Ryan Davis

We will never hear this voice make this noise again
We will never hear this voice make this noise again

There is something I failed to realize about death. When someone dies, the physical presence of that person is gone. The warmth you felt as he physically stood next to you; as he put his arm around you, you can never feel that again. Because he can no longer be in that physical proximity. He’s gone.

I never could have felt that loss with Ryan Davis. Because I didn’t know the man, probably never would have met him. And neither did he, or would he. We live in two completely different parts of the world and we live 2 completely different lives. And to him, I was ultimately just another fan, just another duder; someone who followed him on Twitter, someone who watched the videos he was in and laughed at his jokes. Someone who listened to him on the Giant Bombcast.

Ah, and there’s the realization: you see there’s something else you lose when someone dies; that someone’s voice. It never occurred to me. Whenever I’ve lost someone close to me, I knew the person on a personal level and what hurts is the thought that I will never be able to touch or see that person ever again. He/She no longer exists as a physical entity.

Ryan's got ya.
Ryan's got ya.

But with Ryan Davis, he existed to me as someone I watched on video, and more importantly, someone who I listened to on a podcast. His trademark “Hey everyone its TUUUUUEEEESDAAAY", his uncontrollable laughter, his contant reminder to everyone that something is “so dumb": his voice, his personality, his enthusiasm was what connected me, and millions of others, to him.

And we will never hear that voice again.

I wanted to say some words about Ryan Davis, a man that didn’t know me. A man I didn’t know. A man that made every week of my life just a tiny bit better by being himself. But I have nothing to say, kinda because I don’t want to say it (I’m choking up a little here). I don’t know what to say.

Lost for words. This seemed like a good idea when I came up with it. What do you say about a man who you only know through audio and video?

What I will say is that the fact that I am here, trying to write something about Ryan Davis, this man I know nothing personal about, says a lot about the impact he’s had on me. The fact that I am here writing about Ryan Davis, the man I know from the Internet and only from the Internet, I think that says enough.

So I guess what I’m trying to say, if I am making any sense at all, is that I’m going to miss you Ryan Davis. And wherever you are, never stop being Ryan Davis. Because Ryan Davis was and will always be an amazing man.

Goodbye, friend, inspiration, Papa Bear.
Goodbye, friend, inspiration, Papa Bear.

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Nintendo and I: The Wii, Wii U and why I still am not impressed

We've been dealing with the Wii, Xbox 360 and PS3 for far too long now. Seriously. About 7 years in and save for a few games (I'm looking at you Last of Us and Halo 4), the current generation of consoles haven't been able to facilitate games that are interesting anymore.

We've come to a point where, for the most part, creativity has run dry. At least once a month, we get a first person shooter with a level based, experience points driven multiplayer progression system. Companies are afraid to release new IPs, sticking to what works and squeezing as much as they can out of their existing properties. Introducing let-generation motion controlling devices with the aim to enhance the longevity of their consoles, only to be extremely lacklustre. We've come to a point where Sony and Microsoft need to, and are in the midst of, working on the 'Next Generation' of consoles. And it took longer than usual for them. 7 years isn't that bad.

Unfortunately, in my eyes, Nintendo dropped off the game way earlier than that.

The Wii had a lot of promise. A crazy new way to play games was its promise and people were skeptical. Fortunately for Nintendo, Wii Sports, what became the Wii's flagship title, was such a phenomenon that the Wii sold gangbusters. Even today, I look at the Wii and what it had at launch and I'm surprised it managed to survive past that. But they got through it and slowly we got the games that we wanted.

Super Mario Galaxy. A New Mario. Check. Super Smash Bros Brawl. Check. Metroid Prime 3. Check.

But even then, I felt no compulsion to get a Wii because it just wan't very exciting. Out of the gate, it was failing to live up to its potential. Red Steel was a wash, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess really failed to impress much and besides the swarm of party games and casual games, the Wii, I felt, never really spoke to me.

Good for Nintendo, I suppose. Their console, seen to be the most casual out of the Big 3, proved to be very successful for the company. I was happy for Nintendo, even if they weren't making me happy. And then E3 2010 happened.

Oh man. Donkey Kong! Kirby! Mario Sports Mix! Goldeneye! Epic Mickey! Zelda!

