Halo

Sept. 13, 2014 | 6:00 a.m.

‘Destiny’ review: Mars is lovely; too bad about the war

Spaceflight over Mars in "Destiny." (Bungie / Activision)
THE PLAYER The opening moments of “Destiny” are mesmerizing. It’s a Mars landing, complete with sparkling views of our galaxy and crystallized red space dust. It’s a vision that looks lifted straight from photographs sent in by NASA’s Curiosity rover. It’s immediately inviting — optimistic, even. This is “present day” Mars, the game tells us, and considering that manned spaceflight isn’t a top legislative priority anymore, watching an astronaut leave a footprint on the surface of Mars is a reminder that a venture into the unknown can be downright inspiring. Then out come the rifles. What’s the fun, apparently, in looking for life on Mars if we can’t kill it? For all the innovation and sci-fi-meets-fantasy overtures here, “Destiny” ultimately doesn’t feel all that futuristic. It’s a refinement, rather than a reinvention, of the dominant video game genre on home […]
June 09, 2014 | 10:30 a.m.

E3 2014: ‘Halo: The Master Chief Collection’ due for Xbox One on Nov. 11

Microsoft's 343 Industries will in 2015 release "Halo 5: Guardians." (343 Industries)
A brand new “Halo” video game won’t be released until late 2015, but the game’s titular hero, Master Chief, won’t exactly be missing in action in 2014. Microsoft’s 343 Industries confirmed on Monday the release of “Halo: The Master Chief Collection,” a long-rumored compilation of “Halo’s” first four core video games. The games will receive a next-gen makeover for the recently released Xbox One since all date to prior console generations. The release of the anthology on Nov. 11 will also coincide with the premiere of a live-action series to be executive produced by Ridley Scott, “Halo: Nightfall.” Microsoft unveiled the “Halo” details at a press event on the eve of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, which runs Tuesday through Thursday at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Still in the works: “Halo 5: Guardians,” which is tabled for a 2015 release, and another […]
May 16, 2014 | 7:00 a.m.

‘Halo 5: Guardians’: Microsoft targets fall 2015 release

Microsoft's 343 Industries will release "Halo 5: Guardians" exclusively for the Xbox One in late 2015. (343 Industries)
Master Chief is returning, and he’s more conflicted than ever. “Halo 5: Guardians” will be coming to Microsoft’s Xbox One in fall 2015, 343 Industries — the tech company’s in-house studio for all things “Halo” — confirmed Friday morning. The game will be set after the events of “Halo 4,” the first-person sci-fi shooter that was the No. 3-selling video game of 2012, according to the NPD Group. “Halo 4″ served as one of the final major titles to be released for the Xbox 360 console before Microsoft introduced the Xbox One late last year. The studio is revealing little in the way of specifics, but “Halo 5″ will find its technologically enhanced super soldier Master Chief at a crossroads. “Halo 4″ ended with the franchise’s hero mourning the lose of Cortana, a nearly sentient artificially intelligent computer program who would appear in holographic […]
June 04, 2013 | 6:35 a.m.

‘Halo: Spartan Assault’: New action shooter expands universe to mobile

A look at "Halo: Spartan Assault." (Vanguard Games / 343 Industries)
The “Halo” universe is getting bigger, but it’s going to look a bit smaller. Microsoft’s 343 Industries this July is releasing “Halo: Spartan Assault,” an arcade-style action shooter designed primarily for Surface devices, tablets and mobile phones within the Windows 8 ecosystem. The “Halo” franchise has long been considered a major contributing factor in the success of the Xbox and Xbox 360. “Halo: Spartan Assault” marks the first major effort on behalf of Microsoft to essentially use the series as an app on other Microsoft platforms. “We wanted to build a ‘Halo’ experience that could expand onto other platforms and one that was highly pick-up play,” said Graeme Jennings, a producer at 343. “We built something that I think is an excellent five-minute experience. Take on the boss, play and you’re good. I think that expands the audience.” The $6.99 […]
May 21, 2013 | 5:39 p.m.

Xbox One: Microsoft focuses on managing content, not gaming

PERSPECTIVE At this morning’s Xbox One reveal in Redmond, Wash., the new “Call of Duty” game received an extended preview and a new game titled “Quantum Break” was given a giant promotional push. But the biggest star of Microsoft’s news conference to showcase  its Xbox 360 successor was a film director, one who spoke only via a pre-filmed video. Steven Spielberg, it was divulged this morning, will executive produce an original “Halo” television series based on the popular video game franchise that’s long been tied to the Xbox ecosystem. “For me, the ‘Halo’ universe is an amazing opportunity to be at the intersection where technology and storytelling meet,” Spielberg said, adding that he’s been interested in games since the era of “Pong” and that they have now evolved, technologically speaking, to a point where interactive storytelling is at its most […]
Jan. 16, 2013 | 2:41 p.m.

