I don’t know what you did last weekend but the second I saw the weather report—which predicted clear skies and temperatures in the 70s—I did what any sane person would do: I barricaded myself in the house, barred entry to any and all rays of sun, and proceeded to watch a movie in the dark and cool stillness that is my basement. It was a period piece; one that told the tale of people who lived in a mythical land, full of rolling green hills and rocks that caught the wheels of their physics-defying vehicles. They cherished their flag, protected their territory, and stood guard against invasion. Their keepers, though, after watching over them for many years, moved away, leaving their future in the hands of a new steward. Overall it had an interesting storyline, one that spoke of change and everything that comes along with that. In the end, everybody lived happily ever after, frolicking in the world they forged together, which certainly can’t be said about the second movie I watched. But humans were never meant to be centipedes, right?

Anyway, I should probably stop rambling and start introducing myself, considering we’ll be getting together on a regular basis now. My name is Jessica, my gamertag is bs angel, and no, those two letters do not stand for what you think they do. Unless your sweat collects in the same place mine does. Then they totally stand for what you think they do. And, just to be super clear, I am not Frankie. I don’t look like Frankie, I don’t write like Frankie, and I certainly don’t draw like Frankie. The good news is that I smell like Frankie, and that’s because of a metabolite called methanethiol. Yeah, don’t ask. But enough about me. Let’s talk about teh Haloz!

Last week we grabbed our Target Locator, loaded it up with some explosive news, and selected E3 as the final destination. If you missed the drop, go ahead and spend a few minutes getting caught up. Don’t worry, we’ll wait for your return.

Get the wallpaper!

Halo: Anniversary Trailer
Check out the trailer for the long-anticipated return of Halo: Combat Evolved.

Get the wallpaper!

Halo 4 Teaser
Get a sneak peek at the next installment in the Halo series.

Not available as a wallpaper… YET

Halo Anniversary Exclusive
Get an exclusive look at the future of Halo from 343 Industries.

Ok, we didn’t really wait but seriously, you took entirely too long. I could have crouch walked across Containment and back, and you still wouldn’t have been done. While you were busy exhausting the replay button on the videos, we started reading Frank’s wrap-up of his experiences at E3. To be honest, you probably should have skipped this paragraph and went straight to his recap. Yet here you are, still poring over my inane drivel. You’ll never get that two minutes of your life back. Just fyi.

From the mandibles of Frank-

Just got back from E3, so apologies if this is a bit short and breathless, but I am myself, short and breathless. Asthma and calcium deficiency, I suppose. My experience at E3 was a bit limited, but certainly appropriate to this venue. It was also a massive relief. At the press conference on Monday, we finally got to go public with our two main projects, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary and of course, Halo 4.

For a couple of years, a couple of hundred people have been working in relative anonymity and certainly a lot of secrecy, on two fairly big products. It’s a strange weight to have lifted so suddenly from your shoulders. But there it is. Two games—one a celebration of the past, one a tantalizing glimpse of the future. And we’ll share some more of that future (and past) with you at Halo Fest later this summer, during PAX Prime in Seattle.

But what about E3?

I was stuck, along with (handsome) Dan Ayoub (exec producer) and (winsome) Dennis Ries (producer) in a small room, demo-ing Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, to the world’s gaming press, and a couple of bigwigs and celebrities. And it was a blast. The demo was simple—play through some Campaign, show off some of the (still work in progress) graphics and talk about features—including “classic mode.”

It was great to hit the back button on Anniversary and hear gasps of delight and surprise from people, no matter which direction that Classic Mode feature went. In fact, the level and intensity of nostalgia during the demos caught us by surprise. It was enervating to engage in conversations, deeply and passionately felt, with people who loved the franchise, or have grown up with it. Classic mode was a late addition to the game, but it’s going to be a huge part of how people choose to engage with the game.

After that, we showed people a brief trailer for Terminals—featuring some cool animation and the dulcet tones of Tim Dadabo, the original Guilty Spark, who’ll be reprising his role in the story these terminals tell. Terminals will be hidden on every level of the game (human, Covenant and Forerunner locations) and will tell an interesting piece of Halo canon, and maybe even hint at some future connections.

We closed the demo with footage from “Damnation” which will be returning with Reach gameplay elements, and Covenant geometry, thanks to the epic efforts of Certain Affinity on this, and six other maps. One of those is a Firefight location and folks have already figured out at least three other from the MP portion of the trailer.