Suddenly, it all clicked. Nintendo was exciting me and there were enough amazing games in the back catalog that it now made sense to me to get a Wii and delve into all those games. Suddenly, it seemed like Nintendo was back! They knew who their audience was, knew what their audience wanted! And they were coming back with a vengeance! I played those games, I had a great time. I was so, so satisfied. It could only go up from there, right?

About a month and a half before E3 2011, we started hearing rumours about "Project Cafe", Nintendo's next console.

Wait, what? Next gen? The next step in the evolution of gaming. A Gamecube to Wii like leap? Damn straight, I was excited.

E3 2011 comes by and the Wii U is revealed. Not the name I would have chosen, but sure. Still very early and all they showed were tech demos. But the promise of the tablet controller and the second screen was exciting. And god damn, the graphics on that Legend of Zelda demo... that truly was next gen. The gameplay possibilities, the "next generation" graphics and the promise they made at E3 2011 that the Wii U will mark the return of Nintendo's appeal to the 'hardcore' gamer: It all sounded great and I was ready to jump onboard the Nintendo train. E3 2012 would be amazing. The Wii U will signal the start of a glorious new generation of console gaming.

Aaaaand E3 2012. Watching the press conference at about 1am in the morning on a live stream, wrapped in my blanket, I didn't exactly know what was going on. Pikmin 3 was a good start. Another New Super Mario Bros? Its getting a bit old but okay sure, I like Mario. Rayman Legends? Sweet!

But nothing else. No price. No release date. No clear indication of what else the console had in store. No real exciting game announcements. All I was left with was Nintendoland and an overly long, heavily armoured out version of a game that I had played and finished a year ago that actually looked worse than it did then. Graphically, there was nothing "next generational" about it. Power wise, the reports were saying that it was similar to the Xbox 360 and PS3. And again, at the biggest gaming event of the year, Nintendo had no games to show.

Fast forward to yesterday. Nintendo holds a conference for the Wii U. Price, release date, games blowout. This would be Nintendo's chance to show us that the Wii U would be worth giving a damn about.

I'm not sure how everyone else feels, but I am still unmoved.

1. The Price. $300 for the standard and $350 for the Deluxe? For a console that power wise is on par with what we have today? Where the bulk of the cost seems to come from the amazingly (expensive) priced Wii U gamepad (estimated $170 based on conversion from Yen). I'm not sure what Nintendo's strategy is here but they've felt what happens when you overprice before, with the Nintendo 3DS. Hell, they've even commented following that debacle saying that they've learnt a lesson about pricing that they will apply to the Wii U. Then, what happened? We live in a day and age where gaming is most popular on a tablets and smartphones, where people are expecting to pay less for their games. And here we have a relatively featureless game console with lacklustre power at a $300 price point? How is that attractive?

2. The games. Surprisingly enough, some of the announcements that came out of this were not too bad. Bayonetta 2 as a Wii U exclusive? Thats an amazing get! Black Ops 2 on the Wii U. Really smart and very interesting. Even Nintendoland was starting to look a bit more exciting with Metroid Blast.

And then Reggie comes on stage and says "Besides New Super Mario Bros. U and Nintendoland, we can't confirm any other games for launch"

What? Here we are, mere months away from launch, and you don't know what games are coming out for launch. You can't tell? Instead you give us the expansive 'launch window', a 5 month window for 50 announced games to come out. Firstly, a launch window is the time immediately after launch, not something that spans for half a year. And secondly, how can you not know what games your platform is going to have in about 2 months? Surely, for your flagship console, you would be more concerned about getting games out on time, yes?

3. Features. Nintendo TVii (Amazingly ridiculous name, but thats besides the point) seems like a neat feature but that alone is not enough to carry your console. I mean look at Microsoft and Sony. They have the media partners now, they have a wide catalog of games and their online capabilities are outstanding. We still pretty much have no idea how online games operate on the Wii U besides the promise that there is online.

And, really, as I sit here typing this out, I just feel bummed out, just so very bummed out. Because the Wii U should be this big magnificent thing! Its Nintendo's new console! Its the first shot in the Next-Gen console arms race. And all we have is a weak console that runs on par with current-gen consoles, made by a company who, frankly speaking, doesn't really know what its doing. Sure its got some games, sure it has some media functionality. But... thats it?

Nintendo is playing catch up, and even then, its not doing a very good job. Microsoft and Sony figured online gaming out. They figured media services out. They figured out how to get new and exciting games out on their consoles. And they're doing it now. They've been doing it for the last couple of years. And Nintendo is still struggling to get there.

