In what can only be described to Seattle locals as Snowpocalypse 2008 and described by hearty Midwesterners and East Coasters as "another day of winter," a gale of terrible power tore through Seattle this week, dusting the region in frigid powder. Everything froze up and turned to ice, driving was treacherous, and for safety the studio shut down. It's even closed today, but a few of us have braved ice, fire and snow to find a way to get something resembling an update into your hands, Internet.
Halo 3: ODST
With Christmas and New Year's fast approaching, the studio has been buzzing like a hive of bees. As we noted in last week's update, Halo 3: ODST is now what we consider "representational." In layman's terms, that means the game is theoretically playable end-to-end, although tons of game content is in non-finalized states. The playable spaces are all in, but while the plot plays out from start to finish, there's still quite a bit of Microsoft Mike and studio talent in the mix, standing in until the professional actors lend their voices to us.
Right now, in ODST, it seems like Staten is everywhere at once. Marine voice actor, check. ODST voice actor, check. Female marine voice actress, he's got that down too. The man has range
We're not going to dive too deeply into specifics now (obviously), but the entire studio was pulled "offline" on Wednesday - diverted from their other work - to play through Halo 3: ODST. For those of you who think it's all work and no play at Bungie, this might not help to quash your unfounded assumptions, but quash them you should because while we certainly enjoy playing games, and while it's our stated mission to craft kick ass games that we want to play, the first playthrough is all business. We don't take it lightly. We're not only trying to find out what's fun to play, we're trying to ascertain what isn't
fun to play. Where are players having to backtrack? Why are they toting a plasma pistol when they should have located the sniper rifle? The questions are nearly endless and the after-the-fact evaluation is thorough and honest.
Here and Now
Typically, the holiday break would mean a complete abatement in the content flow here at Bungie.net. This year, you can expect to see a definite scaling back over the next two weeks. Like many of you, many of us will be flying around the globe to spend some much deserved downtime with our friends and family.
That said, there will still be some updates to the Bungie Blog and a few Top Stories on the frontpage should you decide to peruse while we're away. We have the technology. Who knows, there might even be a few surprises in store for those who pop in from time to time to check things out. But don't get too worked up - make sure you're not locked in your bedroom F5ing away while your family spends the holidays sans you, forlorn and fawning over the lack of quality time. Instead, maybe make a fire and roast some foodstuffs with your peeps. Hold hands and sing songs. Play some World of Warcraft. Whatever gets you going.
Each year Bungie puts together a unique holiday card for family and friends. This year, Lorraine McLees and her Creative Services Team put together the awesomeness you're about to see below. Since we're all friends here, we figured you should get a copy in your digital mailbox. Scroll down for a sweet downloadable version you can print and send out to all the Halo fans you know and love. Or maybe just to freak your grandma out a bit.
Click on the images for the complete card, ready for assembly.
Happy Holidays to you and yours. We hope you have a great holiday season. Thanks for helping us make 2008 kick much ass - we can't wait to for you to see what we have in store for 2009. Stay tuned.
Oh, and one last little thing before we head off into the Winter Wonderland. Click to make huge. Check back next week. More to come.