recommends it.)

Still Not Prepared?

If the deluge of information that’s been spilling out from Bungie.net still has you scratching your hairy head in confusion, get some medicated shampoo or something, that’s just disgusting. Plus, you’re leaving nasty flakes everywhere.  It's gross.

Once you’ve washed, rinsed, and repeated, stop on back - we’ve done our best to sift through the tidal wave of posts on our two new forums and rescued a few from the dangerous waters that we feel we could have done a better job of addressing throughout the week. If you don’t see your question being answered here, it’s probably because it sucked. Do better.

Q. Man, this is awesome! When does the Halo 3: ODST Demo drop?

A. Your breath: don’t hold it.  There aren't any plans to release a beta.  Halo 3: ODST will drop into store shelves on September 22nd, 2009.

Q. My cousin told me that Halo: Reach is a squad-based tactical MMO featuring all kinds of ridiculous stuff that I shouldn't believe.  Is he a liar?

A. Halo: Reach will be a First Person Shooter. You will shoot stuff from a first person perspective. It will be awesome.

Q. What's up with the two discs for Halo 3: ODST? I'm confused. Explain how the two discs work, please.

A. ‘Kay. There are two discs packed in with Halo 3: ODST.  Basically, disc one is for cooperative play while disc two is for competitive multiplayer. To make this a touch easier, let's just refer to Halo 3: ODST as ODST in the next section.  When we say "Halo 3," we're referring to Halo 3 you have in your Xbox 360 today.

The primary disc contains ODST's Campaign and Firefight modes. If you have friends who also have ODST, you'll be able to play these modes together.

The second disc is Halo 3’s traditional multiplayer.  You can use this disc to play the multiplayer that you're experiencing via Halo 3 right now.  Plus, we're throwing in three more maps, Heretic, Citadel, and Longshore.  Players who have Halo 3 or ODST, can play Halo 3's traditional multiplayer together.

What you can’t do is play ODST’s Campaign and Firefight modes with players who don’t have ODST.  Vice versa, ODST players cannot jump into Halo 3's original Campaign modes.

Got it?  Good.  If not, check out the Halo 3: ODST Project Page linked above for more information.

Q. What about splitscreen?

A. We've said it before and we'll say it again.  Halo 3: ODST has Feature Parity with Halo 3.  That means locally, on a single Xbox 360, you can play through the campaign modes with a total of two players.  Add in Xbox Live or System Link and you up the player count to four.

Q. I heard Brian Jarrard on the TV saying that the Halo: Reach beta was going to be available on "Mar…." I totally caught him. He was going to say March, wasn't he?!

A. Nope, he was going to say “Marketplace.” He corrected himself on the fly and said “Xbox LIVE.” There aren’t any plans to make the Halo: Reach Xbox LIVE multiplayer beta available to the general public via Marketplace. Those players who purchase Halo 3: ODST will access it through the Extras menu in the game UI. And of course, to link up with other players in the beta you’ll need Xbox LIVE access.  Oh, and an Xbox 360.  Don't forget that one.  It's important.

We don't have a date for the Halo: Reach multiplayer beta yet.  When we do, we'll pass it along.

Q. You told us not to use NXE to copy Halo 3 to the Xbox 360 hard drive. You fixed that for Halo 3: ODST, right?

A. Yup.  Well, I didn't.  Mat Noguchi and a crew of awesome dudes did.  Awesome.  Dudes.  You'll be able to copy the Halo 3: ODST campaign disc directly to your hard drive if you want to.  We still recommend that you do not do so with the secondary disc.

Q. I know a secret. My friend's older brother works for Bungie and he told me that Heretic is really Midship. Is that true?

A. Yup. Well, the Midship stuff is. We’re not sure about your friend’s older brother.

Q. I just checked the Field Guide and I don't see a Battle Rifle. What gives?

A. Halo 3: ODST’s campaign and Firefight modes don’t feature the Battle Rifle. I’d tell you to blame Luke, but don’t worry, once you get your hands on the automag, you’ll forget all about your precious BR. And of course the traditional Halo 3 multiplayer, which you’ll remember from earlier in our conversation, is found on the second disc packed in with Halo 3: ODST, doesn’t make a single feature change to Halo 3’s multiplayer. If you want to four-shot some scrubs, you’re only ever a disc swap away.

Q. Why does Dare have such a giant head? It looks silly!

A. Let's have a chat.

A few months back I snagged some lunch with a few fine fellows from the office – a lunching quartet, if you will. This isn’t an uncommon occurrence; we often partake in the congressional consumption of nutrients when the standard lunching hour arrives. So why do I bring it up? Bear with me.

Beautiful downtown Kirkland - the city Bungie sets up shop in - offers up a pretty phenomenal selection of mealtime offerings. Just about any kind of cuisine you could ask for is right within walking distance (some right smack on the waterfront!). One particular joint we often stroll into is a great little Vietnamese place just across the street. It’s always busy, but they serve a mean bowl of Pho.

On the day in which this particular tale takes place, I elected the Vegetarian Kung Pao with Soybean "Chicken." Good old Number 55. It's an abomination, I know - the little, flesh-colored meat-analogue strips even have some kind of "skin" that’s represented by little raised bumps where one might imagine feathers had once been. Sufficiently sickened?  Be thankful you didn't have to eat it.  Let's move on.

