Halo Reach Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Halo Reach RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network The Best Power Weapons in Halo History https://www.gameskinny.com/rmrjv/the-best-power-weapons-in-halo-history https://www.gameskinny.com/rmrjv/the-best-power-weapons-in-halo-history Fri, 20 Dec 2019 09:51:40 -0500 John Schutt


There you have it: our list of the best and brightest power weapons to ever grace the Halo franchise. Some of the weapons are powerful, others are borderline broken. Still, others just annoying. However, they're all capable of wrecking house in almost anyone's hands.


Let us know which power weapons would have made your list, and where you first encountered them.


'Till next time...


Best Fully Automatic Weapon: The SAW


Do you absolutely, positively need to kill everything within 60 feet and still have half of your drum mag left over? Pick up the SAW and listen to the salt.


Seventy-two rounds of pure, unadulterated death to campaign enemies and other players alike, this bullet hose was one of the easiest weapons to use, and the Halo 4 version takes the cake simply because that's where we first saw it used.


More importantly, it is consistent. You might have headshot capabilities in Halo 5, but there was always a chance you could miss and need that one extra bullet to finish the job. Not in the SAW's original iteration. Thirteen rounds. That was it. That was a kill. And if you managed to pick up any additional ammo, heaven help that poor, dead enemy team.


Best Light Launcher: The Concussion Rifle


There isn't a huge number of light launchers in the Halo franchise, but the Halo: Reach concussion rifle is the best of the bunch. The other options might do more damage and might have more style, but none are as effective as the concussion rifle.


Five shots of high-explosives per magazine, an easily trackable arc, and high projectile speed make this weapon deadly and plenty of fun to use.


Sometimes easier is better, as much as we don't want it to be.


Best Melee: The Gravity Hammer


The Energy Sword might have a lunge and insane tracking, but it doesn't have the sheer killing potential of the Gravity Hammer. And the Halo 3 Hammer is unabashedly the king. It's grimy, it's a little wonky to use, and it creates silly ragdolls. But those are just three reasons we love it.


Without the Gravity Hammer, we wouldn't have Griffball. People wouldn't have the memories of smashing their friends into the dirt in a custom match, and all we'd be left with is a cross-map energy blade that makes zombies.


Best Energy: The Spartan Laser


Style plays a big part in my selection here, but taking out enemies instantly from across the map with a shoulder-mounted laser cannon is a hard feeling to replicate. And which version of the Spartan Laser is the best? 


Clearly the Halo 3 Spartan Laser. You get more shots overall, it takes some finesse to use, and it will destroy anything and everything that crosses its path. It doesn't matter if you're in a tank, Ghost, Banshee, or just waiting around a corner. If the Spartan Laser comes your way, you're dead.


Give up hope all who see the red beam of death.


Best Explosive: The Rocket Launcher


There are no bad rocket launchers, but the Halo: Reach variant probably takes the cake. Speedy rockets, huge explosive radius, can track vehicles after a short lock-on time, and a healthy reload speed — what more can you want?


The only hangup for this launcher is the sometimes significant effect gravity has on each rocket, making cross-map shots tricky at best. Still, if you play your cards right, with four rockets per pickup, you can and should be able to take out the enemy team, their vehicles, and their will to live.


If only we could take the thing to Blood Gulch...


Last time, we talked about the most powerful core weapons in Halo history. I included the shotgun and sniper rifle in that list, even though they technically fall into the "power weapons" category. I made the choice because, while they can change the pace of a game entirely, they are — and have always been — at the core of the Halo multiplayer experience.


The weapons on this list won't just alter the course of an entire match  they're often borderline overpowered in anyone's hands. Where the sniper and, to a lesser degree, the shotgun take aim, spacing, and map knowledge to use properly, you only have to pick up these power weapons a few times to understand and use them well.

The Best Core Weapons in Halo History https://www.gameskinny.com/u5lyc/the-best-core-weapons-in-halo-history https://www.gameskinny.com/u5lyc/the-best-core-weapons-in-halo-history Wed, 11 Dec 2019 15:57:35 -0500 John Schutt


The Assault Rifle


There's a lot of vanilla Halo on this list, but that's where most of the broken weapons lived. The original AR wasn't a world-beater in a game where that pistol lived, but no other version had nearly the magazine size and therefore sheer bullet-hose potential.


60 rounds. That was how many bullets you could lay into someone before needing a single reload. Later titles cut that number to almost half, in addition to cutting the damage slightly.


It was a sad day when the Halo 3 assault rifle made its debut. If nothing else, these significant nerfs were a sign of how powerful the weapon had been at one point, even in a game filled with powerful weapons.




Let us know what memories you made with the best weapons in Halo history.


Now I'm looking forward to the PC release of Halo Combat Evolved so I can return to Blood Gulch and do... well, Blood Gulch things.


You know the ones. 


For more Halo, be sure to check our review of Halo Reach Remastered, Bungie's multiplayer masterclass. 


The Sniper Rifle


I'm bending the rules a little bit here, but the best Sniper Rifle ultimately comes down to personal preference. Appearance, sound, ease/skill of use, where you started in the franchise — all of these factor into which sniper is your #1. 


For me, I think the Halo: Reach sniper is my favorite. I know it's not everyone's choice, but I like the bass of the shot, the clicks of the ejection and reload, and the snappiness of a good headshot across a map. 


Halo 4 and Halo 3 also have good snipers, and I think I like the sound of 4's is the best, but the total package doesn't do it for me. 


The Shotgun


Out of pistol ammo? That would be a problem if you don't have the original shotgun from Halo Combat Evolved.


If you do have it, well, everything is fine. Every living thing within five meters will be dead momentarily. 


The original Halo's shotgun could and would kill to a ludicrous distance, had plenty of ammo, and employed just the right amount of speed to its reload. Even better, it had style, gave off a chunky sound when fired, and allowed for a quick melee follow up if anything was still moving after eating a load of buckshot.


Other games might have had better aesthetics for their shotguns, but nothing beats death by a thousand pellets.


The Battle Rifle


On its introduction in Halo 2, the battle rifle — BR for short — became an instant hit. Generous, but not overbearing, auto-aim, and low time to kill paired with a healthy magazine and hitscan mechanics quickly elevated the BR to legendary quality long before Halo 3 was a twinkle in gamers' eyes.


What differentiated the Halo 2 BR from its counterparts in later entries, including the remaster by 343, were the various button glitches players could exploit to make the weapon even deadlier. The best players could do things more casual players could only dream of. 


The Pistol


There's no contest here. You could — and everyone did — snipe other players across the largest Halo maps with the pistol from Halo: Combat Evolved. If you played Blood Gulch, you were sniped by a pistol. And you sniped with the pistol.


