A fanatical orgy of super nerds descended upon San Diego this week to get their clammy hooks on all manner of geeky, cross-genre goodness. Our boys Brian and Bertone have been busy wading through the body odor to offer up free samples of Halo 3: ODST Firefight (and mopping down each gaming station’s controller with industrial strength antibacterial wipes). Good times.
Though Brian’s absence from the community corner of the studio means I’m left to man the fort all by my lonesome, he hasn’t gone completely dark. Surrounded on all sides by a teeming mass of pimpled manflesh for sixteen hours on Thursday, and armed only with his fancy pants magic phone and his hotel room’s blazing fast broadband connection, Brian did his best to sum up the experience with a handful of snaps and a small pile of words.
"Yesterday we enjoyed a quaint afternoon with upwards of 100,000 other people who all descended upon the San Diego Convention Center for the annual Comic-con. Paul Bertone and I brought ODST along and offered fans a chance to get some hands-on time with Firefight inside the Xbox booth. Apparently, judging by the constant lines and crowds, a lot of people like Halo. Who knew?
Throughout the day we had ten minute games going on Crater and Security Zone (both maps initially revealed at E3 earlier this year) and the mob never dipped below a one hour wait. The Con itself had record crowds and venturing anywhere outside the safe zone of the booth was a risky proposition. Wading through the crowd just to get a drink easily became a thirty minute commitment, minimum. Thankfully we had some friendly support staff who were able to maintain our perimeter as seven people at a time trickled in to get up close and personal with our new cooperative game mode.
Lucky (or perhaps unlucky?) fans got a chance to climb up onto the stage and play alongside Paul (and later with Bungie artist Tom Doyle) and get a small prize. Naturally much trash was talked but nobody was able to live up to their claims of beating Paul at his own game. Overall it was a fun, if short lived, experience and we got to meet a ton of great fans along the way. Sadly, in barely the time that elapses in-game from the Rookie's crashing into New Mombasa and then waking to emerge from his drop pod, our time at the Con was over.
Later in the evening we setup shop again across the street at a mixer event hosted by Xbox and the cast of the LIVE show, "The Guild." For many more hours we hosted four firefight stations for media and fans alike amidst a nice offering of other upcoming Xbox titles and free drinks. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to say hi and show their support. I only wish it could've lasted longer. Hopefully we'll see more of you at Penny Arcade Expo later this Summer. For now, I'll leave you with an assortment of photos from yesterday's events (taken on a phone for extra gritty realism)."
Nobody puts Baby in a corner!
The long and winding Firefight road.
Head to Head
Oh, the humanity!
Prepare to Cosplay
Bungie Street Boys (and Friends)
The VIP room gets bigger, better, and more badass.
Halo in Retrospect
On Tuesday we commemorated
the original announcement of a little game we like to call Monkeynuts. You might know it a bit better as Halo. If you want to turn back the clock and relive the halcyon days of yore, slip into your favorite pair of Capris and scope out the archival footage of Jason Jones unveiling what was 1999’s New Hawtness. We’ve got the decade old unveiling all up in our YouTube channel
. And for all the jerks calling us out in the comments section for being “name wasters” even though we’ve already linked to that space before for our sadly defunct B.U.N.G.L.E. Pro™ project, yeah that’s our channel.
Now who are the ones who are the wasters? Huh? It’s you. That’s right, you
are the waster.
Where was I?
The Macworld 1999 footage obviously isn’t exactly new, as you may have noticed by the fact that it’s footage from Macworld 1999, but since the handful of copies we could dig up online were all low resolution affairs loaded with unappealing artifacts—all smudgy, blocky, and gross—we figured some IQ improvements were in order for this small snippet of studio treasure.
Our Visual Design team also crafted a ten year encapsulation of Halo’s past and present that we hear brought delicious tears to many a fan’s eye. You should give it a watch as well. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll see Marty in a wig and dress.
Originally aired on a ginormous theater screen in front of a live studio audience as part of our own internal Bungie Day festivities, we figured it would be a real shame if this slice of studio history went unshared with our Seventh Column peeps. The streaming version already went live this past Tuesday. Right-click and Save As, please.
