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  (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Collection will include Ridley Scott produced live-action short series and HD makeovers of Halo 1-4

Fans of the "Halo" video game franchise received some good news at the 2014 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) -- a high-definition makeover for nearly the entire library of franchise titles.

I. The HD Box

New Xbox chief Phil Spencer told assembled gaming fans on Monday:

Today we're dedicating our entire briefing to games.  The goal is to make Xbox One the best place to play games this generation... The Halo franchise is the reason Xbox is here today.

For the asking price of $59.99 USD, fans will be treated to high-definition Xbox One ports of Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3, and Halo 4 as part of the Halo: The Master Chief Collection.  The Master Chief Collection is admittedly a stop-gap release.  Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) told Xbox One gamers that what they most want -- a truly new Halo release -- won't arive until late 2015, with the release of the upcoming Halo 5: Guardians.

Halo 3
Halo 3, prior to graphics makeover

You may recall that Bungie slowly parted ways with Microsoft, starting in 2007; Microsoft retains rights to the Halo franchise.  The work on the HD makeovers is being spearheaded by 343 Industries, a division of Microsoft Studios.  This isn't 343 Industries' first rodeo; it first cut its teeth with 2012's Halo 4, the first major entry in the franchise to be developed by someone other than Bungie.

Austin, Texas-based Certain Affinity is also participating in the work for The Master Chief Collection.  The company -- heavily staffed by ex-Microsoft Studios and Bungie employees -- made its first mark on the franchise, developing many of the Halo 2 multiplayer maps.  Its experience should come in handy as Halo 2 is expected to get a full-fledged makeover with all new HD art assets, new gameplay episodes at the beginning and end (to tie into Halo 5), and brand new cutscenes.  Given that Certain Affinity also produced the Halo 4 multiplayer content, it would not be surprising to see them onboard for multiplayer for Halo 5, but Microsoft declined to confirm that possibility.

In an attempt to stir interest in this stop-gap release, Microsoft is promising "some big surprises" are coming with the Halo 2 multiplayer overhaul, courtesy of Certain Affinity.  It declined to get into any further detail, for now, as to what those surprises were.

Microsoft is bringing in Saber Interactive to help with The Master Chief Collection, as well.  Based in Millburn, New Jersey, with development offices in Saint Petersburg, Russia, Saber Interactive is best known for the title Timeshift, which was a modest cross-platform success.  Since then, Saber Interactive got involved with the Halo franchise, helping to produce the graphical makeover anniversary edition of the original Halo title -- 2011's Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary for the Xbox 360.

II. New Digital Series Produced by Ridley Scott

While HD makeovers -- regardless of their "completeness" -- may seem a bit stale, Microsoft isn't stopping with its additions to Halo 2.  It's also planning a weekly series of videos called Halo: Nightfall, which will be exclusive for buyers of The Master Chief Collection.

The new "digital series" of live action shorts will be directed by television director Sergio Mimica-Gezzen, who is known for directing popular episodes of a number of hit Sci-Fi, drama, and comedy TV shows, including the new Battlestar Galactica, HeroesInvasion, Prison Break, Saving Grace, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and Falling Skies.  The series is being produced by Ridley Scott, whose iconic works include AlienBlade RunnerGladiator, and Black Hawk Down.

Ridley Scott
Ridley Scott will direct the new Halo digital series. [Image Source: Movie Cricket]

Halo: Nightfall will tell "a specific story that connects the past to the future" -- basically traversing the timelines of the first four entries in the series, connecting them to the upcoming fifth flagship title.

The digital series will be an independent work, and is not the Halo TV series.  The Halo TV series will be a full-fledged storyline for cable TV and is being directed by Steven Spielberg.  It, however, isn't expected to debut until 2015.

For fans, the disappointing news has been known for some time now: the two biggest ticket items for the popular Halo franchise -- the Steven Spielberg live-action television drama and Halo 5: Guardians -- won't be coming until 2015.  The other sort of disappointing news is that even this stop-gap release won't be available until the holiday season.  It's expected to ship in November.