And even if in the next year, the Wii U manages to build up some momentum, we'd probably have seen Microsoft's Durango and Sony's Orbis by then. Pushing console gaming further. And the Wii U will be stuck in the same place the Wii was: Outdated, outmatched, with no one really wanting to make games on it other than Nintendo.

Its not that Wii that has failed to impress me. Its not the Wii U that has failed to impress me. Its Nintendo. And its not that I don't want to be impressed. I want to love the crap out of what Nintendo is doing. But, to me, it seems like Nintendo doesn't share the same sentiments and until they do, I might have to skip Nintendo's console for another generation.

But it doesn't matter, I guess. Wii U's come bundled with Monster Hunter in Japan. Which means, just like the Wii, the Wii U will sell very, very well. And if thats all Nintendo's after, then perhaps I don't have to be impressed. Because they don't seem to want to impress me, anyway.


Would Microsoft be forced to bring back Perfect Dark for 2012?

So, I was just doing some thinking and realized that with Halo: Reach out last year, and gears 3 out this year, Microsoft needs a big shooter for their holiday in Fall 2012. I doubt 343 would be ready with a new Halo game and while Microsoft and Call of Duty are like brothers now, exclusive DLC prospects is not strong enough to carry Xbox through the holiday. So with Halo and Gears 90% out of the question...

Do you think this means that Microsoft would have to dig into the one other big shooter franchise that they have: Perfect Dark? I mean, its been sitting idle for a while and the re-release of the N64 did pretty well for them. Its a brand already recognized for the 360 with PDZ and PD remake and again, with Microsoft owning Rare, they could, in theory, do whatever they want with the IP.... right?

So... do you think 2012 might hail the return of Joanna Dark?

This Code Shit (A Reach Beta Lament/Rap)

A troll on the Bungie forums asked everyone to make a rap about Bungie and this whole code fiasco and said the best one will get a code. He was OBVIOUSLY lying. But I liked the idea, thought it was fun and decided to make one myself. Here's what I got. 

 I say you know me, Bungie
I'm like your biggest fan.
But this code shit, it ain't happening
It kinda blows, man.

Sitting at ma desktop, watching them peeps tweet.
Evertime I lose a code,
I wanna kick their asses with ma feet.

Open up the Beta now
What do you have to lose?
I'll call some friends right over now
We'll play and have some booze

I've got the TV to myself
Family's at the beach
I hear Lehto in ma head
Going Reach, Reach, Reach    

So, what do you guys think? :D This is what wanting a early beta key does to you.

Bungie & Activision hold hands and form exclusive 10 year deal

From the Beginning, You know the End     

The story of Bungie is wild, winding, and full of majestic wonder. We’ve treaded many pathways over these last nineteen years. But for all the twists and turns we’ve taken, we’re still doing what we set out to do from the beginning, back when the whole of “Bungie Software Products Corporation” consisted of two friends operating out of a basement in Chicago:

Making kick ass games that we want to play.

And as Bungie has grown, the industry’s best and brightest have been totally accretive to our own creative margins. It’s no secret that while the full might of our studio has focused on making Halo: Reach, another core team, led by our co-founder and Studio Creative Director, Jason Jones, has already begun laying the groundwork to bring our newest universe, stories, and characters to life. 

Today, we’re poised to open a new chapter in Bungie’s history—one that begins with a partnership between Bungie and Activision and ends where we always knew it would, with World Domination. Our Next Big Thing now has a concrete path, leading from our studio to the platforms of our choosing. The business formalities are behind us. Our Constitution remains unchanged. We are still Bungie, still independent, and now we are free to bring our stories to an ever bigger audience.

Next up, the most ambitious game we’ve ever made, Halo: Reach. Built upon ten years of experience developing the Halo franchise, we’ve assembled the best team, the best technology, and the best talent to ensure that Reach is the game our fans deserve. Strap in and buckle up tight, we’re sending our baby out with a bang.

Once the smoke clears, all the pieces will finally be in place for Step 7. Don’t worry, though. We won’t let World Domination go to our heads. We’re gonna keep making kick ass games on our own terms, and since you’ve been so supportive throughout the years, we’d love to bring you along for the ride.



