May 16, 2012

Halo 4 Limited Edition announced

Yes, you read that right. This morning, in The Halo Bulletin 5.16.12, 343 announced the Halo 4 Limited Edition.  There will be no Legendary Edition. Which is fine by me, since I would only be forced by my unholy lust into shelling out another $50 that I don't have. The Limited Edition will be sold for a cool $99. (Details below)


• War Games Map Pack AccessThe competitive multiplayer modes of Halo 4 are known as War Games. The Limited Edition includes access to nine maps - three future competitive multiplayer map packs, each including three locations, available for download post-launch on Xbox LIVE. Yes, you read that correctly; you get nine maps in the form of future DLC with the purchase of the Halo 4 Limited Edition. Score!


• Specializations

Everyone will have access to select Specializations, but those that purchase the Halo 4 Limited Edition will receive the ability to unlock six Specializations early, available at launch on Xbox LIVE. You can use them, one at a time, to achieve higher ranks in your Spartan career. In addition to gaining access to new ranks, Specializations unlock new customization options. We’ll be releasing more information about Specializations at E3, so expect additional details about this particular feature then.


• UNSC Infinity Briefing Packet

The UNSC Infinity Briefing Packet includes a Spartan armor customization schematic, information about UNSC weapons, an introduction to the massive ship UNSC Infinity, and insight into what it means to be one of humanity’s finest warriors: The Spartan-IVs. Story lovers will especially enjoy this in-fiction offering that provides a glimpse into the indoctrination of Spartans aboard the Infinity.


Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn Special Edition

The Special Edition of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn is a 90-minute extended version of the live-action digital series which will take fans back to the terrifying beginning of the Human/Covenant war, when the Master Chief inspired a young cadet who would eventually become a leader aboard the UNSC’s greatest vessel ever: the UNSC Infinity.

Digital content also includes in-fiction bonus content that expands the characters and stories of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, special featurette Bringing Gaming into Reality, and a behind the scenes look at the making of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn.


• Bonus digital content through Xbox LIVE

The Limited Edition includes the following bonus digital content through Xbox LIVE: unique in-game Spartan-IV armor skin, unique in-game weapon skin for the Assault Rifle, an exclusive in-game emblem, Xbox LIVE Avatar prop, and Xbox LIVE Avatar Spartan IV armor set.

May 14, 2012

Guess The Voice

This is an old commercial for Carnival. Can you guess who is talking in the background? First one gets a cookie.

"Your Peice of the Halo 4 Puzzle" solved, Halo 4 Official Box-Art

This morning, thousands of Halo fans recieved an email from Microsoft with a sliver of an image. Recipients quickly realized that they needed to put the images together. Well, the puzzle is solved.


Obviously, this is the Offical Box Art for Halo 4.

May 8, 2012

Titan Books to make "Awakening: The Art of Halo 4"



Titan Books has signed on to make an art book for Halo 4 with never before seen concept art, as well as the usual weapons, vehicles, characters, species and vast environments.

There is no release date yet, but it will sell for $30 (hardback), and is 192 pages long.

May 2, 2012

April 30, 2012

Live-action web series, "Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn" to be launched this fall


Beginning this fall, 343 will be releasing 5 15-minute live-action shorts about Master Chief and his early days in the UNSC. The shorts will appear on Halo Waypoint and Machinima.

April 18, 2012

We Won't Fight The Flood In Halo 4

In a recent post on the Halo Waypoint Forums, Frank O'Connor confirmed that we will not be fighting the Flood in Halo 4. But this doesn't exactly mean there won't be Flood in Halo 4. He could just be trying to throw us off.

(click to enlarge)

April 17, 2012

Halo 4 Release Date Revealed!


Its official! In a recent article by 343 Industries (The Halo Bulletin 4.17.12), they announced the release of Halo 4 to be November 6th, 2012.

April 10, 2012

New Halo 4 Concept Art Released By GameInformer Magazine

The following images are new Concept Art for Halo 4 released by GameInformer. (Remember: You can always enlarge the images simply by clicking on them.)



And this image was released by Josh Holmes via Twitter.


March 21, 2012

Review: Halo - The Great Journey - The Art of Building Worlds


While at first, I wanted to buy the signed, Limited Edition version of this for $75, I decided to just get the regular version. I'd been looking forward to this book ever since it was announced.

The book is filled with beutiful art inspired by the games and books. There are concept images, as well as srapped designs. Great for Halo fans who like looking at preproduction designs. I was pleased with the quality of the images, but the number of images just didn't seem enough. It's about the size of the Halo Encyclopedia, maybe a bit thinner. Maybe I'm just greedy.