It was just how things worked. 


The pistol's power came from a near-complete lack of recoil and little if any damage falloff. Add in semi-automatic fire and a low time to kill and a healthy store of ammo, and you've got yourself a killing machine without peer.


The Halo franchise is almost 20 years, and in that time, players have had the chance to use a number of different weapons and have had to deal with even more frequent weapon changes. Between each series entry, developers Bungie or 343 Industries tuned the arsenal to their liking, causing the occasional community outcry in the process.


Still, there is a solid core of Halo weaponry anyone familiar with the series knows and loves: the pistol, battle rifle, shotgun, sniper rifle, assault rifle. And throughout the series, each gun in this noble arsenal has seen a king; it's the most powerful version that would be reduced to nothing in future titles.


Here, we catalog the best weapons in all of Halo, focusing specifically on the core group mentioned above. We've listed the best power weapons separately. 

Halo: The Master Chief Collection Set For PC Release https://www.gameskinny.com/uo1k7/halo-the-master-chief-collection-set-for-pc-release https://www.gameskinny.com/uo1k7/halo-the-master-chief-collection-set-for-pc-release Wed, 13 Mar 2019 12:31:14 -0400 Adamo Umbra

During Microsoft's most recent Inside Xbox stream, it was officially announced that Halo: The Master Chief Collection is headed to PC. With this collection, PC players will be able to experience the entire Halo franchise up to, and including, Halo 4.

That said, not all of the games included in the collection will be available simultaneously — instead, they will release one by one. This staggered release will allow the community to offer feedback on each individual title, which 343 Studios intends to use to guarantee that a "first class" Halo experience is offered to PC players.

Halo: Reach will be the first game available, and it will be followed by releases of the first four numbered entries in the series. Furthermore, it was also announced that Halo: Reach will release on Xbox One — its multiplayer features will be freely available, while its campaign and firefight mode will be offered as DLC. 

Players will be able to purchase each of the games included in Halo: The Master Chief Collection as they are released. They will be available from the Microsoft Store and Steam.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection for PC is a collaborative effort between 343 Studios, Splash Damage, and Ruffian. This need for collaboration is due to the fact that the bulk of 343's staff is currently working on Halo: Infinite. While not much has officially been confirmed about this forthcoming Halo title, there has been indication that it will offer an experience that is unique to the franchise. 

While the PC release date for Halo: The Master Chief Collection isn't currently decided, 343 may be sharing more information during the upcoming HCS Invitational broadcast, which is set for March 17. If that is not the case, hopefully excited fans will get more details on the collection in short order.

In other Halo news, Microsoft recently announced the Halo Insider Program, which allows players to sign up for early testing on upcoming Halo games, products, and more. 

9 Xbox One Titles That Should Get X Support https://www.gameskinny.com/15eoc/9-xbox-one-titles-that-should-get-x-support https://www.gameskinny.com/15eoc/9-xbox-one-titles-that-should-get-x-support Tue, 06 Feb 2018 15:28:05 -0500 Joseph Ocasio


Batman: Arkham Knight


The last of the Arkham Trilogy, Arkham Knight delivered a satisfying conclusion to the series with the same great combat and stealth that the series is known for, the best depiction of Gotham City in any digital form, and the Batmobile for the same added pleasure. That said, it was still prone to slowdown and screen tearing. However, all screen tearing seems to be removed for games while running on Xbox One X. Batman's world may be dark and gloomy, but with the benefits of HDR and 4K resolution, it could look even more spectacular. 




If you have a game that you'd like to see updated for the X that wasn't featured here, leave a comment down below.


Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain


As the last of the original MGS series, Metal Gear Solid 5 went out with a bang. While some fans lament the fact that it was missing an important chapter, it was still an amazing game in both gameplay and open-world design. While a patch was made for PS4 Pro, it did very little. With the power of the Xbox One X, we could, at the very least, see an improvement to resolution, seeing as how it's still locked at 900p on Xbox Consoles. 


Deus Ex: Mankind Divided


Deus Ex continues to have some of the most interesting settings in modern gaming. Its dark, neo-noir world may have borrowed a few things from other noir fiction, but it's distinctly its own creation. Mankind Divided continues this trend, with its unique depiction of Prague. While the 4K and HDR would be nice, it'd be more interesting to see if we could get an option of better frame rate, similar to what we got in Rise of The Tomb Raider. Deus Ex started its life on PC, so it would be interesting if we could get either the visual quality or frame rate to match Mankind Divided's PC version in some way. 


Gears of War: Ultimate Edition


Gears of War 4 already saw a patch for the X that allowed for improved textures and visuals as well as the ability to play at 60FPS, so it makes sense that this graphical remake should receive the same treatment. With its improved cut-scenes, beautiful artwork, and bleak world building, it would be interesting to see one of the most influential games of all time get that same treatment. Gears of War 3 saw an update for Xbox One X, so it would make sense that we'd get to see Marcus and Delta Squad's first adventure in 4K and at 60FPS for the campaign.


Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered


It's still hard to deny how influential the original Modern Warfare was to online gaming. Its tight, close-quarters map design and RPG Perk System helped reign in a new dawn of online shooters. That's not even mentioning its excellent campaign, which features some of the most iconic moments in gaming. Wouldn't you want to see this in 4K? 


It's a bit shocking that Infinite Warfare received an X patch but not Modern Warfare Remastered, especially since MWR was originally locked to an $80 version that had both of them. So, why not do both? MWR already supports PS4 Pro, so it'd be a mistake for it to never get an update on Xbox's newest machine.


Dragon Age: Inquisition


Before Mass Effect Andromeda tarnished Bioware's good reputation (whether you liked it or not), there was still hope when Bioware released Dragon Age: Inquisition. Taking all the feedback that fans had with Dragon Age 2, Bioware created a game that balanced the storytelling and scope of the first Dragon Age with an improved version of the sequel's combat system. Inquisition's gorgeous art design and powerful effects were limited to only 900p on the Xbox One version (though it does run better than the PS4 version), so having it in 4K and HDR would help bring Bioware's last great RPG to life. 


Halo: Reach


Yes, this isn't an Xbox One game, but seeing how Gears of War 3, Fallout 3, Assassin's Creed, and even the original 360 version of Halo 3 have gotten a bump in improvements, it would be interesting to see how Bungie's last and, arguably, best game would look with X enhancements. Better lighting and a steadier frame rate would help this 2011 title stand tall, and with no word on if this title will ever get a remaster, we just have to hope that 343 Industries won't miss out on letting us play this fantastic prequel to the Halo franchise with Xbox One X improvements. 


