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Halo 5: Guardians photo
Halo 5: Guardians

Watch the Halo 5: Guardians opening cinematic

Enough military speak to sink a fleet
Sep 01
// Joe Parlock
Halo 5: Guardians is on the horizon, and so 343 Industries has given us a peek of the game’s opening cinematic. It’s got your usual Halo stuff: Covenant, people in absurdly big armour, and lots of holograms. The ...
Halo 5 photo
Halo 5

Master Chief won't be unmasked in Halo 5

Guardian his face
Aug 21
// Brett Makedonski
No one has ever seen the face of Xbox's most popular video game franchise. Master Chief's appearance is nothing more than a suit of armor. 343 Industries says it's staying that way for a while -- at least through Halo 5: Guar...
Halo 5: Guardians photo
Halo 5: Guardians

343i: The problem with split-screen co-op is 'nontrivial'

Dev responds to #BringHalo5SplitScreenBack
Aug 18
// Vikki Blake
Halo 5: Guardians' franchise development director has hit back against criticism that the newest instalment of the shooter will not feature split-screen co-op play.
Halo 5 leak photo
There's a hole in my beta, dear Liza
The theme music from Halo 5: Guardians and shots of multiplayer menus (including Warzone, the new 12-on-12 mode) have leaked online following a recent update to this winter's now-defunct beta. Despite having concluded m...

I'm a big teen now! photo
I'm a big teen now!

Halo 5 first game in series rated T for Teen

Teen friendly, mother approved!
Aug 07
// Jed Whitaker
[Header image from DeviantArt artist Lazeedog.] Great news, teens: you can buy Halo 5: Guardians without an adult as the ESRB has rated it T for Teen, making it the first core game in the series not rated M for Matu...

Halo 5 has some changes that longtime fans will have to get used to

Aug 06 // Brett Makedonski
Longtime Halo players might find this change jarring or even possibly off-putting. There are people who pride themselves on getting their way through the story on legendary difficulty, trying again and again until they finally hit the next checkpoint. Halo 5 could render that sensation largely moot thanks to a new revival system that's akin to the one in Gears of War. It gives second chances, something that Halo hasn't really done before. Design director Brad Welch says he doesn't think that will be the case. He commented that those who are playing on those higher difficulties will find a familiar level of challenge. "We've approached Halo from a completely new perspective," he said. "It might take people a little while to adjust, but we've worked for a long time on the balancing," he offered as he explained that being careless with your teammates will just lead to everyone dying rather quickly. Once that happens, it's right back to the checkpoint. There's a similar AI implementation in multiplayer that's a departure from what everyone has been used to. The 12-on-12 Warzone mode will feature computer-controlled bosses and defenders, as opposed to humans dictating all of the action. Again, Holmes and Welch say it'll take some getting used to, but this expanded game is their vision for Halo 5. [embed]297354:59849:0[/embed] Warzone's particularly significant in that it's one half of 343 Industries' initial multiplayer push. Classic four versus four arena play is available for purists, but Warzone is the mode for those who want action in larger numbers. Holmes explained that they designed these two kinds of multiplayer with two different types of player in mind -- that's why they're distinct styles. In fact, Warzone is such a priority that 343 is launching Halo 5 with it in place instead of Big Team Battle. However, Holmes clarified that Big Team Battle would be implemented within weeks of release. This is rather indicative of the developer's approach to post-launch content. Halo 5 will ship with 20 maps, but it'll eventually grow to around 50 -- all of those being added for free. Holmes elaborated that he wanted to get away from paid map packs because those do nothing but segment the community. He wants everyone to be able to play with whomever they want without putting that access behind a paywall. It's ambitious for sure, but everything about Halo 5 is ambitious. The sheer scale of it all tips its hand about that. 343 Industries and Microsoft are both on a mission to make a lot more Halo, and it looks like they'll accomplish that goal in the short-term -- even if it means players will have to make some small adjustments.
Halo 5 preview photo
There's a lot of the familiar, though
It was one year ago when I sat with 343 Industries as key developers told me all about the studio's plans for The Halo Channel. At the time, Halo 5: Guardians was more than a year on the horizon, and Halo: The Master Chi...