There's really not much else to say on the book. Great art, great commentary, great price. 5 out of 5, 9 out of 10.

March 12, 2012

Sequel to Halo: Glasslands to be released before Halo 4!

Frank O'Connor said in The Halo Bulletin 3/7/12 that the 2nd book in the post-war series will be released before Halo 4 is released. But we will have to wait until after Halo 4 for the final book in the Forerunner Saga.

March 5, 2012

The first REAL information on Halo 4!

       I turned on my computer as usual today, wondering how many of you would be disappointed by the lack of expected Halo 4 info. But instead, I got a pleasant suprise. I see "Rebuilding Master Chief in Halo 4 - IGN" on the front page of Halo Waypoint. So I thought, "oh that's nice." I expected some little BTS of the design of MC. Instead, what I saw blew me away. Full-on gameplay!


       The video shows the HUD, scoring, multiplayer maps, and a couple tiny clips of campaign. It also confirms the return of the Battle Rifle, as well as the usage of Spartan-IVs in Multiplayer. Instead of playing as Master Chief, you will play as a Spartan-IV. Frank O'Connor also said that they have an in-canon reason of why the Blue and Red Spartans are fighting. (Insurrection...?).


        But that's not the only info we've been given today. Halo 4's embargo was lifted today, so it seems 343i has opened the floodgates. A video was released on OXM's website with an interview with Frankie at Microsoft Spring Showcase. He discussed the multiplayer maps a bit more, giving us a look at two of them. One, Wraparound, is a Forerunner solar facility that creates sunlight for a Shield World. The other, Warhouse, is a UNSC ship in orbit of a gas giant. He also went on to say that their main focus is polishing and shipping the game, not releasing a multiplayer beta. He said a beta would just be a major interuption, so don't count on one being released.

       X-Play also interviewed Frankie and Kiki Wolfkill. It was said that Halo 4 will have CoD-esque unlockables and custom-loadouts. Not much else was said in the video. Link: http://www.g4tv.com/videos/57595/halo-4-gameplay-preview/

March 1, 2012

Possible Halo 4 info to be released on Monday?

       Thousands of fans got their hopes up this week that Halo 4 would be at the Microsoft Spring Showcase. As usual, there was nothing. Why? Because Halo 4 has an embargo that doesn't expire until March 5th. What's an embargo? An embargo is something that tech companies use to set a time when their product will launch and the press can publish their reviews of it.

       Ok, so legally, 343 can begin releasing info about Halo 4 on March 5th. So what? It doesn't necessarily mean they will. But others might. In reply to a fan's tweets, videogame journalist, Jan Meijroos has claimed that new Halo 4 info will be released on Monday. Screenshot below:

(read from bottom to top)

       So, this could mean that 343 themselves will release info, or it could mean he is going to leak something. Either way, keep you eyes peeled, but don't get your hopes up.

February 23, 2012

New Halo 4 Audio!

The following video shows more audio recording for the weapons in Halo 4. Its not much, but its the most we've had in weeks.

February 15, 2012

Mk-VII Armor and the "rocket-pistol"

In the Halo 4 trailer, we noticed two new things. Master Chief has new armor and a new gun. The armor is likely Mk-VII, the latest MJOLNIR Armor. But we're still not sure what the pistol is. Below is a new image released by 343i of the new Master Chief action figure wearing the new armor and holding the new pistol (dubbed "rocket-pistol"), as well as a couple images from the trailer.


February 6, 2012

Review: Halo Primordium (mild-medium spoilers)



       Halo Primordium. I really don't even know where to start with this book. This book really defines the term, mind = blown. I mean, so many questions were answered in this book, but it raised 2 times as many more.

       I don't want to spoil too much, but... the book is told from a very... interesting point of view. I'll leave it at that. It picks up where Cryptum left off. Chakas lands on a mysterious planet, and after a little observation, he discovers he's on a Halo. He meets another human, Vinnevra, and her grandfather, Gamelpar. They spend most of the book trying to find a way off of the Halo, and searching for Chakas' friend from Halo: Cryptum, Riser. But they soon encounter bigger problems, and cross paths with evil itself. They soon realize that getting off of the Halo isnt their top priority.

       There really isnt much to say without giving away too much of the book. But it definitely confirms that Halo 4 will have much to do with the Forerunners, and quite possibly Precursors and (brace yourselves) the Flood. While the latter may turn many Halo fans off, it just shows that Halo has never really been about the Covenant, but the Flood. Thats the true enemy here.

