Bungie Weekly Update: 09.25.09
Posted by runningturtle at 9/25/2009 4:09 PM PDT
urk writes:
What a difference a week makes. Just seven short days ago our forums were awash with players itching to get their hands on a copy of Halo 3: ODST. Folks were fuming over French leaks, cursing out their friends for finding retailers willing to break street date, and just plain sick of the lowlifes who rushed into our forums to spoil the story for as many other people as possible.

This week, everybody’s getting their satisfying scratch on. Kinda makes me wonder if anybody’s gonna check in on the update this week. Maybe I can just sneak off and play some Firefight for the rest of the day. You’d let me live that down, wouldn’t you?
Top of the Charts
If you’ve yet to introduce yourself to the wealth of statistical information that our web team’s so lovingly provided you free of charge, here’s the rundown of the highest scores found in Firefight, as of 10:30AM, for each difficulty setting. Wanna see where your own scores stack up?

By the way, that Legendary high score is from a solo run. Total Chopper abuse going down. Covenant deserve each and every splatter they get though.
Getting What You Deserve
Halo 3’s player count went over the 15 million mark sometime yesterday. Today is the two year anniversary of the launch of the game. While most of this update is going to be dedicated to ODST’s launch, we wanted to deploy some words at the top to say thanks to the millions of people who’ve played and are still playing Halo 3, on and offline.

In the last twenty four hours over 1.4 million people graced Halo 3’s online battlefields. And though it sure seems like we just announced that we went over the one billion games threshold a few months back, you’ve already added another 366 million games to the tally.

We can’t say it enough...
Thanks for Playing
As a token of appreciation, our very own agdTinMan cooked you up some new iPhone wallpapers.  Get 'em while they're hot.



SI (centered)


Prepared, Dropped
We rang in the launch of Halo 3: ODST with an EMP blast so loud it sang out like a siren’s call, bringing a throng of about a thousand fans into Seattle for all sorts of shenanigans.

If you couldn’t attend and you want to relive the events as they went down in real time, you should check out our Twitter. We snapped as many shaky cam shots as our cell phone batteries would allow. Of course, plenty of us also came equipped with standard cameras, so we’ve got some candid shots all queued up to split up the wall of text we’re prepared to drop below.

The launch party didn’t officially kick off until 6pm, but people started gathering at the EMP entrance as early as 6am. For the mathematically challenged, that’s almost twelve hours! Some of our own rolled up around noon to find the early bird event planners and staff from both Microsoft and EMP already hard at work setting the whole affair in motion. The rest of our crew finished up the shortened workday and piled onto some buses to follow closely behind, destination: downtown.

I'm on a Bus!

When I popped into the venue at around two o’clock, most of the furnishings and equipment were already up and in working order with the secret stuff covered up by thick draping of dark curtains so the people with their noses against the glass couldn’t get a glimpse of the goings on until the doors opened wide.

Brian walked me through the whirlwind tour, showed me where I was gonna set up shop for most of the night, and then turned me and a whole pile of other Bungie peeps loose on the line of people waiting outside. By 4pm or so, there were already a few hundred people queued up and in a fine, Firefightin’ mood. The small cluster at the front of the line, led by one Rukari (who we interviewed last week), were rockin’ a television, an Xbox 360, and one retail copy of Halo 3: ODST. Dedicated much? We made sure the first two hundred also rocked commemorative ODST tee-shirts to celebrate their early arrival.

At 6pm sharp, the doors opened and the teeming masses of ODST fans flooded in to get their hands on the game and partake in the launch party festivities.

At Capacity

What if Staten...Signed some Swag?

Posters for Child's Play

First In
Playing for Prizes
For most of the evening, I stood on stage and watched as twelve teams battled it out in a knockdown, drag out Firefight tournament for cash, pride, and prizes. Okay, we didn’t put any cash on the line, but we did have four Xbox 360 Elites signed by the studio ready to hand over to the squad who came away with the victory.

We kept the rules simple. Four players per team slugging it out for no more than ten minutes of Firefightin’ on Rally Point. Legendary difficulty.

A few of the teams were comprised of players who had no experience with ODST while others featured people who had followed ODST to as many venues as they could, amassing hours of early, personal hands on time. Even with the experience gap in play, Legendary difficulty and the time limit proved to be great equalizers and most of the teams stayed well within the 20-30k range.

The top three scores after the first round were pretty tight:
  1. 38,066
  2. 37,486
  3. 31,646

The Seattle Sounders Football Club graced the stage as the final team on the roster. Nate Sturgis, Kasey Keller, Brad Evans, and Ben Dragavon stepped it up and turned in an impressive game of Firefight even though we didn’t have a single scrap of confetti on the playing field to make them feel at home. They didn’t do well enough to finish in the top three, but something tells me that they held back a bit so some other folks could get a chance at taking the top spot.

Great crew. If you’re in the Seattle area and you’re not going out to Qwest Field to take in some games, you’re doing it wrong.

We also saw a foursome from Rooster Teeth test their cooperative mettle in Firefight. Led by one illustrious and very bearded Burnie Burns, they laid it down in exposition style. We won’t dig too far into the details of their brief excursion, but we’re pretty sure they might have accidentally lowered their weapons at the outset of the match.