Sources: Polygon, The Hollywood Reporter



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monopolistic attitude
By Singaporistu on 6/9/2014 11:36:47 PM , Rating: 2
3D shooters are best played with a keyboard and mouse. Speed, accuracy are way better on PC. Halo 1 was a success on PC. Why no more Halo 2,3,4,5 on PC? Because Microsoft wants to enforce it , although many players own a PC with Microsoft Windows and a powerful graphic card why not force them them to buy a new console. Well, in that case I'll choose to play other games that can be installed in my PC.




RE: monopolistic attitude
By StevoLincolnite on 6/10/2014 2:53:43 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Why no more Halo 2,3,4,5 on PC?


Halo 2 was also on PC, granted you had to use Games for Windows Live.

We also got the more mobile-centric "Halo: Spartan Assault" too, which is available on Steam.

Personally, I would prefer them to all be on PC and on Steam so we could have modding, better graphics, better sound, better network connectivity and servers... Not to mention PC games are simply cheaper.

Most of the work to port Halo Anniversary, 2, 3 and 4 to the x86 side has been done, the Xbox shares similar API's to that of the PC (Well, high-level anyway, I.E. Direct X 11, no idea if these specific games use it.)

On the flip-side however... Microsoft is a company and companies exist to provide products in return for monetary gain.
Thus they will potentially make more money out of Halo due to it's platform exclusivity, it could be argued the Xbox as a brand would not be anywhere near as popular if it wasn't for Halo, in turn once gamers have been locked into a platform they generally then pay for Online, accessories and more games, which benefits Microsoft, much to mine and many other PC gamers chagrin.

Conversely, I could do with a new Media player, so it doesn't particularly bother me to any great extreme of having the games being exclusive to the Xbox One.


RE: monopolistic attitude
By Strunf on 6/10/2014 7:23:58 AM , Rating: 3
I had Halo 2 on PC... it was bad, really bad and you could see it was a direct port from console, bad graphics... it's like they just wanted it to exist regardless of its form.


RE: monopolistic attitude
By GTVic on 6/10/2014 2:16:48 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. It was like someone designed the entire world as a set of connected square shaped tunnels with hideous textures on the walls, floors and ceiling to try to hide the fact that you were just walking through a box.


RE: monopolistic attitude
By CZroe on 6/10/2014 6:05:47 PM , Rating: 2
Halo 2 was only on PC to force people to upgrade to Vista. It was a Trojan Horse for a Trojan Horse. Gamers didn't want Vista because it was slower than XP so Microsoft stopped back-porting major DirectX releases and made DirectX 10 a Vista exclusive.

Other devs let silly little things like their game's marketability affect what platforms they develop for, so they weren't going to make their games require DX10. Microsoft would even without needing a single DirectX 10 feature.

For no reason at all other than to force gamers to upgrade to an OS that HURTS game performance, it REQUIRED the latest version of Direct X, which conveniently was exclusive to Vista. The game was ported from XBOX where it ran on DX8 hardware and they didn't add a single thing that needed DX10. Good job, Microsoft! You aren't even scared to pull this crap after all that antitrust stuff. You could probably get away with murder too.


RE: monopolistic attitude
By althaz on 6/10/2014 2:57:28 AM , Rating: 3
Halo 1 failed on PC. It didn't sell well and it wasn't good. Halo 2 was also released on PC and was even worse (sales were crap and the game sucked too).

I would like MS to release Halo on PC, but only if they actually make an effort to make it better (for PC gamers) than the XBox version - which seems supremely unlikely.


RE: monopolistic attitude
By Strunf on 6/10/2014 7:30:58 AM , Rating: 2
Halo 1 wasn't so bad on PC... it's multi-player was quite fun and even the single player campaign was nice, I definitely enjoyed it... Halo 2 on the other hand was really bad.

You're MS will never do a proper Halo for PC... Halo is too important for XBox to be available on other platforms.


RE: monopolistic attitude
By Mitch101 on 6/10/2014 8:54:59 PM , Rating: 2
Halo 1 was originally supposed to be released for the PC but Microsoft bought it out for an X-Box Exclusive.

I like that the planet had life forms on it.
Check out 3:40 and 4:20
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyvARfjomr8


RE: monopolistic attitude
By Azethoth on 6/10/2014 4:28:45 AM , Rating: 3
Meh, I buy each new XBox simply as soon as the next Halo ships. I play little else. Halo is the most expensive game I play.

