Thursday, 31 May 2012

New Footage From the Halo 4 Beta - OK-ish Quality


Our good friends at HaloLessons.it have done it again - this time posting a minute and a half of footage from the closed Halo 4 Multiplayer Beta



It's the best video we've had yet from the beta. As I say every time, we're so close to E3 that it might be best to just wait for the official footage now.

Movement speed looks really fast. The kill-time on the AR is crazy, it looks an absolute beast. First time seeing the grenade pistol in action too - I'm getting that screen that pops out tells you when someone is nearby so you can release the trigger and let the grenade explode, just like the Pro-pipe. 

The Marathon Trilogy is Now Available for Free on iOS

Some of you may remember a time before Halo, some of you - like me - may have been Mac owners and remember the months that could go by during the 90s without seeing a new game release. In those days Marathon was like a gift from the Gods. For it's time it was a very intelligent, story based FPS.

It might not look like much today, but you have to remember that in the mid-nineties this was up against Doom II, and in terms of depth and quality it booted the Doom games clean into touch.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

18 New Images Leak From the Halo 4 Closed Beta - PotatoCam

Some fresh, terrible quality images have surfaced via HaloLessons.it  Tthere's quite a bit in here, but the quality is very poor. You may be best advised just to wait until E3 and get top quality images. 


New Ghost! Looks very glossy, I bet that specular highlight looks great in motion. 


BestBuy US Offer Awesome Halo 4 Pre-Order Pack

Reddit user and BestBuy employee Sfspectre just shared a picture of the awesome pre-order pack available to those who Pre-Order Halo 4 from BestBuy along with a $5 deposit:


Hopefully a UK retailer manages to secure this too as BestBuy UK shut down earlier in the year. ShopTo have yet to announce their pre-order incentive so maybe they've secured it, I'll update as soon as there's word.

It's an awesome print and would look fantastic framed, so it would be a real shame if it remains US exclusive.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Halo 4 Wins an Into The Pixel Award

In what will surely be the first of many awards for Halo 4, it has scooped one of the 2012 Into The Pixel awards for outstanding videogame artistry.
"Into The Pixel is a testament to the artistry and creative vision of our industry’s innovators and remarkable talent, we congratulate the selected artists for achieving their creative vision and having that talent recognized by their peers.”
Halo won for this piece called "Spire Vista" by John Wallin Liberto:

Click to enlarge
Other winners include Journey, Assassin's Creed III, Skullgirls and Guild Wars II, I recommend having a look at the gallery over at IntoThePixel.com

There will be a gallery of the winners at E3 next week.

- Cowboy Out.

Monday, 28 May 2012

More Screens Leak From The Halo 4 Closed Beta - Poor Quality

8 New screen grabs have surfaced courtesy of Italian Halo site halouniverse.it, the quality is poor but we do get a look at some new assets:
Click to enlarge

Halo 4 Limited Edition Available for Pre-Order Now!

You probably read about the announcement of the Halo 4 Limited Edition last week. I'm sure that like me, you've been sat with a itchy finger waiting to hit pre-order since then. Well now you can scratch that itch and replace it with the warm, secure feeling of knowing that you're pre-order is locked in.

As I reported earlier in the week pre-ordering with Amazon gets you an exclusive skin and emblems. Here's my run down of where best to pre-order:

UK:
Amazon.co.uk - £64.99 - Includes exclusive skin and emblems
Play.com - £69.99 - Includes exclusive skin
Game is £64.99 - Includes exclusive armour skin
Gamestation - £64.99 - Includes armour skin and weapon skin (same as GAME's)
ShopTo - £64.95 - No exclusive DLC announced yet

US:
Amazon.com - $99.99 - Includes exclusive skin and emblems
BestBuy - $99.99 - Includes an exclusive skin
GameStop - $99.99 - Includes an exclusive skin

Amazon seem to have the best deals at the moment, I'll update this page if there's any special offers elsewhere or better DLC announced.

