Hot holy crap!
Halo 3 Teaser Revealed!
Several months ago, work began with folks over the MGS Marketing team to develop the “brand identity” for Halo 3. This basically refers to the look and feel that will come to represent the game to fans and customers around the world. The first step was the logo itself which is followed by promotional imagery and the actual box art itself. If you recall back to Halo 2, we had a series of images that were used on everything from print ads to billboards that were dubbed the “Golden Campaign.” These images featured Master Chief against a fiery orange (golden) sky and the three pieces grew in intensity as the marketing campaign progressed.
For Halo 3 we’re taking a similar approach and building three distinct visual pieces that will be used in the months leading up to launch. These visuals are meant to convey various elements of the game and ultimately build awareness and create excitement – much in the same way you might see a major motion picture positioned and marketed.
Even though we showed Halo 3 for the first time last May, the official marketing campaign for the game is just now starting to begin. With this kickoff comes the first phase of visual identity – what is creatively being referred to as the “teaser piece.” While it may not be anything new for fans who have been following Halo 3 all along, it’s still very cool, very iconic and evokes a sense of mystery and intrigue. It teases you if you will. Although, it does contain ONE very important piece of information. Cough.
Several folks on the Bungie team have been working with our MGS partners and external agencies to make this imagery and subsequent pieces look really awesome. Soon you will start to see this popping up all over the place. We’ve seen comps of this plastered on bus stops, billboards and even the sides of skyscrapers. We hope you like it because you’ll be seeing a fair amount of it in the weeks ahead. Eventually we’ll graduate to phase two which will feature new imagery that’s in development right now – and it’s shaping up to be really sweet.
A lot of it is going to follow this in tone and style, but I can tell you that these images ratchet up the excitement and atmosphere with each successive poster.
And if you want to adorn your PC desktop with this picture, in house gif-monkey Stosh went ahead and formatted a couple of options for you.
Wallpaper sized horizontal treatment 1024x768
Wallpaper sized horizontal treatment 1280x768
Wallpaper sized horizontal treatment 1280x1024
Wallpaper sized horizontal treatment 1600x1200
Wallpaper-sized vertical treatment (my favorite).
Back up your Groups. Seriously. If you’re a Groups user (click here to find out what the heck a group is) and you want to keep any of the content on your Group pages and forums, you need to back it up. Groups are going away on a short vacation and we can’t be responsible for lost luggage. What am I talking about? Well, in a relatively short time, the Bungie.net you know and love, will be going away, to be replaced with some epic new shininess. A complete design overhaul with a new look and a couple of new features. Part of that process will include the temporary suspension of Groups – and they may be gone for a little while.
When they return, they will see some functionality changes in the user resources (these include things like news articles) – and it’s in those yet to be revealed areas, that data loss is most likely to happen. And if your group is less than three members, there’s no guarantee it will return when Groups are turned back on later in the year. After all, it’s a group, not a duo, right?
Since the overhaul is going to be pretty dramatic, it is always possible (some say ‘probable’) that some data will be lost, or scrambled. So we’re giving you LOTS of notice. Don’t worry, they’re not going away this week and when they do, it won’t be forever. We’ll keep you updated as we get closer to announcing that date. And we apologize for the inconvenience. It’ll be worth it in the end.
Oh and conspiracy theorists – the redesign of Bungie.net is not directly related to Halo 3 stuff, so don’t try to relate the two events. They’re unrelated.
We’ve been cranking away on combat dialog and the writing part at least, is mostly done. We’ve already recorded significant amounts of it, but we still have a bunch to do. The engine that handles our combat dialog has been improved from a technical and design standpoint, but you’re definitely going to enjoy the actors as much as, if not more than before. There are a couple of returning favorites, and plenty of new faces. After all, there are simply more Marines, more bad guys and more characters during combat. And they all need voices.
The next big ticket item for the audio team (apart from their ongoing, herculean efforts on game audio) will be recording combat dialog, then the main bulk of the cinematics script. Sgt. Johnson (and others) have already recorded some hilarious stuff that we hope we can share as outtakes at a later date. Music, as ever, will be one of the last things to be added, since it works exactly like a musical score for a movie – and is built to match the action.
In Campaign mode, I’m seeing fewer and fewer “empty” levels (levels without decorators and other prettifying objects) and more and more detail. One zone, a bridge that was once a bunch of gloriously lit, if bland concrete, is now adorned with a bunch of abandoned tools and construction equipment, like the This Old House version of the Marie Celeste. That theme, of ruin and abandonment is sort of creepy on otherwise familiar Earth environments.
