Co-op Hokey Pokey
The Internet’s hair was lit on fire this week and in between running around the kitchen screaming and waiting for the faucet to fill up with the cool water of logic a bunch of hair got torched. Have you ever smelled burnt hair? We’re not recommending you go out and try and A) burn your own hair or B) burn someone else’s hair, but just take our word for it – the smell of burnt hair is the smell of a thousand failures being vomited from the gullet of a tentacled creature hiding in a wet hole. It’s gross.
We didn’t start the fire, but a series of reports that spread from an unfortunate leak of an upcoming issue of U.S. enthusiast magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly spiraled out of control and suddenly reports on the Internet included salacious headlines like “Halo 3 Co-Op Heads Offline” and heads needed to be dipped in ice water in order to prevail.
All we confirmed to EGM for their sweet, mind-twitterpating Campaign reveal (and other massive feature reveal) regarding Cooperative Play in Halo 3’s Campaign is that System Link co-op will be included in Halo 3. Just like we told EGM, we’re aware that people want co-op online but the challenge of getting our complicated A.I. systems, huge game world, and gargantuan encounters neatly packaged and transferring across the Interwebz is a mythic undertaking. Nonetheless, like other elements of Halo 3, online co-op is a feature we’re wrestling with somewhere in a muddy and muggy Florida swamp against a ton-toothed Alligator, but, what we haven’t really talked about is how big the knife we brought to the wrasslin’ match is.
All that said, EGM doesn’t really know whether or not Halo 3 will ship with online co-op, only Bungie knows. The only thing they did know is that co-op was available for split-screen and System Link. As we approach the tail end of development, we will have a clearer picture of whether or not that online feature will be included. Assuming either way would be foolish at this time. We will say more when we feel it’s prudent. Because that’s how we roll.
The third ever episode of the soon-to-be weekly Bungie Podcast is in the can and handed off to our Audio guys for final mastering. After last week’s 35-minute show, some folks clamored for a longer program – this week, we lovingly obliged. Writer Joseph Staten showed up for this week’s show and he talks a little bit about what he’s been up to, besides penning Contact Harvest, and of course, does Grunt voices.
Like a octogenarian with a bucket of prune juice, the Bungie Podcast is about to get more regular, at least once Brian and Frankie, the show’s co-hosts finish up the Halo 3 World Tour. In between now and then, we’ll make sure to mix up the formula in between now and release, before settling into the routine this fall. That routine will mark the return of the Waahmbulance, among other things.
The Pen is Mightier No More
Last fall, we told EGM that the Covenant Energy Sword would return in Halo 3, this time functioning similarly in multiplayer as it did in campaign (with a decreasing charge). Recently, though, the Energy Sword has been undergoing even more changes to improve it, tune it and balance it for Halo 3’s multiplayer.
The biggest of those changes is a much clearer separation and function for the way the sword is wielded. In Halo 2, players could both lunge and melee as an offensive measure when wielding the sword, however, the choices players faced when deciding to lunge or melee were simple: “Am I far away? OK, I will lunge to close the distance,” otherwise, players could use multiple melee strikes to hack apart foes in multiplayer.
Now, there is a clear and obvious difference between pulling the R-trigger and hitting the B-button when wielding the sword. The differences give each function its own purpose and both lunge and melee strikes have their own situational advantages and disadvantages. One isn’t “always” better than the other. Additionally, Sword vs. Sword combat is much more interesting now; in Halo 3 we’ll introduce a mechanic we’ve been calling internally “clang.” No, it’s not a passive sword block feature or a flat damage reduction a la the Sword and Wired Reflexes combo in Shadowrun, our new mechanic still very much requires a precisely-timed button press, and continues to utilize the tactical differences between lunges and melee strikes.
Driving Under the Influence of Awesome
Um. The dudes at WETA made a Warthog. I don’t mean that they made a big plastic thing that looks like a Warthog. I mean they built a fully-functioning, four-wheel steering, powerful, off-road vehicle with a machine gun on the back. At the correct scale. If you live near Wellington, New Zealand, you might even see some crazy machine-shop dude from WETA fishtailing around your base, ahem, I mean neighborhood.
What’s it for? Well, a couple of things – one of which will be one of the shorts coming from director Neill Blomkamp. We sort of blindsided you guys with the first short (Arms Race) – it had little to no context or explanation, but when you see it as it was originally intended – as part of an overall narrative, you might just pee your pants. And if you don’t, then the picture below will certainly cause some leakage.
Goddamn. It’s a Warthog.
Click image to enlarge
Are you the world’s biggest Halo Fan?
Seriously, are you? We’re looking for one Halo freak from each of the following cities (or close by) for some antics we may plan around the launch of Halo 3. Can’t promise anything will come of this, but if you’re from one of these cities, send us a brief bio and a one paragraph explanation of why you’re the most loyal Halo fan from your region.
Anecdotes, links, even (very small) photos are welcome proofs that you’re the hardest of the hardcore. Age, gender, all of that are irrelevant, we’re just interested in finding out how much you love Halo, and why you think you represent the Halo Nation.
Send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org in the next week with your location (see above) in the subject line. We’re going to shut this down next Friday (July 27th). Jumbo emails will be rejected, and make sure you include a way for us to contact you efficiently and quickly. Your privacy will be ensured and your information will not be used for anything public without your prior written consent. Can’t tell you much more than that and we’ll only be contacting you if you meet our somewhat mysterious criteria. So don’t hold your breath waiting for a response.
Secrets and Lies
Just to reiterate, Frankie and Sketch inadvertently told a bunch of lies, fibs, falsehoods and untruths at E3. We were led to believe (read: told) that the Xbox 360 Halo 3 edition would ship with a wireless headset, when in fact, it does not. It ships with a wired headset, although it is painted to match the console itself. Apologies for that, we wuz led astray. However, the Wireless version still exists and will be available for sale simultaneously. So I guess you at least get to make the choice yourself.
ComicCon Celebrity Cavalcade
Our very own Joe Staten will be at ComiCon next Saturday, the 28th in San Diego, pimping, erm, I mean, promoting his first Halo novel, Contact: Harvest. You can meet Joe, get him to sign your bewbz, or a poster of the book’s cover art, at 3:30pm on Saturday, at booth 2743, and yes, that’s the WizKids booth. I mention this, because WizKids will also have something just as amazing as Joe Staten. Joe’s rival novelist, Eric Nylund will be there too. This will create too many cravats and smoking jackets and pipes at any one time. Writers, like monkeys will become enraged and hurl feces if they get within close proximity of each other. These are fireworks we wish to see. And smell.
And finally, this ought to speak for itself.