If you thought there was a lot of Halo information last week, wait ‘til next week. A bunch of stuff is going down to celebrate the 5th anniversary of a little game we like to call Halo. In November 2001, Halo launched alongside the Xbox console, and the rest is history. Next year, Halo 3 will conclude the story arc begun all those years ago and next week, we’ll take a long lingering look at the series to date. There will also be some pretty BIG surprises and maybe announcements. Who can say?
Hey, ladies. Yeah, I’m talking to you, ladies. It has come to my attention that a significant chunk of our playership is female. I myself am constantly pooned and then humped by ladies. That is not sexy like it sounds, btw. It’s humiliating. Anyway, one of the things we’re looking at for Halo 3 multiplayer (Master Chief is all man) is adding a female voice to the Spartan character should you choose it as part of your custom character.
If we do it, it won’t be comical, stereotypical or insulting – we’ll pick a great, strong female actress who can pull off bloodcurdling death cries and rattles. And we’re not promising anything, we’re just trying to gauge interest. If you girls think it would be cool, then comment in the forums, spam me with PMs or start a petition on your own sites and forums. Then we’ll have to listen. If you think it’s pointless and patronizing and you’re happy just being a dude, then say so.
If you ARE a dude, we don’t care what you think, because we’re not asking you. Anyone who says anything stupid or sexist in the discussion forum will be megabanned.
Ghost of Onyx is the new Da Vinci Code. Kinda. Our latest Halo novel is swimming with the sharks in the deep end of the book sales pool.
The book is currently number 13 on the NYTimes Bestseller list (11.19.06) (paperback fiction category) of which the top 15 are officially bestseller status – and we’re still trying to figure out if this is the first video game novel to ever break the NYT list.
It’s number two at Publisher’s Weekly on their trade paperback fiction category for the week ending November 13.
And it made number 24 on USA Today’s combo list:
It’s actually demonstrating the complexity of how book sales are tracked – making number 24 on the list (which is a combination of fiction, nonfiction, hardcover and paperback) for sales through November 5 (sandwiched neatly between Mary Higgins Clark and James Patterson).
Eric took a moment to chat with us about the success of the latest novel, in between sessions of rolling around in piles of money and having his car soapily-washed by Salma Hayek and Jessica Simpson.
Yo Eric, How has the reader reaction been to Ghosts of Onyx?
I’ve gotten a TON of email from readers. 99% of it is overwhelmingly positive with most people buying it and reading it in a single evening! The most gratifying thing is hearing back from the younger readers who tell me that normally they don’t like to read at all, but the HALO books are an exception.
To be fair, there have been a few negative things posted on the various boards. I’m constantly amazed by the stuff people say on the boards…varying from a collective intellect of dazzling sophistication—to random, near incomprehensible rants from slightly over-stimulated kids who mighta drunk too much chocolate milk.
What seems to be the reader’s favorite moment or character?
Kurt’s last line and the fate of a certain long un-exploded bomb….
What’s the biggest complaint you’ve received?
Readers wanting more. “What happens next ?” “Why is the novel (E.N.-- 95,000 words long, btw) so !&#%^ short?! Typos.
What’s your own favorite personal scene in the novel without spoilers?
Kurt’s last line. The final fate of planet Onyx. The entire Commander Lash story.
What other area of the Halo universe would you have liked to explore?
What happened to (and who the heck is) Grey Team? I had a great idea for a short story about Dr. Halsey and the first moment when Cortana is “turned on.” There’s a bunch of new territory (literally) at the end of GHOSTS OF ONYX that warrants “exploration.” It would be great to write something about what happens after HALO 3….
What’s next for Eric Nylund?
A big (200,000 word) new fantasy novel called MORTAL COILS. The Battle Star Galactica : CYLON WARS comic series. …More blockbuster games at Microsoft. A few screenplays, novels, and other graphic novel projects also in development.
Congrats to Cliffy B and OF COURSE the rest of the team at Epic for the launch of Gears of War. The game is full of amazing art, music, audio and gameplay. A bunch of us have been getting together at night for some curb-stomping, chainsaw-wielding action. It’s a violent, gory blast and is apparently the only thing folks on my Friends List are playing. And congrats to rare for busting out Viva Pinata. I won’t be playing it myself, because it’s for kids, so if you see someone with my Gamertag playing hours of Viva Piñata, then that’s erm, my nephew Arvin.
