For many gamers, few titles were more iconic growing up than Halo. Microsoft’s signature first person shooter franchise is today developed by 343 Industries, but began life under a difference developer. Destiny developer Bungie is credited as being the studio that made Halo so popular. However, in the near future, it will be officially ending that era.
During the developers “This Week at Bungie,” update post, it wasn’t just new details about Destiny it had to discuss. Instead, Bungie confirmed it is going to be closing down the original Halo site in the near future. That means that over sixteen years of tracked stats are set to be deleted on February 9.
Developer Bungie began work on the Halo franchise way back in 2001. The first game in the series, Combat Evolved, would lay the foundations for what many today consider the most iconic FPS franchise ever made. It has also gone on to become Microsoft’s number one exclusive, spanning multiple generations.
The removal of the website will be emotional for many who can now use this opportunity to reflect on what Halo means to them. Bungie is also prompting players to “save their stats and files, however they can,” before the website is removed next month. Once its Halo site is taken down, any unsaved images, videos, or stats will be wiped.
Truthfully, this was just a matter of time. Bungie hasn’t worked on the Halo franchise since Reach, released over ten years ago. Also, the stats themselves on Bungie.net stopped getting updated several years ago. They were kept in remembrance but Halo is 343 Industries’ game now.
Of course, Halo Infinite is currently in development and is set for a 2021 release. It was delayed after concerns that the visuals were not up to standards for a premier next-gen title. As for Bungie, it will continue supporting and working on Destiny 2. Presumably, another big project is in the works but no official announcement has been made.
In a recent update, Rockstar Games confirmed it has acquired Scottish game development studio Ruffian Games. The Dundee based developer is best known for its work on the Crackdown franchise. Although it has also assisted Microsoft with other Xbox exclusives such as Halo and the Kinect games.
With the acquisition now complete, Ruffian Games have officially been rebranded as Rockstar Dundee. This change sees Rockstar Games make its return to Scotland for the first time since 2001. That’s when a little known studio called Rockstar North was purchased, arguably the publishers most successful acquisition to date.
Welcoming Ruffian to the family
With this acquisition Ruffian Games are the tenth company to join the Rockstar family. The other already integrated British studios are its London, Lincoln, and Leeds based teams. Outside of Rockstar India and Toronto, the remainder are scattered around the United States.
Legendary game developer and company founder Sam Houser had the following to say: “The Ruffian team are a talented addition to Rockstar’s global studios, and we look forward to working together on future projects.” Meanwhile, Ruffian Games head Billy Thomson made it clear that he is “incredibly excited,” to be joining such a reputable publisher.
Ruffian Games have already had ties to Rockstar in the past. Just last year, it was announced that the two had partnered up to create “multiple games.” The developer also followed that up with several listings for new positions. Considering this it seems likely that Ruffian Games has taken a sizable job on under Rockstar’s mentorship.
As for what that is, only time will tell. Although for most gamers there’s only one game related to Rockstar that we’re all waiting for. But if a report posted by Kotaku earlier this year is true, Grand Theft Auto VI isn’t even close. Let’s just hope that Ruffian Games can at least speed up its development a little.
Video Games – some of them have great and immersive stories and more often than not, there are lovers in these video games that we envy or love; and they earn a special place in our hearts. Not to sound cheesy but, one way or the other, they remind us that love is such a powerful force. Unfortunately, not all love stories have happy endings filled with flowers and dancing-in-the-rain sort of romance. As usual, there are spoilers. So if you read the characters of a game and you know you haven’t played it yet, play them first then come back. I believe that these stories will have more effect if you’ve built a strong relationship with the characters. Without further ado, Here are some of the star-crossed Romeo’s and Juliet’s in video games. Enjoy.
Max Caulfield and Chloe Price
Probably one of the most memorable games I’ve played in recent years, Life is Strange. It tells the story of Maxine Caulfield, who discovered that she has the ability to turn back time after seeing her childhood friend, Chloe Price, killed by her annoying spoiled classmate, Nathan from the influential Prescott family. After saving Chloe – through Max’s newly discovered ability – Max opened her powers to Chloe and the pair decided to use it for good. Starting there, the player is brought to a series of breaking in various areas, solving puzzles, and of course, time-reversing moments. All to solve the mystery of the disappearance of Chloe’s friend, Rachel Amber. I won’t reveal who the perpetrator is and jump right to the ending.
Because of Max’s playing around with time, she brought a huge tornado closing in to Arcadia Bay, a fictional coastal city in Oregon. And the only way to save the town is to reverse time to when it all started. At the bathroom where Max saved Chloe using her new ability. It is then the player’s choice to save Arcadia Bay by letting Chloe die or to sacrifice the town to allow Chloe to live.
