A year ago
, Microsoft was crucified in the press for the PR fiasco of the Xbox One
, with rival Sony winning thunderous applause
for its PS4 by simply maintaining the status quo
But after doing a
360 180 on its hated policies
, Redmond is attempting to close the gap with the most valuable package deal since The Orange Box
A remarkable feat of engineering, Halo: The Master Chief Collection
will feature on a single disc the complete HD-remastered campaigns
of Halos 1-4 alongside Ridley Scott's Nightfall
, the Halo 5 beta
, and the holy grail of Xbox gaming: every last one of the series' 100+ multiplayer maps
in a single unified matchmaking system incorporating the original engines, gameplay mechanics, and idiosyncrasies of each
Ten years after Halo 2 (and four years after MS shut the taps
), IGN suspects a plan by 343 to rekindle
) Bungie's magic for an uncertain Halo 5, while Eurogamer welcomes the return of what it calls online FPS's peak
. [More reaction: NeoGAF - Ars Technica - Reddit]
Bungie, meanwhile, stood with Sony to showcase its upcoming Destiny
, the vaunted space epic
that will beta this summer
before facing its revamped forerunners later this year. More E3 coverage: Microsoft
) - Sony
) - Nintendo (airing noon EST) - SW: Battlefront - AC: Unity - MGS5: The Phantom Pain - Evolve - No Man's Sky - The Order: 1886 - Sunset Overdrive - Grim Fandango - Bloodborne - Arkham Knight - Scalebound - Mortal Kombat X - The Division - LittleBigPlanet 3 - Inside - Uncharted 4 - Crackdown
The world of video game music has blossomed in recent years, enough to support live concert tours
and bestselling albums
. But while most such work is licensed or contracted out to third-party composers, a rare breed make their living at a single company, imbuing entire franchises with their unique sound. And apart from Nintendo's venerable Koji Kondo
, there is perhaps no dedicated gaming composer more renowned than Martin O'Donnell
. From humble beginnings writing the jingle for Flintstones Vitamins
, O'Donnell and longtime collaborator Michael Salvatori
joined developer Bungie in 1997, penning music for Myth
, and most notably the Halo trilogy
-- an iconic blend
of sweeping orchestral bombast
, haunting choirs
, and electronic ambience
that became one of the most acclaimed and successful gaming soundtracks of all time. O'Donnell also helmed Bungie's audio department, managing voice actors
, sound effects
, and an innovative dynamic music engine
, and was most recently working with Paul McCartney
on the score for the upcoming Destiny
. So it came as a surprise today when it was announced MartyTheElder was being terminated without cause
(flabbergasted reaction: HBO
). With O'Donnell following Joseph Staten
, Frank O'Connor
, Marcus Lehto
, and other Bungie veterans out the door, what might this mean for the company and its decade-long plan for Destiny? [more inside]
As previously discussed on MetaFilter
, the countdown has now reached one day
. Halo? Battlestar Galactica? A new album by Bros
? Or something more sinister, as hinted at (perhaps)
by the spectograph of the end-video silences?
District 9 director Neil Blomkamp talks to WIRED
, District 10, Halo, his desire to buy a skyscraper and almost casting Eminem or Ninja from Die Antwood
in Elysium's Matt Damon role.
"This was never meant to be so easy to watch"
NIN art director Rob Sheridan on the controversial Broken
video which surfaced briefly
on Vimeo this week.
"Meanwhile, on the LASO setup, Cody and Rob could not defeat a group of two or three grunts. I asked the students to compare each other’s experiences. “What’s the problem?” I asked Cody and Rob, “Caitlin isn’t having any trouble staying alive and she’s fighting even more grunts than you.” This moment taught us that different people approach similar obstacles with certain preexisting advantages and disadvantages that radically alter the probability of their success." -- Samantha Allen teaches intersectionality through the use of Halo's difficulty settings
, as inspired by John Scalzi's essay Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is
Since it debuted on the blue
in '11 // Epic Rap Battles of History
preppin' // to score itself more than a billion views
// and become TopDog of the pack YouTube
Made by NicePeter
// (two improv comics by Maker
employed) // The series pits icons of legend renowned // in a slick-wit freestyle rap throwdown
With snappier writing, and better FX // online celebs
(and Google Ad checks) // The Epic Rap crew's halfway done with the brew // that is Epic Rap Battles of History Part Deux
The midseason's close? It comes out today. // In one corner: Santa Claus, fresh from his sleigh
And his prophet o' doom? "He ain't Mayan," ERBoH sez.