Grand Theft Auto 5


It's one of the best-selling games of all time, so why wouldn't Rockstar want to put Michael, Franklin, and Trevor in 4K? GTA 5 was already a great-looking game on 360 and PS3 when it first came out, and when it was later ported to current-gen systems in 2014, it looked even better. So imagine how it would look in 4K? GTA 5 on Xbox One has already seen frame-rate improvements on Xbox One X, but it still would be nice to see some improved textures and a better drawing distance. Rockstar may be working on Red Dead 2, but that doesn't mean it can't have any of its other studios working on it. 


Sunset Overdrive


Released only a year after the Xbox One's Launch, Sunset Overdrive sadly didn't live up to the what Microsoft was expecting in terms of sales. That being said, it's still an absolute joy to play, with the same wacky guns and clever humor that Insomniac games has become known for with its Ratchet and Clank series. Even though it only runs at 900p, Sunset Overdrive's colorful, mayhem-filled world exudes so much personality and would benefit even more with a bump in resolution and HDR.


With the arrival of the Xbox One X, games are getting huge updates for Microsoft's powerhouse machine, from looking even better by taking advantage of 4K and HDR to playing better with improved frame rates for each title. Even if you still have an old 1080p TV, it's been proven that games like Halo 5 and Gears of War 4 are benefiting from the higher tech. Third-party titles, like Rise of the Tomb Raider and Dishonored 2, have also been updated with enhancements that make already-great games look and sound better -- and there's more to come. 


With more all that extra horsepower, it'd be interesting to see what other Xbox One titles would benefit from getting this treatment. Here are just 9 games that would be even better by getting an update for the X. 

9 Funny Halo Glitches You Can't Help But Laugh At https://www.gameskinny.com/zlxjn/9-funny-halo-glitches-you-cant-help-but-laugh-at https://www.gameskinny.com/zlxjn/9-funny-halo-glitches-you-cant-help-but-laugh-at Sat, 15 Apr 2017 15:02:07 -0400 tofuslayer

Dancing Elites

I'm not sure that this is the classic dancing Elite glitch, but this clip from Halo 5 is too good not to share. This is another one that puzzles me. I can't really explain what's happening here and I don't think I can dismiss this one as a lag issue. Whatever the cause of this glitch is, I think it's fantastic. I also laughed harder than I should have when he got stomped out at the end of the clip.




And with that, I conclude my list of 9 Halo glitches that you can't help but laugh at. Some are scarier than others, but at the end of the day, they're all pretty hilarious, no matter who they happen to.

Know of any even funnier Halo glitches? Let us know about them in the comments below!

Undead Scarab

This is another one that is half-terrifying and half-funny to me. On the one hand, there's something about seeing a blown-up Scarab come back to life that is somewhat nightmarish. But on the other hand, seeing one hobbling around on two legs is laugh-inducing in a weird kind of way. (It counts as a laugh if you're laughing out of disbelief, right?)


Anyway, if you play Halo 3 and want to experience this glitch for yourself, check out this tutorial below. If you just want to see footage of the Undead Scarab in action, skip to 4:34 and decide for yourself if it's funny or scary.



As seen in this image from Nostromo II on Bungie, this unfortunate glitch in Halo 3 caused unsuspecting players to be sucked right into the floor and die a twitchy, painful-looking death with no warning at all. I'm not entirely sure what causes this to happen, but I'm assuming it's the result of lagging. There's a part of me that doesn't want to laugh because it's kind of terrifying, but there's also something about it that's really funny.




Wall Hacking

Also called "Ghost hacking," but I suppose that in this case, it might be more appropriate to call it "Phantom hacking." Basically what happens here is that if you're moving fast enough, you can go through walls because the game will not register the wall in time.


This case is exceptionally strange to me because it is my understanding that once you pass through the wall, you die. In a strange turn of events, it looks like this driver somehow managed to go right through the wall and off the map.

Corpse Glitch

Glitches with corpses are one of the more common ones in most of the Halo games. Most of us have seen videos of breakdancing corpse in Halo. This one is another Halo: Reach beta glitch where the corpse inexplicably starts waving just his arm. While some of the other corpse glitches are kind of creepy with all the spasms, this one is oddly friendly, as if the corpse is waving at you ... welcoming you to Hell ... 

Character Stretch Glitch

One of my personal favorites is a fairly common glitch that occurs in almost all the Halo games -- the character stretch glitch. It's so common we could make a list by itself of all the best character stretch images on the internet.

While there are definitely some more extreme instances of this glitch (such as the first image of this slideshow), there's something about this screenshot from Cheese Chex on Bungie that I find so hilarious. This Spartan looks like some weird, disfigured bird ... or something. 

Weaponless Glitch

This glitch occurs in almost all the Halo games, usually as a result of overloading the map with too many objects. This specific image comes from an individual who was wielding a hammer in Forge World for Halo: Reach. Then he went weaponless.

While it is one of the more common glitches, I’ll never stop thinking it’s funny seeing someone holding a phantom weapon. There's something about a weaponless Spartan that just looks ridiculous. These guys were meant to be soldiers. 

Banshee Glitch

Banshees have been known to do what they want at times, resulting in a lot of Banshee glitches in the Halo series. I'm not exactly sure what caused this one, but, like many of the glitches in Halo, I'm going to chalk this one up to some sort of lag. Somehow I feel like there's something oddly soothing about giggling at a Banshee floating around like a broken bumper car.

Armor Permutation Glitch

In the Halo Reach beta, some users reported severe armor lag that caused armor permutations to change. These instances usually occurred upon death, but in rare cases, it happened to players while alive. This perfectly timed screenshot, courtesy of Halo Wikia, features an individual who looks horrified at what is happening. Or maybe just embarrassed about their pauldron being on the wrong side. 


Over the years, the Halo games have brought joy to so many lives all over the world. We all know it, and I would argue that most of us love it. As far as first-person shooters go, it's definitely one of the best and most widely played.

And although most of us play Halo for its competitive nature, another highly entertaining aspect of the game is the occasional glitch you'll run into. While they can be really annoying when you're in the middle of a campaign or a game of CTF, they can be extremely funny when it's not happening to you -- and sometimes they're even so hilarious it doesn't matter who they happen to. 


So to celebrate Halo franchise as a whole (and for me, the upcoming ESL Halo Pro League summer season!), here's a compilation of some great glitches throughout Halo history.

9 Games with the Best Artificial Intelligence https://www.gameskinny.com/8zkeq/9-games-with-the-best-artificial-intelligence https://www.gameskinny.com/8zkeq/9-games-with-the-best-artificial-intelligence Sun, 05 Mar 2017 09:20:12 -0500 Sergey_3847




Developer: Bohemia Interactive
Release date: September 12, 2013
Platforms: PC


ARMA 3 is known for a super precise enemy AI. Ever heard of clear shots on 300 or 400 meter distances? Yep, that’s ARMA 3. But many people don’t know that the best thing about the AI in ARMA 3 is that it is fully customizable.


