Entries in microsoft (16)
For all the years that us fans have begged for a Halo movie, and suffered through all the teases and missteps, and eventual confirmations that the projects have been scrapped, I'm no fan of Microsoft right now after viewing this Halo 4 launch trailer.
Produced by David Fincher (Fight Club, Se7en) and directed by Tim Miller (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World), this almost makes up for all the never-quite-made-it Halo film's failings while trying to get off the ground. In the above, Master Chief's humanity is briefly explored, followed by his transformation into a super-soldier and eventual war against and capture by Halo 4's primary nemeses, the Forerunners.
The trailer is brilliantly executed, delivering just about everything one would love to see in a live-action Halo flick in just a shade under 2 and a half minutes. I would probably sacrifice a kidney (stone included) to see an hour and a half of this on an IMAX screen, but who am I kidding.. It'll never happen. Sadness.
Halo 4 releases on November 6 - Pre-order at Amazon (referral link)
My bad for not pushing this in your faces sooner. I love staying on top of Halo 4 details, but completely missed this one. Either way, here it is, club music set to the flashing lights and quick kills of energy based weapons. While the Forerunners may have the award locked up for flashiest weapons, don't write off the Covies tried and true series staples. Of note: the Needler. After beginning its life cycle as an under-powered, pink piece of crap, it has become increasingly better with each installment of the series. I expect the Needler to be the Gods weapon in Halo 4, no doubt.
I'm so ready. I can't wait. And while I am enjoying playing Borderlands 2 right now, it's really just a time sink until Halo 4. Pre-order before it's too late! (affiliate link)
Well, not really outer space, but close. Microsoft has chosen to take Xbox where many companies have been going as of late; to the cloud! During Microsoft's E3 2011 press conference, it was announced that Xbox LIVE will begin implementing cloud features such as game saves and profile recovery. This means traveling with your Xbox LIVE profile will be easy-peezy, and much less of a hassle than either dealing with the dreadful 'Gamertag Recovery' or saving your profile along with all of your game data onto a dedicated USB stick.
I'm loving this direction, as I have two Xbox consoles in my house I play on, and carting profiles/saves back and forth is a huge pain in the red ring. Also, friends will now have easier access to their accounts without junking up my consoles USB ports with portable media. Everybody wins!
In addition to the knockout cloud announcement, Microsoft was getting busy in other ways. Like introducing another dashboard update?! That's right kids. It seems like Xbox LIVE gets a visual makeover every year, so why not another this fall? Long gone are the days of the blade, replaced now with a nice and simple interface reminiscent of the Windows Phone OS or the newly announced Windows 8 look. Microsoft seems to be following the footsteps of Apple by creating one unified look across all of its platforms, which ain't a bad thing, especially considering that this new look is actually quite snazzy.
Also announced are Xbox Live Beacons. It's an odd sounding feature that lets your network know what game you want to play. Then, you'll receive an instant notification when one of your friends has fired that game up. Sounds kind of silly, but sure, whatever. Must be useful if your friend list is at max capacity. Then again, if you're maxed out on XBL friends, you're probably exclusively playing one of either Halo, Gears of War, or Call of Duty. Beacons don't sound as awesome as bacon, but really, what does?
Expect more, such as YouTube and Bing search (through Kinect voice commands), increased Kinect support, and many more additions that have either flown under the radar, or I don't feel like writing about. Don't judge me, I'm pressed for time dammit. The latest Dashboard update will go live later this year, giving you plenty of time to save up for a Kinect.
Bear in mind this is still a rumor, but it's one with legs. Joystiq has sources, you see, and those sources seem confident that this Halo HD thing is going down. Under development in *shudder* New Jersey by TimeShift devs Saber Interactive, it's being said Halo: Combat Evolved HD will NOT run on the Halo: Reach engine. Word is it will support 1080p and 3D. More than just a bump in resolution, 343 Industries and Saber Intereactive are said to be reworking this bitch from the ground up.
Multiplayer is still being ironed out, but word is Halo HD will likely feature online co-op. Whether it's for two or four players, who knows. The original Halo: Combat Evolved supported two player split screen, but hopefully the remake will expand on that. All I want is a matchmaking playlist where I can Hang 'Em High, baby.
