Bungie Weekly Update: 12.18.09
Posted by urk at 12/18/2009 4:05 PM PST
Dear Diary,

Reach team dropped a trailer at the Spike TV VGA show last weekend. It was soooooo dreamy.

I sat up all night to watch the reactions on the Internet. Wild scene. Lots of people were (and still are) talking about all the revelations we revealed in total revelatory fashion. All kinds of new questions popped up, too. Was that footage all real time and running in engine? Was that totally the latest and greatest version of the Battle Rifle? Were Bungie’s writers under the influence of tequila-soaked Tijuana Mama’s when they feverishly dreamed up this new team of never-before-seen Spartans?

It hurts me deep down in my dark and sensitive places that I can’t ease everyone’s mind with a spate of soothing answers. Not until the latest and greatest version of the current media embargo lifts. I hear that happens early in the New Year. 2010. I'm really looking forward to it.  I think my New Year’s resolution is definitely gonna be to drop way more Halo: Reach media and information. That would be so great. Or maybe I’ll give up candy this year. Though I do love me those little strawberry doodads the Pho place keeps in the bowl by the register. (Root beer flavored candy is excreted from the slimy, brimstone-laden bowels of Hades.)

It also hurts me that this very same embargo prevents our Visual Design team from whipping up that traditional post-trailer ViDoc you so desperately want. Sadface. I’m looking forward to a little rest and relaxation over the holiday break, but I’d really love to pass some of my own down time tuning into a dozen or so talking heads talking all heady-like about all the blood, sweat, and tears that went into the two minutes and change that forced many a fan to swap out their under armor.

Speaking of pain, anguish, and poopy drawers, I opened up a thread in our forums for a brief spell yesterday and solicited some questions from the community. I don’t know what I expected. Maybe that there would be some stuff I could shed some light on.

Sketch looked over my shoulder while I was typing up my answers to said questions and asked some pertinent questions of his own.

“Didn’t you just do one of those not too long ago where you took questions and then dodged all of the answers? You’re not going to bury my Q&A all the way at the bottom where nobody’s gonna see it, are you?”

You’re not the boss of me, Sketch! (Actually it turns out according to Human Resources he is.) -blam!-!

Still, I opened this can of worms all by myself and it’s about time I spooned these slimy, glistening guts into my mouth. Hopefully, I’ll be able to wash the taste out my mouth later one with some delicious podcast.

Brian’s stuff is at the top. The rest is below.
Halo: Reach World Premiere Post Deployment Postmortem

Q: We have so, so many questions, why won’t you give us any answers!?

A: The good news is that you won’t have to wait much longer to get many of the answers you’re looking for. The bad news is that they probably aren’t part of this FAQ today. Expect to get more insights into Reach in mid-January when some magazines around the world start hitting subscribers. Once that embargo clears we’ll open up the flood gates on Bungie.net accordingly. In the meantime, perhaps you will find the answers to SOME of your questions below…

Q: So what’s the deal, is this trailer “real” or not?

A: The Halo: Reach trailer was produced directly in our new game engine using real game assets. Because the game is still in the midst of development, which means things like framerate are still in flux, we do something called a “frame dump” that lets us spit out the content, frame by frame, and then compile it back as the video you all saw on Saturday. We can actually run this same cinematic right now, within the latest game build, but it’s not always at the consistent smooth framerate of the final game (yet).

Q: Awesome, so this is what the final game will look like?

A: This trailer absolutely represents our visual bar for the final game and is near identical to what you’ll see next Fall. The single biggest difference between this trailer and the final game will be the extra generous amount of anti-aliasing (the smoothing of “jaggies” or edges of pixels) present in what you’re watching right now but rest assured that Reach will be significantly improved in this department compared to Halo 3. (The extreme “AA” in the trailer was due to the “frame dump” mentioned above.)

Suffice it to say we’re really excited about the technological and artistic advancements we’re making with Reach and you’ll see more from the campaign in just a few weeks.

Q: What were the names of those people? What was that weapon? What’s that flying thing called?

A: See question #1 above. Soon my friends… soon.

Q: Are those Spartan IIIs or Spartan IIs we see in the trailer?

A: See question #1 above… (but the answer is YES).

