Keeping in tradition with Halo 3 and Halo 2 before it, the Halo series has managed to fall into unsavory pirate hands yet again with Halo: Reach. How did the leak occur, you ask? Directly from Microsoft’s own servers on Xbox Live. This is because Bungie provided authorized reviewers with the codes to download the game which is currently on display in the Xbox Live Marketplace. However, having Reach hiding in plain site wasn’t clever enough to keep the modders from getting their greedy little hands on Reach a full month early.
With Reach already floating around on some torrents out there and in the hard drives of a climbing number of peoples computers, you can expect details from the games story to begin surfacing online. Futhermore, I can safely predict that there will be another epidemic of eager gamers playing Reach online and subsequently being caught and banned from Xbox Live. Microsoft claims that they are “aggressively investigating” the leak, as I’m sure they are furious, but expecting, of the incident. While Halo has been plagued with early downloads, video games don’t suffer from the same stigma of illegal Internet downloads as music, and the sales don’t seem to decline any. Anticipate Halo: Reach to do big numbers on its release date regardless of the incident.
Check it out, Microsoft just announced that all games made for the original Xbox will no longer be able to access the Xbox Live service as of April 15, 2010, and we couldn’t be happier with the news. No, we don’t hate classics like Halo 2, but the thing is, those titles are many years old, and they’ve been holding back the full potential of Xbox Live for far too long. As an example, it’s no secret that we hate the Xbox Live friend limit, and the major reason it exists is because of Halo 2. With Halo 2, and all the rest of the original Xbox games, being denied access to Live, Microsoft will be able to stop worrying about those original Xbox restrictions - and that means, among other things, that we should finally see that friend limit jacked up, if not removed entirely.
It should be noted that, even if you downloaded original Xbox games on your Xbox 360 using Games on Demand, even those won’t work when you try to connect to Xbox Live. It’s just the nature of the beast, and it’s all in the name of progress.
Read More | Gamerscore Blog
A few days ago we posted an editorial begging Microsoft to fix the Xbox Live friend limit that is currently imposed upon both Xbox Live and Zune users. Well, after years of being vague about it, the truth has finally come out. According to G4, a high-level Microsoft employee has revealed that the reason that the friend limit hasn’t increased at all, even after the launch of the Xbox 360, is Halo 2.
Halo 2? Yes. You see, original Xbox games have the friend limit hard-coded into them, and Halo 2 is an original Xbox game. Since it is still so popular, Microsoft thinks they need to keep supporting it. If they increase the friend limit, they need to take Halo 2 offline.
Please, for the love of all that is sane in the gaming world, implore your friends and countrymen to switch to Halo 3, or the upcoming Halo 3: ODST, so that we might have a more social Xbox Live.
Oh, and this still doesn’t explain the whole Zune Social thing, and Microsoft’s belief that it has to be tied to Xbox Live, for whatever reason!
See, it’s stuff like this that absolutely blows us away. We’ve seen a lot of people do some interesting things with LEGOs in the past, but we think this recreation of the Zanzibar map from Halo 2 may take the cake. This was done by a college student who seemingly had way too much time on his hands.
After nearly two years of building and thousands of dollars sunk into my project, it’s finished. This is my latest video which details how I made my famous Lego model of Zanzibar from it’s very first stage, to the now near completed form. I wanted to make this video so that everyone will get the facts straight. I originally sent the picture and video files that you’ll see in this video to Bungie Studios where they incorporated them into the Halo 3 Legendary edition bonus disk.
Check the video for the full scoop, and prepare to be amazed.
Time Magazine has Halo 3 on their cover this week but the feature inside the magazine, written by Lev Grossman, has raised the hackles on the necks of several game writers. Dan Zuccarelli from Bits, Bytes, Pixels and Sprites takes Grossman to task for what he feels is an ill-researched piece. It’s not hard to see where Zuccarelli is coming from. In the third paragraph the Time article calls Halo 2 an Xbox 360 exclusive and the inset graphic (reprinted on BBPS) shows a fan mod Xbox 360 featuring Halo 3 artwork rather than the actual Halo 3 Special Edition Xbox 360, not to mention mis-labeling the Heroclix Scarab as merely a “sculpture.”
What really has some people frothing though is Grossman’s obvious bias against gamers that seeps from nearly every paragraph as he repeatedly refers to them as antisocial, unhealthy, unpopular and even twice refers to gamers as residing in a ghetto. It’s not clear whether he refers to a literal ghetto or if he’s being metaphorical, but either way it doesn’t seem particularly balanced or neutral in tone.
The speculation is true – the latest issue of EGM confirms that Halo 3’s co-op (which will exist offline, with player two playing as the Arbiter) is not currently online. Bungie is working to get the feature implemented, but currently it isn’t happening. Considering they have a very limited amount of time left to work on the game, it seems highly unlikely that online co-op will make it into the retail version of the game. Of course, we could always get it through a patch or downloadable content down the road – but so help me if it costs even a penny.
