It’s been fascinating to see the rumor mill grinding away from the opposite side of the fence these last few years. As a fan, there’s this devilish sense of defiant giddiness that washes over you when you realize you might have been granted access to something much earlier than anyone ever expected. It’s like sneaking downstairs in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve to fondle your presents, surgically removing the tape, and getting your first good look at what will be in store for you in the morning.
Some children get so worked up that they just want to run off, scrawl their name on a scrap of paper, and deliver their triumphant message for the whole entire Internet to see, like a made-for-TV antagonist providing undeniable proof of their dastardly crimes. Others just can’t wait to tear open the wrapping paper and play with some new toys.
Per policy, you probably already know that I’m not going into any details about whatever it is that I'm on about today. I’m already straddling a somewhat ill-defined line with my opening remarks. That said, there is a proper time and a place for this sort of thing, and it won’t be too much longer until everything is out in the open all official like, and things start to make a little more sense.
Also found swirling around the glistening bowl that is the Internet this week, a bit of terse prose from our beloved publisher, Activision, concerning some new intellectual properties that they’re really charged up about:
…a new property from Bungie and an innovative new universe with broad appeal that will be revealed at Toy Fair later this week.
Which, when run through the tubes became: "Bungie revealing new IP at Toy Fair this week!" and "Bungie's New IP based around line of toys."
While there’s no doubt that we could totally Own the Message™ at Toy Fair this year with a proper reveal of our brand new IP, I can confirm that there are two very distinct, and very different subjects being discussed in that sentence making the rounds. They are:
A “new property from Bungie” (that’s us!)
An “innovative new universe with broad appeal that will be revealed at Toy Fair later this week” (that’s NOT us)
Apologies if you traveled cross country this week only to find yourself surrounded by grown ass men fingering action figures, or if you desperately wanted our new IP to be all about dolls. While the logical leaps aren't our fault, we can’t help but feel partly responsible.
By now, I hope you’ve been exposed to our sustain team’s latest and greatest dastardly deeds. They made some pretty sizable changes to our matchmaking offerings this past Tuesday, much of it based on solid community feedback you’ve been supplying. Grifball and Firefight Arcade are back in business, alongside some shiny new game modes and some existing offerings that received a good soaking of spit and polish.
The great thing about our upgraded matchmaking toolset for Halo: Reach is that it affords us the ability to react to feedback more quickly and substantially than ever before. Rest assured we’re not done yet. While you shouldn’t expect to see huge overhauls made to fundamental systems, we are definitely committed to ongoing, precise playlist level adjustments and additions aimed at ensuring your experience is maintained and well-tended. We’ve already made mention that our Arena offerings are now a primary target, but you should expect to hear more news about other alterations and additions in the weeks ahead.
We got called out earlier this week in our forums for publishing a map into the Community Slayer Grab Bag playlist that was modified by a player who was not the original creator. In this particular instance, we knew going in that there was likely going to be some confusion. Obviously, this triggered some alarm bells even though the map in question was not in contention for top honors in the Forgetacular map contest.
Jeremiah’s first inclination was to punt it. Spare us the headache of having to ‘splain. But I, along with some other voices from our panel of judges, challenged that wisdom. See, it’s complicated. We really don’t know in many cases whether the player who modified the map really did any real work or not to bring a map up to speed. It’s not unheard of to have more than one player work on a map together, and in the end we rightly can’t pull a Solomon and suggest that the map be split right down the middle to determine who really has legitimate ownership.
Forgetacular was a way for us to highlight some great Forgers – and we are happy with the winners we chose. But it was also a venue to find content that would allow us to craft a one of a kind playlist featuring our awe-inspiring community and their awesome creations. That intent is what’s most important to me in the grand scheme of it all. If that means that we green light a map that causes a little bit of confusion, so be it.
In these cases, we hope the real author feels a sense of pride that their map is being enjoyed by so many other players. And, if you swiped somebody’s map and called it your own, well, thanks for bringing it to our attention. You win nothing (good day, sir).
In the future, we’re going to override the Modified By field to display our studio logo. Not because we technically (and legally) own the Forge creations you make (we do), but simply to avoid any confusion that may arise. And of course, as we did with the last round of Forgetacular submissions, if there are ever any prizes on the line, we’ll be sure to vet maps that make the grade much more thoroughly.
This week’s challenge opened the playing field to anyone who owned a copy of Halo: Reach and had access to the Internet. That said there was still a lot of artistic talent on display. Capturing a great screenshot has become something of an art form of its own, with players tasked with not only snapping the right poses and composition, but also with layering in a myriad of lighting and special effects on top to really set their work apart from the pack.
We received about 700 submissions. Let’s see if we can spot the best of the bunch.
Once again, several patterns emerged right from the beginning. We saw a lot of “This is Sparta!” style kicks, plenty of Bob’s, and tons of assassinations.
Eat your heart out Michael Bay. That
is some good 'splosion.
Once again, we're mighty impressed by all the offerings we received. We doled out several stars for outstanding work. And since we got such a good turnout, we'll probably stick with the in game stuff for next week as well. Expect explicit details on Monday morning.
Sometimes we come across community craftsmanship that simply blows our minds. We always expect that players will do the unexpected, but this week Stosh dug up a map and game variant that made our minds melt. Using an ingenious combination of Forge pieces, the Stockpile game engine, and creative ingenuity, this player made it possible to not only play Skee Ball in Forge, but to have the game engine tally your score correctly.
Don’t believe it? Click the links below to download it and see for yourself.
That’s it for this week. See you soon.