       While the book started off quite slow (like Cryptum), it soon picked up and became full of suspense and mystery. This is truely one of the best books of the Halo franchise, and is a must-read before playing Halo 4. 5 out of 5, 9 out of 10.

January 23, 2012

Update: Halo 4

       Many people are crying out (sometimes literally) for Halo 4 information. But what they don't know, is that there has been quite a bit of Halo 4 info floating around this past month. They just don't know where to look, or what to look for.

       In Halo Waypoint's newest feature, Office of Halo Intelligence, Josh Holmes, creative director of Halo 4 said this:
"Jessica has asked me to contribute to a Halo 4 developer diary as a recurring part of our weekly Bulletin. While we won’t be able to share secrets that would spoil any of the Carefully Planned Reveals™ that we have coming down the pipe, we will give you our impressions of some of the work that is going on behind the scenes here at 343. We’ll also provide our thoughts on anything that we do make public as part of the lead-up to the game’s launch. I realize that isn’t a lot at this stage, and trust me, this is hard for us, too. We are working on so many things that we can’t wait to share with you, but patience is in order. Good things come to those who wait. All will be revealed in due time. And assorted other clich├ęs.…
Right now the team across 343 is shaking off the last remnants of our turkey-induced stupor and whipping ourselves into fighting shape for the year ahead. It’s going to be a huge one. This will be the culmination of a multi-year journey that has already filled several cylindrical space-canisters with delicious blood, sweat and tears. Now we’re entering the crucial final stretch in which we will ready our baby for release into the wild. It’s an exciting time but stressful, too, as we place pressure on ourselves to live up to your expectations. The good news is that the game is already looking great and fun to play. So, as we ready ourselves to give you your first real look at Halo 4 in the months ahead, we can only hope that you, too, will like what you see."
       I highlighted the important parts for those who don't want to read the whole thing. "While we won’t be able to share secrets that would spoil any of the Carefully Planned Reveals™". This could be in reference to the "massive, original marketing campaign" mentioned in the 343 Sparkast 009. "several cylindrical space-canisters". This is actually quite interesting.... The Flood's original form was found in "serveral cylindrical space-canisters" on mysterious automated space ships from outside the Milky Way. Could we be exploring Flood origins more in Halo 4? Or the Reclaimer Trilogy at all? "give you your first real look at Halo 4 in the months ahead". This absolutely screams E3 (June 2012).
       343 Industries also announced on Halo Waypoint that McFarlane Toys, makers of many Halo action figures, will be making action figures for Halo 4. The release of the figures will happen like this:
August 2012
  • Master Chief
  • Secret Figure 1
  • Secret Figure 2
  • Secret Figure 3
Boxed Figure: Frozen Master Chief and cryotube

November 2012

  • Cortana
  • Secret Figure 4
  • Secret Figure 5
  • Secret Figure 6
Boxed Figure: Secret Boxed Figure 1


       This gives a hint as to when new info/game will come out. I believe we will get substantial new info around August, most likely E3. I'm also 90% sure the game will come out in November. But what really tells us that it will release in November is this. 343 later went on to say, "Halo 4 Series 1 will be launched in August 2012, and will expand around the game launch in fall 2012, continuing into 2013." So there it is! They said "the game launch in fall 2012"! Thats much more definite than "Holiday 2012".

       And finally, there has been a recent leak posted on the Halo Waypoint forums, claiming to be images of a Halo 4 Alpha Build. The thread was swiftly locked, and the links removed. The images looked quite legit, actually. I managed to save the pictures before the thread was locked. You can see them below, and to view in larger size, just click on them.


       So, there you have it. Halo 4 story hints, and a possible release window. I'll keep you posted in the coming months, and expect to see far more in the late Spring/early Summer.

January 20, 2012

Coming soon: Halo Primordium Review

       After much difficulty getting my copy (the bookstore was out of stock, despite my pre-order...), Halo Primordium arrived yesterday, and I have been reading it avidly since. Expect a review either next week or the week after.

January 18, 2012

STOP SOPA

       

If SOPA was approved, there would be no more HaloExpert. Therefore I am participating in the blackout until 11:59pm PST Today (Jan 18th).
Here are some SOPA-related websites:
Google Petition against SOPA: https://www.google.com/landing/takeaction/
List of Websites that are participating in the blackout: http://sopastrike.com/
What is SOPA?: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_Online_Piracy_Act