‘Halo 4,’ ‘Assassin’s Creed III’ up for WGA video game award

'Halo 4' (featured image)
Master Chief and Mickey Mouse just snagged an invitation to one of Hollywood’s glitzy awards season soirees. “Assassin’s Creed III” and “Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two” joined “Halo 4,” “007 Legends” and “Uncharted: Golden Abyss,” along with “Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation,” as the nominees for outstanding achievement in video game writing at the Writers Guild Awards, which will be held Feb. 17. The award will be presented by the Writers Guild of America, West and the Writers Guild of America, East during simultaneous ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York. Other award categories include writing for film, television, radio, promotional writing, graphic animation and new media. The video game writing award, in its sixth year, honors a script from a video game published between Dec. 1, 2011, and Nov. 30, 2012. The complete 2013 WGA nominations list […]
Dec. 09, 2012 | 3:48 p.m.

Inside Gaming Awards: ‘Halo 4′ and ‘Fez’ take top honors

halo 4 (featured image)
Despite the notion that gamers are all of the same hive mind, Machinima’s Inside Gaming Awards — held Saturday night at the Avalon in Hollywood — presented notable differences from Spike TV’s more high profile Video Game Awards, which took place the preceding night. The most important distinction being game of the year honors: “The Walking Dead” was the winner Friday, but “Halo 4″ captured the top prize at the IGAs. Not to say that there wasn’t some overlap. Both games boasted multiple nominations at each awards ceremony, and along with Bioware’s “Mass Effect 3,” seemed to dominate in wins as well. “The Walking Dead” won prizes for best downloadable game and best character design; “Halo 4″ claimed three awards, including for its sound design and in the best competitive multiplayer category. The tones of the awards shows are very […]
Dec. 08, 2012 | 10:00 a.m.

Video Game Awards: Telltale’s ‘Walking Dead,’ ‘Journey’ win big

Telltale's "The Walking Dead," a five-part episodic game, was named game of the year at the 10th edition of Spike TV's "Video Game Awards." (Telltale Games)
Attendees and home viewers of the 10th edition of Spike TV’s Video Game Awards were treated to trailer after trailer for games that showcased new ways to shoot things, new places to shoot things and the post-traumatic effects of having shot lots of things. Yet despite the emphasis on blockbuster games that have yet to be released, this year’s Video Game Awards were ultimately a celebration of the little games that could. “The Walking Dead,” a serial title inspired by the Robert Kirkman comics, was named game of the year, upsetting a host of action/suspense titles such as “Assassin’s Creed 3,” “Mass Effect 3″  and “Dishonored.” Its publisher, the Bay Area’s independent Telltale Games, was declared studio of the year. Meanwhile, L.A.’s own Thatgamecompany received three trophies for its meditative, abstract game of exploration “Journey,” including best independent game and best PS3 game. […]
Nov. 06, 2012 | 5:00 a.m.

‘Halo 4′ review: Master Chief is human after all

'Halo 4' (featured image)
Technology-enhanced super-soldier Master Chief has always been efficient, even by military standards. Drop the “Halo” protagonist on any alien-infested setting featured in the last three games and he can make it safe for human colonization. For “Halo 4 ” though, the first in the blockbuster Xbox series to be developed entirely by Microsoft, the game’s action hero is suddenly confronted with a problem that can’t be obliterated by human or alien weaponry: loneliness. Master Chief, who is essentially to the Xbox ecosystem what Mario is to the Nintendo universe, begins the game adrift, lost in space, with nary a response to his ship’s distress signal. It’s where “Halo 3″ left off, and Microsoft’s 343 Industries adds new facets to the narrative by infusing a sense of humanity to the line-’em-up, shoot-’em-down franchise instead of simply altering gameplay. Though “Halo” lore […]
July 11, 2012 | 12:01 a.m.

‘Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn’ will be the first ‘Halo’ movie

Daniel Cudmore as Master Chief in "Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn." Microsoft is producing the first live-action content based on the popular "Halo" video games. Set to be unveiled at Comic-Con, "Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn" is a five-episode Web series that will be turned into a 90-minute movie, a prequel to the upcoming "Halo 4" video game. (Microsoft / 343 Industries)
Microsoft’s blockbuster “Halo” franchise has sold more than 42 million video games and been featured in novels, comic books, trading cards and an animated series. But Master Chief, the “space marine” protagonist who wields two guns and takes no prisoners, got his butt kicked on his first foray into the live-action world, when 20th Century Fox and Universal Pictures’ 2006 attempt to develop a big-budget “Halo” movie fizzled over budget concerns. Now “Halo” has gone in front of the cameras, but without any movie studio assistance. Microsoft has produced a Web series, called “Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn,” which will premiere this October in five episodes leading up to the release of the “Halo 4” video game. The segments will then be collected, along with 15 minutes of additional footage, into a 90-minute feature film. Microsoft will announce “Forward Unto […]
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