Fall of Reach – Chapters 1-3 [/r/HBC]

Afterbang over on /r/Halo has started a Halo Book Club, and we’re currently going through The Fall of Reach by Eric Nylund. I have permission to post the trivia and discussion points afterbang comes up with, and it’s a good thing – my answers wouldn’t make sense without them!

The original /r/Halo post can be found here.

Please note I had to peek for most of the trivia answers.

Fall of Reach (Gold)

“Guys, can you reach my keys? I can’t move. Seriously.”

Trivia
1.) What is the name of the Continue reading →

Advertisements

Halo 5 – tweets, prototypes, and a Chief gone rogue

Halo 5 teaser

There have been a few snippets (as opposed to tidbits – tidbits are way meatier) of Halo 5 news out there recently, I wanted to highlight them here:

  • Tweets from the Lead Designer – Brad Welch, lead designer at 343 Industries, has recently been tweeting with fans about the work they’re doing on Halo 5, mistakes he felt were made (some by him) on Halo 4, and how they’re looking to improve. I originally found this on VG247
  • “Prototype phase” and game breakdown – originally posted on PasteBin, this seems to be a general breakdown of what Halo 5 will contain; everything from story nuggets (Master Chief gone rogue, light RPG-ishness). The crazy part is that Stinkles (Frank O’Connor‘s handle on NeoGAF) seems to confirm it’s legitimacy here. (Thanks to IBTimes.co.in for the info)

It great to see 343 engaging with fans, so I’m all for Mr. Welch putting his thoughts out there. It’s also exciting to think about what’s going on behind closed doors at 343 …

…which segues perfectly into the “leaked” post. Is that breakdown the real deal? Does Frankie‘s seeming endorsement of this info mean it’s 100% true? 50%? All smoke and mirrors?

I just reread that post and it’s crazy to think about – battles with hundreds of AI, John-117 with his own ship and the ability to visit multiple planets, a campaign 3-5 times bigger than Halo 4 … and the list goes on. Wild.

With the Xbox One now out in the wild, the next iteration of Halo has been on my mind so it’s great to get some stuff to chew on.

Has anyone else heard anything about this? Are you ready for the next chapter in the series? I’d love to hear your thoughts below if you get a chance.

>>>>>>>>>[4712880.5040.480]

>>>>>>>[Post tenebras lux]

Days after event: 365

Dawn (H4 level)

Seems like old times.
Ready to get back to work?
Cortana crosses her arms.
I thought you’d never ask.

– John-117 and Cortana, “Dawn” level, Halo 4

To realize that’s it’s been a year since the buildup and release of Halo 4 is pretty crazy.

Three-hundred and sixty-five days since I busted out of work, drove home and was able to experience the thrill of a new Halo game – a new world to explore, new multiplayer spaces, and a new piece to the fiction-puzzle that makes up the Halo canon.

I’ve had great times since then, from the first night where I played the campaign straight through with friends, to hours of War Games and the addition of Spartan Ops, Halo 4 gave me what I wanted – more Halo.

For the established Halo Community the game has had its up and downs to be sure, but I’m excited about the future. The game certainly gave the franchise a new vibe, and I really have no idea where things are going to go – which intrigues me.

A toast: here’s to what’s come before and what’s yet to come – and may we all wake up from cryogenic sleep just as rested.

>>>>>>>>>[4712880.5760.432]

>>>>>>>[Post tenebras lux]

Bringing the Wonder – Halo 5 E3 2013 Teaser

As if having E3 2013 in full swing wasn’t enough, we were treated to a glimpse of the (possible) next installment of the Reclaimer Trilogy yesterday with the release of a teaser trailer at the Halo Xbox One E3 Media Brief.

There’s nothing like a Halo announcement video – it cuts to the core of every fan and brings the wonder factor every time.

But besides making my eyes twinkle with wonder, what else is going on in the trailer? Let’s ask some questions and let the speculation run wild!

Halo 5 teaser_2

Who? – There are three players in this mini-drama that we can identify – the Chief, Cortana (not actually present but a big part of the scene) and a (presumably) Forerunner machine which I will call “Stan.”

Stan makes quite the entrance, with the “wings” coming open being a particularly spectacular moment.

