Archive for the ‘Halo’ category

Bungie Weekly Update – August 19th

August 22nd, 2005

Master ChiefIn this week’s Weekly Update over at Bungie (where they seem to have dropped the “Weekly What’s Update” moniker), Frankie gives us a couple of tidbits in a short update.

  • All the new Halo 2 maps from the Multiplayer Map Pack will be available for free download on XBox Live from August 30th.
  • All the new maps will be included in the matchmaking lists from that point, so if you haven’t downloaded them, you may not be able to take part in some matches.
  • Bungie will be moving to their new larger offices in Kirkland in September
  • On the new project:

    “What about our new project? Well, it’s coming along swimmingly. I see cool things every day. More on that much later.”

  • The movie is progressing slowly, with details still being worked out with the lawyers.

Bungie Spotlights Major Nelson

August 19th, 2005

343 Guilty SparkBungie have posted a Community Spotlight story about Larry Hryb, a.k.a. Major Nelson, (Xbox Live Director of Programming). It focuses mainly on how the XBox Live team are helping weed out the Halo 2 cheaters, but also Frankie just won’t let it go about Bungie’s defeat at the hands of Major Nelson and the XBox Live team in a recent Halo Humpday Challenge 🙂

Bungie bans boosters

August 19th, 2005

Master ChiefFrankie has posted a news item about the mass (temporary) banning of “boosters” from playing Halo 2 on XBox Live.

“Yesterday several thousand players were banned, all people who were found to have played a significant number of games with known reported modders. ”

Frankie describes the phenomenon of “boosting”:

“Since the banhammer came down hard on people using modified content on Xbox Live, a new trend has emerged – “Boosting” with modders. People are using free trial accounts and using mods to boost their friends or their main accounts as much as they can until they eventually get banned.”

My only concern with this is that in matchmaking, you don’t necessarily know who is modding or not before the game begins. You may end up playing a series of games with/against modders, without your knowledge. Mind you, I’m sure the query Bungie can run is sophisticated enough to track down the real culprits, and it sounds to me that they are probably arranged games rather than matchmaking games. Overall, it’s good to see Bungie continuing to take a hard stance on all forms of cheating in Halo 2.

XBox 360 packages and prices announced

August 18th, 2005

XBox 360 PackMicrosoft have announced details of the packages and prices for the XBox 360 when it launches later this year. Major Nelson has the full press release here, and I’m sure it’s available elsewhere too.

There will be two packages, the XBox 360 and the XBox 360 Core System. The Core System version will come with no hard drive, a wired controller, and a S-Video cable, and will sell for $299.99/€299.99/£209.99. The premium model includes a 20GB hard drive, a wireless controller, a headset, component HD-AV cable, and for a limited time the Media Remote controller. This model will sell for $399.99/€399.99/£279.99.

Microsoft also announced several accessories, such as a 64MB memory card, play and charge kit for re-charging the wireless controller via the USB 2.0 port while you continue to play, a wireless networking adapter, and a VGA HD AV cable. No launch date has been specified yet, though 25th November has been rumoured as the European launch date.

It’s interesting to see Microsoft’s approach on pricing. Without any competition for the moment, they can pretty much charge what they like – within reason. No hard drive on the Core System version is interesting, since it might impact on backwards compatibility, but the HD can be purchased as an optional extra. The lower price point may be enough to get people interested. At that price point you get what looks to be a great gaming console, which can also play your MP3s from your iPod and act as a DVD player.

At an extra $100/€100/£70 for the premium edition, I’m sure Microsoft are hoping that most people will go for the extra value for money represented by the extras you get. I think most hardcore gamers will go for this package, as will many upgraders. It’s the one I have my eye on!

However, I think Microsoft have a problem. For me, there’s no compelling launch title. Unless Halo 2 looks and plays better on the XBox 360 (and the same goes for other XBox titles), then nothing available straight away will persuade me to upgrade. I bought the XBox early after the launch in Europe, and then Microsoft dropped the price a couple of weeks later. I won’t do that again. I’m prepared to wait for Halo 3, and hopefully for the price to come down, before upgrading.

At least, that’s what I’m saying now 🙂

Bungie Weekly What’s Update

August 18th, 2005

In last Friday’s WWU, Frankie lets us know that the matchmaking playlists are due to be updated in September. Part of the update will be to add the new maps to the standard playlists, since by September they will be available for free download via XBox Live. The Preview playlists will be removed at the same time.

The second change is the introduction of some multiple team gametypes, such as 3v3v3v3 Team Slayer. One new gametype that caught my eye was “Multi-balls”, which is an Oddball variant with two skulls – or as Frankie likes to call it, “total anarchy”. Even having only played one game of oddball, I can imagine what he means!

No mention this week of the current project they’re busy working on. Perhaps we’ll get more nuggets of info this week – and perhaps I’ll get around to writing about it sooner this time 🙂

Xbox 360 could cost €349

August 11th, 2005

Eurogamer are reporting that the XBox 360 could cost €349 when it is released later this year. There also seems to be confusion around whether there will be more than one version of the XBox 360 at launch, and whether it will ship with the hard drive or not. Shipping it without one would cause problems for backwards compatibility, so I don’t see that as likely. However, it may well be that there will be versions with larger capacity drives available.

November 25th European launch for Xbox 360?

August 11th, 2005

Eurogamer are quoting UK sources and reporting that the XBox 360 could launch in Europe on November 25th. That would give it a good four or five week period leading up to Christmas, and seems a likely date. Whether Microsoft can produce enough units to match demand seems unlikely, as it is looking like it will be this Christmas’s must-have gadget.

Red Vs Blue Season 4 on its way

August 11th, 2005

According to burnie over at Red Vs Blue, Season 4 of the award-winning machinima series will debut on the 29th of August. They are adding new features to the website, and hope to have sponsorship details available soon. One enhancement they hope to add is the ability for sponsors to roll their sponsorships into the next season. Presumably this means that sponsors for Season 4 will be able to roll it on to Season 5, rather than for current sponsors, but I could be wrong. I can’t wait for the new season, and I really should get around to ordering the Season 3 DVD!

Bungie Weekly What’s Update

August 11th, 2005

Frankie teases us in this week’s Weekly What’s Update. He promises info on their new project, only to give this tiny nugget:

“Teaser: Work is proceeding apace on our next project, whatever that may be.”

I’m glad to see they’re busy, but a bit more info would be appreciated 🙁

Halo Story Page updated

August 2nd, 2005

I just noticed that Jillybean updated the Halo Story Page a couple of days ago. A couple of digs at Cortana to keep Jillybean happy, as well as a theory about how Covenant weapons get recharged, and a pointer a discussion of the Flood over on the HBO Forum. That forum thread is in the latest batch of posts added to the Archives, so that kind of killed off the discussion :). All in all, interesting stuff!