Remember that philosophical question about which train track would you pass a train: a track with the one you love tied on the path or the other track with multiple people tied on the path? That was how I felt making that decision.
Master Chief and Cortana
Imagine yourself as a super space soldier, so powerful that even alien species know your name; then, imagine yourself accompanied by a caring, intelligent, and gorgeous woman who is slowly dying. What would you feel? Would the feeling be the same if I told you she’s an Artificial Intelligence?
Meet John-117 aka Master Chief, a Spartan-class commando of the United Nations Space Command, and Cortana, an AI tasked with assisting the Chief through his missions. Playing Halo for all these years, we develop a bond between the two and the player. Which made the events of Halo 4 devastating for the players out there. We can feel Cortana’s feelings for the Chief during the intro and ending of the live-action film, Forward Unto Dawn, which also acted as an introduction to Halo 4. What hurt more was when Cortana, despite ‘decaying’, harnessed all her remaining power to appear as a human-sized version of herself just to feel and kiss Master Chief. Also that part where Cortana sacrificed herself to save the Chief; I don’t know about you but, that hurt like hell.
Ellie and Riley
Oh, Last of Us, we are going to talk about you again. But this time, we will talk about the DLC, Left Behind. It tells the story about Ellie’s flashbacks as she was looking after Joel after he fell on a piece of metal that pierced his flesh during the course of the main game.
Ellie’s flashbacks showed us the story of how she and her best friend, Riley, worked together and survived the harsh world filled with hordes of infected. Along the course of the DLC, we become attached to the pair. They laughed together, helped each other when in danger, but it all reached the climax when Ellie suddenly kissed Riley – Out. Of. Nowhere. Even I was shocked despite anticipating such a reveal. Despite, their sweetness and joy together, the universe didn’t agree. During their struggles in the mall, both of them were bitten and we all know what happens when you’re bitten by an infected. You turn. You become infected yourself. That just what happened.
Then, they just decided to just wait it out Instead of committing suicide – enjoy the little time they had together. But, things can get worse. Only Riley turned. Yes, Ellie discovered that she was immune and now she is – incoming pun – left behind. Without Riley…what an ending. Thank you Naughty Dog. Neil Druckman, you…you’re awesome.
Squall Leonhart and Rinoa Heartilly
You must be like, “Final Fantasy…Why am I not surprised?”. Well, unsurprisingly for us, Final Fantasy have some favorable couples in their series. But, we are only going to talk about one pair in particular. If you want to add Ramza and Delita here, be my guest. I was considering them when I was writing this article. *Hysterical laugh* Oh, Ramza. Seriously now, we are going to talk about Squall Leonhart and Rinoa Heartilly from Final Fantasy VIII.
This is probably one of the entries in the franchise that has quite a complicated story that only Whovians can understand right then and there during their first playthrough. Still, we all remember that sweet dance they had during their graduation ball which reminded us of our own Junior Senior Promenades, right? Plus the soundtrack; who didn’t feel something move in their chest every time they hear Eyes on Me play?
Even though the couple didn’t exchange I Love You’s, their love for each other is obvious. They even talked in private on where to meet if they lose their way during their last mission against Ultimecia during the big wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff that is the Time Compression Spell. Rinoa also brought out the “sweet and caring” side of Squall who is very serious, introverted, and cold prior to falling for Rinoa.
Wander and Mono
When I first saw the cover and the gameplay video for the Shadow of the Colossus, I prepared myself for the action and the challenge that was waiting for me. What I didn’t expect was the plot twist that was lurking at the end of the game. I did have mixed feelings when confronting the giant creature guardians dwelling in the world; a mixture of “Do I really need to kill these guys?” and “Meh, let the challenge begin, down you go, big fella!”. Little did I know – honestly, I didn’t really know, no idea at all – that I was releasing a demon with each colossus that I defeat. All I knew when I was playing through the game is that, I was reviving my love that I left on the altar at the beginning of the game.
Then, down goes the last colossus. I just released a demon and I acted as a conduit for the big guy. Yes, I did revive my love but, I fell into the depths of darkness.
Consumed by what I have been slowly releasing through the course of the game. Unable to at least touch a strand of my love’s hair, hold just a shadow of her now-alive beauty, or hear her angelic soothing voice once more. What struck me then was that the game broke my anticipated happy ending and caught me off-guard with a dramatic ending. You can feel Wander’s desire to be by the sides of her love at the ending when you’re controlling him as he struggle against the darkness that was pulling him away from Mono. And then you’ll feel it was all for naught and a same time feel good for the guy. Whether he knew what he was doing or not, it doesn’t really matter. What we all know is that Wander was willing to do everything to bring Mono back.
There are other star-crossed lovers in a lot of video games out there and these are just some of them. How about you? What video game broke your heart after falling for the couple in the game? Which video game couple made you feel what it’s like to love and be loved? Share with us in the comment section below and let’s talk about love and pain.