The Wraiths and Hunters didn’t follow suit.

I split that sentence away from the main body of the preceding paragraph for dramatic effect.
Playing in the Finals
Once the combatants were ready to return to the stage, Sketch pulled rank, wrestled the emcee duties away from me, and brought the top three teams back up one at a time to try their luck in Chasm Ten. Other than the mission space, the rules for the finals remained the same.
They came, the played, and the winning team turned in a whopping 40,778 points. Not bad. The victorious foursome claimed their prizes and stepped off the stage to a round of thunderous applause.

Then our Bungie crew stepped up and shut the whole thing down, turning in the highest score of the night overall. Our veteran squad of Joe Staten, Paul Bertone, CJ Cowan, and Lars Bakken dropped in and promptly dropped feet first into some Covenant ass, amassing 58,558 points to once again prove that nobody beats Bungie at our own game.

After a ten minute standing ovation threatened to shake loose the building’s very foundation, security stepped in and our team finally broke away, cornered the tournament winners, and repo’d the hardware the impostors clearly no longer had any claim to. There are no prizes for second place, chumps.

(Okay, so we showed some mercy and let them keep the spoils. Don’t get used to it.)
Playing Dress Up
After the tourney came to a close, we opened up the floor to some of the costumed contestants in attendance. One by one they strutted onto the stage and showcased their homemade stuff front and center while Microsoft’s Mike Stout charted the audience’s enthusiasm by way of some mystical contraption that was either counting total number of claps or metering serotonin levels. In short order a clear winner was crowned.

Since the little soldier was clearly underage, we made sure his dad was cool with the top prize - a Legendary Edition of Halo 3 (it’s a mature rated title, you know).

The Winnar

You've just entered...The Brute Zone

Dancin' MC

Aside from the cool costumes, I also learned a thing or two. For instance, did you know that Mistress Chief is really into teabagging? I had always assumed that the feminine soldiers of the UNSC lacked both the equipment and the experience to bust out some good old fashion celebratory crouching. I was wrong. So very wrong.

Mistress Chief Gets Down

Dual Wielding Finger Gunz

When the lights went down, the buses rolled on.  Next stop: Midnight Launch in Redmond Town Center.

Preparing to Drop
Twitter Trackin’
As mentioned at the top, we broke out the phones for a spell and snapped quite a few shots for those following along on Twitter. We also plucked out a handful of comments that made us chuckle. If you were among the small batch of followers that made the grade, you’ve already been notified. Swag is en route. ETA: sometime next week.

Halo 3: ODST Soundtrack
We also made mention via the blog earlier in the week, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t talk a little bit about the Halo 3: ODST Official Soundtrack. Marty tells me he doesn’t think he’s ever seen one of his soundtracks chart as well as ODST is on Amazon.com right now. We think that’s pretty awesome. And nope, we don’t think Deference for Darkness sounds anything like the Macarena.

If you’re playing through the game and your significant other is brought to tears by the sheer beauty captured on the soundtrack, you should be thinking about capturing your own copy as a stocking stuffer. Sgt. Johnson isn’t the only one that knows what the ladies like.  (Get it?)

Be Like Marty (Just Not in Germany)

The Test crew tells me that the correct description for the “Be Like Marty” achievement was lost in translation when it was delivered to our German fans. If the current text is to be believed, all you need to do to unlock it is fire off a full weapon magazine without killing any Covenant. Marty can do that in his sleep.

The real way to earn it is to survive an entire Round of Firefight without killing any enemies. We’re going to clear the confusion up using more official channels soon, but while we wait for the correct translation, we figured we’d set it straight right here.

We straight?
Do me a favor. Pop your Halo 3: Mythic disc out of the case and take a good, long look at the artwork. If it’s in your disc drive, don’t worry, it won’t kill you to take it out for a few seconds. Got it in hand?

Halo 3 players have produced an incomprehensible volume of user-created content. So when it came time to pick out the artwork that would grace what we’re calling the complete multiplayer experience, it made a lot of sense to use an iconic image from that vast collection of community files. The screenshot we ultimately settled on was snapped by Ryaaan14. It’s incredible. Ryan ain’t too shabby neither.

In case you’re not familiar with the man whose work now graces the game you bought, why not take a few minutes to get your read on?

Q. Who are you and what’s your claim to fame?

A. Well, my full name is Ryan Wheeler, though most people will know me by my previous gamertag "a tuxedo cat" or my current one "Ryaaan14". I've been actively involved with the Halo community since Halo 3 was released although I've been a longtime Halo fan. Some people may recognize me from the Halo 3 Forum's "Screw Assassin Armor" thread where I Photoshopped a lot of obscure helmets on Spartan models, or the Photoshop Frankie contest where I lovingly placed Frankie's mug on top of George Costanza's body ultimately scoring me a shiny set of Recon armor. And of course, now being the person who captured the screenshot that is the face of Road to Recon and the ODST Multiplayer disc.

Q. What went through your head when we contacted you to ask if it was alright if we could use that screenshot as the disc art?