Targeted day of release is reportedly November 15th, 2011. Get this, not only is 11/15/11 Halo: Combat Evolved's 10 year anniversary, it's a Tuesday, aka the day when most newly released media ships and hits store shelves. That's an encouraging sign. For the sake of all Xbox gamers, I really hope this happens. Don't fuck this one up, New Jersey!
Photography by Mark Hagan
What better way to open CES weekend than with a keynote by Microsoft, led by the magnificently mad bull named Steve Ballmer. Microsoft has performed well on most notes, especially so with their gaming division (in the States, anyway). Mr. Ballmer wasted no time christening this CES 2011 with words of the Xbox 360, Kinect, and Xbox LIVE.
After an initial introduction, the lovable mad man turned things over to Kinect hot-shot Ron Forbes, who gave us some old and some new. As this is a weekend about making news, let's not concern ourselves with the old stuff, instead focusing on what we can look forward to for Microsoft's gaming juggernaut: a lot of Kinect integration, specifically to Zune, Netflix, and Hulu Plus.
The oft overlooked Zune feature was made to look quite slick in its pairing with Kinect, both by way of gesture and voice control. Speaking in a fluid conversational tone to his Xbox (as many Kinecters can already attest to), Mr. Forbes was able to initiate a few awesome features. The combination of gesture and voice allowed him to quickly and effortlessly receive suggestions of new movies available in the Zune application, from there allowing him to watch trailers, then jump right into the movie from the trailer. In his horrible taste, Mr. Forbes happened to be in the midst of a Twilight: Eclipse viewing, which he was able to jump right back into and resume from where he previously left off, without ever picking up a controller. More of the same was done with Zune music, albeit not as impressively as the video function. We saw a little more of the same being done with Netflix and Hulu Plus, however not as in depth as what was displayed with Zune, understandably so.
Digital Ballmer's hand movements are as convincing as the real thing
Moving right along, Ballmer reclaimed the stage in avatar form, in his likeness with the same lack of hair, and a mysterious lack of girth. As he spoke, his avatar's mouth kept up with his words. Its facial expression changed to mimic that of its owner. A laugh, a frown, all portrayed convincingly by Ballmer's digital image, right down the the most minute detail; a wiggle of the eyebrows. The audience was then treated to the realization of this Avatar Kinect. A party chat, which seemed to be set at a tailgate, featuring half a dozen avatars talking to each other, interacting, seemingly living and breathing. An awesome next step for the technologies. This was mentioned to be free for all Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers, with no mention made of the elephant in the room, Xbox LIVE free memberships.
More was seen and said, but none as important as Kinect's next steps. Did you know Kinect has sold 8 million units world wide? As of this writing, I am NOT a Kinect owner, but this presentation has intensified my necessity for one. And for my sports fans, the ESPN3 app that I labor over to keep you satisfied will see new social integrations, such as mini-games and added avatar interactions. Look for the College Bowl Showdown in your ESPN3 app to get a sneak peek at what to expect.
All in all a strong showing from Microsoft's gaming division. No groundbreaking revelations, but genuinely interesting advancements to keep current customers locked, and entice those who may have previously doubted Xbox and Kinect.
Is Steve Ballmer gonna have to choke a b*tch?
There's a strong rumor in the wind that speaks of Halo: Combat Evolved making a return in HD form. Originally released in 2001, 343 Industries is said to be working on Halo HD, which would use the Halo: Reach engine, to commemorate the series' forthcoming 10 year anniversary.
Of course, soon after the rumor surfaced, Microsoft dispatched their vigilant spokespeople to shoot it down, and with it, the dreams of Halo fanboys across the globe. Speaking with Eurogamer, M$ says, “Right now our focus is on supporting Halo: Reach. We have nothing to announce at this time.” Of course you have nothing to announce at this time, Microsoft, but you did leave the door ajar by not denying it.
Do you feel that? It's the reinvigorated hope of the Halo fandom. Bask in it. Xbox LIVE, Slayer, Hang 'em High, ridiculously overpowered sniper magnums. Do want.
As a Peter Molyneux project, Fable III is immediately the greatest thing since sliced bread. Or so Mr. Molyneux would have you think. The master of hyperbole has once again set expectations incredibly high for his latest tale of adventure and morality. While never quite living up to Peter's word-weaving (that would be impossible), the series has always been a solid adventure, and an enjoyable RPG-lite. Does Fable III build upon its predecessors and become the wise, prosperous king? Or does it sour the townsfolk, leading to its untimely overthrow and execution?