In an interview with TeamXbox, Bungie.net development lead Chris Gossett reveals all the new Halo 3 implemented features, upgrades and spiffiness that will be rolling out on Bungie.net this Wednesday and be warned ... it's a doosy. Among the new Bungie.net features (of which all can be seen after the break) are ways of sharing videos and screenshots, voting on the community's best, keeping track of your campaign stats and keeping track of your multiplayer stats as well. Speaking of which, multiplayer stat tracking Halo 3 is off the hook, crazy insanely crazily detailed to the twelfth power. Seriously, the new Bungie.net's Halo 3 stat system blows Halo 2's out of the water and around the moon. And since there's too much to mention we advise looking after the break to read all the new upgrades and making the jump to check out a the full interview and a few screenshots too. The new and improved Bungie.net will roll out this Wednesday, prepare your eyes and mind ... it's going to be an information overload.
Oh, and did you notice there will be special Bungie.net medals? Oh yeah!
Bungie's quirky sense of humor really shines in a newly discovered Halo 3 beta multiplayer medal. Halo 3 beta player Izequo discovered a new medal while pwning a bunch of noobs with his shotgun in High Ground. The multiplayer medal, aptly named "Cheneymania!", is earned when a player kills ten others, with a shotgun, and without dying. A feat Mr. Cheney would definitely be proud of, because we all know how experienced he is with a shotgun. Birdshot FTW!
Update 1: Looks like Bungie was feeling the political heat and changed the name of the Cheneymania! medal to Shotgun Mania. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.
Update 2: They changed the name again. It's now called Open Season! Thank you David.
The day has finally come. No more massive leakage, no more jerky camera videos, because Bungie has officially lifted the veil on the Halo 3 beta by offering up a video of their own. Over on Bungie.net (and kindly embedded above) is nearly four minutes of Halo 3 beta action. It's complete with lasers, shooting, explosions, jumping, equipment items and is a sight to behold. But there is a point to their little video other than just showing off beta in all its glory. The video is also meant to feature Microsoft employee MrJukes (who has the prestigious honor of logging the most Halo 3 alpha/beta games to date) and all his Halo talent. And so, if you're interested in more than the video, Bungie.net posted a little interview with MrJukes after the jump. But back to the official video. Did we mention that the entire video was created using Halo 3's saved game feature? Oh, did we mention that seeing a Mongoose fly 20 feet in the air over the main entrance simply by driving over a portable gravity lift made us wet ourselves? We didn't? Well, yeah ... it's that good.
In Bungie's latest Weekly Update, Frankie went into greater detail with regards to Tombstone and Desolation. He complimented Certain Affinity's ability to bring Hang 'Em High and Derelict successfully to Halo 2's gameplay changes from that of Halo. There was obviously a lot more thought put into the changes than just changing the textures and taking away the roof, as the map also features fall damage, which we believe is to be exclusive to that map at this point. As for Desolation, it's been streamlined for competitive play and features grav lifts, ramps around the perimeter, as well as face lifts, moving from an abandoned spacecraft to an open forest.
Have you noticed anything screwy with your Xbox Live account or Windows Live ID? So far we haven't heard anything from the fanboy community, making us believe this is a much more isolated problem then ZDNet.com makes it appear. But we definitely think Microsoft needs to either come out and admit to the problem and tell us what happened or squash this over-zealous rumor. This whole hacking problem further begs the question; why can't hackers and gamers live in harmony?
Update 1: This mystery has been solved!
Bungie Studios revamped their presence inside the series of tubes that are the internet. While the previous incarnation of Bungie.net was revolutionary for its time, that was 3 years ago, and the latest takes it to the next level. To commemorate this transformation, the boys (and princess) of Bnet posted an interview with Lead Web Developer, Chris Gossett and Tom Gloconda (aka Achronos) about the revitalized look and feel of the site as well as features that have been added in preparation or Halo 3's beta and retail release this fall. The interview ended with some fun stats about Halo 2 for us to ponder, like how 4.7 million Gamertags have played in over 670 million games, although they didn't tell us how many of those were from the one month trial cards. What do you think of the new design and interface?