Q: Is there a date for the multiplayer beta yet? Can you give us any new info?

A: Not yet. We can reconfirm it’s going to land in Spring 2010 and we should be locking down the final date early next year. You’ll still need ODST to access the content so make sure you hold onto those discs!

Q: The music in the Reach trailer was awesome. Where can I get my hands on it?

A: Welcome to yesterday. The file is now available on Bungie.net, courtesy of Marty O’Donnell.

Getting Down and Dirty, Seventh Column Style

MemberUgh writes, “can I have your babies?”

I don’t have any babies. When I get one, hit me up and we’ll talk turkey.

Scapegoat413 writes, “What sort of questions?”

Not the sort you see above. Or the one you asked yourself either. Those sort of questions lead to these sort of answers. You have no one to blame but yourself.

Phenomenon IV writes, “When can we see a picture of you?”

Whenever you like. Might want to turn on Safe Search when you go sifting through the Internet, though.

Everybody writes, “When are we gonna get more info on the Halo: Reach beta?”

Beta launches sometime in Spring 2010.  As you might imagine, we'll have more details as it comes on approach.  Halo 3: ODST is your invitation, yadda yadda yadda, you'll need an active Xbox LIVE Gold account to participate.

Qbix89 writes, “Halo 3 had a lot of big, open environments with large encounters. Will we see that scale return in Halo: Reach?”

I can’t dig into details covering any of Halo: Reach’s core gameplay, environments, or scale, but you might find some good fodder and fuel to drive this kind of speculation and extrapolation packed into the VGA video we just dropped.

beewaxers7 writes, “How do feel about the community's increasing outcry for a multiplayer map to be set in Manassas?”

I kinda feel like it’s a cry for help.

Lord Snakie writes, “How heavily did Marty draw on the past four Halo games he's composed for to create his compositions for Reach? I noticed a lot of ODST in the new piece released today. Does he consider that to be his most drawn-on work for Reach's style?”

Dunno. Let’s ask him.  Enter the Maestro:


I didn’t draw on anything from previous games. Maybe it’s just my style coming through.


ShadedSpartan17 writes, “Can you give us a tinsy tidbit of more info of Reach?”

I can. Just not today. And it’s “teensy.”

Recon Number 54 writes, “Now that ODST is out and information has started to trickle to the public on Reach, what is the official "project count" and status/stage of each current project at Bungie?”

Halo: Reach is in full production, the team is kicking ass, and it’s on target for a retail release in Fall of 2010.

New top secret, non-Halo project is still in its top secret, non-Halo stage.

I’ll let you crunch the numbers on your own. :)

DeathBringer669 asks, “When will the Personnel, Ordnance, and Enemies sections of the Reach project page have some info and pretty pictures?"

After the current media embargo lifts, we’ll start fleshing out the Reach page with intriguing info and purty pictures. So, early next year. Sit tight.

ShadedSpartan17 writes, “Also what's up with you and runningturtle’s avatar. Got some babe action going there?”

Some things are best left up to the imagination. Some things also often violate our internal HR policy. There’s a story behind the fingers, but I’m not at liberty to publicize it. 

COL0NEL SANDERS writes, “I was thinking about my name the other day and wondered, why is Charlie short for Charles if they're both the same length?”

Turns out short is short for diminutive, which encompasses both size reduction and familiarity. So, Charlie isn’t short for Charles in the most technical sense of the word, but rather it's the form most often used by family and friends, diminutively.  Thanks to Robt McLees for the trail-head.

Sir Muffinator writes, “Are we gonna get to hear anymore of Marty's music from Reach any time soon?”

Soon is a relative term, but I’ll go ahead and assume you’re operating in day and weeks and not months and years and say no. If Marty goes and makes a liar out of me, I will gladly eat these words with a pair of headphones strapped to my noggin. Oh, and just to beat all of you suckers to the punch, no, that stuff you're bound to hear on YouTube proclaiming to be an early copy of the soundtrack is, of course, not the soundtrack at all.

HammeredTurnip writes, “Where exactly is your third nipple?”

Ask your mother. Nicely.

burritosenior writes, “What are the chances of seeing Blood Gulch in some upcoming game in the next few years?”