10-Year Alliance Expands Global Reach for Leading Game Developer Across Multiple Platforms

Kirkland, WA and Santa Monica, CA – April 29, 2010 -- Bungie, the developer of blockbuster game franchises including Halo, Myth and Marathon, and Activision, a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, the #1 online games publisher (Nasdaq: ATVI), announced today that they have entered into an exclusive 10-year partnership to bring Bungie’s next big action game universe to market. Under the terms of the agreement, Activision will have exclusive, worldwide rights to publish and distribute all future Bungie games based on the new intellectual property on multiple platforms and devices. Bungie remains an independent company and will continue to own their intellectual property. Additional terms of the agreement were not disclosed. 

The groundbreaking alliance will provide Bungie its first such partnership since splitting off from Microsoft in 2007, significantly broadening its global reach by providing the resources and support to develop, distribute and release games worldwide on multiple platforms and devices. 

Activision will broaden its portfolio with a new franchise from one of the industry’s most creative, successful and proven studios, whose games have sold more than 25 million units worldwide. To date, Bungie’s Halo games have generated approximately $1.5 billion in revenues, according to The NPD Group, Charttrack and GfK. Activision expects this agreement to be accretive to its operating margins as of the release of the first game. 

“We chose to partner with Activision on our next IP because of their global reach, multi-platform experience and marketing expertise,” said Harold Ryan, President of Bungie. “From working together over the past nine months on this agreement, it is clear that Activision supports our commitment to giving our fans the best possible gaming experiences.”

“Bungie is one of the premier studios in our industry and we are extremely pleased to have the opportunity to work with their talented team over the next decade,” stated Thomas Tippl, Chief Operating Officer of Activision Blizzard. “Bungie has developed some of the most compelling and successful games, multiplayer experiences and thriving fan communities, and this alliance underscores our long-standing commitment to foster the industry’s best creative talent. Our unprecedented partnership with Bungie will enable us to broaden our pipeline of exciting new games as we continue to strengthen our industry position and pursue long-term growth opportunities.”    

Shit just got real. This just ruined my year... 
Sighs... Discuss.

F.3.A.R's story sounds FUCKING BAT SHIT CRAZY!!

Someone from NeoGAF got the magazine, PSM3 and there was a feature on F.E.A.R 3 and they decided to summarize the article bits... 

Alma's pregnancy has opened a rift in space and time. Her contractions are causing shockwaves that are fucking up reality like Half Life 2's portal storms. As her labour progresses the contractions will come stronger and more frequently. Point Man is back from the chopper crash in FEAR 1 and has had time to grow out his crewcut into a homeless-man style beard. Paxton Fettel is still psychically possessing Foxtrot 813's body from FEAR 2 Reborn. 

Singleplayer is Point Man only, co-op is Point Man and Fettel. Has a "Generative Scare" system where the Ring/Ju-On style moments are now randomly generated. Fettel can not use weapons but he can stun enemies, suspend them and possess them and can then use their weapons through them. He can also see alternate routes and hidden stashes but the player doesn't have to tell Point Man about them, although the previewers have no idea why you would withold that info. The mechs are still in the game and both brothers get to use them.

Screens looked identical to FEAR 2.    

I'm not that well-versed with the F.E.A.R story. I have played none of the games but know quite a bit about the story regardless but seriously? That sounds like bad fan-fiction gone wrong! 

Reach's Sandbox changes sound pretty fucking amazing :Dhttp://www

Orgasmic even 

Let’s skip the foreplay and get right down to the updatin’.

Last week we trotted Luke Smith and friends out to talk at some length about the economy of Credits and how they, coupled with Military Rank, will ultimately inform the visual accouterments adopted by your Spartan avatar in Halo: Reach. This week, we decided to get a little more technical and dive into the more matérielistic side of the multiplayer coin. We’ll dig in even further in just a few, but since the two subjects do intertwine somewhat, I figured we’d begin where the two roads meet.

That brings us to Elites. We’ve already said that the Elites found in Halo: Reach were never meant to conform to the noble notion of equality. For far too long, our Sangheili brothers have been leashed – their very backs burdened by the weight of multiplayer parity. They hunched, bent to the whims of human anatomy.


Not anymore. In Reach, Elites are bigger, they’re faster, and they boast better shield technology than their Spartan counterparts. To drive the first point home – the size difference — we’ve prepped a side-by-side comparison so you can see just how pronounced the physical changes really are. Click it to check it out in higher resolution.

Size matters. And when we say Elites are faster, we mean it. Natively, Elites are about as fast as a Spartan at full Sprint. Add Evade into the mix, and they’re easily the most agile combatants on the battlefield in multiplayer.