In case you missed the news earlier in the week, here's the breakdown of the Limited Edition contents from the Microsoft Press Release: (Actually worth a read as I think it clarifies a few things from the Waypoint bulletin earlier in the week)

UPDATED: BBC News Gets Their UNSCs In a Mix

It appears someone at the BBC was having a bit of an off-day when researching a story about the UN Security Council. In this clip from last Thursday's BBC Evening News we see the UNSC logo from Halo on the screen behind the news reader.

 I suppose it's an easy mistake to make:


 BBC researchers, Google Image Search is not your friend.

UPDATE:

It seems the BBC are not alone in their inability to utilise Google Image Search responsibly, Canadian newspaper CanAsian Times have also posted the UNSC logo on their website:


 - Cowboy Out.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Beatiful Halo Fan-Art Posters

Canadian artist Ron Guyatt produces beatifully stylised videogame posters and sells them via Etsy. Following requests from fans he's produced three Halo posters:


Halo 4 Beta Media Leaked - Super-Low Quality

Three screenshots and an eleven minute video have popped up online, supposedly from the Halo 4 beta.
Looks to be a sort of Forerunner riot shield, could be a new Armour Ability? To be honest it could just as easily be a weird Forerunner missile pod or something, we can't be sure either way from just this image.
This is an important rock, apparently.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Frank O'Connor Discusses the Halo 4 OST

Over on NeoGaf, Halo 4 Franchise Development Director Frank O'Connor has been discussing some of their plans for the Halo 4 soundtrack album:
"We're working on something pretty interesting for the Halo 4 OST. Potentially a second disc of remixes. Wanted to think about it as a compelling counterpart to the "narrative" flow of the main OST, so we could keep that "pure" but work with some top electronic musicians to do something else ona separate disc, something you could play in the car without driving too dramatically or crying.
If it comes together the way we think it will, it's going to be pretty amazing"
 Sounds really promising, they did a similar thing with the Halo 2 OST (the best Halo OST) with Breaking Benjamin, Incubus and Hoobastank producing tracks based on the Halo themes. When Neil Davidge was announced as the composer on Halo 4 he did a livechat on Facebook (the full transcript is >here<), he was asked if he planned to collaborate with any other artists for the OST, and he replied:

"I'd love to get different modern, contemporary artists and different remixes and take these tunes and rework them in their own style. I'll have to talk to 343 about that."
  It appears that question may have prompted this whole extra CD in the Halo 4 soundtrack - Awesome! 

- Cowboy Out.

Halo 4 listing on Microsoft Store Suggests the Return of Clans

The listing for Halo 4 on the US Microsoft Store has a bullet point that reads:
"Track your groups, stats and scores on HaloWaypoint.com"
"Groups" - That's not really a part of the Halo vernacular, which would seem suggest a new feature. Clans, maybe?

Clan support is something that's been dearly missed among the community since Halo 2. Before the Xbox 360 launched, Microsoft talked about having clan support at a system level, they even showed a clan blade on the old dashboard. Unfortunately, this never materialised and it was never explained why it was dropped. I'd guess they felt the phrase "clan" was very hardcore and suggested a seriousness to the gaming experience that they'd rather avoid.

And so we have Groups, we know literally nothing about them other than the fact will be trackable on Waypoint. It's reasonable to think they will be some sort of clan equivalent, what else could they be?

It's still early Stateside, I'll update if we get an update from Frankie or David Ellis later in the day - expect teasing, trolling and misdirection.

- Cowboy Out

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

New Concept Art From the Halo 4 Premium Theme

New concept art has appeared online from the Halo 4 Premium Theme.

New Image of the Halo 4 Railgun

We've previously seen the Railgun a couple of times, once in a grainy photo of OXM and once in orthographic style courtesy of Game Informer:

Well that grainy image we saw previously is now available in luscious HD:

Click to enlarge
Props go to French Halo fansite Halo Destiny for digging this up.

