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30 May 2012
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The Halo Bulletin: 5.30.12

30. May 2012 21:00

Dat Dashboard! I mean, whiteboard.

E3: We so excited!

Monday was Memorial Day here in the United States, so many people that call this country home enjoyed a long, holiday weekend. Those of us at 343 enjoyed the three-day weekend as well; we just did so from inside our studio, polishing builds (that are on an airplane as we speak), adding final audio to videos (yes, you'll recognize some of the voices), and taking one final batch of screenshots (because that's all that remains). Needless to say, with E3 a mere six days away, we've been busy. And that's an understatement.

343 has several traditions, a few of them being discussing the pros and cons of various archaic recording devices, teabagging each other until the game crashes (I can neither confirm nor deny that actually happened), and watching all of our trailers and major presentations together, as a team, before revealing them to the world. Yesterday we gathered around the big screen to do the lattermost activity.

As the lights dimmed and we began watching what you'll soon be seeing (and playing if you're attending E3), our excitement level went from a slow simmer to a full, out of control, jumping-out-of-the-pot boil. We've been working on our E3 presentation and booth experience for weeks - and the game for years. While the reveals up to this point have been on the small side, we're excited at the prospect of finally lifting our proverbial skirt and showing you exactly what we've got.

Don't worry; we shaved our legs. And yes, that includes Frankie.

In an effort to not spoil any of the upcoming reveals (Spartan Ops and gameplay and new enemies, oh my!), I'm going to stop talking about E3 and switch gears to a subject many of you are already well-versed in: Halo 4 pre-order bonuses.

Halo 4

Halo 4 Pre-order Bonuses

Last week, retailers began announcing their Halo 4 pre-order bonuses. The first eight bonuses you'll see below are skins. (For clarification purposes, please note they are skins only, and we are not locking away armor.) One of the best things about the skins is the ability to fully customize them. You're getting a pattern that is not only unique, but can also be color customized.

Each individual store determines when they make their announcement, so while I am not able to offer you a complete list of what store is offering what bonus, I can give you bigger, prettier pictures than what many of the websites are currently hosting. Start scrolling to begin ingesting the Halo 4 eye candy.

Halo 4 Pre-order Bonus

Halo 4 Pre-order Bonus

Halo 4 Pre-order Bonus

Halo 4 Pre-order Bonus

Halo 4 Pre-order Bonus

Halo 4 Pre-order Bonus

Halo 4 Pre-order Bonus

Halo 4 Pre-order Bonus

Halo 4 Pre-order Bonus

Halo 4 Pre-order Bonus

Halo 4 Pre-order Bonus

Halo 4 Pre-order Bonus

Halo 4 Pre-order Bonus

If you're interested in staying up-to-date on Halo 4 pre-order bonuses, forum member LastPR0METHEAN is keeping close tabs on that particular situation. Hit their aptly named, "All pre-order bonuses, with info" thread for a well-organized and immaculately maintained list of items, links, and relevant information.

Halo: Reach Screenshot

June Matchmaking Playlist Update

Next Tuesday, amidst the craziness of E3, June's matchmaking update is slated to quietly roll out. While you'll probably be busy soaking in all of the Halo 4-related goodness, at some point you're going to pop your Reach disc in and notice things are slightly different. To make sure you're adequately prepared for that moment, here are the specifics of your next Halo: Reach matchmaking playlist update.

  • Invasion updated.

    Some people prefer Invasion over Infection (less itching and red bumps, or so I've heard...), and those people in particular will love what June is bringing to the table. The Invasion default game type was added, as were the following maps: Refinery, Overgrowth, Broadcast, and Floodgate. This playlist was also reduced from 4-player to 2-player split screen to help improve overall performance.

    To get a sneak peek at what you'll soon be playing, check out the following video, which was kindly put together by the fine folks over at Halo Wheelmen (thank you, Luv Gunn!). Get pumped for the Invasion update and Halo 4, all in the same video!

  • SWAT updated.

    The map Temple was added to SWAT. The voting options were also reorganized to have "SWAT" in slot 1, "SWAT Magnums" in slot 2, and a SWAT objective variant in slot 3. Less important is the change from a one-headshot kill to a ten-headshot kill.

    Okay, that last part was a lie. But the rest was totally true. Honest.

  • Grifball updated.

    Two new maps, Federation Square and Illuminati, were added to Grifball, and Hyperbaric was updated to fix the health pack glitch. A credit stimulus based on win-scaling was also implemented. Basically, that's a fancy way of saying victorious teams will receive double the normal win bonus. It's also a nice way of saying STOP STAT-PADDING. (Mike paid me to say that. Speaking of which, time to pay up, buddy.)

  • FF Limited NEP waves adjusted.

    Firefight Limited NEP waves were adjusted as follows:

    • Round 1, Main Wave: Elite Tactical replaced Brute Chieftains.
    • Round 1, Boss Wave: Brute Chieftains replaced Elites.
    • Round 2, Main Wave: Brute Infantry replaced Heretic Snipers.
    • Round 2, Boss Wave: Elite Strike Team replaced Brute Infantry.
    • Round 2, Boss Wave: Brute Kill Geam replaced Hunter Kill Team.
    • Round 3, Main Wave: Elite Patrol replaced Heretic Heavy.
    • Round 3, Boss Wave: Brute Chieftains Elite Spec Ops.

  • Various maps updated.

    Four maps were updated this month. Specifics are as follows:

    • Prisoner: Spawn zone fixed on Classic variant.
    • Cragmire: Gauss 'Hog bug fixed.
    • Synapse: Carney holes fixed.
    • Select: Retired.

  • Living Dead updated.

    Zombie Ghosts, a brand new game type made by a rather sadistic fellow named Thomas, was added to Living Dead. From the creator himself:

    "Zombie Ghosts is, simply put, a small modification of Infection's Alpha Zombies game type - and by small, I mean that the Infected are now invisible and on fire. These avatars of fiery hugs wield the mighty Golf Club as they bring joy to the hearts of all around them. Unfortunately for them, however, Spartans are interested in neither golf nor invisible, fiery hugs, and sport the powerful Focus Rifle of Infected Slaying (tm) to deter such actions."

    The raw details:

    • Based on Alpha Zombies, so starting ghosts get infinite Sprint to make things just a little easier.
    • Infected are now invisible and on fire.
    • Infected use the Golf Club, which is a variant of the Gravity Hammer.
    • Spartans use the Focus Rifle and have the Plasma Repeater as an emergency back-up weapon, as everyone knows that energy weapons (and punches to the face) are the only way to deal with uppity ghosts.
    • Damage and toughness have been extensively tweaked for both Spartans and Infected to balance the play experience.
    • Friendly fire has been turned OFF for this game type, as having a horde of Infected running around with golf clubs would be ridiculous otherwise...

    Ridiculous indeed. (Insert discreet cough here.)

Now, if you'll excuse me, I am off to Canada yet again. And then LA. I'll stop and breathe at some point, but that point is not today.

By the way, I want you to know we understand Halo is important to you. It's important to us, too, and we hope, when you see next week's big reveal, that you'll also see the blood, sweat, and tears we've poured into Halo 4. Because we're doing it for you...

See you at E3.

bs angel