PAX is over for another year (220 days until PAX East!) and a big thing that was quite an exciting event this year was HaloFest, an entire chunk of PAX dedicated to nothing but Halo for the all three days of the Expo. With dedicated panels and everything from new anniversary maps all the way through to action figures and toys. The Halo community is huge and diverse so, here we look at all the most important bits of HaloFest.
One of the first things to come out of HaloFest this week was information on the new title update for Halo: Reach. As well as priming the game ahead of the new Anniversary multiplayer maps, there have also been some general changes to other points of existing matchmaking.
- Damage can bleed through shields.
- Damage took whilst in Armour Lock will decrease the time you can stay locked up and will no longer deflect a plasma grenade if you’re already stuck.
- Standing still whilst in Active Camo does not make it last as long and it overall time in Active Camo has been reduced.
- Added Halo: CE Magnum.
- Using melee with any weapon other than the sword will no longer block the attack.
- Co-op campaign and firefight no longer require an HDD, good news for 4GB 360 owners.
Despite making the game a bit more even there will still be the option to play pre-update Reach rules within matchmaking.
That’s right custom challenges. The Waypoint team have developed a system which allows you to create your own challenges which you can then issue to your friends. There will not currently be a system for credits for these challenges, this makes sense seeing as how wide open to abuse it would be, but it has been confirmed that there will be a leader board system.
Warthog In Forza 4
Unfortunately, the Warthog will not be a playable feature but will still be present and accounted for when the game ships on October 11th with the new Autovista virtual showroom feature. Meaning while you can’t screech round corners and shoot out the competition you will be able to admire every inch of this definitive vehicle in full HD.
More New Skulls
That’s right, on top of the awesome Grunt Funeral Party skull which you’ll be able to pick up as a pre-order bonus, Anniversary will also be bringing two more shiny new skulls. The Malfunction Skull seems to be a variant of Blind Skull bit rather than totally removing the HUD it will alternate what appears and what doesn’t, removing different parts of the HUD at random. The third new skull will be the BOOM Skull. BOOM is set to double the blast radius of all explosives which sounds, to me, a lot like the Cowbell Skull.
Halo Waypoint will be getting a full visual update across all formats, mobile, online and on the console. The new set up is far more visually pleasing, placing everything in plain view so that you can see what’s going on with Halo Waypoint on Twitter through the console application. Quicker access is the main update for the mobile version, replacing the current rolling news feed with the key features as quick links, the new mobile interface looks a lot like the Windows Phone 7 “panel” style. Perhaps the greatest new feature is the Gamercard. This Gamercard feature will display your milestone, Reach Spartan, general Reach Stats including level and distance from next level.
With seven classic maps making there way into the glorious, HD goodness of CE: Anniversary, details have been relatively scarce, except the two previously announced. However, over the weekend three more of the maps have been given the full detail treatment. Timberland was one of the greatest maps for the PC version of Combat Evolved and thanks to the revamp, will soon be available for console. One of the bigger maps, Timberland will more than likely spend a lot of time as a Big Team, vehicular map. As the name suggests, the map is one big forest full of, hills, trees and rivers which will make both all out assault, as well as stealthier game play far more interesting.
The second new map which we will soon be waging all out war in will be Prisoner, one of the smaller maps, perfect for fast and hard combat amongst a smaller number of players. Full of open spaces, tight corridors and scarce cover, Prisoner was a personal favourite of mine and I can’t wait to get back into the swing of things, jumping from floor to floor, trying not to get cut to pieces from all directions.
Installation 04 will be the new Firefight map, set at one of the ring worlds beacons and will allow for AI assistance for the first time in Firefight. Set with a small structure, with mountains to one side, cliffs to the other and enemies everywhere, who else wants to get The Flood on Firefight?
Terminals have already been confirmed and they will all be cinematic. There is no absolute confirmation on the numbers, seven would be an educated guess, but their appearance will work a little differently. It has been mentioned that difficulty will effect the number of terminals that will be accessible in a play through, how this works has yet to be fully detailed but the cinematic change is certainly set to be a game changer.
343’s BungiePro Replacement
With Bungie moving away from the Halo Universe, all that remained was BungiePro which the company have now announced will cease subscription in September. Luckily 343 have planned for the future with the Waypoint Panel hinting that the replacement service could eventually “allow 24 slots for everyone”.
The Halo 4 panel was the moment we had all been waiting for, but, alas we could have all expected what we got . Not a lot. While a lot of people, myself included, were disappointed about the lack of information it’s important to remember the game is still over twelve months from release, so any details over the coming months are going to be scarce. While there was very little confirmation of anything, the Q & A did provide some insight into possibilities.
- Confirmation that the Halo 4 Beta, if there is one, will NOT ship with CE: Anniversary.
- The second trilogy will be known as “The Reclaimer Trilogy”.
- The Halo 4 voice cast could be different from that of previous games, the panel was quick to point out that, while auditions are taking place, the relationships with previous actors still remains strong.
- Forge will continue to receive new innovations although, when asked outright, the presence of features such as copy + paste or select all were neither confirmed nor denied.
- Confirmation that we will learn more about what kind of guy John-117 is, as well as more exploration of Cortana and the relationship between the two.
Finally at the end of the Halo 4 panel there was a brief continuation to the E3 trailer. While the majority was concept art, some images seemed to hint that within this Forerunner craft, and all around branch of the Halo universe, there will be some familiar features. A few images appear to show Flood-like tentacles, attacking human like craft, not dissimilar to escape/ODST drop pods we have seen in previous games. Only time will tell.
So there it is HaloFest, along with PAX, is over and done with. With this years apparent success I think we can all pencil in HaloFest 2012 on our calendars ready for next year.