If you know how to edit “.ini” files, then you can easily set up the game’s AI to your liking. On the other hand, you could just download and install one of the many AI mods that are freely distributed for the game.


However, most players have adapted to the default settings, and show no mercy for their enemies.


What other games do you know of that possess a great AI? Share their titles and leave your opinions on why you think so in the comments.


Alien: Isolation


Developer: Creative Assembly
Release date: October 7, 2014
Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One


You would think that the true star of the game is the main character, in this case Amanda Ripley… but no -- it’s the Xenomorph. This creepy alien and its constant, looming presence throughout the entire game makes it a particularly interesting case for an enemy AI study.


This kind of prolonged interaction between the protagonist and the antagonist is unprecedented in the world of gaming. It probably took a lot of effort to program the complex behavior of the creature that would jump out of the most unexpected places.


Clive Gratton, technical director on Alien: Isolation, said the following about the multi-layered AI system (read the full interview here):


“Our basic premise for the AI was ‘not to cheat’. The level is pre-processed to find interesting places for the Alien to search. We then drop it in with a few parameters to say how fast to search, where and what size radius. If the Alien hasn’t spotted the player then it’ll do a leisurely search of a large area. If you can hear the Alien in the vents close to you then there’s more chance that it can hear you and will come down. It is actually traversing through the vent network.”


StarCraft II


Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Release date: July 27, 2010
Platforms: PC


Long-time SarCraft players may laugh at this suggestion, because even the Hard and Elite AI in StarCraft II is not too impressive. But again, this is the case if you’re an experienced player. However, if you’re just starting out in the StarCraft universe, playing against AI is your best option, and it is built exactly for that reason.


The AI in StarCraft II follows the same sequence every time, which is perfect for learning and developing your first strategy against it. Later, when you know what you’re doing, you can start playing against real players.


And the last cool thing to mention is the upcoming StarCraft II challenge offered by the British AI developer -- DeepMind. It’s the one that beat the Go world champion last year, and it would be really interesting to see how this intelligence will fair against Blizzard’s own AI sometime in 2017.


Far Cry 2


Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Release date: October 21, 2008
Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360


It is a sad thing to say, but the Far Cry series doesn’t get any better with every new installment. Ubisoft tries to appeal to a more casual player these days, but at one point, Far Cry was one of the most unforgiving games ever made.


The first one was developed by Crytek, and then Ubisoft helmed the second one, and the rest of them followed. Far Cry 2 was so challenging that people went as far as calling it “sadistic”… and it was for a reason. The enemy AI was simply brutal, and there were no friendly NPCs -- everybody was hostile.


There was no real system to the AI’s behavior -- it was just incredibly chaotic and unpredictable. This alone made the game super hard, even for veteran gamers.


Halo: Reach


Developer: Bungie
Release date: September 14, 2010
Platforms: Xbox 360


Halo: Reach stands out from the rest of the games in the cult series from Microsoft due to its staggering AI. This statement regards the Elites, who are some of the smartest and most aggressive enemies you will ever encounter in a video game.


One could re-play the campaign over and over again without ever getting bored because the AI would behave differently every time. When the fans figured this out, they decided to push the AI in the game to its limits. And thus, in 2011, a team called “Termacious Trickocity” recorded more than 150 hours of gameplay in an attempt to show just how good the AI is in Halo: Reach.


The result can be seen in the video above, which is a 10-minute montage of the best moments from the entire Termacious Trickocity run. One of the members of the said team, Aaron Sekela, stated the following:


“Our hardest trick though would probably be the ‘Exodus Marine Collection.’ That’s the trick that starts around the 5:48 mark and ends at the 6:29 mark. We were in that game for 7 hours, getting the marines to cooperate was extremely annoying, we had to make sure they didn’t get killed by enemies or being launched over the river. Once over the river we need to drive 10 minute to get the marines, to the top of a huge mountain. We had to go back and forth about 4 or 5 times. Lack of check points didn’t help either.”


XCOM: Enemy Unknown


Developer: Firaxis Games
Release date: October 9, 2012
Platforms: PC, PS3, PS Vita, Xbox 360


Alien AI is the reason why the reboot of the XCOM series succeeded back in 2012. And the person responsible for that AI was Alex Cheng, who decided to make the AI not just distinctive, but also entertaining.

This effect was achieved “by means of a utility-based system -- a system that gave a measure of 'usefulness' to every possible action.” 


And this is what XCOM is known for: its limited system of movement that requires the AI to calculate the most efficient way of action for each of its turns. It would consider everything, such as the distance to the closest objective, proximity to other aliens, the number of enemies, the behavior of the enemies, and more.


This approach to AI is truly groundbreaking and should be taken into consideration by other aspiring video game developers.


Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist


Developer: Ubisoft Toronto
Release date: August 20, 2013
Platforms: PC, PS3, Wii U, Xbox 360


The objectives in all missions of Blacklist are basically the same -- avoid guards at all costs. You got it right -- it’s a hard stealth game. The guard AI is truly something here, and generally speaking, the AI in the Splinter Cell series has always been a subject of fascination.


It reminds me a lot of a chess game. You enter an area, detect all the guards, figure out the plan of evasion, and move forward to a complete execution of the mission. But it’s not as easy to do as it sounds. The guards are programmed to detect and react to the smallest things -- not just visual cues, but audible ones as well.


On top of that, they have dogs that prowl in the most unexpected corners, forcing you to reveal your position. It’s really something, and people have been writing entire essays on just how good the AI is in Splinter Cell: Blacklist -- you can read one of them here.


The Last of Us


Developer: Naughty Dog
Release date: June 14, 2013
Platforms: PS3


If you’re wondering what this game is doing here (since the enemy AI in TLOU isn’t much to write home about) it’s really not about enemies this time, but instead about a companion AI -- Ellie. The teenage girl, the key to the survival of all humanity, is the star of the game, and it’s mainly because of an excellent AI.


Did you know that the release of TLOU was initially delayed for five months? The director of the game decided to overwrite the entire companion AI from scratch. Well, it’s a good thing that he did, because Ellie has become a true friend and not just another burden on your hands.


Here’s what Naughty Dog's Max Dyckhoff said about Ellie’s AI at GDC 2014 (watch the full presentation here):


“Much of this was built on simple ideas, such as how to decide where Ellie should stand: the basic mechanics decide a zone she can inhabit, then draws a series of lines between her and Joel, the direction she's looking in, and where she could potentially move to. If any of those lines hit a wall or obstacle, then Ellie can't stand there.”