Unlike Spartans, their health is not limited to recharging in thirds as their vitality is whittled away in stages, but will recharge fully without even the need for a health pack. Their health also recharges faster, as do their shields. Significantly faster.

So, how are we gonna work them into multiplayer? Well, in a number of ways. In some circumstances, like Arena, you’ll only square off Spartan vs. Spartan or Elite vs. Elite. In others, well…stay tuned. 

We’ll dig into some interesting scenarios in the weeks ahead.

In the ways to die category, let’s clear up the 120 degrees comment Sage and Josh made concerning when and where you can engage your death dealing assassination flourish. It’s actually more interesting than you might think. (And it’s actually the same system employed in Halo 3.)

The 120 degree cone is actually based on where you happen to be looking at the moment the nefarious assassin strikes. Your “Aim Vector.” Picture a triangular with its origin point emanating out behind you. If it helps, you can think of Aim Vector as the camera’s current position. If your assailant is within that 120 degree zone outside your vantage, and close enough to you to engage the coup de grâce, then you’re going down. Keep in mind, they don’t necessarily need to be directly behind you if your head's turned.

The assassinations that appear to be happening right in front of the player’s eyes in the Multiplayer trailer, are really occurring in the second stage of the assassination. It’s already over and the assassin has spun his victim around to deliver the finishing blow with a cool, full frontal flourish.

Oh, and if you watched the April Fools’ Day ViDoc and wondered why the Elite wasn’t going down with one standard backsmack, there’s no need to worry, when you position yourself on your opponent’s six, regardless of whether or not they rock the mandibles, you’ll only need to deliver one, clean crack to the back to snag the kill.
We should also clarify a little bit of information about popping player’s shields. In previous titles, when you were laying into a shielded opponent and bringing them right to the brink of shieldlessness, any damage you did before the pop would transfer into their underlying health. Hypothetically, let’s say they had 5 points of shield left when you clocked them for 10 points of damage. The result would be the loss of their shields and a 5 point reduction to their heath.

Not anymore. 

Now those additional 5 points are absorbed by the shields as they wink out of existence and the underlying health is left unscathed.

Perhaps the place this impact will be felt the most is in melee combat. Ostensibly this means that if your opponent is shielded to any degree when you land a melee strike, they will not die. You’ll pop their shields. If their shields are gone, however, they’ll drop like a rock.

For those fearing that this new model will impact weapons like the Sniper Rifle, rest easy. The Long Rifle is exempt, as are other weapons you might expect to be. Rockets will be a one hit kill at close range, as will the Shotgun, even though the April Fools’ ViDoc might have indicated otherwise.

Seeing a pattern develop? Shotty nerfed at close range? Elites require two melee strikes to the back to take down? 32 player matches in Reach? (Nope, still capped at 16.)

If you saw something on April 1st that got you all hot and bothered, you should take a moment alone to cool your jets, turbo. 
Sweet segue, bro! 

Let’s get into Armor Abilities. These are the individual player augmentations that add a rad ability that alters the way you play the game. They can be used as much as you like, with the one caveat being that they need to recharge after your engage them. And in the Beta, when you fall down dead, your Armor Ability will not be added to the subsequent estate sale.

So how do you pick and choose which one you’re currently using?
Load Outs. At the beginning of each match or round, and again every time you wait out your respawn window, you are given the option of choosing a Load Out. 

Load Outs are not player created or defined, but rather playlist and/or game type specific. Essentially, they allow you to choose your Armor Ability, your starting primary and secondary weapons, and your grenade cache on the fly.

For some playlists, that might mean every Load Out features the same weapon sets with only the Armor Abilities to distinguish them. For others, it might mean that as the game goes on, you’ll have access to more and more choices based on a number of factors we can fiddle with.

That's just one example to the right. Many gametypes will feature more uniformity in the initial selection.

What it doesn’t mean is that you will be creating your own custom Load Out to bring into Matchmaking. You’ll be choosing from our prefabricated offerings, based on what’s best suited for each gametype.

Don’t worry about power weapons being available right from the start, either. In most cases, you’ll still be finding those distributed via a number of methods throughout the battlefield, though if circumstance warrants it, we certainly can start you with, say, the Rocket Launcher.

And, of course, you can still loot the corpses of your fallen foes and you’ll still find sweet stashes of weapons strewn carelessly about the map for you to find and acquire.