It's Snoop Dogg -- Snoop Lion -- as mothafuckin' Moses
→ [WHO'S NEXT?]
→ [more inside]
Shawn Thorsson makes costumes for his friends
Shawn Thorsson, self-professed busiest man alive, uses
a laptop, a printer, a carving machine, and a mad scientist's lab of home-made tools to make costumes based on Star Wars
, LEGO, and other appropriately nerdy, sci-fi related media artifacts. He shares them with his friends, and they have the best Halloween ever
is a slickly-designed website that makes it easier for you to watch 'eSports
'. With streams for all the popular spectator games, including Major League Gaming
(broadcasting live from Columbus today), it makes it easy to switch between streams, and even includes picture-in-picture and embedded chat support.
"Welcome to the Zion Archive. You have selected Historical File #12-1: The Second Renaissance.
So begins the short film of the same name by Mahiro Maeda [Flash: 1 2 - QuickTime: 1 2]
-- a devastating yet beautiful work of animation.
Originally produced to explain the backstory behind the Matrix
trilogy, Maeda's project ended up telling a story far darker and more affecting than any blockbuster.
Using a blend of faux documentary footage
and visual metaphor
, his serene Instructor relates in biblical tones the saga of Man and Machine, how age-old cruelty and hatred birthed a horrifying, apocalyptic struggle that consumed the world.
Packed with striking imagery and historical allusions
galore, this dark allegory easily transcends the films it was made for.
But while "The Second Renaissance" is arguably the best work to come from the Matrix
franchise, it's hardly alone -- it's just one of the projects made for The Animatrix
, a collection of nine superb anime films
in a wide variety of styles
designed to explore the universe and broaden its scope beyond the usual sci-fi action of the movies.
Click inside for a guide to these films with links to where they can be watched online, along with a look at The Matrix Comics
, a free series of comics, art, and short fiction created for the same purpose by some
of the best talent in the business. [more inside]
Contrary to a lot of idle criticism, Bungie's Halo
series of video games has a surprisingly rich backstory
-- a universe complex enough to support seven bestselling novels
, a wiki with over 7,000 articles
, and one of the most successful ARGs in history
(including a full-fledged radio drama
). The series has also turned out sweeping audiovisual work, from the games' cinematic cutscenes
and epic music (lots of free previews)
to top-shelf anime
and the Hollywood-quality short films -- ODST
, Deliver Hope
-- that were made to promote the games (the latter of which, produced by Neil Blomkamp, inspired District 9
). And that's apart from all the material produced by Bungie's dedicated fan base: genuinely hilarious machinima
from Red vs. Blue
, professional-level graphic novels (table of contents at the top)
, gorgeous artwork
, hours of recorded dialogue
, complete transcripts
of hidden apocrypha
, and more factual analysis
, story speculation
, and casual discussion
than you can shake an energy sword at. But most of these pale in comparison to the latest and greatest exercise in Halo beanplating: the Svmma Canonica
, a 40-page, 17,000-word formal treatise on the nature of canon in the world that Bungie built, and how it will fare once Bungie moves on and the franchise is managed by 343 Industries. Discussion over at Bungie's official site
, or at decade-old fan forum Halo.Bungie.Org
"After a decade of being together, I finally proposed to my long time love Sara. [This] movie trailer was shown on December 12th, 2010 at 4pm at the Red River Theater in Concord, NH. Sara had no idea." [more inside]
"Wow, a new user... That's Great! We'd be happy to show you the ropes!"