Halo Wars 2 photo
Halo Wars 2

Halo Wars 2 confirmed for Xbox One and PC, coming in 2016

Creative Assembly is involved
Aug 04
// Chris Carter
Although they haven't given out any real details, Halo Wars 2 was confirmed today at Microsoft's gamescom conference. It will be coming to the PC and Xbox One in fall 2016. The trailer above gives us a quick look at the...
Halo photo

Microsoft announces Halo World Championship, special 1TB Xbox One

I wonder how well it will do
Aug 04
// Chris Carter
Microsoft has unveiled a new Halo tournament, dubbed the Halo World Championship. It'll feature one million dollars in prizes, and will focus around Halo 5: Guardians. Additionally, the publisher revealed a new 1TB limited e...
Halo 5 photo
Halo 5

Halo 5's new trailer has an excellent sliding kill

Where do you slide?
Aug 04
// Brett Makedonski
I'm at Microsoft's gamescom press conference battling bad Wi-Fi and mashing the keyboard in hopes that words magically form. Sometimes I get a chance to look up at the what's happening on the screen. It just so happens that ...
Halo photo

The best playlist might return to Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Aug 03
// Chris Carter
Man, Infection is great. I remember when my group of friends used to manually play it before it was officially a "thing," and when it became a thing, we played it even more. 343 Industries has confirmed that it may return to ...
Eatings disorders suck photo
Eatings disorders suck

What the ladies of gaming would look like as average Americans

Arguably sexier
Jul 22
// Jed Whitaker, a website dedicated to helping those with eating disorders find treatment, has "reverse Photoshopped" some characters from popular games series to make them look more like the average American woman. "If video game creators are going to pride themselves on accurate digital representations, then it's time for them to get real about women," says the site.
Halo: Fleet Battles photo
Halo: Fleet Battles

Tabletop wargame Halo: Fleet Battles available now

The Fall of Reach
Jul 20
// Darren Nakamura
Man, look at those dice. There's some explosions, there's a "no" symbol, and there's the iconic Halo skull. I don't know exactly how Halo: Fleet Battles plays, but I do love me some custom dice. Halo: Fleet Battles is based o...
Halo 5: Guardians photo
Halo 5: Guardians

Exchange your Halo 5 Guardians CE digital code for a physical disc

Available at no extra cost
Jul 20
// Vikki Blake
If you fancied picking up the Halo 5: Guardians Limited Collector’s Edition but were put off by the digital code part, 343 industries has "heard the feedback". "I’d like to touch on a few items, the first of ...
Men vs Women in Halo 3 photo
Men vs Women in Halo 3

Study: Men who suck at Halo are more likely to treat women poorly online

Get good, scrubs
Jul 17
// Jed Whitaker
A new study's findings show that men who perform worse at Halo 3 treat their perceived female teammates worse than their male teammates.  The researchers observed 163 games of Halo 3 with 82 of the games having...
Halo photo

Hail to the Chief: Halo moves past 65 million series sales

That's across ten titles
Jul 13
// Brett Makedonski
Halo is Xbox's flagship franchise and for good reason. Since launching alongside the original Xbox, the Halo series has managed to sell more than 65 million copies. That's some Spartan-like resolve. News of the milestone...
Halo animation photo
Halo animation

First look at Halo: The Fall of Reach - The Animated Series

It's going to show John's arms and legs
Jul 10
// Jordan Devore
Here's a look at Halo: The Fall of Reach – The Animated Series out of San Diego Comic-Con. An adaptation of Eric Nylund's 2001 novel, it will explore the origin of the Master Chief and Blue Team. Considering those same ...
Halo 5 photo
Halo 5

All of Halo 5's pre-order bonuses will be unlockable through gameplay

That's a nice change of pace
Jun 24
// Brett Makedonski
We've gotten used to a certain routine with regard to pre-order bonuses. Typically, they'll be made available weeks or months after release for a nominal fee. For those who are content to wait even longer, it's usually all in...

I'm starting to care about Halo 5 thanks to Warzone

Jun 22 // Jordan Devore
The goal is to either score 1,000 points, collectively, or take down the opposing team's core after capturing enough points for map control. In the former case, you can be out there doing your own thing, earning points, and working toward big purchases. I saved up for the bipedal Mantis mech and stomped on some foes until hubris (and several Spartans) got the better of me. I tried once to engage a Promethean boss alone and that went south real fast. Similarly, tackling the exposed core at the enemy's HQ without sufficient backup is ill-advised. But whatever we did, it worked. The other team failed to get more than a couple hundred points. Had it pulled together and taken down our core while we were distracted, the match could've gone the other way. I'm not so into the series these days, and I didn't come into the session with an especially cheerful mindset. But I dug Warzone overall. The maps were big -- I felt like I had to chase after battles from time to time -- but I otherwise enjoyed the mode. Curious about the game's REQ System. [embed]294624:59201:0[/embed]
Halo 5 preview photo
24 players vs. each other and the AI
While E3 didn't officially start until last Tuesday, there was plenty of video game stuff happening in and around Los Angeles the day before (and even the day before that!). Covering press conferences from Microsoft, Electron...