Alright, now that we’ve explored how you get your hands on Armor Abilities and weapons, let’s talk about what you should do with them. Armor Abilities first, with all due respect to the alphabet.
Active Camo can be used by Spartans and Elites alike. It grants you temporary invisibility, but the effectiveness is hampered in two distinct ways. The faster you move, the more visible you become and the shorter the duration of the effect will be. If you want to make the most of it, stand still or move slowly.

[There's a sweet image of an invisible Elite here, but you can't see it because it's, you know, invisible.]

Plus, while you’re refracting light, you’re also jamming everyone’s motion tracker – including your own. Players in the immediate vicinity will know that they’ve got a stalker in their midst and you should expect them to be on their toes. 

Use it wisely.
Armor Lock gives you a burst of invulnerability. You can click once to briefly engage it, or hold it for a longer lasting effect, but either way, while you’re in the throes you can’t move a single, solitary inch. You’re rooted. But you’ll shed plasma grenades, shred vehicles unfortunate enough to attempt a splatter, and deflect projectiles. (And you look pretty bad ass while you're doing it.)

Those that get too close are treated to an EMP blast when you exit the lock and the longer you’re locked down, the bigger and more powerful the effective radius becomes. While you’re in Armor Lock, you can’t be melee’d or assassinated, either.

So, what’s the downside? You’re a sitting duck. While you are temporarily invincible, if you deploy Armor Lock carelessly out in the open, you can bet someone will be lining you up from long range. Watching. Waiting.
Evade let’s you make a leap of faith in any direction. It’s fast, it’s tricksy, and it’s something you’ll be getting a lot of mileage out of as an Elite. It will shed locks and tracking and makes for one nasty juke when you’re in close quarters combat. 

Now you see me, now I’m assassinating you.

You also grunt when you evade. A lot. And it’s awesome.
Jet Pack should be pretty self explanatory. You can hold the button for an extended burst or feather it after a jump for just a little more height. If you’re get too close to the sun, you’ll need to worry about the landing, so make sure you save some juice to soften the approach.

Of course, while you’re aloft, you’re completely without cover and your ability to get shifty is severely hampered. If someone has you in their sites, your only real recourse is to fall away and hope you find cover before they clip your wings (though you can return fire from your airy perch).

You’re also susceptible to EMP bursts from Plasma Pistol charges and the Grenade Launcher. While you’re controlling the skies, make sure you keep your head on a swivel. You might feel like Superman, but you won’t be stopping any speeding bullets, Clark.
Sprint is Spartan only and should be pretty self-explanatory. It gives you a quick burst of speed, but while you’re at a dead run, you can’t get all offensive. If you want to engage, you have to let off and regain your composure. 

It’s weapons down during the duration of your marathon session.
We’ve been seeing a lot of confusion swirling around Reach’s ordnance. Since the dust has settled a bit after the recent media barrage, let’s do some clean up.

Straight away, Sage wanted me to clear a couple of things up. On our most recent Podcast, he said some things he thought we should address. First, the Assassination Train scenario won’t make Beta. You won’t be playing the caboose to a deadly ten player choo choo. 

That’d be inappropriate anyway, right? Get your mind out of the gutter.

Secondly, grenades will not asplode when you shoot them on the ground. Didn’t make it into the build in time, but it’s still in the works for retail. You can still shoot grenades out of the air, though, and frags will still do minor impact damage should you bean another player with a direct shot. Which is awesome. And hilarious.

I’m sure we’ll all make due and nobody will start a thread about how Reach is now destined to fail as a result of these two minor omissions from the Beta. Because we are all polite, understanding adults who refuse to succumb to hyperbole and immaturity, right?

Uh huh. Anyway, here’s the rundown on some stuff that is in.
You’ve probably heard that both the Designated Marksman Rifle and the Magnum are now five shot kills. Four anywhere followed by one to the face. So, how then, are these two weapons different? One of the big tenants of Reach’s core multiplayer weapon design was to give each weapon its own unique role, right?

Right. But better grab hold of something solid, I’m gonna totally freak you out right now. Ready?

As is, in the Beta, the Magnum will take down a fully shielded player, from start to finish, almost twice as quickly as the DMR will.
Still with me? Good. Deep breaths, there’s some big caveats.

First, the Magnum gets squirrely if you go all out and squeeze off rounds as fast as you possibly can. Real squirrely. You’re better off sticking with the proper cadence relayed to you through the reticule bloom. That’s your sweet spot. Know it. Respect it.