Matchmaking continues to evolve - we’ve cut things and added things in the past and we’ll continue to do it in the future. In short, because it’s necessary to keep matchmaking balanced, fun and well-populated. It often causes lots of agro and hatred when we makes changes, so with that in mind, I’ll let NinjaonFire explain:
In the next matchmaking playlist update, we’ll see some changes to the number of playlists which are available in Halo 2 on Xbox Live. We plan to reduce the number of playlists, in an effort to condense the active population into fewer pools. This will allow us to maintain healthy matchmaking functionality, with a minimal sacrifice of variety-based gametypes.
There is a core Halo 2 experience, embodied by playlists such as Team Slayer and Team Skirmish, which we will of course persist through these changes. The playlists that we do cut while making these changes could possibly be brought back at some point in the future, so if your favorite playlist goes away make sure to let us know. Kicking and screaming isn’t going to change anything, so keep that in mind when voicing how you feel about this subject.
I'm still not ready to give a complete list of which playlists we will be removing or merging, but when all is said and done we will have a higher ratio of ranked playlists. Over the past couple years we’ve had the luxury of an exceedingly good population online playing Halo 2. While we are confident that we'll maintain a significant population even while other games are released in this upcoming holiday season, due to the fact that we can't react immediately when it comes to changing the playlists, we'll be making some changes preemptively.
One of the playlists that will be removed in the next update will be Team Carnage. This playlist is based on a project which will be put on hold over the holiday season, it will most likely return sometime early next year. Another playlist that will be condensed into our core playlists will be Team ActionSack. This playlist has a lot of really fun gametypes and we’ll be integrating a select number of them into playlists such as Team Skirmish and Team Training.
When we have more specifics to announce, we’ll let you know. Until then, I’m sure many of you have questions and concerns which you may address in the Optimatch forum of Bungie.net!
Thanks Ninjer. I hope they don’t kill you. Peace!
So Hao wanted me to demo my new HD DVD drive, so I was all, only if you show me your new water tech, -blam!-! And then he was all, I can’t show you it because it’s just programmer art. And then I was all, I don’t care, lemme see it properly. Do a demo!
So demo he did. The water tech is proprietary, Hao and his boyz created it especially for Halo 3, after looking at the varying ways water is used in other games. In some games, it’s purely eye-candy and in others, it’s fully interactive. In Halo 3, it’s somewhere betwixt the two. Here’s what ours will have, should it be implemented correctly (I always put these , IF caveats in here). It will look like water. If the waves reach a certain height, frequency and turbidity, foam (or other effects) will appear on its surface.
It will of course have waves and ripples. But the cool part for me, was the fact that objects passing through it will create their own wake. It’s hardly an invention, since I distinctly remember seeing that in like Baldur’s Gate 2: Dark Alliance, but this looks very real and it’s going to look SWEET in levels like Valhalla when four or five vehicles go tear-assing through the river. The water is both translucent and reflective, so if you look from a distance, you’ll see a realtime reflection of the sky. If you’re up close, you’ll see whatever’s under the water. Right now it looks amazing, but to Hao’s point, it’s just programmer art. When an artist gets to play with it, this will be world-class agua. Can you sense how obsessed I am with video game water yet?
Our playtest on MP yesterday sucked for me, because the rumble on the controllers had been accidentally turned off by a bug. It got turned on later, but the test we were in was for King of the Hill on Snowbound, and without rumble, it’s hard to tell where you’re being shot from, no thanks to the crazy jumbo yellow programmer art currently representing the soon-to-be elegant Hill circle. Everyone else was having a blast, but I need Rumble! Some folks turn it off on purpose in their control preferences. I will never, ever understand that.
Our good friends at the 1UP Show have exclusive MULTIPLAYER VIDEO!!!!OMG but don’t get too excited, because it is purely footage of them playing, with no screens or images in sight. You can however hear all the new sound FX and see some excellent interviews with the game’s creators. It’s not their fault, it’s ours, we told ‘em they couldn’t film it, so don’t flame them. Go download that huge-ass jumbo file HERE.
That’s it for this week. Again, NEXT week is the big week. You’ve been warned. La la la.