While Bungie's Weekly Update had a slew of goodies for you to get excited about Halo 3, they also touched on the $30 increase in price for the Legendary Edition. They more or less apologized for the misleading initial price point, and assured us that the final product will be definitely worth every penny, especially to those who are die hard Halo fans. They even revealed that the Legendary Edition is limited enough to warrant Bungie staff pre-ordering their own copies, and that each one is individually numbered. So, with that coming from them, does it change your opinion on the thirty dollar discrepancy?
The other interesting news from this week's update is a promise that we'll get to see some of the behind the scenes work that went into creating the Legendary Edition of Halo 3, including how the spartan helmet case came to be. Frankie also dropped an interesting tidbit referring to why the Limited Edition includes an art book that the holy grail Legendary Edition doesn't. He says that "Legendary Edition purchasers will be pleased to know that they will not have to live without that content at all". Interesting, no? Okay, this is getting too long. Just make the jump and read all the new newness that is Halo 3.
"gone to great lengths to make sure that the new game retains the 'Halo' aesthetic. It still looks like a Halo game, but just rendered with vastly more detail and content and some visual effects that simply weren't possible on Xbox"
So, we aren't going to be seeing Gears of War style graphics or that same art style ... it'll still be Halo, just a more shiny, pretty, and curvaceous version. Moving on. Do you remember the talk of the A-hole button? It's Halo 3's vastly improved and easier way to mute annoying kids in multiplayer. We now know the exact button combo to execute the muting frenzy, which could take less than a few seconds for some players. So, to mute a person in multiplayer, simply press the BACK button, use the right thumbstick to highlight the player, and press X ... that's it! What a convenient process that's entirely separate from and quicker than the Xbox 360 guide. Make the jump for a few more Halo 3 information nuggets, but don't let the Bungie.net webmaster see you ... he's a drunken gorilla maniac who blames everyone else for his problems. It's sad really.
This week's Bungie Weekly Update is a long one, almost epic in scale. In it, Frankie discusses many things, from Halo 3's campaign AI to Marty's award winning music. But what we love to hear about is how the game looks, how the world will interact with every multiplayer footstep we take, and how each blade of grass will sway. Frankie's water effects are coming along nicely, as the water reacts to whatever is in it, can get muddied, and could possibly move weapons (or bodies) down the river current. How cool is that? We also get a hint to where one of the new Halo 2 maps will be located, as Frankie tells us that "one map features some awesome monkey noises". Could it be in a Brute forrest or at the San Diego Zoo? We'll leave it up to you to do the speculating. Phew ... there's just too much information in the is weekly update for us to list, so we're making you read the other nuggets of information over at Bungie.net. Go ahead, Bungie doesn't bite (too hard).
Over at the PezCorner blog, Pezcore wrote up his concerns for the Halo franchise. To sum up his argument, he feels that Microsoft is "whoring" out the Halo franchise, making it too commercial, and tainting the Halo that we all love so dearly. Yes, we agree that Halo has gotten much more commercial, but that's what happens when a franchise reaches the popularity Halo has. One could argue that creating action figures, laser guns, or offering a beta in Crackdown is overkill, but an equal argument would be that this mass marketing feeds fan's appetite for all things Halo. Collecting action figures of your favorite video game, possibly playing Halo laser tag with your son, and getting the chance to play Halo 3 multiplayer before the game releases all wouldn't be possible if Microsoft didn't market Halo the way it has. And to be ashamed of being a Halo fan, because of the marketing? We'd consider checking your Halo fanboy membership card, because it may have expired. Let's all just breathe, be proud that we have one of the biggest FPS franchises, and have confidence in Bungie that they won't let anything happen to our Halo.