Halo, Ten Years – WMV 360P Version
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, thanks for playing. And please stop sobbing. It’s getting embarrassing.
You Know the Music
Where the Hell is Matt? Turns out he’s right here. Well, he was. Wonder if he bailed because I was all up in his mug telling him to bust a move? Dance, monkey!
For the uninitiated, Matt’s the Darwinian Tubercle rockin’ former game developin’ dude who travels the world comically undulating in front of his camera. His global gyrations have proved to be so entertaining that he’s now operating his own well-traveled website
and renting out space for millions on YouTube
. He’s a pretty popular dude. As Pete Parsons put it, “Matt has more fans than we do.”
It’s true. His videos have something like eleven-centillion views. He’s also an incredibly nice, very humble, and topped off with a shock of thick, lustrous hair. So when his travels brought him into close proximity with our studio what else could we do ‘cept invite him inside our inner sanctum, fire up four copies of Halo 3: ODST, and throw down against a whole mess of alien scum hell bent on stopping the whole human race from getting their galactic groove on?
It was wild watching Matt ease into Firefight. While the rest of us have had plenty of time at the controls, it’s easy to forget that Firefight is still a fresh experience for everyone else. We did our best to explain the tweaks to the setup at the outset, but there’s just no substitute for getting boots on the ground.
Our whirlwind tour of duty touched down on SC140, L200, and on a map you’re already somewhat familiar with, Security Zone. Since each mission offers up a unique take on Firefight, it was pretty entertaining to hear Matt’s reactions as he plunged feet first into Firefight and tried to figure everything out on the fly.
He seemed impressed by the Covenant’s own razzle-dazzle dance moves (brought on by Firefight’s immediate activation of the Tough Luck skull), a Hunter’s tenacity and strength as it closed in and killed him with a single sweeping blow (“Did that thing just kill me with one hit?”), and for one brief romantic moment he became downright enamored with the lay of his own shadow over Security Zone’s steps.
Shishka and I were impressed ourselves. Since neither of us had laid eyes on L200’s Firefight flavor in its finished form, we didn’t really know what to expect. L200 has always been a unique and interesting space to tackle as a team (it was actually the first Firefight mission I had the pleasure of playing way back when in November, 2008), but it turns out the final days of development were especially kind to this eerie, multi-layered space.
Even with VISR mode switched off in this darkened lair, there was plenty of shiny stuff to keep my simple mind distracted and while Shishka and I made busy exploring the new layer of love painted over the dangling catwalks, we neglected to note the drums had kicked in and already heralded our demise. Once we spotted Chieftains it was already too late for us, there was nowhere to run. It typically takes some teamwork to take the bruisers out, and unfortunately for poor Matt, he now found himself operating solo.
Last Man Standing, low on ammo, and not quite sure what to make of the Hammer and Fuel Rod-wielding pair that were slowly closing on his position along the upper walkways, Matt fell back into the interior halls and attempted to set up a flank. He did eventually get his hands on a Sniper Rifle, but couldn’t make much use of the Long Rifle goodness. When he made his move he found that the Hammer Chieftain had already closed in from another angle. The flanker became the flank-ed.
You win this round (and set and wave), you alien bastards! Hope you had fun, Matt.
After our foray into Firefight was over, Pete ran me and Shishka out of the room and introduced Matt to Halo 3: ODST’s campaign, co-op style. And that, of course, is where I have to press X to shut down this brief tale’s VISR mode and leave you, dear friend, in the dark.
Where the Hell is Mah Medias!
You might have noticed we’ve been doing a bit of a jig ourselves since we dumped the last deluge of content on your ugly mugs during E3 week, spoke out about Crater (Night) and Security Zone a little later, and then released screenshots of Heretic, Citadel, and Longshore on Bungie Day. Actually now that I lay it all out like that, you’ve gotten quite your fill of delicious Halo 3: ODST tidbits haven’t you, you gluttonous little jerks?
