Chronique:BWU 08/01/2010

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Posted by urk at 1/8/2010 9:55 AM PST

I thought about kicking the first update of the New Year off by regurgitating the historically unfunny "joke" about how it's a brand new decade and all the things they've promised us (whoever they are) have still failed to come to fruition. Flying cars and all that. But after my turbobed slid back into its compartment and my personal nanohive worked their invisible suds and sundries all ova mah hot bahwdy, I yanked my unisex tunic defiantly over my head and decided that I would spare you from my unoriginal and prognostication-disparaging thoughts.

See? Something to be thankful for already in 2010.

So yeah, anyway, 2009 is toast and we're back on the job, fresh off a two week holiday break and already attacking the ongoing task of making Reach kick even more ass than it already does.

For me that means putting words in people's mouths - digging into the color-coded spreadsheets that are patiently waiting to be filled up with thousands of lines of combat dialog. On the falls-outside-the-job-description front, it means I've been getting prepped for today's Pentathlon combat insertion, spending my early evenings playing a little bit of something new in Halo: Reach.

I've talked about it before in passing, you know, the "something so new it came with instructions." Turns out it, whatever it is, has been the object of quite a bit of the team's love since I last ran my mouth. And while it's still the same species of animal, it now has a much more luxurious, and for the uninitiated, a somewhat bewildering coat.

The arena we'll be scrapping on has some new coverings draped over its previously bare bones structures, too. Metal catwalks now look decidedly more realistic, showing the scrapes and bends you'd expect from a high volume of load-bearing foot traffic, small flecks of paint chipped away along well worn, and sometimes bent and sagging hand rails. Dirt looks decidedly dirty and the water...ho, boy the water! Well, there isn't any. Not a drop to drink. The entire map is bone dry.

I did listen in on some lunchtime rumblings and overheard that the water tech got a significant upgrade this week, but I haven't had the chance to wade through the swirling eddies myself, so I'm gonna abstain from giving you the water sports rundown even though I've heard you like to get hosed down with aquatic information from time to time. With updates. About water.

Not gonna give you the strategic analysis either. Don't want to tip my hand to the other Pentathlon participants (even though I'm pretty terrible at the Halo). The basic recipe is pretty simple. The space we're throwing down on is nice and big, boasts plenty of verticality, and supports just about every play style you could possibly imagine along with more than a few you don't even know you don't even know about yet.

Some other, less aesthetic-only structures for our Reach festivities have also been given some artsy fartsy face lifts, but those are the type of alterations I'm under strict agreement not to disclose. That green light isn't lit. Not yet. But don't worry, we'll get into all the nitty gritty details in due time. Besides, just like the greenhorns on our Pentathlon practice squads, you'd need a bit of instruction for it to make much sense and I'm running short on time. Breakfast calls and my stomach is a-rumblin'.

Rumbling and Scheming[modifier]

Just before break, Cable called me over to his pod and popped a controller into my hand so I could try out a new control scheme he'd been tinkering with. Plenty of people at Bungie have been thinking about how to reconfigure some of the classic control schemes to get them integrated with the new stuff Reach could bring to the table. Something akin to the X button discussion of yesteryear, but a bit more broad and systematic than that. Not to say that we're looking to completely overhaul the way you interface with Halo - we're not - just that there's some new stuff in the mix that may require some minor adjustments to the control scheme layouts you've already become accustomed to.

Until Halo 3, I was always the default guy. Traditions die hard - default is one of those things that are seared into my cerebral cortex. It's a bit like riding a bike or dialing my first phone number. It's just been ingrained. But sometime in the oh eight, when it was all the rage, I made the leap to Bumper Jumper (you might have noticed if you poured over first person ODST PR screenshots) and haven't quite been able to talk myself down and make the return trip to solid default ground. I want to, I really do, but too many bad memories of my own Banshee dropping out of the sky via an errant button press directly into the enemy's waiting arms keep me second guessing the potential return transition.

"Hey, how'd they get another Banshee!"

*radio silence*

But if the early rework Cable and crew had cooked up ultimately makes it into the shipping game, I'm pretty sure I might be making another switch after all. It felt good. Felt real good. And Cable even let me name his new, button-laden baby. Not sure if my christening is gonna stick, but hey, you never know.

If it does, we'll talk more about it later. And if it doesn't, well, we won't.

Press Pass[modifier]

Speaking of talking more later, some folks found this potential conversation starter this week:

"The new issue is off to the printers. Another fantastic issue if I do say so myself. Should start arriving around January 10th-ish."

Ain't my quote. Someone else spat it out onto the interconnected network of silicone and tubes we call the Internet. So you don't need to go digging (never know what you're gonna find on the web), I'll save you the trouble. It's from Game Informer's Andy McNamara and his latest issue is gonna feature some piping hot Halo: Reach action.

You should also be on the lookout for some Euro mag lovin', too. While Game Informer has you covered stateside, there should be several overseas publications pimping Halo: Reach. Damn fine way to ring in the New Year, eh?

We'll have some new assets around these here parts too, but you'll have to wait a little bit longer for those. We're not in the business of stepping on toes. Sit tight.

See Me Rollin'[modifier]

Looks like Marty and his Grizzled gang went up to Chuck E. Cheese on Wednesday night to get some balls in. The following pics come to us by way of Middle School, who got wind of Marty's planned Skee Ball session, swooped in ahead of him, and occupied all the lanes just as he and his crew were stepping up to play. Sabotage!

They even convinced Chucky himself to come on out and help run the pick and roll, but Marty wasn't having it.

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Step off, Chucky.

Not only did our wise old maestro eventually get his balls on target, but looks like he also made out with more than his fair share of tickets.

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They see McLees rollin', they hatin'.

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Makin' it Rain

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And they all lived happily after!

We realize that these aren't the highest resolution images we could provide, but in the spirit of today's festivities, Stosh thought you might want to give 'em a go in Photoshop (or whatever editing suite you rock on your system). You can link to your submissions in the discussion thread attached, and who knows, maybe we'll highlight our favorites.

No gross or downright disturbing stuff, please. Good, clean, wholesome Internet fun. Maybe some farm animals thrown in for good measure. Whatever.

Blame Stosh[modifier]

Stosh is gonna be helping me help you. Achronos set him up nice so he could edit our Pentathlon coverage on the fly today. Hang onto your asses. For now, here's a Blame Stosh image he found to help get you in the mood:

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And to help keep you in the moment, stay tuned for the daily rundown of the Bungie Winter Pentathlon coverage. We'll be checking in often to keep everything updated with text, pics, and poor attempts at humorous remarks. We've already gotten the party started on Twitter. Later this morning, you'll see a second story wink into existence on That's your backstage pass.

See you when I see you, Seventh Column. It's go time.

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