Halo 5: Guardians photo
Halo 5: Guardians

Here's what you get in the Halo 5 Limited Collector's Edition

Would you pay $250 for it?
Jun 18
// Vikki Blake
Amazon has unveiled the Halo 5: Guardians Limited Collector's Edition. The bundle comes with a Spartan-themed Steelbook, Spartan Locke's Classified Orders, the Halo: The Fall of Reach - Animated Series, Warzone REQ Bundle: 14...

Everything that happened from Microsoft's 2015 E3 conference

Jun 15 // Chris Carter
Halo 5 will feature 24-player mode with 'Warzone Multiplayer' Keiji Inafune and Metroid Prime devs unveil Xbox One exclusive ReCore Xbox One will now be backwards compatible Xbox One Elite Controller announced, lets you customise it Fallout 4 on Xbox One will support PC-made mods Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 is coming! EA Access adding Titanfall and Dragon Age: Inquisition to the Vault Forza 6 reps American muscle for Xbox One Dark Souls III confirmed for early 2016 Tom Clancy's The Division is getting an Xbox One Exclusive Beta in December Pardon the interruption Rainbow Six Siege will come with free Vegas 1 and 2 on Xbox One Tacoma's new trailer has a lot of zero-g goodness Xbox One Game Preview lets you play games still in development Ashen looks like Microsoft's answer to Journey Cuphead still looks amazing in this new trailer! Beyond Eyes coming to Xbox One and PC Gigantic beta hits Xbox One, Windows 10 in Aug. Montage music and a ton of awesome-lookin' Xbox indies Microsoft announces 'Rare Replay," with 30 classic Rare games Rise of the Tomb Raider gets a November release date DayZ creator's ION is an MMO set in space Rare announces 'most ambitious project yet,' Sea of Thieves Microsoft outline future VR plans - working with Valve on the Vive How're you liking the Microsoft E3 conference? There's a Skyrim-lookin' dude in Fable Legends Mo-yang? Gears of War Ultimate Edition coming August 25 Gears of War 4 announced features new characters Wow, Minecraft on Microsoft's Hololens looks hot [embed]293994:59017:0[/embed]
Microsoft photo
Backwards compatibility! Your move Sony
Well, that was a nice little conference! Microsoft didn't blow me away this year, but I enjoyed it as a whole, and so far, there have been no disasters of any kind on the level of Caffeine Man (Google it). The biggest ne...

Microsoft at E3 photo
Microsoft at E3

Halo 5 will feature 24-player mode with 'Warzone Multiplayer'

Coming this October
Jun 15
// Chris Carter
[Update: watch some footage of the campaign below.] Today at its E3 conference in LA, Microsoft revealed a brand new mode for Halo 5 called "Warzone." It basically looks like PlanetSide, Halo-style. and features tons of...
Halo photo

All new Halo games will be publicly beta tested first, says 343i head

Beta safe than sorry, right?
Jun 11
// Vikki Blake
From here on in, all new Halo games will be preceded by public beta testing.  "Going forward, you will never see a Halo game coming out without a beta. [Master Chief Collection] was obviously painful for our fans and for...
Halo 5 no co-op photo
Halo 5 no co-op

Halo 5 campaign doesn't have splitscreen co-op

Preserve 60FPS gameplay
Jun 10
// Steven Hansen
I have only ever played Halo campaigns in split-screen, couch-sharing co-op. This streak will end with Halo 5: Guardians, according to this month's Game Informer cover story, because Halo 5 does not support splitscreen co-op,...
Halo 5 story details photo
Halo 5 story details

Nathan Fillion returning for Halo 5: Guardians

Fresh story details
Jun 09
// Jordan Devore
Uncanny. Nathan Fillion, who played Gunnery Sergeant Edward Buck in the well-liked Halo 3: ODST, will be back for Halo 5: Guardians. That's him up there looking like his usual dashing self. Game Informer has new details about...
White Xbox photo
White Xbox

That white Xbox One Master Chief bundle's available now

And Microsoft says it's limited
Jun 02
// Brett Makedonski
Do you have an urge to pick up an Xbox One, but aren't so keen on the black design that sinks into the background of every entertainment center? You need a console that pops, a hot white machine that boldly writes off any pre...