Also, holy crap 2015 is going to be insane for Halo.


RE: monopolistic attitude
By NellyFromMA on 6/10/2014 9:42:32 AM , Rating: 2
Halo is hardly such a pinnacle of gaming that you should feel in any way upset that it hasn't come out for PC.

Frankly, Halo's simplistic gameplay as compared to other PC FPS is probably why the other versions hadn't made it to PC. When Halo 1 came out for PC, it felt shallow IMO compared to the console even though the content was equal. Fast forward to present day, Halo has hardly evolved.

It doesn't have anything to do with a "monopolistic attitude". It has more to do with there being little demand and even less gain. There aren't a swarm of angry hard-core gamers that are upset they can't play the 1-dimensional Halo franchise on PC, so what's the point?

Frankly, you should probably be more upset that GTA5 isn't out for anything current gen, including PC. IMO anyways.


RE: monopolistic attitude
By retrospooty on 6/10/2014 10:29:27 AM , Rating: 2
"Halo is hardly such a pinnacle of gaming that you should feel in any way upset that it hasn't come out for PC."

I was thinking the same thing. I dont get the following. MAybe it's just me, but I played various games in the Halo franchise and wasn't impressed with any of them ever... It's all "just OK" to me. Nothing really stood out and groundbreaking or even particularly fun for that matter. Just sort of average.


RE: monopolistic attitude
By NellyFromMA on 6/10/2014 12:59:57 PM , Rating: 2
For sure. It wasn't remarkable in any way for me other than it was the only game I had for my Xbox when I first got it, and that made it cool enough.

When I first got an Xbox and Halo 1, I thought it was pretty cool for what it was and beat it in a day or so. Played multiplayer with friends on and off, but rarely. Ever since, I haven't bothered to play any of the others for greater than 10-20 minutes because I just personally feel like there was very little evolution over Halo 1 in terms of gameplay.

From a gameplay perspective, I'd even go so far as to say single-player mode in Goldeneye on N64 had better gameplay (an replay value for that matter) than all of the Halo universe combined.

After reading that last paragraph, though, I wonder if that's what someone who's getting old sounds like. Nahhhhh.


RE: monopolistic attitude
By Reclaimer77 on 6/10/2014 1:52:26 PM , Rating: 3
Whoooa, Goldeneye > Halo? You're not getting old, but that sounds like nostalgia talking.

Goldeneye was great and all, but come on. I think people overate it because it was the first/one of the first console shooters they played done so well at the time. It was a landmark game, no doubt. But it just doesn't hold up in 2014 obviously.

Halo was a quantum leap. It was the first console FPS game to use twinstick controls where you could walk and aim independently. The weapons were delightful and choosing different ones for different scenarios added a lot of strategy and playstyle choice. The graphics were, at the time, mind blowing for a console title. The AI was, again, a quantum leap. I remember being very impressed with how the creatures reacted to what I was doing in a very (seemingly) organic way.

Best gameplay
Best physics
Best AI
Best graphics
Best controls
Best online play-ability
Best LAN play (Halo wrote the book on console LAN)

When I think console shooter, Halo is the first and, frankly, only thing that comes to mind. Still going strong after all these years. Halo 4 wasn't just good, it raised the bar (again) for the entire console shooter genre!


RE: monopolistic attitude
By Wolfpup on 6/10/2014 12:08:33 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, it's absurd that the whole series isn't on PC.

Regarding this collection, well, I haven't played 4 yet, but not counting that, the best 3 Halo games aren't in this collection.

Reach, Wars, and ODST are far better games than 1, 2, and 3.

It's a shame it can't include them too, or heck, INSTEAD of the games it includes.

Since I haven't played 4 yet, I guess I'll have to decide if I want to play it on One instead of 360, but unless they're doing a massive graphical overhaul, which I doubt, I don't know that it's worth bothering.


Ridley Scott
By Samus on 6/9/2014 11:41:30 PM , Rating: 2
This guy hasn't gotten anything right since Blade Runner.

How does he still have any weight in hollywood? It'd be like if Microsoft kept Ballmer around after 15 more versions of Windows 8 across two decades...




RE: Ridley Scott
By Rage187 on 6/10/2014 9:01:06 AM , Rating: 2
Bite your tongue. Prometheus was only terrible.


