Podcast 5 – June 22 2016

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Halo Wars 2 release date announced

Microsoft unveiled a new cinematic teaser for the Creative Assembly developed sequel to 2010’s Halo Wars.  Along with the new teaser, the game’s release date was announced.  Halo Wars 2 will be available on Xbox One and Windows 10 on February 21, 2017.  Players anxious to see what the game will offer can get a taste of Halo Wars 2 with the game’s week-long open beta which is now live on Xbox Live.

Neill Blomkamp may direct the Halo pilot

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Neill Blomkamp has a history with Halo:  he was attached as the director of the Peter Jackson produced Halo film that fell apart some years back and he directed the live action Halo 3 promotional film.  He knows the universe and his style is a perfect fit for the Haloverse.  That said, it’s very exciting that Blomkamp may be directing the première episode of the Halo television series that was announced for Xbox One.  While this has yet to be officially confirmed, the thought of a Blomkamp directed episode of the Halo TV series is exciting.

Next Halo coming to Xbox One in 2014

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Halo for the Xbox one has been confirmed for a 2014 release. The game was announced at this past E3 as simply “Halo” and Microsoft states that the reason we haven’t heard a confirmation regarding a release window for the next entry in the Halo saga is due to the newest game not having an official title just yet – suggesting Microsoft doesn’t want to commit to Halo 5 for the Chief’s next battle.

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Halo Reclaimer Trilogy is now a “saga”

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Halo 4 was originally announced as the beginning of the Reclaimer Trilogy by 343 Industries, but that idea has apparently been expanded to a “saga.”  The next entry in the Halo franchise was recently announced at this year’s E3 featuring a cloaked figure in a wasteland–with the cloaked figure being revealed as, gasp, Master Chief.  343 has specified that this is the next “legitimate” entry in the franchise and is expected for Xbox One in 2014.

With the expansion of the trilogy into a saga, it makes me wonder if we should expect to see more numbered entries in the franchise set in the current story arc or if we’ll be given a few spin-offs between the numbered entries.  Personally, I’d love to see the brand expand beyond the FPS genre in the future.  I loved Halo Wars and would love to see another Halo RTS.  A controller-based RTS game with SmartGlass and Kinect enhanced features would be phenomenal, I think.

The Haloverse is a wonderful place just begging to be expanded in other genres–especially ones more welcoming to more robust storytelling–so I’d really like to see it step back out of its comfort zone and explore new gaming territories.  Whatever 343 has planned for the future of the franchise, I’m sure it’s exciting.

 

Source:  GameSpot

Yu Suzuki, David Cage, and Ryan Payton discuss storytelling in gaming

Storytelling is one of the biggest things I love about gaming.  Being able to experience stories in an interactive way makes the stories come to life, in my opinion, more than the passive experiences movies and books give you (though I greatly enjoy those mediums as well).  It’s long been my dream to be a screenwriter for games, and so I’ve always had a great deal  of respect for the men and women who manage to make their ideas come to life in an interactive way.  Some of my favorite gaming storytellers include Quantic Dream’s David Cage and Shenmue creator Yu Suzuki.  Heavy Rain, Indigo Prophecy, and Shenmue remain some of my favorite games.  With that said, here’s a nice, long interview featuring those two gentlemen as well as former HALO creative director Ryan Payton.  It’s an interesting look at what goes into telling great interactive stories and for anybody interested in that process, is definitely worth a watch.

 

I preordered an Xbox One, and here’s why…

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I’m a gamer.  I’ve spent countless hours hunched over keyboards and slouched back in a couch holding a controller; I’ve even done my fair share of time flailing with Wii remotes.  It’s a great hobby and it’s something that’s really come to define a part of who I am.  Over the years, I’ve grown attached to certain properties.  Games like Mario, Zelda, and Metroid helped to shape my childhood along with Sonic and Sega’s band of misfits.  Sega, Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft have all had a part in shaping me, my imagination, my interests, and even my sense of humor.  Gaming is more than what I do, really, it’s a part of who I am.

With E3 just wrapping up, there’s a lot of hubbub going on about which of the two new consoles to get.  There was a huge, and I mean huge, negative outcry against Microsoft’s Xbox One with gamers responding to Sony’s less restrictive PS4 with thunderous applause.  The Xbox One requires a daily internet connection, it locks games to users’ accounts, there’s the possibility that publishers can block or profit from used game sales; these are all, obviously, awful things.  These horrible things are all things that Sony’s last bastion of hope for freedom in gaming doesn’t do, so why pick the console that does?  Well, the games.

New-Xbox-One-ConsoleI watched the E3 press conferences for Microsoft and Sony and even the Nintendo Direct.  I saw a few reasons to get a Wii U in the future, but nothing that made me want to run out right now to get Nintendo’s already dated home console hardware.  From Sony, I saw them promise a less restrictive platform with a lower price point than Microsoft’s Xbox One.  And from Microsoft, I saw games.  Games I wanted.  Games I cared about.  All the reactions I’ve seen regarding who won E3 come back to Sony in that they announced a cheaper and less restrictive system.  What I really wanted to see was games.  I didn’t really feel like Sony delivered on that front.  A large portion of what they showed off was stuff we’ve known about for quite some time.  Sure, Sony has some great franchises in its library and I’ll no doubt be buying a PS4 when Quantic Dream (one of my all-time favorite developers) releases their next title after Beyond: Two Souls, but I didn’t see anything at their conference that made me want to have the system at launch.