343 have already revealed the contents of their Halo 5: Guardians’ Collector’s Edition, priced high at $250, a while back and it includes a statue of Master Chief and Spartan Locke, a metal Earth Guardian model, special Limited Edition packaging, a SteelBook game case, Spartan Locke’s classified orders Dossiers on Blue Team and a digital copy of Halo 5 Guardians.
Today they announced that they have gotten a lot of feedback concerning the digital copy of Halo 5 Guardians since some people wanted it to be a physical copy. Image of the contents of the limited edition is below.
“We let you know that we had heard the feedback that some of you prefer a physical disc instead of a digital copy, and that we were exploring options.” As stated on Halo Waypoint . “Today, we’re able to confirm that for those who would like a physical disc, we’ll provide an option for fans to exchange their digital copy for a physical copy at no additional cost. We’ll get into details as we get closer to launch, and we’d like to once again thank you for the feedback.”
Halo 5 Guardians’ Limited Edition will release a week before the game’s official launch, on October 20, while the normal version will release later on in the month.
With San Diego Comic Con going on there has been a multitude of announcements, news, teasers and trailers released this past week and all of it has been beautiful. However there was one teaser released yesterday that especially caught my eye.
Halo: The Fall Of Reach – The Animated Series is a three-act mini series, and will tell the origin story of the SPARTAN-II program that the Master Chief was a part of. It will also cover the events before and after the Covenant’s first attack on humanity, and the titular planet of Reach.
The animated series is based off of the 2001 Eric Nylund novel of the same name, but there is a chance that some details will be changed or updated to keep it in line with the 14 years of Halo lore that have come after it.
The teaser trailer itself doesn’t give away too many details, instead setting the tone of what to expect from the series and showing off the unique CGI-animated look that emulates the cover art of the novels. There is a voice over from what sounds like Dr. Halsey; the creator of the original SPARTAN-II program and the AI Cortana, talking about the ambition of humans and how it could lead to their downfall.
Halo is one of the few games to have a very extensive lore and extended universe. Besides the games there have been novels, comics, animated shorts and live-action series. The quality of each of these is always hit and miss, with some being fantastic and others being downright awful. The Fall Of Reachlooks like it could have some promise as it comes from a good heritage, and its style is interesting enough to at least warrant a look. But we won’t truly know until the series is released.
For those who want to watch it first, the series will be bundled in together with the Limited Edition, Limited Collector’s Edition, and Digital Deluxe Edition of Halo 5: Guardians. For those of you who still want to watch it without having to fork out, the series will also be streamed on the Halo Channel app on Xbox One and Windows 8.1, (iOS and Android versions are expected soon).
Halo developer 343 Industries has announced that a new game, developed by Saber Interactive, is coming to the PC. It’ll be online and free-to-play, and is due to launch in beta this year. But Halo Online is only going to be available in Russia.
Halo Online will be based on Halo 3, though heavily modified to include graphics more similar to Halo 4. It will be online 0nly and will allow between 4 and 16 players in a single match. With no mention of a story mode, it’s likely to feature player-vs-player based gameplay. It will have an in-game economy, though it’s unclear exactly what form it will take. It’s also designed to work on low-end PCs, which means players won’t need to shell out for hardcore gaming machines to play it.
343 Industries have called Halo Online a “learning opportunity” to help them explore ways to attract new players to the franchise. The game will be set on a “secret UNSC space installation called Anvil”, a place where Spartan-IV soldiers train and test new technology. There will also be a location in the game based on a Russian city.
XBox fans will be disappointed as there’s been no mention from 343 Industries about the game being released on XBox One or 360. Team Slayer and Assassination modes have been confirmed so far, with more modes expected to follow.
343 also said their focus is on gathering information from the closed beta in Russia and that they’re not looking at bringing the game into other countries. So if you want to play game on your PC, pack your bags for Russia.
343 talked about their plans regarding the Halo franchise today while on stage at the Microsoft E3 press conference. They began by talking about Halo: The Master Chief Collection, which bundles Halo 1, 2, 3 and 4 together on Xbox One. The collection is all together on one disc, and features a unified menu system.
Halo 2 has been retouched a-la Halo: Combat Evolved, and will also include Halo 2’s multiplayer. Five of the most iconic maps from Halo 2 are being redone for Xbox One as well, and the Collection includes over 100 maps, has 4000 Gamerscore available, and all the single player stories. The bundle also includes the live action Halo: Nightfall and comes with a Halo 5 beta invite.
The Master Chief collection releases November 11th for Xbox One, and amazingly only costs 60 dollars. As someone who has never played a Halo game, I think this is a great way to capture the series magic in a bottle. Other series would be wise to take this route in remastering their games. Do you like the format? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.