Since I saw the trailer on the link that labeled it as Halo, I figured that was the Master Chief trekking across a very mysterious (and very windy) desert. Did anyone see the trailer without knowing it was him? I think it would have made the entire sequence even better – the shock of finding out who the solitary wanderer was.

Halo 5 teaser_3

What? – So what the heck are we actually looking at? In the past Halo reveals have told a slightly different narrative than what actually happens in the game, so I’m expecting that to continue here – meaning while a similar scene may happen in-game it probably will have some variation throughout.

This could also be something that doesn’t take place in the next game at all, or at least we don’t see it take place.

What exactly does John-117 hold out in his hand? Is that the last chip that Cortana had been present on? (As a side note, wasn’t that chip vaporized by the Didact in the last level of Halo 4, “Midnight”?) Is there a trace of her still on that piece of equipment, or it is something to remind Chief of where he’s been/what he’s still fighting for?

Is Stan really a piece of Forerunner tech? Is there another power in in the galaxy that our hero now has to contend with? (I believe it is Forerunner, but I suppose there’s no way to be absolutely sure about anything at this point.)

What has the Master Chief been doing up until now? Is this the longest debrief is UNSC history?

What are the shadows that float across the ground during the logo shot at the end – possible a hint at a ship (or ships)?

Halo 5 teaser_4

Where? – Obviously it’s in a desert, but where at? The rock formations (the tall, thick spikes) that we see in the background right before Stan rises up reminded me of the Reach firefight map of Unearthed. I don’t believe this trailer takes place on Reach, but it was a neat connection.

The planet (or moon) in the background might give us a clue – is it a natural formation? It looked vaguely like it could be Forerunner made, but I don’t think so.

Where did the Forerunner machine come from? Was it (likely) placed in this location long ago, or is the desert its place of origin?

When? – Does this scene take place during the next game? Perhaps as a flashback? I would like to see the game just drop you somewhere without any explanation, and then have cut scenes like this one bring you up to speed as the game progresses; kind of a “reaction/action” thing.

When did Chief make the decision to come to this place? Was his hand forced?

Halo 5 teaser_5

Why? – It’s the obvious first question but I’ll ask it; why is the Master Chief here?

The way the Spartan just stands there as Stan rises from the ground makes it seem as if he’s expecting him, or at least was looking for him.

Could this have anything to do with the alteration the Librarian gave to John-117’s genetic code from Halo 4? Is Chief on a journey planned by her, like Bornstellar Makes Eternal Lasting so long before?

Why is the Chief’s visor cracked? Is that purely symbolic of his broken state? If so, that’s the good throwback to the opening cinematic of Halo 4 where the ONI operative refers to John-117 as “broken.”

Then again, maybe he just took a hammer to the face in the latest Grifball tournament on the Infinity. Who knows?

Halo 5 teaser

ADDENDUM: [approx. 1:00am EST] After I had already made this post I finished up some games with Sal from Halofanforlife (HFFL) and he had a theory about who the Forerunner construct (Stan) might actually be – Mendicant Bias! (He goes deeper into the theory in this post.)

This idea does make sense – with Mendicant being sealed below the Ark in the extra audio of Silentium (see Sal’s post for more on that), and the location in the trailer looking very much like the surface of the Ark in Halo 3, you have two good points as to who exactly spreads their wings in the trailer.

The (Lesser) Ark was destroyed at the end of Halo 3 – but could a part of it have survived?

Would Mendicant be a friend or foe? Is that who rises to greet Master Chief?

Whatever the case, exciting times are ahead – and I’m really looking forward to having these questions answered … and asking more.

>>>>>>>>>[4721640.720.312]

>>>>>>>[Post tenebras lux]

Modcast Bulletin (Ep. 5)

This Modcast was originally broadcast on 12.1.11

The “Modcast #5” achievement*** has been unlocked, and it was totally worth it!

As with the last Modcast, there were too many good things said to record quotes in here so that will be a separate post … enjoy!

Appreciated points:

Updated visuals take you there – CruelLEGACEY brought out the point that the updated Continue reading →

Modcast Bulletin (Ep. 3)

This Modcast originally broadcast on 11.3.11

With the fourth Modcast already out, this post can be put squarely in the belated category, with one addition … belatedly awesome!