Microsoft, on the other hand, showed off Ryse: Son of Rome in its latest, controller-based iteration.  It was damned gorgeous and captivating–something I’ll definitely want to play.  They showed off a new Killer Instinct which will be available on Xbox One at launch.  They touted some beautiful footage from Forza 5.  They showed a little more on Remedy Entertainment’s Quantum Break–and I can’t miss a Remedy game.  And, probably most importantly to me, they teased a new Halo game.  Since the first title, I’ve been attached to the Haloverse–I’ve read the books, the comics, watched the anime, watched Forward Unto Dawn, and played all the releases on day one since Halo 2.  It’s a story I care about and I was thrilled to see that 343 Industries actually cared about telling an epic space opera with Halo 4, so I’m more than a little excited to see where the franchise goes moving forward in this new trilogy.

KI_LogoIn addition to that, there’s some really exciting stuff in the “other” media features on Xbox One.  While not gaming per se, there are two original television series in the works for Xbox One that I’m interested in following:  Halo: The Television Series with one Stephen Spielberg being involved and Remedy’s extension to Quantum Break with episodes being tailored depending on decisions in-game.  I love stories and that’s one of the most important things, to me, when it comes to what games I want to play.  If the developers expand on the universe in interesting ways, I’m all for that.  I’d love to see more of the Haloverse outside of the games (but inside canon).

Now, I can’t say I’m entirely thrilled about everything regarding the Xbox One.  It is baffling that Microsoft would think it’s a good idea to move forward with some of their restrictions (specifically the locked games and daily online access requirements), but these are things that, I don’t think, will affect me.  Microsoft has confirmed that borrowing/lending as well as selling/buying used games will still be supported on the system.  They’ve also made it sound like there’s going to be some great new ways to borrow and lend games with a sharing library where 10 users can have access to your library.  What this means is that I can be lending out games to friends in a different state without having to give them my disc–they simply install the game and enjoy it based on my sharing settings.  Pretty great.  The downside is that these friends do need to be on your friends list for a minimum of 30 days and… well, that’s all I can really think of.  I’ve got friends and family several hours away and being able to share games from my account is pretty awesome, in my opinion.

Xbox-One3I’m not strictly a console gamer; I’ve got a decently sized gaming library on my PC which is primarily thanks to Valve’s Steam.  While I’ve always been a fan of how consoles worked differently than PCs with no needing installs, keys, or being able to easily lend your games as physical media, I can’t really complain about Microsoft’s system requirements when I willingly subject myself to similar or stricter restrictions on my PC.  I can’t lend games on my PC, they’re locked to my account.  I need periodic internet access to get on Steam.  I don’t have a problem with this on my computer, and it really should have been expected that the console market would move in this direction sooner or later.  I’m not defending the Xbox One’s restrictions, but I am saying that they’re not as ridiculous as everyone is claiming.  If Microsoft has a solution for if and when Xbox Live is down, good, because that’s really the only problem I can see with the system.  Really, my biggest concern is longevity.

I still have all of my classic consoles.  I’m really quite proud of my gaming collection (as I said earlier in this post, gaming is a part of who I am).  I love going back to play some of my favorites in the best way possible–authentically.  Sure, I can easily boot up an emulator and enjoy classic games that way, but there’s something special about holding the proper controller and taking it in the way I did 10 – 20 years ago.  It’s a great feeling.  So, since I’m such a nostalgic sap, what’s going to happen to my Xbox One library 10 or 15 years from now when Microsoft stops supporting the system?  Will I no longer be able to go back and enjoy my favorite Xbox One games like I do with all my other classic consoles?  That’s what I really want to know.  Not that there’s much I can do about it, but I’d like to have my worries comforted as we move forward into a new console generation.

So, the Xbox One… I’ve made my big day-one decision and I’m sticking to it.  It’s got the games I want, and that’s the most important thing to me.  It’s nowhere near a perfect console and some of the restrictions are downright depressing, but I’d rather play the games I want to play than buy a PS4 simply to send a message to Microsoft.

Master Chief returns on Xbox One (Update: Trailer)

Microsoft’s next Halo game is heading to Xbox One.  The reveal began with a cloaked figure wandering a desolate wasteland.  This figure was later revealed to be the one and only Spartan 117:  Master Chief.  A cryptic reveal with some non-information shared after the teaser.  The game will be an FPS, feature the Chief, and run at 60 frames per second.

Halo: Spartan Assault coming to Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 in July

A new entry in the Halo franchise is heading to PC and Microsoft’s mobile platforms this July.  It’s a top-down shooter and takes place between Halo 3 and Halo 4.  Trailer below:

Halo Bootcamp confirmed

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A leak on the Korean Ratings Board has suggested that Halo Bootcamp is in the works.  Microsoft followed up this leak confirming the project’s existence.  They’ve stated that Bootcamp is not related to the the Xbox One or the Reclaimer Trilogy (which began with Halo 4). The description states that Bootcamp is a third-person shooter set within the Haloverse with a specific mention of Halo 3 and PC/online gaming.  It’s likely that we will hear more on Bootcamp at E3 in just two weeks.

 

Sources:  Joystiq, GameSpot, EGMNOW