Developer: Monolith Productions
Release date: October 17, 2005
Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360


If there was ever a good AI in any FPS game, it was definitely the one in F.E.A.R. The enemies would never act in the same way, but they would react to each other’s situations and would never repeat the same mistakes. This prompted players to constantly change tactics and never sit in the same position.


Here’s how the designers of the AI have described their approach to F.E.A.R. (read full statement):


“In F.E.A.R., A.I. use(s) cover more tactically, coordinating with squad members to lay suppression fire while others advance. A.I. only leave cover when threatened, and blind fire if they have no better position.”


On top of that, enemy AI always applies pressure -- at times, you don’t even have the time to heal. The harder the difficulty you choose to play, the better the AI behaves.


That's not to mention the weapons physics and movement animations in this game were groundbreaking for its time.


Many game developers intentionally make the AI in their games easy to deal with. Only a few choose the hard way and try to challenge their fanbase by making AI behave in more inventive ways than just duck, dodge, fire. 


And of course, every gamer has his or her own favorite titles, but these nine games are universally praised for offering something new in the department of artificial intelligence. Each case has its own peculiar approach, and each shows just how deep one can dive into the possibilities of machine psychology.


Different genres of games utilize different algorithms when it comes to programming AI. For example, FPS games implement the layered structure of the artificial intelligence system, while RTS games have several modules, such as effective path-finding, economic structuring, game map analysis, and more.


You will learn about all these different algorithms in the list that follows. Let's get started. 

5 Video Game Soundtracks For the Hero In Everyone This Summer https://www.gameskinny.com/gh5bz/5-video-game-soundtracks-for-the-hero-in-everyone-this-summer https://www.gameskinny.com/gh5bz/5-video-game-soundtracks-for-the-hero-in-everyone-this-summer Wed, 29 Jun 2016 16:40:47 -0400 Cody Drain

If you're like me, you love music, and you love video games -- so naturally, there are times where you find yourself listening to video game soundtracks.

Summer is the best time to do so: the next big games are months away from release, and the weather is as good as it gets. So why not line up some great video game music for all of your summer activities?

Here are 5 video game soundtracks that will make the hero or heroine in every gamer feel just a little more awesome.

1.  Okami

Quick confession: Okami is my favorite game of all time, and in my opinion, the soundtrack is one of its strongest features. It covers every emotion imaginable, from the infectious joy of "Issun's Theme" to epic boss themes, and everything in between. 

Anyone looking for fantastic music will find plenty of songs to love, particularly if you like more traditional Japanese music. For instance, with July 4th looming on the horizon, the jubilant "Kamiki Festival" above is a perfect song to fit the festivities.

Unfortunately, the Okami soundtrack is the only one on this list that you won't find anywhere on iTunes. However, it can be found easily on YouTube, or you can buy it on CD from Japan. The full soundtrack stretches across 5 CDs, which should give some idea just how much music is featured in the game.

2.  Super Meat Boy

The soundtrack for the original PC release of the platformer Super Meat Boy (the PS4 release included a new one, sadly) is an excellent blend of old and new video game music styles. The result is extremely catchy, perfect for inspiration during workouts in the gym or trips to the great outdoors. "Forest Funk," above, is a particularly good choice. I also recommend "Can O' Salt" and "Fast Track to Browntown," two themes from World 3, in particular.

3.  Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

This is probably one of the more well-known and popular video game soundtracks of the last five years or so. Those of you who like alternative or metal music will find plenty to love here, even if you aren't a fan of Raiden, Revengeance or the Metal Gear series. This loud, energetic soundtrack perfectly matches the game's frenetic action. In addition, the lyrics often describe the major theme of the moment--which is a nice touch.

"Rules of Nature," above, is probably the game's most famous song. It frames the battle between Raiden and Metal Gear RAY as an example of "survival of the fittest" in action. Another good example is "Dark Skies," which describes "a brave new world rising" and warns that "times have changed." If you're looking for music to inspire and drive you forward, look no further.

4.  Halo: Reach

Like the other Halo games, Halo: Reach has an incredible orchestral soundtrack. However, the music here is more somber and grim than in previous games, reflecting the inevitable fall of the planet. Even so, like the soundtrack for Revengeance above, this is perfect motivational music. "Tip of the Spear," above, is probably my personal favorite. Foreboding yet determined, this epic track makes any daily chore considerably more heroic than it would be otherwise.

5.  Mass Effect

Last, but not least, there's the Mass Effect soundtrack. Of the three games in the series, the first has the most "futuristic" sound. The next two games in the series, particularly Mass Effect 3, relied more on a traditional orchestral soundtrack. Here, however, the music is more electronic, leading to that "futuristic" vibe. One of this soundtrack's greatest strengths, like with the soundtrack of Okami, is probably its range of emotion.

There are tracks better suited for easy listening, like the iconic "Vigil," and also more intense ones like "Battle At Eden Prime." But in my opinion, the best song in the game plays during the end credits. "M4, Pt. 2" by Faunts is a perfect choice at this point in the series, as the lyrics wonder about the future in store for both Shepard and the player: "I have wondered about you / Where will you be / When this is through?" The music here makes for great background noise while out on the town, or just for daydreaming while looking at the summer night sky.

Was your favorite video game soundtrack left of the list? Do you disagree entirely with any of these choices? Leave your favorites in the comments!

[Image source]

Microsoft releases Xbox One March system update https://www.gameskinny.com/dromb/microsoft-releases-xbox-one-march-system-update https://www.gameskinny.com/dromb/microsoft-releases-xbox-one-march-system-update Wed, 23 Mar 2016 15:53:07 -0400 Eric Levy

Microsoft is rolling out its March system update for the Xbox One and Xbox app today.

The update will finally allow Xbox One users to purchase backwards compatible Xbox 360 games directly through the Xbox One store.  Players will be able to search for and purchase Xbox 360 games the same way they do now for Xbox One titles.

The March update will also allow players to include a party chat in a Twitch broadcast, start a 16-player party chat, and output party audio to a headset and speakers simultaneously.  Microsoft has also improved its video playback system and players can now view videos directly in their Xbox One activity feeds.  You can view the full list of incoming updates on Major Nelson's Blog.

A few days ago, Microsoft announced their Xbox One spring sale and temporarily dropped the price of the console to $300.  If you do not own an Xbox One and have been waiting for the right time to buy one, now's your chance.

Gaming's most depressing endings https://www.gameskinny.com/kqvqd/gamings-most-depressing-endings https://www.gameskinny.com/kqvqd/gamings-most-depressing-endings Wed, 19 Aug 2015 02:30:02 -0400 katlaborde

Crack out the antidepressants because we're looking back on games that left us in tears while the cold-hearted credits rolled! Who said gamers didn't have a soft side?


