Chronique:BWU 14/08/2009

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Posted by urk at 8/14/2009 3:58 PM PDT

It feels great to finally drop some substantial Heretic, Citadel, and Longshore lovin' out into the mix. They say good things come to those who wait, but man, that stretch felt a bit like forever didn't it? Hopefully, you're feeling pretty good after getting your first really detailed look too.

If you missed out, we gotcha covered.

And we're not done yet. Only a scant forty days out from Halo 3: ODST's launch, a significant wing of the studio is now fully mobilized, planning and preparing for more press events, recording and editing tons of sweet footage for upcoming video releases, and making quite a few marks on a collective set of calendars to make sure all of it comes together right on time. We'll even have some more information on Heretic, Citadel, and Longshore coming along soon along with a deeper dive into the soon-to-be-refreshed waters that you'll eventually get to swim in after Halo 3: ODST ships and our site once again gets a good old fashioned dose of the new hotness. We'll tackle both of those topics right here. Stay tuned. But for the here and now, we're gonna have to make due with a dose of words.

Brian once again played the role of liaison earlier in the week, making sure a fresh new batch of press visitors found their way around the studio, located the restrooms, and eventually settled into some shiny new copies of ODST to get their preview on. Look for their write-ups really soon. Next week, as Brian embarks on a new German Odyssey, his sails and swag set for GamesCon, a few of us will stay behind and play host for even more land loving visitors. For the first time, we'll be giving some press peeps full and unfettered access to the complete Halo 3: ODST experience, campaign and all.

If you thought we'd already tipped all of the cards in our hand, you must be new around these parts.

Firefightin' for Freedom (and Sandwiches)[modifier]

In more personal news, Pat, Lars, Dan, and I were actually paid actual cash monies to play Firefight for about an hour and a half yesterday. An email went out, we huddled up closer than any four grown men should inside the confines of an oh-so-comfy playtest lab, and together, fingers figuratively laced, we romped, stomped, and dropped into some Firefight missions you'll be checking out yourself fairly soon.

Since the object of our expedition was to get some saved film footage in the can for public consumption, we started out on Heroic difficulty. Seemed to make sense for our ragtag squad, but soon enough someone issued a manly challenge and our gracious host Lars kicked us on over to L-dizzle, aka Ledge, aka Legendary difficulty. That's how we roll, son.

Even with four close-to-competent players it was a tooth and nail proposition the entire way - a knockdown, drag out, shrieking in terror affair. We held up inside a makeshift bunker like a bunch of certified sissies, forcing the endless Covenant assault to funnel in through one of three points of entry (which they often employed simultaneously). Hey, it seemed like a good strategy in the hit film 300. Or maybe it was a Graphic Novel. Or maybe it was an honest-to-life historical event. Whatever the case, we figured the weapon drops inside our HQ would allow us to stand firm for a good, long while, but in short order, we found ourselves scrounging around through a pile of dead aliens looking to score anything useful out of the sea of bodies. When Dan talked about weapons as a commodity last week, it wasn't just lip service.

A word to the wise: conserve your ammo. Those automag rounds you'll want to fire off in rapid succession in the early going? They're good as gold later on.

But truth be told, we still did alright. Respectable. Before we had to call it quits due to time constraints, we even weathered a Chieftain round. Not that it was ever an easy affair - not by any means. It was an intense battle from start to finish with even the typical cannon fodder types becoming pretty vicious enemies in their own right, their combat prowess bolstered by difficulty, cramped quarters, and sheer, overwhelming force. And of course, as soon as a pair of Hunters stormed their way into our cozy interior space, the skeletal strategy we were attempting to employ quickly broke apart and crumbled to dust. Every man for himself. Hunters are worth a ton of points. Plus, they're all scary and angry and they like to smash things.

I had to smile a bit while I listened to the other three dudes gettin' whipped into a frenzy of excitement and entertaining expletives over our little Firefight excursion. While I've been busy making the words go, the trio that accompanied me are the folks who helped build the game. Dan and Lars specifically have been playing Firefight since its inception. It stands to reason that they'd be somewhat jaded or at the very least, just a little bit tired of playing. But that's not even close to the case. Suck it down, reason. Turns out "We make games that we want to play™" is more than just a trademarked turn of phrase. These dudes were rocking smiles the whole way through.

When we finally plunked down our controllers, pulled our shirts back on over our heads, and popped up out of our seats, we found that someone had silently slipped a big ole brown bag full of delicious sammiches into our midst. Bungie Princesses are so good to us. Did I mention we get paid for this? Guess you could call it a fringe benefit. Maybe even a bit of a bonus. Speaking of...

Bonus Round![modifier]

You already know about the Waves, the Sets, and the Rounds in Halo 3: ODST's all new, super awesome, gonna-so-play-the-blam!-out-of-this-when-it-drops-on-9/22/09 Firefight mode, right? If not, you aren't quite ready to proceed. You're still need to complete the training. Get yourself up to speed, take a few seconds to figure out the how the new Firefight hotness works, and then stop on back when you've been learned real good. And before you say it, yes I am the boss of you.