a PSA on conversation starters in forums and comment threads online that have never been heard or used before. Brought to you by Red Vs. Blue
GrifBall! Red Vs. Blue's Sarge and Caboose introduce the rules
. A sample match: Bungie Vs. RvB
. Context: Since the release of online multiplayer first-person shooter Halo 3, Bungie have allowed players to customise maps with the placement of objects, weapons, spawn points etc. using the Forge
feature. Combined with customisable rule sets, unusually innovative custom games are possible. [more inside]
"I want to hang you because you're gay." [nsfw audio]
"That's not very nice." But that is what player xxx GayBoy xxx heard on while playing Halo 3 on Xbox Live. Gaygamer.net
explains that other than his provoking name, he did nothing to call for the prejudice attacks. As most gamers will tell you, this sort of language is common in game. [more nsfw audio]
Thank god for the mute button.
It's nice to know there are still heroes.
[Previously: 1, 2, 3]
? Phooey! Sure, Bungie
's latest title in greatest series for the Xbox
is released tomorrow, but for some perspective, take a look at Marathon: Aleph One
— the free, open source engine to Bungie's first achievement, the Marathon Trilogy
. [more inside]
Halo meets Monty Python
(youtube). Monty Python's "How not to be seen" done in Halo. Or try, The Codex
for more fun with the Halo engine. Previous Halo machinima post.
the director for the Halo movie does his first interview regarding the film.
Tempbot, Tetra Vaal, Alive in Joburg
discussed previously. New links for
Tempbot, Alive in Joburg
that has Tetra Vaal, a 4 minute adidas "movie" called Yellow, his citroen ad which revived the possibility of live action Transformers (for good or ill) and 3 commercials. Also 3 videos he's done (apparently he doesn't have much taste in music, but likes hot girls in bands).
he is not (I hope).
is a commercial photoshop artist & videogame fan. In the mid 90s, after a couple
of fan art he created for the game Marathon made their way
to the folks at Bungie, he was hired to create
of Halo themed
art for the company
. His full portfolio
of commercial & personal work is interesting.
The Fall of Reach, old-school style. Some plucky French coders have borrowed a page from Codename: Gordon
, the side-scrolling homage
to Half-Life. As a result, Master Chief and his cohorts are now fighting the Covenant in 16-bit, 2D graphics. PC download only - though Mac owners at least have Boot Camp
to avoid waiting for an OS X port.
So, there will be a movie made from the video game Halo
, which is bad. But it's being Exec. Produced by Peter Jackson
, which is good.
This Spartan Life
, a Halo talk show. A nice example of Machinima
, using game engines in unexpected ways.
Some, like the folks behind Red vs. Blue
or The Strangerhood
, make long running series, others recreate movie scenes
, and some people just like playing with the environment
I love bees
Yes, that Lincoln Center.
So we've briefly noted
the clever hack by way of which game engines, in this case, Halo
's, can be used to make movies. The best-known of these is the bleakly humorous Red vs. Blue
- which, if it isn't exactly this generation's "M*A*S*H" or "Catch-22," rather manages to capture something of the futility of postmodern warfare. Still: is this an opus you'd have pegged to premiere at New York City's vaunted high-culture mecca?
is probably the most well known and successful of games for the Xbox, but less well known are the scores of Halo movies
that take advantage of its excellent graphics and physics engines. From the classic Warthog Jump
to the cover of Asshole
and the Red vs Blue
series, the movies are sometimes breaktaking and almost always hilarious. Videogame geeks with a sense of humour? Say it ain't so!
. The air around a dropzone, especially a big one like SkyDive Chicago
, is pretty rarefied: a newcomer to the sport like myself is entirely lacking in cool, even if normal people think having made even one solo jump is pretty impressive. I'm certainly nowhere near the cool-level of the Golden Knights
, the Army's team of crack parachutists. Speaking of them and SDC, they were of course there when this year's national championships
were held in August. I especially liked the video of them showcasing their excellent HALO technique.
NYT is realizing
that computer games can be relevent, and not just a silly fad that only kids and the uneducated can enjoy. In this review (albeit very
belated), Thursday's 'Circuits' section reviews both Operation Flashpoint
, the widely acclaimed, disturbingly realistic combat simulation, and Halo, the shooter du jour on the XBox.