I still think it has a Metal Gear Solid vibe to it, much like the mech on Warhouse. Perhaps 343i have employed a weapon artist who's previously worked at Kojima Productions or maybe it was Ryan Payton's influence before he left.

Can't wait to see the gun in action, I bet it sounds incredible.

- Cowboy Out.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

UPDATED: Details Emerge on Bungie's Next Game - Destiny


Not strictly Halo related, but in the Venn diagram that is videogame fans, I'm sure there is a substantial overlap between the circles that represent Halo and Bungie.

In a peculiar twist of the West Zampella vs Avtivision case, the details of Bungie's deal with Activision have been made public. The reasoning behind the reveal seems to be the court's need to compare similar deals between Activision and top developers.

Read on for more, but bear in mind there are spoilers, if you're wanting to keep Bungie's next game a surprise it may be wise to avoid this article.

Monday, 21 May 2012

New Images of the Halo 4 McFarlane Figures Surface

A few new images of this autumn's line of Halo 4 figures have popped up online. No official source (I found them on HaloFigures.net), but they certainly look legit.

They look to be of decent quality with good attention to detail. I much prefer figures like this and the Noble 6 Mongoose, than the swathes of "Multiplayer Spartans" in various colours. I really hope this is a sign of things to come. The cryotube had better have the phrase "Hushed Casket" on the packaging somewhere...

Click to Enlarge

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Fancy a Halo 4 Wallpaper?

I'm sure that like me you have spent the last couple of days drooling over the new Halo 4 packaging artwork:



*Drool*

I'm also sure that (like me) you'd like to adorn your PC or phone with some beautiful Halo 4 artwork. With that in mind I've put together some wallpapers in an array of sizes to suit your device. Take your pick:

- Cowboy Out.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

New Halo 4 Gameplay Footage, Screenshots and Artwork

Walmart of all places have just uploaded a video interview with Frank O'Connor which includes some previously unseen gameplay footage. Check it out:


Loads more after the jump:

Halo 4 Limited Edition Announced! There will be no Legendary Edition

Announced minutes ago over on Halo Waypoint is the Halo 4 Limited Edition:




The Halo 4 Limited Edition  includes:


• War Games Map Pack Access

The competitive multiplayer modes of Halo 4 are known as War Games. The Limited Edition includes access to nine maps - three future competitive multiplayer map packs, each including three locations, available for download post-launch on Xbox LIVE. Yes, you read that correctly; you get nine maps in the form of future DLC with the purchase of the Halo 4 Limited Edition. Score!


• Specializations

Everyone will have access to select Specializations, but those that purchase the Halo 4 Limited Edition will receive the ability to unlock six Specializations early, available at launch on Xbox LIVE. You can use them, one at a time, to achieve higher ranks in your Spartan career. In addition to gaining access to new ranks, Specializations unlock new customization options. We’ll be releasing more information about Specializations at E3, so expect additional details about this particular feature then.


• UNSC Infinity Briefing Packet

The UNSC Infinity Briefing Packet includes a Spartan armor customization schematic, information about UNSC weapons, an introduction to the massive ship UNSC Infinity, and insight into what it means to be one of humanity’s finest warriors: The Spartan-IVs. Story lovers will especially enjoy this in-fiction offering that provides a glimpse into the indoctrination of Spartans aboard the Infinity.


• Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn Special Edition

The Special Edition of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn is a 90-minute extended version of the live-action digital series which will take fans back to the terrifying beginning of the Human/Covenant war, when the Master Chief inspired a young cadet who would eventually become a leader aboard the UNSC’s greatest vessel ever: the UNSC Infinity.

Digital content also includes in-fiction bonus content that expands the characters and stories of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, special featurette Bringing Gaming into Reality, and a behind the scenes look at the making of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn.