“We’re not dumb,” says Bungie’s Frank O’Conner. “We know that people want it and we’re trying to make it happen. I think the biggest problem for us for online co-op is that we have a situation where you can be in a Warthog with five troops, almost a mile away from the other player. That’s a significant challenge. And there’s lots of design things you could do to prevent that from happening, but they would make it not feel like Halo anymore. If we can make it happen in a way that works well, we will - and if it works badly, we won’t.”
A smattering of other things are revealed in the EGM story, as well, including new weapons and gear: the Flare (flashbang), the Mauler (dual-wieldable Brute shotgun),the Gravity Hammer (according to CVG it sends vehicles flying), and the Regenerator (opposite of the power drainer). New vehicles include the Prowler, Hornet, and Elephant. They don’t sound quite as cool as Ghosts, Banshees and Warthogs, but hopefully they play well. Additionally, a remake of the popular Halo 2 map Lockout was revealed, now known as Guardian.
Read More | CVG
The Halo 3 Beta has been available to the public for nearly two weeks, and with well over a hundred games between the two of them, editors Chris Pereira and Kyle Ulrich have a discussion about the experience thus far - what they like, what they don’t, what needs to be changed, and more.
Kyle: First off, the graphics. While the beta looks good, it’s absolutely clear that what is there is merely a foundation for what the finished product will become. A lot of people have been quick to criticize the game for looking too similar to Halo 2, without taking into consideration that the majority of the assets that we’re seeing in this beta - the levels, weapons, and character models - have been finished for months, as early as last October. Particle effects are nonexistent - grenades and muzzle fire lack flourish. From my perspective, we’re going to be looking at almost an entirely different game come September. I’d imagine that there are layers and layers of polish that have yet to be implemented. Believe.
Chris: You’re right. Bungie is the type of developer that waits until the last moment to slap on that extra layer of gloss that makes everything oh-so-pretty. And unlike many games, gimmicky bloom effects aren’t what make Halo look good. And after all, this beta isn’t a tech demo; don’t expect it to wow you with its graphics.
Kyle: The gameplay is an entirely different story, though. Even in this early, unfinished stage, the balance is remarkable. Nothing feels particularly unusable and the power weapons are exactly what they should be: hard to use, one-hit skill kills. Everything from the recoil of the sniper rifle to the shortening of the Shotgun’s ammo chamber make major strides at leveling the playing field. The even smattering of spray and prays and one-shots coalesce and riff off each other beautifully. For my money, an unfinished product has never played so marvelously. Also, the tweaking of the objective game types shakes things up well. Territories is simply awesome.
So, Halo 2 for Windows Vista is launching on May 8, 2007, and we have been able to spend some time reviewing the title. Since everyone is familiar with Halo 2, we felt a full review wasn’t in order. Instead, we wanted to clue you in on the ten best improvements we experienced while reviewing the game. These ten features raise the bar for Halo as a whole, and may be a foreshadowing of things to come in Halo 3:
Achievements: If you are looking for something fun that adds another level of fun and challenge to the Halo 2 world, this is it. We have said it before, and we will say it again - Microsoft hit a gold mine with the notion of achievements. No sooner than when we finished a multiplayer deathmatch did we rack up a total of three achievements. Meleeing five people from behind (and thusly earning the Ninja achievement) was nice, but Meleeing someone who already had the Ninja achievement (and thus earning the Flaming Ninja achievement) was even better. We have the achievement to prove it. For those wondering, yes, the achievements you earn in Halo 2 for Vista (or any other Games for Windows game) is counted towards your Xbox Gamerscore.
Bungie today announced that coming in April, two “new” multiplayer maps will be available for download in Halo 2. The maps, new to Halo 2 are recreations of original maps found in the original Halo: Combat Evolved. The two maps, “Hang ‘Em High” and “Desolation,” will be downloadable on both the original Xbox and Xbox 360 for $4 on April 17th; luckily, original Xbox hold-outs won’t be left in the cold for this content update.
The full press release continues after the jump.
On the 5th anniversary of the release of the original Halo, Bungie has dropped a few more details about the goings-on in the Halo universe. First, a new Halo 3 commercial will air exclusively on Monday Night Football on December 4th, with availability on the Xbox Live Marketplace to follow. The commercial will be entirely in CG, which may be disappointing to hard-core fans looking for new in-game footage, but Bungie promises that the commercial will be something special nonetheless.
In addition, Bungie is promising exclusive Halo 2 multiplayer map content available on the Xbox 360. The content won’t be free, and also leaves current Xbox Halo 2 players in the cold. Bungie holds out a faint hope that the content may eventually make its way to the original Xbox, but realistically, this stands little chance of happening. A side benefit of the exclusive content, however, is the news that the backwards compatibility team will be looking at fixing some existing issues in Halo 2 on the Xbox 360.
Finally, probably the biggest news will be the availability of a public beta of Halo 3 this Spring. It sounds like right now the beta will be a limited multiplayer test, but should be exciting for those anxiously waiting for the next iteration of the franchise.
Read More | Bungie
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