BioShock Infinite

Whether you were perplexed by the mind bending conclusion, or in shock from the surprising revelations, you would have to be some kind of super human to not get a tad glossy eyed at this game's ending. In the game's final moments, we discover that Booker Dewitt is, in fact, Comstock in another dimension, also revealing that Elizabeth is his daughter. But the tears come at the very last scene where multiple Elizabeths are surrounding Booker before forcing him under water, drowning him to end any possibility of the tyrannical Comstock making a return. Despite the mind boggling complexity of the ending, the beauty of it really tugs at your heart, all of which is elevated by top notch performances from the voice actors. 

Final Fantasy X 

The Final Fantasy series is known for having pretty optimistic endings and Final Fantasy X is no different, but it does illustrate the sacrifices that must be made to get a happy ending. After finally defeating Sin and bringing the start of the Eternal Calm, Tidus, the main protagonist, begins to fade out of existence. Earlier, it was revealed that Tidus was a dream of The Faith and a dream that needed to end in order for Spira to be at peace. This revelation ate away at the back of your mind until the finale when Yuna runs towards her love only for him to start to disappear into nothingness. Sure, Final Fantasy has made us cry before, but this ending was one of the most lip quivering cutscenes ever to come out of the franchise... And oh, yeah, that song at the end doesn't help to cheer you up any, either! 

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

The Metal Gear Solid games have always been known for their offbeat humor and convoluted storylines, but with Metal Gear Sold 3: Snake Eater, Hideo Kojima proved he could also deliver an emotionally powerful finale. Convinced that his old mentor, The Boss, is a traitor to the United States, Naked Snake is tasked with finding and killing her. This is already a tragic mission, an old friend turning to the enemy, but it isn't until the reveal at the game's end where the real punch to the gut is delivered. After defeating The Boss in hand to hand combat, Naked Snake realizes that The Boss was not a traitor after all, but a double agent. She died for her country, but her name would always be tarnished with the only man bearing this knowledge being the one that killed her... Harsh. 

Half Life 2: Episode 2

This game's ending is depressing for a couple of reasons. One, it sees the demise of Alex Vance's beloved father, Eli Vance. Second, it leaves you on an agonizing cliffhanger that seems more and more less likely to ever get resolved. After having seemingly defeated the Combine threat, Gordon Freeman and company's celebration is tragically cut short when a flying larva ceature crashes through the wall, piercing poor Eli through the head. Despite Alex's robotic companion, D.O.G.'s heroic efforts, Eli's brain is promptly sucked through a straw-like appendage Starship Troopers style. The shocking scene leaves you speechless, as if your heart was torn from your chest and stomped on right in front of you. All we can hope is that one day, Gabe Newell can find it in his heart to hopefully bring resolution to what is one of the most painful cliffhangers in gaming history. 

Halo: Reach

We all pretty much knew from the offset that things weren't going to end well for Noble Team since anybody familiar with Halo lore knew of Reach's inevitable fate. Regardless, it doesn't make this game's final shootout any less depressing. Opting to stay behind and clear the skies in order for the Pillar of Autumn to escape, Noble 6 fights their final battle. The fact that this scene is completely interactive with an infinite amount of Covenant swarming the player until they eventually fall, each hit they take leaving a crack on their visor, allows this sequence to really hit home. Master Chief might be the hero of the Halo franchise, but if it wasn't for an unknown group of Spartans, none of what he did would have been possible. 

There you have it, five games that will make you cry like newborn babies. Any that I missed? What games made you go through an entire box of Kleenex? Let me know in the comments below! 

Click here for the most jaw dropping openings in modern gaming!

Video sources: BioShock Infinite, Final Fantasy X, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Half Life 2: Episode 2, & Halo: Reach.

Black Ops 2 is the most requested game for Xbox Backwards Compatibility https://www.gameskinny.com/nejiv/black-ops-2-is-the-most-requested-game-for-xbox-backwards-compatibility https://www.gameskinny.com/nejiv/black-ops-2-is-the-most-requested-game-for-xbox-backwards-compatibility Thu, 23 Jul 2015 07:25:11 -0400 Michael Slevin

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 has surpassed Red Dead Redemption as the most requested game for Xbox One's backwards compatibility.

The fans have been able to vote on the Xbox 360 games that they want to be able to play on Xbox One, and they have spoken.

Red Dead Redemption had the lead for quite some time, sitting at over 76,000 votes, but Black Ops 2 now has over 78,000 votes.

Other popular games in the voting include Skyrim, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Halo: Reach, and Gears of War 3.

Xbox One owners are hoping that a handful of these top requested games will be playable upon Backwards Compatibility's release.

I think it is pretty safe to say that at least some of Xbox's first-party titles like Halo and Gears of War will be available upon the service's release.

However, the third-party titles could come with a little bit more uncertainty, as Xbox will need to get third-party devs' permission to emulate their 360 games on Xbox One.

Red Dead Redemption is the Most Wanted Game for Backwards Compatability https://www.gameskinny.com/bzqts/red-dead-redemption-is-the-most-wanted-game-for-backwards-compatability https://www.gameskinny.com/bzqts/red-dead-redemption-is-the-most-wanted-game-for-backwards-compatability Thu, 18 Jun 2015 20:13:54 -0400 Victor Ren

Microsoft recently announced that their Xbox One now supports backwards compatibility, finally answering the cries of fans from around the world. During their E3 press conference, Microsoft declared the backwards support of Xbox 360 games, and a few days later they opened a poll for which 360 games fans want to see first on the Xbox One. For now, Red Dead Redemption is leading the list with more than 34,000 votes.

Red Dead Redemption was one of the most highly regarded games of the last generation, so it is no surprise to see fans want it back for another experience. Rockstar's western shooter received a 95/100 on Metacritic, and holds the title of being called one of the best open world games ever made. 

Although only 18 games are available for backwards compatibility right now, Microsoft has promised to bring out 100 playable Xbox 360 titles to the Xbox One by the end of the year. One of those 18 playable games now include the original Mass Effect.

Other games on the list include Fallout 3, Halo: Reach, Bioshock Infinite, Batman Arkham City, and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. Anyone can vote on their favorite games, so get out there and make your voice heard!

What It's Like Reviewing Games with Synesthesia https://www.gameskinny.com/s4io7/what-its-like-reviewing-games-with-synesthesia https://www.gameskinny.com/s4io7/what-its-like-reviewing-games-with-synesthesia Sun, 10 May 2015 13:02:35 -0400 Elijah Beahm

A few weeks back, I sat down with G.B. Burford to talk about game critiquing. One of the things we touched upon was reviewing with synesthesia. In the interview, G.B. even admitted he couldn't really nail it down how it felt to feel this way, but Marvel's recent Netflix series Daredevil actually captures a lot of what it feels like.