Actually, just last week Brian locked a sizable contingent of gaming journalists into a room with a handful of copies of Halo 3: ODST and a pile of Grade D meat. Those that managed to survive the frenzy of slaps and hair pulling were released back into the wild armed with any notes they happened to salvage. You should be hearing from them soon (some of them
are actually already trickling out
). When their previews start hitting newsstands, mailboxes, and the vast network of interconnected computing systems, we’ll do our best to nudge you in the right direction.
We’ve also got some of our own men out in the field running covert ops. Though they’re operating dark, the ramifications of those missions will ripple outward like so much rippling, and you should be seeing some reviews and screenshots coming from those channels as well.
Board up your windows, hunker down, and stay tuned to the Bungie.net frequency. There’s a storm coming. 60 days.
August Matchmaking Updates
Shishka's making some changes and bringing back a not so old favorite for August's 7 on the 7th. He's also so very dreamy.
The hardcore category is being retired. Its playlists (Team SWAT, Team Snipers, MLG) are being moved over to Ranked. This will not affect TrueSkill or EXP in these playlists.
All custom Sandbox and Foundry variants have been set to skip after veto.
Certain fusion cores have been removed from the default and heavy variants of Valhalla.
Team SWAT, Team Snipers, and MLG are now listed in the Ranked category.
Team Slayer – Sandbox variants “Borderline,” “Reminiscent” added to Slayer, “Pantheon” added to Slayer BRs.
Squad Battle – “Workplace Bravo” added to Slayer BRs, “Eighty Grit” added to 1 Flag CTF. Both maps are optional.
All custom Sandbox and Foundry variants have been set to skip after veto
Certain fusion cores have been removed from the default and heavy variants of Valhalla.
Social Big Team – “Workplace Bravo” added to Slayer BRs, “Eighty Grit” added to 1 Flag CTF. Community variant “Entrenched” debuts in Multi Flag and Neutral Assault.
Social Team DLC – “Borderline,” “Reminiscent” added to Slayer. “Pantheon” added to Slayer BRs. “Cryptic Fate” added to Multi Flag. “Neosho” Added to Multi-Flag BRs.
Action Sack – “Mayan Grifball” on Sandbox map “Chichen Itza” added. “Scuds,” a Team Rockets variant with low speed and lower gravity added to Isolation, Blackout, and Sandbox.
Double XP Weekends
(Listed in order)
Grifball – Updated to include Mayan Grifball, Grifball Up There, and Aerial Grifball on Sandbox map variants (Optional)
Social Living Dead
7 on the 7th
August’s 7 on the 7th will be a 4v4 collection of maps on Sandbox and foundry. All of the maps from Bungie vs The World, as well as 10 new comers:
Through Rock and Metal and…Wood?
- Battle Dome
- Ber Ber Creek
- The Kingdom
From time to time the studio gets some extra special deliveries from some extraordinarily talented fans. Wanna check some of it out? It’s cosplay time!
We Can Haz
Icy Hot Stuntaz
Weta Meets Wood
Over the Shoulder
Fist Full of Cosplay
It seems I struck a sensitive nerve with more than a few of you last week with my open letter to Harrison’s mom. That’s okay. It’s clear some of you have no idea how to keep a mom satisfied. Watch and learn—Bungie’s been doing it (and doing it well) since 1991. Who am I to break with tradition?
And I’ll have you know that my heartfelt and sincere apology made its way over to Harrison’s mom and she’s already sent back another lovingly crafted reply. It’s called discourse, people. But I’m gonna keep it private this time. Some things just aren’t meant for public consumption. That said I do hope Harrison and his mother have a good talk about the whole thing during their regular Sunday evening chat.
Besides, Marty said he liked it so you can all just suck it right down.
Stosh. Image. Image. Stosh.
That’s it and That’s All
See you next week. Not figuratively, of course. It’s just an expression. Really, it’s an online only type thing we have going. Either way, this is the end. Not of the online only type thing. Just the update. And not all updates, mind you. Only today’s.