• Bonus digital content through Xbox LIVE

The Limited Edition includes the following bonus digital content through Xbox LIVE: unique in-game Spartan-IV armor skin, unique in-game weapon skin for the Assault Rifle, an exclusive in-game emblem, Xbox LIVE Avatar prop, and Xbox LIVE Avatar Spartan IV armor set.

All content info taken from Halo Waypoint.


Right about now you may be wondering, “If all those things come with the Limited Edition, what are they going to put in the Legendary Edition?” Here is the answer to that question: There will be two options available at retail for Halo 4 - the regular version of the game and the aforementioned Limited Edition. We decided to focus our efforts on a single special edition instead of numerous ones so you wouldn’t have to pick and choose between what ancillary items you want. Now your primary choice is whether or not you just want the game, or the game along with all the goodies. And we’re hoping we made that decision an easy one for you…

Also confirmed was that there will be no Legendary edition of Halo 4:
"We decided to focus our efforts on a single special edition instead of numerous ones so you wouldn’t have to pick and choose between what ancillary items you want. Now your primary choice is whether or not you just want the game, or the game along with all the goodies. And we’re hoping we made that decision an easy one for you…"
Whilst I understand their reasoning behind this, I do love me a Legendary edition with all the shebangs and whizzes. I'm sure there'll still be plenty of new merchandise for me to spend my hard-earned on. :D

- Cowboy Out.

New Halo Avatar Gear

One new piece of Avatar gear this month, but it's a good'n. Up on the store from today for 320 Micorosoft Points is the ODST Drop Pod:


Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Halo Reach DLC Half Price This Week

All three Halo: Reach map packs are half price this week, with Noble and Defiant packs at 400 Microsoft Points and the Anniversary pack at 600 Microsoft Points. A great opportunity to get hold of them while there's still time to enjoy them before Halo 4 comes out. A quick look to the right reveals you should get 174 days usage from them!

Each pack comes with new achievements too, with a total of 700 additional Gamerscore available across the 3 packs.

Those links again if you want to order them from your PC:
> Noble Map Pack <
> Defiant Map Pack <
> Anniversary Map Pack <

- Cowboy Out.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Halo 4 Box Art Revealed

In an exciting little game for the community Microsoft emailed out 32 pieces of the Halo 4 box art. Each person only received one piece and had to work together in a sort of community jigsaw project.

Anyways, here's the finished piece:

Cick for big

BEAUTIFUL!

Corrine Yu (Senior Programmer at 343) has confirmed on Twitter that the artist was Halo 4 Senior Art Director Kenneth Scot. Nice work, Ken. :)

- Cowboy Out.

Do You Have a Piece of the Puzzle?

Check the inbox associated with your Live account!

Microsoft are emailing out pieces of a puzzle that when assembled will reveal a piece of Halo 4 art, possibly the box art.

UPDATE:
Took a bit of jigsawing and a few of the pieces were flipped or rotated incorrectly for added confusion, but here's the full image that will form the Halo 4 box art.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

[Spoilers?] Are the New Halo 4 Enemies Actually Very Old Enemies?

The new enemy revealed via McFarlane toys packaging today certainly looks like a totally new enemy at first glance. Following a little bit of digging through the dark recesses of my memory, I think this may not be their first appearance in Halo.
[Spoilers after the jump]

New Images of the Halo Avatar Toys

Coming later this year from McFarlane toys is a line of mini-figures based on the Xbox 360 avatars. As well as a range featuring the generic avatars there'll be a sideline of Halo figures. I did a little feature on these earlier in the year, but new images have just surfaced courtesy of Chinese Xbox site Xbox-Skyer.

Click to enlarge.

[Spoiler] First Look at New Halo 4 Enemies?

I won't post the images on the front page as some won't want to see this, but courtesy of leaked packaging of the new line of McFarlane action figures we get a sneak peak at new enemies from Halo 4.