I’m writing down two numbers. One is zero and the other is one hundred. Exactly one of these numbers represents the percentage of chance that you’ll see Blood Gulch in an upcoming game in the next few years.

Dropship dude writes, “Gah, how did I miss this thread?!”

Seems an odd question considering.

Peacekeeper MX writes, “Have you ever been snowed in?”

Tons of times. Last year we got a whopping foot of snow in Seattle and Sea-Tac looked like something out of The Road. People were fighting over blankets, lighting fires in trash bins, and entire families were found huddling in the bathroom stalls for warmth. I ended up missing my flight (and Christmas).

nubyw00tz writes, “Are you as 'Marvelous' as you say you are?”

As marvelous as a bauble could be. See, it’s one of those ironical things.

Dr M4dness writes, “I have a question. Are you going to answer our questions?”

Thanks you for phrasing one of your questions in the form of a statement. I grow weary of people who blindly follow instructions.

philace117 writes, “Will there be any map remakes in Halo: Reach?”

We like to call them “spiritual successors” and we’re not talking about any multiplayer features that may or may not be included in Halo: Reach just yet.

Twisted Youth writes, “I'd like a few more of those map features, not to mention Lone Wolves on iTunes. Any chance?”

Map features: maybe. iTunes: you can download the track from Bungie.net and drop it into your iTunes music library. Magic!

Cpt LegendArian writes, “What exactly is the new Reach aerial vehicle called?”

Good question. It’s definitely not the Sparrow, the Chickadee, the Osprey, or the Hawk. It’s brand new.

huskyguy writes, “Are those plasma nades or monitors adorning the tree in this year’s holiday card?”

irishfreak writes, “do you secretly hate the irish?”

Nope. I do it right out in the open. Stupid Irish!

Halfa55al writes, “Who's mom do you like more? FoMan's or Harrison's?”

Don’t make me choose.

Cloxverto writes, “Any ETA on the Podcast?”

Yeah. Now. Clocks in at over two hours.  You should break it up into fifteen minute chunks and savor it over the long holiday break we have coming.

We didn't get Jones in the room, but we did get eight guests to stop by and sound off. You should definitely tune in.

JobeTheConqueror writes, “Can you offer a seemingly cryptic but vastly explanatory clue as to how Reach ends?”

How 'bout something like, “From the beginning, you know the end?” Ship it.

Bob Bobinson writes, "how girl get pragnent?"

Something tells me you won’t ever have to worry about the logistics involved, Bob.

CorvetteHalo3 writes, “Will this question be in the Weekly Update?”

Nope. No wait…yes!

Wolverfrog writes, “Are you answering our questions because the update will be short?”

Nope. No wait…yes!

Primo84 writes, “Will we play as any of the characters seen in the Reach trailer?”

Uh, yeah.

TS z3NN 9 writes, “Do we play as a Spartan III in Reach and/or will Master Chief make an appearance?”

Sketch already answered the Spartan III bit.  As far as the Chief is concerned, you should really focus your time and energy dreaming dreamily about the stars of our Halo: Reach show - Noble Team.

cRaZyT101 writes, “When do you think the Slingshot will be fully operational?”

I was in a meeting last week where this exact topic was discussed. Staten assured me that it’s coming along much sooner than you might think. And while most of you will assume that this is just another one of our elaborate jokes, it's not. We really did have a meeting covering this topic and The Slingshot will be realized and operational sooner than you think - just not in the form you would expect.

Put that in your speculation pipe, take a good long drag, and let the toxic carcinogens whisk you away to Flavor Country.

cB4d93 writes, “Is Carter (Spartan 259) the person who says ‘Affirmative’ in the reach cinematic?”


HydraNockz writes, “Is E.T. making a cameo in Reach?”

Yes. Reach features an astronomical amount of extraterrestrials.

Blame Stosh
Stosh did well in the 2009, didn't he? If you want to hear his take, you should check him out in the podcast we just dropped. He also dropped another Blame Stosh screenshot for you this week.  Last one for the '09.  Sniff.

Smell Ya Later Foreva
Hey, have you heard? We're going on a two week break starting...now. Winter Wonderland and all that. Hibernation protocols initialized. All systems operating on emergency power.

See you in 2010, Seventh Column.
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