So, we're all sitting there - our lunch foursome – slurping soups and choking back "chicken," when I have this thought pop into my head. I should explain: typically when random thoughts crop up into my tiny, little noggin', they aren't the kind of things I should ultimately entertain.  They're more often than not stuff that should be kept between me and myself.  But it seems the same function that spawns the very thought in the first place also compels me to fling it out of my mouth like so much poo.

The particular turd I'm on about - which after being verbalized brought a pall of uncomfortable silence over our lunchtime soup slurping - should have some relevance for many of you.

Before we continue, I should also mention that I have a fairly tiny head. When I say “tiny, little noggin’” I’m not merely providing commentary on my intellect. I do, in fact, have a puny head.

Perhaps this might account for the lack of conversational filter that I've described above, even though I've read that brain size has an inverse correlation in relation to a person's intelligence, and indeed, that Einstein's brain was actually quite small in comparison to the average man's (or woman's) brain. (I'm not trying to compare myself to Einstein mind you, he had way better hair than I ever will and came up with all kinds of fancy math stuff that's way beyond the realm of my comprehension. Just noting that head size does not always happen to correlate directly with one's intellect.)

Where were we? Oh, yes. So, I'm seated at the table, fellow small-headed chap on the left slurping his soup and two fairly large-headed chaps across the expanse of the table also slurping their soups, the spoons they’re clutching looking quite a bit like gift shop trinkets in comparison to their enormously bulbous craniums, when, as already described, I decide it would be an excellent time to let my ill-advised thought drop. Something like, “Hey, we’re arranged according to head size. Little heads over here. Huge heads over there!”

I might as well had reached over and tipped my glass of ice water onto the table. Two frigid stares. Seems people with gigantic heads are a touch self conscious.

But as bad as it was for me to call out these two fine gentlemen (who I should note did not beat my tiny head into a battered and bloody pulp), what I did pales in comparison to some of the rude, unfeeling behavior that some of you have engaged in this past week inside of our shiny new Halo 3: ODST forum. 

News flash: chicks don't dig it when you call attention to their head size.  For that matter, most of them don't really dig being called "chicks" either.  How about "That visor really accentuates what I assume are a beautiful pair of eyes!" or "Man, that helmet really makes her look model thin?"

But honestly. Picking on a lady? Heartless.

All jokes aside, Dare's head is proportioned correctly.  If you want proof, you can check out her entry in the Field Guide.  You can even access a QuickTime turnaround and see it from multiple angles yourself.  We have the technology.  We'd take the helmet off to take it one step further, but as always, we protect the identity of people rocking Recon.  Next thing you know Dare would be getting really annoying messages over Xbox LIVE.

Get Your Swag On

Most of us couldn’t check out the E3 festivities in person. It’s a shame isn’t it? Booth babes, sweet games, and swag raining down like so much, uh...rain. We can’t do much for you on the first two fronts, you’ll still have to pay for your games (and your women), but we did hold back some of our E3 swag and we plan on making it rain right here on Bungie.net.

Sample our wares:

To get a chance at one of several swag bags, containing stuff you can’t get anywhere else, simply post in the discussion thread attached to this update by the end of the weekend.  No need to wig out and post a million times or anything.  Try to keep it coherent, please. Come Monday we’ll stuff all the tags into a helmet and pluck out some winners. (Cheaters and boosters need not apply.)

If your name is drawn, we’ll PM you and give you 24 hours to claim your prize by supplying us with your contact information so we can mail you the goods. If 24 hours go by, we’ll move on and pluck out a new winner and send you a PM, mocking you for your laziness and misfortune.

HSSBOB Recon+ Contest

Last weekend’s “Best of the Best” Recon+ Screenshot contest lived up to its name. Plenty of you have the art of Halo 3 screenshots down to a sweet science. Since we’ve been known to pick some duds, we thought it was best that we left this week’s selections up to the experts.

Haloscreenshots.com have made their final selection, three finalists have been chosen and awarded codes that allow them to claim their prizes from Haloscreenshots.com.  All of the winners have been granted access to some fancy new gear and notified via PM. If you haven’t received your notification, thanks for playing. We hope you at least had fun with it.

To check out the complete collection, click on the link below. You guys do great work.


Haloscreenshots.com also wanted us to let you know that they’ve updated their website with some new images so you can see what kind of quality you’re looking at before picking up a canvas or a print. Hit the link below and let the drooling commence. When they say they produce these pieces at museum quality, they aren’t kidding around.

Haloscreenshots.com – About the Products

If you want to pick up a canvas or print of your favorite screenshot, just click the screenshot of your choosing on Bungie.net and hit the "Buy Print" link to be whisked away to a magical world where magical people make your dreams a reality.

Blame Stosh

Stosh found this. It made me laugh. Hope you laugh too. If not: Stosh.

Happy Hologram

We Out

Phew. Good week. Hope everyone enjoyed it. If not, kick rocks you big headed bastards. More to come soon. Have a safe weekend.   As always, Stay Tuned.
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