Right now, as your ocular organs convert this ensemble of light and information into electro-chemical impulses, men and women of industry from all walks of life are busy building what we’ve been calling the most ambitious game in Bungie’s history. We have not been blowing smoke up your skirt. Though just about every aspect of Reach has been playable in one form or another for quite some time now, the days when months (and sometimes years) of hard work finally come to fruition right before our very eyes are upon us. Just as things started looking damn good for Playtest 5, the realization that plenty of that content was still placeholder (like the skies you saw over Boneyard in the Beta) is only now starting to sink in for me. Now is when the promise of a great game not only takes corporeal form – now is when it balls itself up into a great big fist and uppercuts your expectations straight into outer space. Bang, zoom, and all that.
For the team, that realization is born out of a maelstrom of work, work, and more hard work. In some cases for this crew, it means breakfast, lunch, and dinner inhaled at the office. It means time spent away from family and friends. It often means, for better or for worse, everything
But it also means all that work is now paying massive dividends as yesterday’s promises become today’s reality. As new builds come in at a blistering pace, it means portions of planet Reach are now soaked in sheets of misty rain leaving exposed ground saturated while walkways under rooftops remain realistically bone dry. It means once empty rooms are now filled with vital signs of life – little touches like stoves, plants, and furnishings that help transform what was once just playable space into something much more potent and meaningful and human. It means indigenous life. It means the Covenant forces mercilessly fighting for purchase on the planet are more vicious and cunning than ever before. It means, ultimately, that as more and more polish gets liberally applied and the game moves into its final stretch of development, more and more facets are beginning to take on the finish and shine expected of a brilliant and beautiful gemstone.
On my whiteboard, I scribbled a note to remind myself to talk a little bit about our plans to finally unveil a lot of the work I’m waxing on about. Talk is cheap. I know as well as anyone that seeing is believing. And I can’t wait for you to see this team’s phenomenal work.
Brian made a note himself.
“Just so you know, before you get started in on that I’m shutting it down. Cut, bro.”
Brian’s the boss. His fiat is final. His declaration means that I can’t tell you about the amazing slice of campaign I just laid eyes on in the fish tank. I can’t describe the symphony that is Noble Team working together in perfect, violent harmony, blazing a bloody trail through an advancing Covenant invasion. I can’t tell you about the unbelievably powerful and emotional score running underneath it all like a vital and victorious current. I can’t say a thing.
Don’t worry. It won’t be long now. If you haven’t heard, Halo: Reach hits all stores everywhere on September 14th, 2010 (Except in Japan, where it’s set to launch on the 15th) and since that leaves us with precious little time to show off all the expected and unexpected features we have in the works, you can bet you’ll be sighting some shiny new aspects of Reach real soon. Like E3 soon.
But today ain’t that day, I’m afraid.
Just in case you were under a rock until recently:
Not much left to say about the Beta that hasn’t already been said. Thanks for playing. We appreciate the feedback and all of the bugs you helped us file. We promise to put em’ to good use and make the game all the better for it.
Last week I took the liberty of posting a cryptic Twitpic
. Sounds kinda dirty for some reason, but it was really just a shot of the Ivory Tower’s recording light switched up into the on position. Full on red alert status.
Some speculated that we were laying down a new podcast. We weren’t. Some thought maybe Marty was making some of his majestic musical magic happen. Well, he was, but that wasn’t the reason the light went bright.
Nope, we were cranking away on something extra special for you. Something supplementary that you just might stumble across in September. But not now. Oh, no. Not now. Now is much, much too soon.
If you want to get your speculation on, I’ll drop a one word clue out in the mix to help you along. Just one. If you’re into what we were laying down, it’s likely all you’ll need to get your inner Halo nerd all spun up.
…soon we’ll be speaking about the next Podcast. We already have it in the can and Steve Lopez, the man with a thousand jobs, is prepping it while you read – mixin’ and mastering what should become the likely belated May edition of our always amateur assault on your auditory senses.
Somehow we roped Carney, Josh, and Bungie.net’s online maestro, Chris Gossett into our dimly lit den of dudes and made some magic happen. If you’re interested in hearing about some of the multiplayer changes being implemented post-Beta or want to know what you might expect out of Bungie.net on launch day, you should tune in when we’re ready to deploy. We’re hoping that happens on or before the end of the month, but since that’s coming in so deliriously hot, I’m not making any promises.
I should also note that we had planned to bring in some battle bros from our test team to drop some post-Beta knowledge, but the segment with Sage and Carney ran a little longer than we anticipated. Harrison’s Mom, if you’re still reading this weekly rundown of ours, don’t fret, we’ll give Andrew his much deserved moment in the spotlight very soon. He’s very special and we wanted to make sure we carved out a significant amount of time to spend talking with him. Because he deserves it.
I should also note that the only reason I wanted to make mention of the segment we couldn’t squeeze in was so I could post a picture of one of the proposed test team podcast participants, Gasca, squeezing a hot dog into his face. (Now that’s one meaty segue!)
It's doggone delicious!
One of the great things about working at Bungie, besides the free Friday trips to the taco truck (thanks, Bungie!), is the extravagant medical insurance policy our gracious employer provides us with. Covers just about everything. I think I’m gonna schedule some work soon, too. I was padding by Dave Candland’s desk on Thursday and totally pulled my neck out of socket by way of double take. Whiplash!
While I thought the multiplayer medals in the Beta looked pretty good all gritted up for added realism, it turns out that Candland hadn’t really done much work with ‘em at all. The new versions are like seeing the medals for the very first time. All shiny and new.
You should see ‘em for yourself. In fact, let’s just go ahead and slap a seven layer sampler platter inline for your viewing pleasure.
Bam! When I asked Candland to send me some shots of the new stuff in its current state, he also agreed to work up a little bit of commentary on UI’s behalf. Quite the generous fellow, eh?
“So the medals in our older games felt a bit cheerful, colorful, and clean for the tone of Reach. I figured since the graphics in Reach got a facelift, I’d take a whack at giving the medals an update as well. I ended up working with Andy and Kayl, two of our contract 3D artists here to come up with some realistic interpretations of my original medal designs. Here’s a few – just to whet the appetite of the fans and incite rampant speculation in the forums. :)
This week has been a whirlwind of stuff getting crammed into the game in the wee hours of the night. Most people noticed these showing up late yesterday. Having seen them in-game, it looks like there’s a little tweaking to do to increase legibility, but I must say, I can’t help but lean back and throw the horns or play a little air guitar riff every time one of these bad boys pops up. Luke provides me with the sound effects and expletives of astonishment. You should see the spew of these things across my screen when I fire a rocket into a crowd.”
Indeed. And because Candland was feeling extra giving this afternoon, and because Luke is feeling leagues more generous than Brian, we also have a handful of updated commendations on offer to close out this week's show.
Once again, Stosh can’t find the time to interface with you this week. Just like his compatriots, he’s neck deep in daily builds. Maybe he’ll get back to his regular routine after all the dust settles. Until then, I think we all know who to blame for the lack of hilariously awesome images at the end of this update.
That’s all for now, you stinkin’ group of dirty mothersuckers. Stay out of trouble. And Stay Tuned. We’re just getting warmed up.