Review: Shooter

Jun 02 // Nic Rowen
Shooter (Book)Released: June 2, 2015MSRP: $5.00 Shooter is a collection of essays from recognizable names in game criticism speaking on a wide range of topics related to games that involve some kind of gunplay. Some chapters take a deep dive into the mechanical and technical details that make shooters what they are. Steven Wright's “The Joys of Projectiles: What We've Forgotten About Doom” for example, laments the rise of “realistic” modern shooters and how their largely interchangeable hitscan assault rifles have abandoned many of the mechanics that made early FPS games so pleasurable and skill testing. Others are more personal, such as Gita Jackson's touching reflection on how Counter-Strike could be seen as a microcosm of the (seemingly one-sided from her self-deprecating perspective) sibling rivalry she shared with her brother. Shooter strikes a great balance, it never gets so bogged down in technical minutia that it feels like a lecture in game design, but has enough mechanical grounding that it doesn't just become a series of anecdotes either. The games Shooter examines are varied and numerous. Of course genre forebears and trendsetters like Doom, Half-Life and Call of Duty are discussed as you would expect, but there is plenty of attention paid to less bombastically popular titles as well. Genre-defying shooters like Red Orchestra 2 with its brutally unforgiving depiction of realistic combat, and the insidious darkness of Far Cry 2, which sets aside the typical rationales for heroic violence to make the player complicit in something unsettling, get entire chapters dedicated to them. It's a great technique. By examining the few games that step outside of the bounds of typical FPS conventions and power fantasy dynamics and figuring out why they feel so different, it is easier to pinpoint the standard tropes and expectations of the genre that have become so ubiquitous that they are nearly invisible. Perhaps the greatest praise I can give to Shooter is that it made me reexamine and reflect on my feelings about a few games. When a piece of criticism grabs you by the collar and demands you take a second look at something, you know its doing it's job right. Filipe Salgado's chapter on the intentional ugliness and barely contained chaos of Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days almost made me want to play through the game again with a fresh set of eyes -- eyes more willing to see past the clunky mechanics and thoroughly unlikable protagonists to scan for deeper meaning. Almost anyway (this is still Dog Days we're talking about). At its best, Shooter feels like a lively conversation with some very smart people who enjoy, but expect more from, their trigger happy games. Its snappy, intelligent, and occasionally funny. At it's worst, the book veers into the pretentious. At times, it feels less like a conversation and more like an awkward dinner party dominated by a lecturing windbag everyone is too polite to interrupt. Thankfully these rough patches are few and far between. The rest of the book is well worth putting up with the occasional eye-rolling turn of phrase. Mostly though, Shooter feels important. The industry needs more “capital C” Criticism to unravel the subtext and ideas behind the games we love. Games mean something. They impart messages, communicate ideas, either by conscious choice on the part of their developers or by the assumptions they make -- the casual omissions and things taken for granted. We have to start examining these ideas in a mature, intelligent, and yes, academic way. Shooter isn't the first example of this kind of criticism in games writing of course; there have certainly been other books written, and articles penned (on sites like Destructoid, I might add) that dive into these waters. But, it is still very much a nascent field. Video games are a young medium, and we haven't had time to establish a critical tradition like film and literature has. We need to cultivate these voices; the generation of writers that will talk about games in a serious manner in the coming decades. What better way to stake a claim in this new field than to gather a variety of exceptionally talented voices to talk about and critically examine what is generally considered gaming's dumbest, most developmentally arrested genre? The thrill of shooting a Cyber-Demon with a rocket launcher may be obvious and simple, but there is a lot to unpack when you take a closer look.
Shooter Review photo
Looking at life down the barrel of a gun
Shooters seem simple. You step into the shoes of your typical tough guy space-marine or mercenary and empty clip after clip into the faces of Nazis, or aliens, or alien-Nazis from the vaguely disembodied gun bobbing up and do...

Halo Collection DLC photo
Halo Collection DLC

Halo 3: ODST and new map available now for Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Mountain Dew achievement unlocked
May 30
// Jed Whitaker
Halo 3: ODST and Remnant, a re-imagined version of the classic Halo 2 map Relic are now available for Halo: The Master Chief Collection, a day after the previously leaked release date. Fans who played the collection online p...
Halo 3: ODST goes 1080p60 photo
Halo 3: ODST goes 1080p60

Halo 3: ODST comes to Halo: The Master Chief Collection this Friday?

Free if you played before Dec. 19, 2014
May 26
// Jed Whitaker
[Update: The release date listing for the ODST campaign was a placeholder, according to the official Halo Twitter account. "We continue final testing and will make an official announcement once our release date is determined...
Eating salad photo
Eating salad

Microsoft adds white Xbox One Halo: The Master Chief Collection bundle

Eating salad
May 20
// Steven Hansen
Ahead of Halo 5: Guardians, Microsoft already attempted to both make and sway Chief fans with an Xbox One bundled with Halo: The Master Chief Collection and a box with pictures of Master Chief on it. Now, Microsoft is over de...
Xbox One bundle photo
Xbox One bundle

Xbox One Master Chief Bundle on sale for $299 (today only)

$300 Xbox One, eh?
May 15
// Dealzon
Not even during Black Friday of 2014 did the Xbox One drop to $299.99... so could it happen on a random day in May with no major holidays in sight? Sure, why not, says eBay deal. A limited 1,000 units of Xbox One Halo Master ...

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