I often get asked, “What did you see at E3?” and my answer is invariably “the stuff on the way to the bathroom.” So my view of E3 was that Batman looks amazing, and so does Namco’s “Go Vacation.” Because those were the things adjacent to our booth. And that’s all I saw! I swear!

According to a certain text message Mr. David Ellis received, Frank saw a little more than he’s letting on. But that’s a story for another day because, during my travels through the tangled tubes of the Internet, I managed to gather up the impressions of journalists and fans alike as it relates to Halo: Anniversary. Here’s a spattering of tasty tidbits that I collected in my virtual basket.

From the mandibles of Others-

“Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary is a complex love letter to original game.” –Ars Technica

“If you missed out on playing the original the first time round, this is a game you should be excited about. If you were lucky enough to play the original, you’ll likely need no convincing.” –Everybody Plays

“Screw diamonds, this is what a 10th anniversary gift should be!” –GameSpy

“You know what? I’m excited. It’s good to be a Halo fan.” –Cerilli

“Just finished a Heroic playthrough of CE for the memory banks. I can’t believe it’s been ten years. Even now the story is still so fresh, the music just so perfect… and the introduction of the Flood is still as heartpounding as the first time. Can’t wait to celebrate by running through Halo: Anniversary in HD. I’ll be pressing the “back” button frequently, very good feature. I am definitely looking forward to this and the other Halo titles.” –T14P Colorith

“Long live the Halo Universe!” –Link1201

People didn’t just state their opinions, though. They also presented a plethora of questions. In an effort to maintain a thin veil of secrecy, here are the top three questions I won’t be answering in this installment of the Halo Bulletin.

In the Halo 4 teaser, is there a Pistol in Master Chief’s pocket, or is he happy to see me?

What’s up with the -insert the original something here- being different from the -insert the new something here- in the Halo: Anniversary trailer?

Do you think we’ll get any matchmaking updates after July?

I was going to share the wise words of my Magic 8 Ball (“He’s excited to be back,” “Unfinished game is unfinished,” and “Signs point to yes”), but that would defeat the purpose of not answering questions. So, tight-lipped I will remain. And wondering you will be. Unless reading between the lines you do. For the record, I just went back and inserted lines to make that a true statement. Yup, I am that dedicated. Only because it didn’t make me sweat, mind you.

Speaking of sweat (Oh hai, nonsensical segue!), Halo Fest—our upcoming bash commemorating ten years of Halo—will be a great opportunity for you to get down and dirty with Halo: Anniversary. While I’ll get to the specifics in a few minutes, one tiny morsel is simply too delicious to sit on. We recently asked for your feedback about what you wanted to see, and after watching this particular item rise to the top of the list, we finally sealed the deal. Something special this way comes but what is it, you ask? Here’s a clue: In the game it may not beat everything, but in real life I’m pretty sure it does. Buckle up because if you plan on attending Halo Fest, chances are you’re going to see a full-size, real-life Warthog, made by the wicked awesome folks over at Weta!

After hearing stories about my tendency to splatter teammates, they added a clause to the contract saying I’m not allowed to drive it. I do, however, have permission to cuddle this guy. Still a prototype, yet to reach a final state, existing only in sample form, not intended for human consumption, and every other caveat you could possible contrive, the cuteness of the Grunt plushie needs to be immediately ingested by your eyeballs. Please say hello to my little friend.

Halo: Cuteness Evolved!

See, I told you he was teeny tiny! While the Weta Warthog alone is enough to satiate many fans’ thirst for Halo awesomeness, there will be so many other incredible things waiting for you at Halo Fest. You’ll be able to play Halo: Anniversary, relive your favorite moments from the first ten years of Halo, compete in tournaments and contests, and get your hands on exclusive Halo Fest merchandise. You’ll even have the chance to meet game developers, authors, and other special guests from the Halo universe while attending panels about Halo: Anniversary, Halo 4, Rooster Teeth and more. My brain just exploded from writing all of that, so I while I go clean up the mess, I’ll let you figure out how you’re going to get to the Penny Arcade Expo—the event that plays host to our festivities—in August. Don’t let the fact that it’s sold out scare you. Where there’s a will, there’s a way…

<3, <4, and all that jazz,
bs angel

PS: You didn’t really think I would leave you hanging with the Grunt plushie, did you? For the record, I wanted to, but Frankie yelled at me. Something about how I was supposed to be nicerer. Hmph.

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