The Halo Bulletin: 1.9.13
by bs angel
I feel like we haven't talked since last year
Greetings and salutations, dear reader, and welcome to the first Bulletin of 2013. I wanted to write you an eloquently penned introduction, full of cleverly-crafted phrases intended to evoke emotional responses relevant to the recent warm and festive holiday season, except I couldn't remember the name of the traditional party favor typically used during celebratory occasions. So I opened up my favorite search engine, typed in "things you blow at parties", and proceeded to get lost in the deepest, darkest depths of the intertubes. Suffice it to say that it wasn't safe to go alone. Thankfully I wasn't truly alone, because after a few weeks of operating at partial capacity, 343 as a collective entity is officially back and running full steam ahead into the anxiously awaiting arms of the New Year.
Earlier this week, as people across all disciplines of the studio readjusted to the daily grind, we took several hours to get together as a group and sync about what we accomplished last year and what we hope to accomplish this year. As we looked back at 2012, we called out the positives, talked extensively about the negatives, and eventually switched gears to everything that is and will be 2013. I'll touch on some of the lattermost things shortly but first Frank would like a few minutes of your time. When he initially mentioned he wanted to write part of today's Bulletin, I was all, "You want to do half of my work?" And he was all, "Yes, but only half. Don't even try to pawn the whole thing off on me." Then I was all, "Whatevs, dude. Just start writing already." And he did.
From the face of Frank
2012 was supposed to be the end of the world. Instead, it was the beginning of ours. Halo 4, despite being the seventh or eighth game in the Halo series (depending on how you count them), was our first game. That is to say, our first-ever fully fledged title, built from the ground up creatively and technologically. So let me save you the trouble of trolling my statement: We have a lot to learn. We made a lot of mistakes. We can do better. And we know this, and we will. But I don't want to spend the first moments of the year thinking about the negatives, because frankly, I am incredibly proud of both the team and the game that team created.
A look at early 2013
While Frank's words present the perfect note to end on, I'd like to share a little about the future he spoke of. One of the best parts about being blessed with the caretaker role of such an expansive universe is the opportunity for exploration, and books play an important role in that. Halo: Primordium came out in early 2012, and Halo: Silentium, the third novel in the Forerunner Saga written by Greg Bear, is slated to be released on March 19, 2013. Here is a little about it, for the fiction fans amongst you:
In Halo: Cryptum, Greg Bear began a three-book arc set in the era of the Forerunners, the ancient and enigmatic creators and builders of the Halos, which continued in Halo: Primordium. Now, in the last years of the Forerunner Empire, chaos rules. The Flood, a horrifying shape-changing parasite, has arrived in force, aided by unexpected allies. Internal strife within the ecumene has desperately weakened Forerunner defenses.
As far as Halo 4 goes, we have some fun stuff planned for late January and beyond. After the Infinity Challenge concludes, regular Matchmaking updates will start up again (and that includes the return of the second half of Spartan Ops Season 1, which features brand new stories, missions and locations). It's important to note the below scheduled is not finalized and could very well change, but as of right now, here is what we're tentatively planning:
Week of 1/21
Matchmaking updates go live every Monday, and potential playlists for the month of February include both FFA and a new and improved version of Team Snipers. Late February will also bring both a Title Update and the Majestic Map Pack (which includes two small maps and one medium-sized map) to Halo 4 as well. Expect more information on all of those things next month.
While we're excited about our upcoming Matchmaking updates, I'm also excited about some of the things that may be low on your priority list but are high on mine. Take communication, for instance. I believe we need to work harder to get you information. We communicate through Bulletins, blog articles, social media channels and our forums. While that may sound like a lot, there are still numerous people asking questions about information that is already out there. That means we need to work harder to make sure the information is where you are. We've already started this effort on the forums (which is the first and most important place we look for feedback). We launched a "News" section, where we provide links to all headline articles, press releases, and blog articles we publish on a daily basis. There are also threads in that section where you can suggest a topic (Battle Rifle bulletology, anyone?) or ask a question for a future Bulletin. We'll continue working on our communication, and you can gage our efforts by keeping an eye on the following forum accounts:
Forum Team: General support
For now, I'm going to let you soak up all of the above information. Fret not, though, because we'll meet again. Same time, same place next week, as a matter of fact. Until then...