Thank you to the CL’s for putting this together – as I soak in more and more of the community and all that is out there for people like me who enjoy Halo, I’ve come to Continue reading →

The Fight is Finished – 2 year anniversary

Originally posted at GameSpot on August 27, 2010

Recently, the world celebrated the two-year anniversary of one of history’s turning points.

Okay, that may be a bit of a stretch. But what is accurate is the fact that this past April 12th was two years to the day that my brother-in-law and I beat Halo 3.

There have been several Halo games since and Halo: Reach is just around the corner, but in looking back Halo 3 was a worthy sequel.

Explaining (mostly) hanging story threads, great environments and enemies, and the last cut scene that actually gave me chills are points that stick out in my mind two years later.

Master Chief, Arbiter – I salute you. Thanks for the good times, and may we have many more.

Post tenebras lux

Recent happenings on ringed orbital installations

Originally posted at GameSpot on April 24, 2008

Halo has been happening around me lately, with two recent examples proving yet again why this game is fun.

Last Tuesday night (April 15th) we went over to family’s house for a cook-out; burgers on the grill, fresh-baked cookies for dessert, etc. – a really great night. What capped if off, however, was the fact that my brother-in-law recently hooked up Xbox Live again.

So after a long day at the office and a fun night with family, I went home and went to bed – right? Wrong! I did my duty and after tucking everyone in to bed at our place, drove back to the in-law’s house and played some slayer! It was a blast to be back on live again; even at the late hour there were still plenty of people playing Halo 2. There were even new maps I hadn’t seen yet, which is always a bonus. I was definitely a little rusty, but got back into the groove pretty quick.

Many thanks to my brother-in-law who not only extended the invite, but let me hang out until 2:30 a.m.

If that wasn’t enough, we had friends over the next night (April 16th) – and a certain game was played for roughly four hours. That certain game? Halo: Combat Evolved. This is the couple my wife and I had introduced to Halo, and they couldn’t wait to play. Rockets on Derelict, Slayer on Prisoner, even some sniping on Boarding Action – very cool.

The girls did great in their own right, with a certain someone getting to know and loving the red B button. We all had a great time, and finished up past midnight.

All this to say, Halo is still pulling its weight when many other games have out-lived their fun. Hail the Maser Chief!

 Post tenebras lux

Never underestimate a gaming Grandma

Originally posted in GameSpot on June 2, 2005

If I’m going to talk about video games, then I have to start off by dedicating this post to my grandma. When I think about it, she was the first one to really get me interested in video games. Well, she didn’t start my interest – but she was the one to get my brother and I an NES so we could actually play.

Ah, our own system! No more would I be forced to sit on the sidelines at my friends’ houses while they played. No more would the phrase, “You can play the next game” bring a sting of resentment into my heart. My grandma bought us a system, and it was all ours.

You know how grandmas are. She had always spoiled my brothers and I, and the Nintendo was just another step in that process – a precious, precious step. God bless her! She had it all – cable, late bedtimes, and now a real NES for her grandkids to play.

But she didn’t stop there. What was different with my grandma was that she actually played the games with me. I remember countless times when we would play Super Mario Brothers. She would be Mario, I was Luigi (I always liked him better, I don’t know why), and we would go through the stages. Of course, as anyone who has played the game knows, the “2-player” mode on Super Mario Brothers only let the other person play when the other died.

Needless to say, my lives lasted a lot longer than grandma’s. I would play through many of the levels (especially the level-ending Bowser fights) while she would sit and watch, just happy that I was happy. What a gal, huh?! When I think of some in the previous generations today who think video games are a waste of time or refuse to even try to use new technology, she was a breath a fresh air.

One last thing: I know there are some people out there who play their games in this way, and if so, I completely understand. I still do it myself from time to time, if the pressure is high enough. What I’m talking about is the ability to mimic on-screen moments with your controller, or even your entire body in order to help yourself through the game. Come on, I know you know what I’m talking about – Mario jumps, so you move the control pad up when you hit “A.” Master Chief peeks around a corner, and you find yourself moving your head to the same side.

It’s an interesting (and sometimes unnerving) gaming phenomenon – and my grandma was the best at it. You could actually measure the height of Mario’s jump in real time by how high her controller went up!

So I raise my controller to you grandma – and thank you with every save, every stomped Koopa, and every 3-hit-combo.

Post tenebras lux