Potential campaign spoilers after the jump.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

New shots from the set of Forward Unto Dawn, the Halo 4 mini-series

The student newspaper of the Canadian university where the new Halo mini series "Forward Unto Dawn" is being filmed has uploaded some shots from the set. Take a peep:

Click to enlarge
 More pics after the jump:

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

New Halo Book Announced - Awakening: The Art of Halo 4

Titan Books, the company that brought us the delightful Halo: The Great Journey - The Art of Building Worlds which I reviewed earlier in the year, has just announced Awakening: The Art of Halo 4 over on Waypoint.


Titan Books has acquired exclusive worldwide rights to publish Awakening: The Art of Halo 4. The deluxe hardcover title will showcase never-before-seen concept art from the next blockbuster installment in the iconic franchise. 
The award-winning Halo series of video games has shaped entertainment history and defined a decade of gaming. Set in the aftermath of Halo 3, Halo 4 marks the beginning of a new trilogy as Master Chief confronts an ancient evil that threatens the fate of the entire universe. 
Awakening: The Art of Halo 4 is a stunning hardcover with pages of Halo 4’s spectacular characters, weapons, vehicles, and environments. This collection will provide a detailed look at the art created specifically for Halo 4, with commentary by the creative team at 343 Industries. 
Sounds like a great addition to the ever expanding world of Halo art books. If you're unsure be sure to pop back here for a review when it's released.

- Cowboy Out.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Looks Like We Won't See The Return of 1-50 Ranks in Halo 4

343industries' Franchise Development Director Frank O'Connor (AKA Stinkles) has been discussing the ranking system we can expect in Halo 4 over on NeoGaf. Many people had hoped we might see the return of Halo 2's 1-50 ranking system or perhaps a variant of Halo 3's 1-50 skill rank along with experienced based military rankings. It doesn't look as though that will be the case:
Source

Friday, 4 May 2012

"The Thursday War" Cover Unveiled

The cover for the new Karen Traviss novel "The Thursday War" has been unveiled over on Halo.Xbox.com:


“From the very first page, The Thursday War propels you into a universe on the brink of chaos,” says Frank O’Connor, Franchise Development Director, 343 Industries. “It will immerse you immediately and enthrallingly into the events and circumstances that will come to define the state of the Halo universe in Halo 4. I can’t wait for fans and newcomers alike to experience the sequel to Glasslands.” 

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Game Informer Detail New Weapon

We first brought you news of this new Halo 4 weapon courtesy of a grainy shot from Dutch mag Power Unlimited last week. Game Informer just posted a schematic image of that weapon along with stats:


RAILGUN
DESIGNATION: Asymmetric Recoilless Carbine-920
MANUFACTURER: Acheron Security
The ARC-920 Railgun is a compact-channel linear accelerator that fires a high-explosive round at incredible speed, delivering both kinetic and explosive force to both hard and soft targets alike.

First Shots From the Set of the Halo Live Action Series

Kotaku are reporting that filming of the new Halo live action series in underway at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.
The university denies the project is Halo related as they are presumably bound by NDAs and secrecy agreements, their official line is:
The film is called Sleeper, the story of a young man in a futuristic military academy who struggles with his destiny as a soldier-and with an alien invasion.
Sounds familiar, but these shots do sort of break their cover:




Thanks to Kotaku.

Updated to add the teaser pick of the covered Warthog from the 343i Weekly Update

- Cowboy Out. 

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Halo 4 Puts An Emphasis On Larger Maps to Support Vehicles

343 Industries Franchise Development Director, Frank O'Connor (also known as Stinkles) dropped this juicy little nugget on NeoGaf a short while ago:

Source

Fantastic news! One of the major complaints about Reach was the lack of maps supporting vehicles which in most instances effectively removed them from the combat sandbox. It's very reassuring to know that 343i are looking to address this issue in Halo 4.

- Cowboy Out.