Synesthesia is a neurological phenomenon that triggers multiple sensory responses from stimuli.

Each of us with it just genuinely feel things on a different level than the average person. When most people look at a number, they only see a number. But when someone with synesthesia sees a number, they might also feel an emotion or see a different color in response to it.

For the longest time, I merely described as like almost tasting a game, song, TV show, or movie. I often found if something was (in my opinion) good, it would impact me on multiple levels, almost like an adrenaline rush. If I ever felt something wasn't good, it would feel like white noise, or like I was being aggravated on multiple levels.

I tried to get a better grasp on what this meant and how it informed my reviews, and it took several years to get even an implicit idea of what it was about. Explaining it briefly has always been a struggle as a result. But in the Daredevil episode "Stick", when we learn how Daredevil started his training, there's a scene that perfectly encapsulates how it feels.

The titular mentor Stick and a young Matt Murdock (i.e. Daredevil) are sitting on a park bench, eating some ice cream. Stick asks Matt about the ice cream, wanting him to describe it. Matt just says it's vanilla. Stick then tells him to look deeper, and Stick dissects what makes it up.

He talks about how there's tons of chemicals in it, along with a hefty amount of sugar and cream. He notes the hint of dirt from the ice cream man, who likely was doing gardening before going to work. He uses his sense of taste to detect multiple aspects all at once. He extrapolates the sensations and divines a meaning. It's more than paying attention to details -- it's figuring out how they connect and what your brain is telling you.

This is the closest I think anything has come to explaining what it is like for me when I am reviewing a game.

Let me give you an in-depth example: When I was playing through the Halo saga for a retrospective, I spent a good hour or so trying to figure out why the weapons in Halo 4 seemed less satisfying than in the original trilogy. On a superficial level, the guns felt more powerful, but they also made me feel hollow, like as if there was an echo chamber in my body that would ring slightly with every shot. It didn't matter if the Covenant died faster, there was still something missing. I wasn't just hearing the gun sounds, I was feeling them too. 

I found myself favoring weapons that felt more like the ones in the old games did. This was particularly confusing since firing a shotgun in Halo: Combat Evolved felt almost therapuetic. The gun would move, and it felt like I was performing some graceful motion. I'd reload and it felt like a clock was ticking down in my head, and like my mind was counting every second before I could fire again. Firing was like ramming a truck through a solid wall and coming out the other side perfectly intact.

The sensation of using a weapon in Halo was amazing. So why did Halo 4 lack this? Because my synesthesia allowed me to notice all these things, I realized that 343 Industries favors a lighter, almost Tron-like feel to their equipment. You don't notice it at first because most guns and enemies look the same, just shinier. I had at first thought the difference was because of the rebalanced combat, but it wasn't. Halo: Reach did the same thing with a lot of the combat, and it worked fine. Except Reach still had the right kind of sound design and animations to make it all click together and trigger the same response. 

And that wasn't the only thing I felt while running through it. Playing Halo 4 was almost like a woosh of air behind my ears, alongside that echo chamber effect. Everything was so clean, so smooth, it almost felt like a completely different entity. It's such a different animal that you wouldn't even need to point out to me that a different team besides Bungie made it. It's written everywhere, if you stop and observe it.

I try to look this hard at every game, and it's why I often take issue with some games other people like.

Once you start doing that, you realize there just isn't an equal amount of focus, execution, and effort that universally makes a game good. Sometimes a game can have amazing stimuli triggers and great ideas, but its execution is a mess. It can be a beautiful mess that sends your brain flying, but it is still a mess. Likewise, a beautifully executed game can feel like eating bad McDonalds food. It has nothing to say, nothing to do, it just feels so artificial and forced that you can hardly force yourself to bother with it.

Believe it or not, this actually really sucks, and is not something I take pleasure in. "Ignorance is bliss" is no joke -- I can't ignore it when something's off. It's like a siren to my ears or a blinding light. It's why I might take a controversial stance on a game. Yet, while I can't ignore what I feel, I know a lot of people aren't going to feel the same. This has been the case with several games.

I mean, back during my days amongst the Game Informer user blogging community, I would catch a lot of fire for some things I'd say. Like, saying I found Borderlands boring, dull, and kind of dry. It genuinely was like eating stale toast for me. I think I got told to die in a grease fire over that. (Or maybe that was for giving Uncharted 2 a 6.25 out of 10.) 

Despite all the negativity, I still feel the stimuli no matter what, and try to take it into account. Here's another example: the cover movement in Spec Ops: The Line. When I first looked at it during the tutorial sequence, it seemed manageable, but not spectacular. Yet, as I grew accustomed to the game and started to absorb it all, I was perplexed by it.

The more rigid feel made my own body become tense. Like I was in the firefight. I felt like I had to be ready to move when I popped out, and be headed right for where I needed to be. But the added clumsiness of popping out of cover would unfortunately pull me out of my immersion, dulling the impact. It was like a duel between a great feeling and a mediocre one.

The heavier weight added so much to the movement experience for me, but when I had to do the weird "walk backwards to leave cover" thing, I felt like I was being pushed out into line of sight. Instead of it permanently bringing down my experience though, it encouraged me to always to try to stick to mobile cover and be more precise with my aiming so I'd have less enemies trying to drop me. A negative stimuli actually improved my playstyle. That is how unpredictably helpful synesthesia can be at times.

It's not always helpful though.

If a game can truly incur no response to your synesthesia, then it's like a deafening silence. To date, I can only name a handful of games that have given me little to no response: Army of Two: The 40th Day, the Sinbad tie-in game (kids make bad game purchases), Avatar: The Last Air Bender (I was naive once upon a time), and the Timeshift demo.

Most games, at worst, just leave me feeling incredibly empty and bored. If a game can't even conjure up that, then I honestly start questioning why I'm even bothering with it. The lack of triggers is almost unsettling. It's almost like losing your sense of smell or taste. The world becomes that much less colorful, whether it's good or bad.

It is impossible to imagine a world (or a game) without my synesthesia, and honestly I don't want to.

Synesthesia is very rarely discussed in the forum of critiquing art and media. It can be an eye-opening wonder (even if it comes at the cost of sometimes driving you to controversial opinions), and I for one am glad I experience it.

I don't expect everyone to feel the same way about games, and I wouldn't want them to. I am happy whenever someone gets pleasure out of a game, but I also can't just ignore what is a very core part of how I experience the world. Ignoring the stimuli is like ignoring the taste of food or the pain from a bruise.

