Deep Fried E3 Goodness
Thursday, May 8th, 2003, 4:00 PM
One of the first things you’ll notice different about E3 this year compared to last is that Bungie is actually going to be there. Last year, with Halo having already been released, there really wasn’t much for Bungie to show so we decided to sit that dance out. This year things are drastically different and the time has come to pull back the veil and give the world a glimpse of what’s in store for Bungie and our Halo fans.
A demo like Halo 2 requires a special setting and this year we’ve pulled out all the stops. As fans enter the Microsoft booth, one of the first things they’ll encounter is the glorious Halo 2 Theater (a concept drawing is pictured at left). This custom theater was built from the ground up specifically to showcase Halo 2. The theater seats about 65 people and comes with all the bells and whistles you’d expect (complete with hypnotic control rays for our diabolical world domination plans). By the way, this ‘aint just another movie. The original Halo 2 announce trailer was an in-engine cinematic that was prepared in advance and released to the world. This time around, the E3 demo will consist of 100% bona fide in-engine gameplay and cinematics. Bungie team members like our Director of Cinematics, Joseph Staten, will be personally playing through the demo for everyone to experience. It’s been said a bunch already but I can honestly say after seeing this impressive display countless times around the office – It’s good. Oh so good. It might be a good idea to pack some extra under shorts because we can’t be responsible for what might happen. As mentioned in my last story, we don’t have concrete plans for an online release yet but once we get back from E3 we’ll regroup and explore options for sharing this demo with the world.
If you’ve already seen the June issue of the Official Xbox Magazine, then you probably have a good idea of what’s in store for the audience at E3 this year. If you haven’t, here’s what I can safely tell you without getting marketing in a tizzy – The demo picks up shortly after the Halo 2 Announce Trailer leaves off. The Covenant have invaded Earth and it’s up to the Chief to save the day and as Joe said, "liberally apply boot to ass." And... that’s all I can tell you! If you want more info, you’re going to have to dig through OXM and then wait until next week when everything will be revealed. A torturous wait it will be, but come on, we’ve waited this long already, what’s one more week?
Super Flaming Deep Fried Bacon Wrapped Metaphors
One thing that’s stuck with Halo 2 since it was first announced was a collection of ever-growing metaphors used to describe the game in comparison to the original. Jason Jones, whether he meant to or not, started this phenomenon way back with the original press release announcing Halo 2,
"Halo 2 is a lot like Halo 1, only it’s Halo 1 on fire, going 130 miles per hour through a hospital zone, being chased by helicopters and ninjas...And the ninjas are all on fire, too."
Sparking metaphor fever with the media, the "flaming ninja" Jason referred to actually became the internal symbol for the Halo 2 development team and can be found on this year’s FanFest emblem.
In the November 2002 issue of EGM the metaphors took a food-related twist when Jason said,
"it’s like Halo 1 but on fire...And wrapped in bacon."
Ninjas are out and deep fried artery-clogging food is in. Microsoft’s Ed Fries recently described Halo 2 as
"wrapped in bacon and fried in butter."
Want to see Halo wrapped in bacon? Check out the world exclusive photo to the right. And if you’ve read the latest OXM, you’ve no doubt seen their take on this with a plethora of off the wall wacky metaphors.
To be honest, this whole thing really came about because it’s just really hard to put a description of Halo 2 into words. The game is so much more of everything that the traditional terms just don’t seem to do it justice. Now that everyone is whipped up into a frenzy of deep fried metaphors, I thought it was time to set the record straight and see what a few of the guys have to say about the game on the verge of it’s E3 debut...
"..it's a gongshow. Food analogies are soo 2002." - John Butkus
"..it's like Halo 1 after it's been locked in the basement for 2 years and now it's hungry." - Chris Butcher
"I can honestly say Halo 2 is like putting on your favorite, most comfortable, warmest sweater that you always look forward to wearing, and then realizing it makes you invisible, gives you X-Ray vision, has integrated rocket launchers, and has an Aston Martin folded up in its pocket." - CJ Cowan
"Halo 2 – The ignition switch to a pair of solid rocket boosters strapped to the side of a ’66 Impala" - Curtis Creamer
"Halo is a lot like Halo 1, only with CANanimators! ;) Halo 2 makes my eyeballs sweat with anticipation" - Nathan Walpole
"Halo 2 is a herd of mutant elephants dipped in napalm stampeding through a fireworks factory. If you want to experience Halo 2 all you have to do is imagine a lump of clay, formed into a hammer the size of your mom, hurling through space at light speed, aimed directly at your eyeball." - Ryan Hylland
"It's tiramisu, Dove Bars, bon bons, and truffles, rolled together, coated in panko crust, flash fried and served on a bed of butterscotch and chocolate liqueur, topped with whipped cream and luscious sliced almonds." - Mehve
Ironically enough, as soon as I started to write about butter-fried bacon I noticed an interesting aroma creeping through the Studio. Is it…yes… I think it is… there’s no mistaking the scent of fresh pork products frying in grease. As it turns out, Alta, our incredibly hard working admin, has organized a special breakfast for the team in honor of the insane amount of hard work everyone’s been putting in to get ready for E3. Here are some behind the scenes photos of Alta and Dave whipping up this magnificent feast and Stephen Okasaki enjoying a few links.
But wait, there's more!
As I mentioned earlier, Halo 2 isn’t the only cool thing being shown at E3 this year. The long awaited PC version of Halo will be on the show floor giving people a hands-on chance to check out some of the new multiplayer mayhem. I tracked down Michel Bastien, Producer for Halo PC, to get an update on how things are shaping up. Here’s what he passed along:
E3 is now 6 days away and Master Chief is gearing up to take Los Angeles by storm. Many Bungie folks have been practically living at the studio for the last week or so to put the final touches on our Halo 2 gloriousness. But a couple of us have established an outpost in Plano, TX…
Plano you're wondering? Hell yeah, Plano. That's where Gearbox Software, the boys we partnered with to bring Halo to a PC near you, is located. We're crunching together on this final stretch leading to E3. We've been mostly quiet about the development of Halo PC, but we are about to unleash tons of details and… a playable multiplayer version of the game on the E3 floor.
Now I can't steal the actual thunder of the show and give you a bunch of specific details about what you'll see and play but let me just say this: even if you've played a gazillion hours of Halo on your Xbox, you'll still have to wander around for a few minutes to recognize the environments in which you'll be blasting the crap out of everyone else… not to mention recognizing the weaponry you'll be using to do so.
As for the actual development of the game, things are moving along nicely. I know we have all been patiently waiting to play Halo on our PCs. But you know us, you know us very well. And you know we won't get anything less than a great game out there - whatever it takes.
We've tackled many hard problems already and we have plenty more ahead. Once we're back from E3, I promise to give you more regular juicy details on our progress. Meanwhile, you should expect all this goodness to be delivered later this year.
See you at the FanFest!
There you have it, the latest straight from the trenches as Michel and the talented folks at Gearbox are putting the finishing touches on the E3 experience. With both Halo 2 and Halo PC taking center stage at the show, this is the time of true nirvana for all Halo fans. Be sure to check back throughout next week as we unleash a ton of updates and juicy details straight from the show floor including a boatload of new Halo 2 and Halo PC screens and info!
And, for the record, I think it's safe to say we can officially move on and put the bacon references behind us.