RE: Ridley Scott
By JasonMick (blog) on 6/10/2014 9:35:13 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
This guy hasn't gotten anything right since Blade Runner.
"Are you not entertained?" /Maximus


RE: Ridley Scott
By Reclaimer77 on 6/10/2014 9:46:09 AM , Rating: 2
Steven Spielberg attaches his name to so many projects now, his name means nothing. Nobody goes "Oh Spielberg is doing that show, so it must be good." anymore.

I see Ridley Scott is following the same trend, sadly.

Scott couldn't even do his own historic franchise, Alien, justice. Prometheus was a turd. What chance does he have of nailing the mark with Halo?


RE: Ridley Scott
By inperfectdarkness on 6/10/2014 5:09:07 PM , Rating: 1
Now hold up.

Prometheus was actually VERY, VERY good. Compared to sequels/prequels of other established franchises (Star Wars, Star Trek, Xmen, etc)...Prometheus > Alien is nigh par excellence of film-making.

And furthermore, compared to JJ "lens flare" Abrams, Michael "I'm going to rape yet another childhood memory of yours" Bay, and other assorted "gems" of hollywood directing--Ridley Scott is a savant.

No, the only thing wrong with this entire story is that Halo still exists. It's a bane on the whole FPS genre. The unfortunate fact that Ridley Scott has stooped to being affiliated with the franchise is--ironically--the most prestigious thing that has ever happened to Halo. Ever.


RE: Ridley Scott
By Reclaimer77 on 6/10/2014 5:35:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Prometheus was actually VERY, VERY good.


Stopped reading there.

Maybe for a generic sci-fi movie it was good. But it fell horribly short for a movie based on a franchise as historic as Alien.

It really wasn't that good, and had SO much wrong with it.


RE: Ridley Scott
By inperfectdarkness on 6/11/2014 2:09:23 AM , Rating: 2
Perhaps you'd like to explain your rather hollow-ended comment.

Unlike most sequel/prequels, Prometheus had just enough tie-ins to explain what was seen in Alien, yet not so many as to pontificate.

I really don't get the criticism of the movie. It essentially detailed how all of mankind originated as a testbed for a biogenic/biological weapon--one which failed to be contained by its creators, ultimately resulting in nature breaking the reproductive barricades placed on the weapon by its designers. And perhaps even better, it was open-ended to where we can now see a new chapter in the saga unfold.

In my opinion, the only people who hated Prometheus were either never fans of the series...or they didn't like how the movie didn't spoon-feed everything--like most Hollywood rubbish does these days.


RE: Ridley Scott
By Reclaimer77 on 6/11/2014 9:54:42 AM , Rating: 1
Meh you know what? I'm not going to sit here and explain what true fans of good sci-fi already have explained millions of times.

Watch Alien then Aliens. Then watch Prometheus. Nothing more needs to be said.

At it's core, Prometheus suffered from terrible writing. And if the core is rotten, the fruit is soon to follow.

quote:
In my opinion, the only people who hated Prometheus were either never fans of the series...or they didn't like how the movie didn't spoon-feed everything


I consider myself neither, but hey, if you need to insult everyone who doesn't agree that's cool.

I wanted a GREAT Alien movie. What I got what a good science fiction movie. Well in this case good just isn't good enough.


.
By StevoLincolnite on 6/9/2014 7:50:53 PM , Rating: 3
That's it, now I'm getting an Xbox One.




RE: .
By StevoLincolnite on 6/9/2014 11:34:41 PM , Rating: 1
Don't know why I got downrated. :/
I love Halo, it's the only reason I would buy *any* console, otherwise I'll stick to PC gaming in eyefinity.


Anyone who is a fan of Halo....
By jnemesh on 6/10/2014 1:39:27 PM , Rating: 2
has already bought or is already committed to buying an Xbox One. It's not going to make the Xbox One any more attractive to people "sitting on the fence", nor will it move hardware.

Sony, on the other hand, gave average gamers (the type that DONT watch E3 coverage) plenty of reasons to buy their console. Exclusive content on the biggest franchises, including Metal Gear, Batman, and Destiny (arguably the hottest title due out this year)...and an exclusive white "Destiny Edition" PS4 WILL move people to buy Playstation hardware.




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