  1. Uh oh, someone hijacked Brian Jarrard's Bungie account.
  2. Wait, this is perhaps legitimate.
  3. How much have I had to drink today...
  4. I need a new pair of underwear.

Q. We hope you got into some new skivvies by now. What originally got you into Halo?

A. Like I said before, I have been a hardcore Halo fan since Halo: Combat Evolved was released. It was always my go-to game when it came to having a blast with my friends. I still recall playing day-long LAN parties with my older college buddies when I was still in High School. Halo 2 got me through my wisdom teeth removal (I still have to replay the campaign to remember the storyline, I was so drugged up). And of course here I am now, a 24 year old guy living on my own in Chicago, playing Halo 3 and doing the most I can do to represent the community. It's a beautiful representation of my life really.

Q. Are you a student of the art of screenshots or more of a casual photographer who happened to snap a sweet shot from the right place and right time?

A. Funny enough, I actually am a freelance graphic artist and photographer, although I think my Halo fanboy-ism is what got me hooked on the art of screenshots. It really brought a whole new element to the art of gaming. No one ever opened that door until Halo 3 introduced Theater Mode. You can go kick some ass in Matchmaking, then run back to Theater and capture a true masterpiece. The screenshot that made the ODST disc, funny enough, was one I had written off as mediocre. I normally invite a lot of trusting folks to a Custom Game, and give them direction as to what motions to do, where to look, etc. Then of course I spend some time in Theater looking for that perfect shot.

Q. Perfect. Did you get the care package we sent out?

A. Indeed I did. The team at Bungie was kind enough to pass around a gorgeous Halo 3 ODST poster, and have it signed by nearly 50 members of the team. I am not ashamed to admit that my eyes welled up just like a 10 year old boy opening up his Nintendo 64 on Christmas morning. It was really the icing on the cake of this entire experience.

Q. Want to sound off or make some shout outs while you’re drying up those tears?

A. First and foremost, I have to thank my pre-Recon, pre-Real 7alk, pre-ODST Disc friends who have always been there for me when I'm bored and feel like playing Social games. My community, Real 7alk, they are the best fansite members out there. My Real 7alk staff, Aaron (Vaisor), Bob (AusQB), and Dan (Predator5791), you guys are my bffs4l. Also, a huge thanks to the Bungie staff for somehow finding me in the plentiful haystack that is the Halo community. You guys always make my day, and I am going to continue to harass you for things, including helping me earn my ODST Vidmasters (and keeping me amused when I'm drunk and feel like playing Firefight).

Oh, and my awesome mom who is probably just as excited as me about this entire thing.

Tell her we said what’s up. Oh, and thanks for the screenshot!

7 Billion Grunts
Switching gears and tackling other stats-related news, Morio Kun has thrown down the gauntlet and issued a pretty monumental community challenge. He believes in his heart of hearts that the Seventh Column can reach a grand total of 7 billion Grunts killed by Bungie Day 2010. We think he might be suckin' on a spiked food nipple.

What do you think? The current tally stands at just over four and a quarter billion. You up for a challenge?
All the News...
Time for Reach info?
Reaching for Answers writes: Question about Reach answers. That's kind of like a riddle...

So, ODST is out and it's great. You guys have been reluctant to give us info on Reach considering you've been in all out "ODST-mode," but the time has come and gone! When can we start expecting Reach information to start trickling out?

If that time is now (hopefully), will there be Elites as enemies? I know that many fans miss fighting the most formidable creatures in the known universe.

That time is not now. But it will be time soon. Sooner than some of you may think and not nearly soon enough for some others. And yeah, this is the part of the update where we remind you that your Halo 3: ODST disc serves as your invitation to the Halo: Reach Xbox LIVE multiplayer beta coming online in 2010.

Halo 3 vidmasters
Le Oblivious
writes: Hey what the heck I got all the vidmasters when the game leaked out in france and it says error cannot verify endure challenge or show my score from firefight and campaign.

I got the game called Halo 3 ODST when it leaked out in france and I unlocked all the vidmasters from Halo 3 ODST on september 8,2009. When I went into bungie.net to get my recon it say's error cannot verify the endure achievment. I worked my ass off that day to get all the vidmaster achievments and now it says error cannot find endure achievment and it doesnt read my firefight or campiagn stats. What do I do?


bungie are ghey!
writes: bungie are ghey!

they r stupid!!!1! they make us go to bungi cherrios to buy od$t! why cant t3h releese it 2 gamin stores acros amarica but noo we has to fly all the way 2 bungei cherrios jusr 2 buy teh gam

Okay, this is a fake submission. It has to be.

writes: What iz up with the guy who says they did it again





Not that I engage in truancy or anything, but
Playing Hooky
writes: But Halo 3:ODST was totally worthy skipping school for.

Halo 3:ODST not only lived up to my expectations, but surpassed them fantastically. For all of you who haven't jumped on the proverbial bandwagon, I suggest you get right on that. Play some Firefight. Dominate everything. 'Nuff said.

Stay in school, kids!

Blame Stosh
Stosh found this. Do you like it?

We Out
Alright, now I’m gonna go play some Firefight. See you next week.

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