Second, the Magnum’s maximum effectiveness is found at short to mid range, fitting snugly between the Assault Rifle and the DMR. And while the DMR may take some extra time to take down a player, at mid to long range, it’s easily the more effective weapon due to its magnified scope and reduced recoil.

If you have the Magnum, you don't want to engage a DMR user at long range. Unless you want to die. Then, by all means.

And the Assault Rifle? It’s your go to rifle at close to mid range. You’ll definitely want to feather the trigger to take down shields and make your assault as personal as possible, just like you did in Halo 3, even though it's been tuned a little to favor accuracy over straight up aggression.

Ultimately the choice between the Assault Rifle and the Magnum may come down to personal preference, play style, and the situation you happen to find yourself in. It’s nuanced. Good thing is you’ll get tons of hands on time with all three by way of the Beta. And of course, we need to mention, that all of these details, every single one, are subject to change.
Plasma Repeater. It’s a bit different that the Plasma Rifle you’ve become accustomed to. It still sends out a steady stream of bright blue plasma bolts, but the cadence will taper off as the weapon overheats. And while you’ll never need to worry about it rendering the weapon useless as it cools, you’ll need to vent it out if you want to run it at full speed using the reload button.

Since dual wielding is out, our guys needed a more effective native weapon to strap into an Elite’s hands. The Repeater is, essentially, the Assault Rifle’s counterpart, but it’s a little too effective for use in campaign. So when you’re in that space, you’ll likely see Elites utilizing the Plasma Rifle you’re already familiar with.
The Plasma Launcher can send a volley of one to four plasma explosives toward your opponent, depending on how long you keep your finger on the trigger. How many rounds you’re prepping is communicated to you through a nifty combination of visual and audio cues. And when you see and hear it coming your way, you need to find some cover.Fast.

The rounds will track both infantry and vehicles, but don’t freak out, the magnetism is more akin to the Needler than it is the Missile Pod. Vehicles are much easier to hit, given their size, but if you play it right, you can affix an explosive round to some poor sucker’s face.

Suffice to say, if it’s featured on a map, you’ll want to know where it is at all times.
The Focus Rifle takes the Sentinel Beam and the Beam Rifle and combines the two weapon’s traits for some deliciously deadly peanut butter and chocolate type death dealing action. Zoom in and hold the focused beam on your opponent and you’ll tear through their shields and take out their health pretty quickly. Even if you don’t kill your enemy, you can bet they’ll be encouraged to give up their ground and get behind something that doesn’t smell like burning. 

It’s a bit like herding goats. With a laser beam. Not that I have any firsthand knowledge.
The Grenade Launcher, or “Pro Pipe” as it’s come to be known inside the studio on the heels of Hoovaloov’s Multiplayer Trailer dissection, is also something you’ll want to spend some quality time with. If you point and shoot with a single pull of the trigger, you’ll send an explosive round out into the world. If it hits your target dead on, it will explode. If it bounces, it’ll arm much like a frag and explode after a short spell.

But if you hold the trigger after you fire, the round will not detonate until you release your death grip. If you let the round come to rest, it’ll remain in play until you decide that it’s your opportunity to blow. And if you want to arc it and time the detonation mid air using the same method, you can do that, too.

The round itself will do impact damage to an opponent even if you don’t detonate it, much like frag grenades now will, and when it does explode it also produces a fairly sizable EMP blast that will damage and deactivate the type of stuff you would expect it too.
The vehicle stable at play in the Beta are all machines you should feel comfortable with when you get behind the wheel, but there are some small differences you need to know about.

The Warthog’s chain gun will now overheat after prolonged use and the Scorpion once again features a secondary machine gun turret (which looks hilariously awesome when occupied by an Elite).

The Ghost, the Banshee, and the Wraith are largely identical to their Halo 3 counterparts, and as you can see, they, along with just about everything else, have been pimped out and prettied up something fierce.

Oh, and we know some of sweet delectables from the recent batch of sweet screenshots feature Spartans with some strange lookin’ knees. Bugged, researched, and resolved. When you suit up in the public Beta, your delicate knee caps will be fully protected.

No Roadhouse action, Miho.
Speaking of builds, we closed out our internal Alpha this week. It’s a testament to the team’s hard work, resolve, and wealth of experience that even at Alpha the game is loads of fun. But while the games were good, we also got some good data and we’re using it to better the experience across the board.