In that same location, there was a Covenant grav-sniper platform, which I instinctively chucked all my grenades at to clear it of Jackal snipers (it was below my clifftop perch at the time) – so imagine my surprise when it exploded, and broke into sparking debris, which rained down on the ground below at speeds dictated by the still functioning grav lift beneath it. The temptation is to blow the things up immediately now, but you never know when you’re going to need to use those platforms yourself. I found this out to my cost when another, better hidden jackal sniper took me out, and I had already assploded my best tactical platform. Doh.
Brian Jarrard wanted to share some Crackdown/Beta News with you, and remember, most of your Beta-related questions can be answered HERE and if the answer you seek is not HERE then that is because the answer has not been decided yet. So we beg your patience and we’ll tell you more as soon as we possibly can.
Brian: Next Tuesday marks the release of Crackdown, the new open-world crime fighting adventure from Realtime Worlds and Dave Jones (of Grand Theft Auto fame). The Bungie Team got our copies of Crackdown last week and quite a few of us have put in a fair amount of time blowing stuff up and making incredible leaps from the roofs of towering skyscrapers. Frankie can’t even drive through downtown Seattle now without evaluating ledges and plotting a course to the upper elevations of the city.
Of course Halo fans also know that Crackdown includes access to the upcoming Halo 3 multiplayer beta. The integration is pretty slick actually – once the beta is activated, you’ll just go to the downloads menu in the game and you’ll magically be able to install the Halo 3 beta to your Xbox 360 direct from Marketplace. Once the beta is installed onto your Xbox, you can launch it via Crackdown itself (yes, this means that the Crackdown game disc has to be in your console before you can play the Halo 3 beta).
There are still many details of the Halo 3 beta to be finalized but one thing we did want to confirm is that the beta will not be starting next week. Crackdown will be available in stores starting Tuesday, 2/20, but the Halo 3 multiplayer beta start date is still being finalized. We’re still aiming for a Spring release, but it could be more like late Spring.
As soon as we have some firm details we’ll be sure to pass them along. In the meantime, enjoy Crackdown itself, which is a blast to play (especially co-op). And don’t forget that we still have new Halo 2 hotness coming in the form of brand new multiplayer maps still slated for release this Spring. We’ll have more to say about all of this stuff in the weeks ahead. Until then… remember, “Skills for kills, Agent. Skills for kills.”
I read a bunch of “X Button” drama on the interwebs this week. The “X button” will indeed be used to activate a new gameplay feature in Halo 3, but its location in the control scheme is yet to be finalized. Everything you’re about to read is subject to change, but we’re getting close to a final default layout.
Here’s what the control layout is on the latest internal builds, just for reference. I personally think it’s working pretty well, and wouldn’t change a thing, but we’ll see. Besides, you can pretty much remap the control layout to suit whatever you like, but here we go:
Multiplayer Control Scheme as of 3:43pm Today (subject to change).
Left and right sticks: Movement and look. Just like H2.
Click left and right sticks: Crouch and zoom – just like H2, although there is a “toggle crouch” option, so that you can stay crouched until you click the stick again.
B: Melee attack. Note: B may also be used to activate a subtle, but nifty context-sensitive feature.
Y: Switch to next weapon.
X: Activate mysterious new feature which on the cool scale falls somewhere between “crouch” and “activate Fantanas on speed dial.”
LT: Toss grenade.
RT: Shoot weapon.
LB: Cycle grenade type (you have at least three types of grenade now, so they must be cycled rather than switched).
RB: Pick up weapon/activate stuff/reload/use turrets and so on.
Note: If you hold LB while standing over a dual wieldable weapon, you’ll pick it up in your left hand – a huge improvement over the “Y” button in Halo 2. This doesn’t affect grenade cycling, because you can still tap LB to cycle grenades, but you can’t toss ‘em while dual wielding anyway. So it’s moot. After about ten minutes of play, it feels incredibly natural, with the lone downside that you have trouble adjusting when you go back to Halo 2. But more vitally, LB reloads the weapon in your left hand, individually when you’re dual-wielding.
BACK: Calls up the Multiplayer “player menu” – where you can mute jerks, see gamer data and so on. The back button is useful, but tough to press in really hectic action, since it’s so close to the Guide button.
START: Pause menu (which is translucent so you can adjust controls without losing track of what’s on screen) and one or two other significant goodies we haven’t revealed yet. From here you can also end or quit a game, naturally.
D-PAD: Used for sweet circular fighting game moves. No wait, my bad - it is currently used to activate team chat, but that’s very provisional. This is being given a lot of care and attention and is tied to other matters, such as your default settings and how team chat and proximity voice work. You’d be amazed how much testing and thought goes into this stuff.
And again, we stress. This stuff is not final. It could all change at any time. But that's a pretty good bunch of stuff to expect in the Beta.
Oh and finally, I make no apologies for ruining the nice art.