No, you're not. Firefight's Bonus Round is a spectacularly crazy concoction of Grunts, Skulls, points, and extra lives all piled up into an mountain and carnage, craziness, and plasma grenades. Lars tells me that it was designed to give players a bit of a breather between sets, add more lives to the pool, and take out pent up frustration in the same fashion Ken and Ryu took out their rage on abandoned cars and stacks of flaming barrels. But even though it might double as a bit of a respite, this Bonus Round just might be the best sixty seconds of your Firefightin' life. Every mean-spirited, maniacal skull is switched on, bringing with them gameplay modifiers and point multipliers that you'll have to see to believe.

And if you find yourself in the midst of a Bonus Round, you've definitely earned it by completing a full Set. In Firefight, riding out fifteen Waves is a pretty impressive feat. Not only does it entail a massive quantity of all manner of Grunts, Jackals, Drones, Brutes, and Hunters for you to wade through, it also means that against all odds you've made it through three Waves of aggro Brute Chieftains hell-bent on Hammering and Rodding your face into so much unsavory space meat.

If you're able to avoid becoming table scraps for some overgrown apes, you should be feeling pretty good about yourself. Pat yourself on the back a bit, but don't take too much timeout, this is where you're gonna claim your reward.

Take full advantage of your brief but brainpan-modified time and you'll see plenty of points piling' up. And if you manage to hit the Bonus Round benchmark set for you and your team, you'll start earning 1ups like a mustachioed plumber with his feet full or turtle guts. (Don't eat the mushrooms, kids.)

Since Iron is now on, one death from each member of the squad is all it takes to end your little collective fantasy voyage upon this golden but tumultuous sea of points (vomit goes over the rail, please), but should you each fall to the overwhelming forces you're facing down during this monumental minute, you won't have to worry about foregoing any lives from your team's stockpile. Any deaths during Firefight's Bonus Round won't be subtracted from your overall pool. So, no pressure.

Since the points total required to net some extra lives differs depending on how many players you have in the mix and how many times you've visited the Bonus Round in each particular playthrough, we'll let you figure out where those watermarks lie. Don't worry too much over the details here, you'll get a nice message in game to let you know where your target is set. Chances are you won't have much time to do the math on the fly anyway. You'll be far too worried about staving off the steady supply of enemies streaming your way.

There will be Grunts.

Great heaping piles of Grunts. A veritable sea of salty Grunts descending upon you like a wave of cantankerous crustaceans. And each unsavory little jerk has one singular mission swimming around in his mad and methane-addled mind: to converge on your position, lobbing an unbelievable volley of armed plasma grenades towards your head, neck, and face region. And with every skull switched on, these angry little Unggoy do a pretty good job of making you dead. Lars calls them killing machines. His advice: headshots. Stay away, keep your automag zoomed, and deliver deadly, one-shot blows as quickly and efficiently as you can. Weather this brief storm and make it rain dead rapscallions and you'll tons of points and some much needed lives.

Godspeed. You'll have one minute to make some magic happen. Oh, and good luck - you're gonna need it.

What's in a Name?[modifier]

Secondary disc. Boy, that was a pretty crappy way for us to describe the Halo 3 multiplayer disc that comes with Halo 3: ODST, wasn't it? From here on out, let's just call it Halo 3: Mythic. That's what it says on the main menu after all.

And yeah, we know we already called Assembly, Orbital, and Sandbox the Mythic Map Pack, but we're gonna ask you to toss Citadel, Heretic, and Longshore into that same hat. In fact, Halo 3: Mythic comes with every Halo 3 multiplayer map and you can play them all right from the disc. No need to do any downloadin'. That's pretty Mythic if you ask me.

Also, we'd also like to squash the little rumor that Halo 3: ODST is going to be made available for download over Games on Demand in short order. As far as we understand it, that moniker and technology is reserved for Platinum titles. If plans to release ODST in such a format ever do develop, we'll make sure you know about it. Until then, let's just call this what it is: misinformation.

You might notice a theme beginning to take shape with these sorts of stories. If you're getting word through some innocuous news channel, you can probably bet you're being fed bunk. Do not eat.

To Install or Not to Install[modifier]

Good question. We've already answered it but here goes again, this time in short form:

Halo 3: ODST Campaign/Firefight Disc - Install It

Halo 3: Mythic - Don't Install It

Got it? Good.

Blame Stosh[modifier]

Stosh found this screenshots this week. Lorum Ipsum. Did you see that stuff he said about me on the stats sneak peak? Blame me, he says! Can you believe it? I think it's well established who gets the blame around these parts.

BWU Giant grunt on Pelican.jpg
Permission to Board

All the News[modifier]

BWU Linghead.gif

Posted by at 8/12/2009 3:24 PM (-7)

tulip2k9 writes: sorry

Hi. I have no idea what terrible thing you did to prompt your unsolicited, one word apology, but rest assured we forgive you.

We Out[modifier]

That's it. We're done here. You may leave.