Internal Beta will go live shortly, featuring all kinds of fancy improvements. If things change significantly from there to Delta, which again is what you will come to know as the public Beta, we’ll make sure you get up to speed.
And speaking of improvements, Marcus continues his campaign crusade with no signs of slowing. If you want to get the latest insights into the Halo: Reach development cycle, you should head over to Noble ActualIf you missed our April Fools’ offering, don’t worry. We’re not going to take it down this year. It was a bit, you know,obvious. We’ll inline it in case you weren’t in on the joke.

Stosh made time in his packed schedule to dig out this little gem. He’s so good to you.


That’s it for this week. More en route. Stay Tuned. Look for all the high resolution assets to go live in our official Halo: Reach project page early next week, including some additional info included in the Field Guide for good measure.    
The game sounds more awesome and more awesome as more details get revealed. The New matchmaking system sounded great, the Player Investment System even better but these? HOLY MOTHER OF GOD! 

Natal Yoga Game inbound for End of October?

Of course, its a Yoga game. 

According to a pulled Amazon page and a GAME 360 release document obtained by VG247, a “Yoga Natal” title is set for release in October, adding credence to previous talk of the motion camera shipping that month.

The internal GAME release list, passed over by a source under conditions of anonymity, lists the fitness title at the very bottom at an “October” release. It’s apparently developed by Tradewest.

Amazon’s listing, which has since been deleted but cached, has it dated for October 29, 2010, for £17.99. That would be the final Friday of the month.

This is the second time October has been mentioned in relation to Natal’s release, with Brit celebrity Jonathan Ross already dropping the date after seeing the system in action in London. Microsoft remained tight-lippedover over Ross’s slip.

Either way, it looks very likely the exact date will be announced at a specific event for Natal at E3 on Sunday, June 13 in LA.

We’ve contacted Tradewest for comment, but have had no reply at the time of publishing.

Its sad though, that the first leaked Natal game is probably a Wii Fit equivalent. Its also the No-Brainer. And the sad part is... I'll probably be buying it. Fuck me. 

Confirmed: USB Storage for Xbox 360 coming April 6th

USB Memory Support for the Xbox 360 coming April 6th

On April 6th, we will be releasing a system update over Xbox LIVE for your Xbox 360 that will allow USB flash drives to be used for storing profiles, game saves, demos and more. I’ve been testing this feature out for a few weeks, and I have to say it’s really great. Once you take the system update on April 6th, you’ll be able to connect your USB flash drives to your console and head over to the memory section to configure your new storage device. Once you do that, the system will conduct a one time performance and integrity check to confirm the drive is working properly. You will then be able to configure how much storage to use on the device, up to 16 GB. The remaining space on the flash drive will be accessible by your PC or Mac. USB Hard drives may work, but like flash memory, you’ll only be able to use up to 16GB of space. Since performance on flash based USB storage is usually better, I highly recommend using flash based instead of spinning media like a hard drive…it’s just going to give you a MUCH better experience.

We’ve also enhanced the memory management functions, so you’ll be able to have better control on what you want to copy or move between storage devices.

A couple of geeky points: 

* You can have 2 devices connected to the console at a time, enabling up to 32GB of simultaneous storage.
* The system won’t just configure the device once it is connected to the console. You’ll need to head to the memory area in system settings, select your USB Device, and choose from Configure Now (Format and Configure the Full Device), or Customize (you can choose how much memory you want configured for Xbox360 from the free space on the device.) 

While any flash drive can be used, we are partnering with SanDisk to release an Xbox 360 branded USB flash drive in May that comes pre-configured out of the box and ready to go. I’ll provide links to those drives once they’re available. Until then, starting April 6th (when we release the system update) you can pop any flash drive over 1GB into your Xbox 360 and configure it as storage.

I’ve posted a bunch of screen shots that show you what the experience is like with a USB flash drive, as well as a look at the new memory management screens.


   From here, yo. 
I for one, am really, really excited for this. I have the stock, small-ass HDD from the launch 360s and its been working for a while now but I want to install my games and play them, something I don't get the chance to do.  
The 16gb MAX limit is a bummer (Though you can use 2 USB devices at once for a total of 32gb storage) but it makes sense since this is not supposed to be a replacement for the HDD. 
Psyched for some odd reason. Its a nice, subtle touch.
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