Set your countdown clocks. The “Halo: Reach” multiplayer beta, which is poised to be one of the biggest test events in entertainment history, kicks off in just four days. Among the millions of “Halo” fans eagerly anticipating the beta is actress Aisha Tyler. Available starting today is a video introduction to the beta starring the actress, viewable exclusively through the “Halo 3: ODST” game disc. Tyler walks through all the new game modes and offers her own tips and insider hints for each of the maps while showing off some life-size “Halo” weaponry.
As this is a beta, Bungie will be turning on different modes at different times to optimize testing. The beta kicks off May 3rd with three playlists featuring the all-new, highly competitive Arena mode (4v4 ranked Team Slayer games) as well as “Free-for-All” and “Grab Bag” playlists, which include a mix of classic and brand new game types. Beginning May 7, the new large-scale Spartan vs. Elite “Invasion” playlist will be added to the beta. Finally, beginning May 14 the “Generator Defense” game type will become available.
Everyone who logs in and plays at least one full game of any type in the “Halo: Reach” beta will receive a free “Halo: Reach” Avatar hoodie via the Halo Waypoint portal on Xbox LIVE. To redeem the hoodie, players must access Halo Waypoint and browse their “Halo” Career statistics after completing a match.
Bungie has recently announced on their community blog that they have entered into a 10-year publishing agreement with Activision. From what is mentioned in the announcement, it appears this new partnership is meant to allow Bungie a world-wide recognized publisher with which to release original intellectual property on mulitple platforms:
The groundbreaking alliance will provide Bungie its first such partnership since splitting off from Microsoft in 2007, significantly broadening its global reach by providing the resources and support to develop, distribute and release games worldwide on multiple platforms and devices.
The details of the agreement stipulate that Activision retains the right to publish Bungie games based on new, original IP's which can translate to "no halo on PS3" depending on how you look at it. Bungie also retains all rights to their own content and will remain an independent company from Activision, meaning the possibility of another Infinity Ward/Activision fiasco would be highly unlikely.
It'll be interesting to see what kind of plans Bungie has with this new agreement. With E3 little more than a month away we expect more details to come to light. Stay tuned for more information as it develops.
Halo: Reach will be sporting the latest and greatest by way of online matchmaking options and Bungie went ahead and threw down a bunch of new info on their weekend update regarding some of the improvements.
There's a lot of info discussed on Bungie's site so I'll only name a couple things I noticed here. One item discussed was how a new map can be voted on if the randomly generated map doesn't meet your fancy. If you've played Halo 3 for a signifigant amount of time, you'll know that all to often veto'ing one less than prefered map and gametype would usually leave you stuck with an even more undesirable alternative. To remedy that Halo: Reach will display a list of three alternative maps that can be voted on to provide a better list of alternatives.
Another addition called Active Roster allows you to view current games your friends are playing in, whether or not you can join your friends matchmaking session, and Xbox Live parties people in your friendslist are in. The short and sweet is that creating parties with your friends no longer requires you to enter the Xbox Live guide menu making it a lot easier to coordinate invites between friends who might already be engaged in a matchmaking session.
Check out the above link for a complete run down. So far this is shaping up to be the definitive standard for all matchmaking games.
Rolling? Assassinations? Jetpacks?! Bungie teased us that their multiplayer reveal would be a 'bomb', but I doubt anyone was expecting this:
Although Bungie has said on numerous occasions that Halo: Reach will likely be its last Halo game, the studio is not making any promises. In fact, it has said it may someday revisit the franchise, saying that it would be "premature" to assume a complete stop on Halo after Reach releases.
"You know, it might be premature to say we'll never ever, ever make a Halo game again," Bungie's Brian Jarrard told CVG. "We sort of have a little special place for Halo in our hearts. But for the foreseeable future, this [Halo Reach] is it."
When asked if there was a lot of pressure due to Reach being "the last Halo game," or at least the last in a very long time, Jarrard answered, "There is a degree of pressure there, but I also think that inspires our team. If we don't ever come back to Halo again, we better damn well make sure that our last game is the best one ever. Let's set that bar really high and at least leave our fans something really special."
Bungie told OXM UK that its greatest regret from the entire Halo series was not adding matchmaking for the Firefight game mode in Halo 3: ODST. The reason it didn't? They simply didn't have the time. Bungie's Brian Jarrard said that the studio would "love" to be able to go back in time and fix the multiplayer issues, adding that's probably the reason ODST isn't as popular as other Halo games (although I'd advocate it's because ODST is seen as an expansion pack).
"I regret not being able to go back and make Firefight in ODST work and have match-making," said Jarrard. "I think we would have loved to have done that. We've heard it from the fans, we've heard it from the press. It's definitely something we'd have loved to be able to do but we didn't have the scope on the project. We didn't have the time.
"We accomplished a tremendous amount, but that's probably the reason ODST isn't being played as much right now as we'd like. It has had a shorter lifecycle than any of the Halo titles before. But Reach is our big chance to make up for some of those things. "
The Halo: Reach beta is launching this spring, and Bungie is expecting massive participation. The studio predicts an upwards of three million gamers will be playing the beta. To put that into perspective, the Halo 3 beta, which came with every copy of Crackdown, had about 800,000 downloads.
The Halo: Reach beta releases in May and will be available to those who purchased Halo 3: ODST.
“Halo: Reach,” developed exclusively for Xbox 360 by acclaimed developer Bungie, is the blockbuster prequel to the best-selling Xbox franchise of all time. It represents the culmination of Bungie’s 10 years of experience crafting groundbreaking “Halo” games that have raised expectations for what can be achieved in a video game.
In “Halo: Reach,” players experience the fateful moments that forged the “Halo” legend. It’s the story of Noble Team, a squad of heroic Spartan soldiers, and their final stand on planet Reach, humanity’s last line of defense between the terrifying Covenant and Earth. This darker story is echoed by grittier visuals amid a backdrop of massive, awe-inspiring environments. Characters, enemies and environments are rendered in amazing detail by an all-new engine designed to deliver epic-scale encounters against the cunning and ruthless Covenant.
Once the campaign is over, the battle continues online with an unparalleled multiplayer experience that expands on the award-winning suite of features that helped define the Xbox LIVE experience. (more...)
Microsoft announced yesterday that it would be flipping the proverbial switch off for the original Xbox Live service, effectively boning any gamers out there still playing Halo 2 and the likes on their big black box. Bungie has responded to this move, saying that it's "saddened" to see the era come to an end.
"Halo 2 fans take note – you have ten weeks left to play multiplayer games over Xbox Live before the service will be discontinued," they wrote in a statement.
"We're all saddened at the realization that an era is coming to an end but looking back, we're incredibly fortunate to have had such a great run and such strong support from our fans," continues Bungie. "Halo 2 has been at or near the top of the Xbox Live charts for original games since it launched over five years ago.
"That said, mark your calendars now - on April 14th let's all rally to go online for one last hoorah. One final farewell and one final opportunity for all of you to kick our asses at Halo 2."