Does that make me better as a critic than anyone else? No. It's just different. 

It took me years to understand what my responses meant and how to tell when it was a positive or a negative. Sometimes something I thought was good would actually turn sour, or an aspect I'd hate about a game would start to trigger a different response and I'd start to like it.

However, it does heavily inform certain opinions and what aspects I focus on with a game. It makes me dig heavily into the details and start to think hard about a game. I honestly don't think I personally would put as much thought into some games as I do, if it weren't for the synestheia. So while it doesn't make me a "super critic", it makes me try to do my best, and for that I am genuinely thankful.

The Top 10 Halo Easter Eggs You Probably Missed https://www.gameskinny.com/6arjf/the-top-10-halo-easter-eggs-you-probably-missed https://www.gameskinny.com/6arjf/the-top-10-halo-easter-eggs-you-probably-missed Sun, 05 Apr 2015 17:33:28 -0400 Elijah Beahm


Tribute Room -- Halo: Reach


It's rare for a franchise to have as devoted a fanbase as Halo has, so it is fitting that when Bungie had to let go of the reigns of the franchise, they left a passionate goodbye to their fans in the form of this Easter Egg. Not only does it feature the third Siege of Madrigal Easter Egg, but it is a room full of terminals recording and recognizing the greatest fan efforts, from fan series like Red vs. Blue to charities like Fight the Flood.


The room is also plastered with images from past entries and plenty of in-jokes. Concept art for Reach's protagonists Noble Team can even be found. If you're a big fan of Halo and haven't heard of this Easter Egg yet, I sincerely advise watching the video above and maybe even checking out the Easter Egg yourself.


Like the Easter Eggs we found? Want to see more? Have you found any we missed? Let us know in the comments below!


Red vs. Blue "We Need Ammo!" -- Halo 3


Famous Halo machinima Red vs. Blue has had a number of Easter Eggs and cameos in the core series entries, but none quite top this Halo 3 secret. Across Easy/Normal, Heroic, and Legendary difficulties, three different pairs of actors from the show seek to play out individual skits around the simple of act of trying to open a door and get some ammo. I'll just let you enjoy the above video, and say no more.


Half-Naked Guy -- Halo 2 / Halo 3


Back when Halo 2 first released, it was given an M rating for the usual violence and gore reasons, but also a new reason: partial nudity. Everyone assumed the ESRB Rating Board meant Cortana, who looks far more realistic than in the first game. Instead, it was over an Easter Egg of Bungie co-founder Jason Jones, posing half-naked, hidden in the opening cutscene.


Not to leave a bit of silliness alone, Bungie then later included another cardboard cut out of Jones in Halo 3, hidden in a hard to access room.


Microsoft Sam -- Halo 3


No, your ears are not deceiving you. Hidden away at the end of the Scarab battle in The Covenant, on the opposite side of the gate from where you can hear Siege of Madrigal, hides MS Sam. The famous text to speech program spouts a number of in-jokes and references.


This Easter Egg has become so hard to find posted on the web, I almost began to think my memory had failed me. Yet here it is, in all its glory. Do yourself a favor though, and skip to 2:44 in the above vid. You'll be glad you just got to the good stuff.


The Siege of Madrigal Easter Egg -- Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST


Shockingly enough, there was a time before Bungie made Halo games. Long before Master Chief was a twinkle in Cortana's eye, Bungie made the Mac-exclusive Marathon series. Seeing as they love to sneak tons of references of Marathon into Halo (to the point fans began to suspect the Halo series was meant to be a loose prequel trilogy), it seems fitting we include the longest running one: Siege of Madrigal.


You see, Siege of Madrigal is one of the songs from Marathon, and can be found in every Bungie-developed entry in the Halo series in certain locations. It can be found in Assault on the Control Room in Halo: Combat Evolved. It can also be found on the Halo 2 multiplayer map Ivory Tower. Another appearance can be found in The Covenant in Halo 3. There are three places you can find the song in Halo: Reach, in a club, as elevator music at random, and as part of another Easter Egg.


However, the most eventful appearance that exclusively focuses on the song is its appearance in Halo 3: ODST. What makes it so special? Well, as you can see in the video above, it prominently features former Bungie composer Marty O'Donnel, dancing with hearts to a comedic jazz remix of the theme. The same hearts would also later appear as an unlockable armor aesthetic in Halo: Reach.


Caveman Family -- Halo 3 / Halo 3 ODST


Another odd Halo 3 era Easter Egg series was the Caveman. The Caveman first appears as two separate Easter Eggs in the first level of Halo 3. You can find a whole family of primordial humans hiding around a secluded ledge.


One of the Cavemen is holding a toy bear, which was meant for a cut Legendary Easter Egg where Master Chief would have grabbed the bear right before going into cryosleep. Later, you can encounter a lone Caveman, visible on a cliff by himself.


The Easter Egg also made its way to Halo 3: ODST in the form of a single Caveman. According to Halo Nation:


"The internal name for the 'cavemen' is "The Gorillehto". Originally an internal email prank, photoshopping Marcus Lehto's face on a female gorilla."


The Secret Grunts -- Halo: Combat Evolved / Halo 2 / Halo 3


Bungie sure loves their Grunts, so much so that they've hidden a different talking Grunt in every core entry of the series. First there's the Thirsty Grunt at the very end of Halo: Combat Evolved. Then there's the Cowardly Grunt in Halo 2, when Arbiter starts fighting the Brutes. Finally, in Halo 3, there is the Last Grunt, who is the last enemy in the game (and arguably the most hilarious). You can see them all in the video above.


Happy Birthday Lauren! -- Halo 3


While it might not be the most amazing Egg on its own, Happy Birthday Lauren! is the latest Easter Egg found in Halo 3. Unlike most of the Easter Eggs on this list, it was only just recently discovered. Much like Megg, it's a heartfelt message to a loved one. To unlock the Easter Egg, you just need to have the right date and time, then load a level in Halo 3.


Grunt Playtime -- Halo 2 / Halo 2: Anniversary Edition


This is a rare Easter Egg that has two versions across the Anniversary and regular editions. In the original version of Halo 2, if you looked closely during the opening cutscene, a Grunt could be seen playing with toys. Depending on the difficulty, he might be playing with different things.


In the new Halo 2: Anniversary version, which you can view above, the grunt instead fights over a plush toy, held out of reach by a Jackal. They are Didact (Easy), Librarian (Normal), Master Chief (Heroic), and Rampant Cortana (Legendary).


While the new version is easy to find, the original was very hard to see, if you even knew what to look for. As a result, it often is missed even by players who repeatedly run through the game.


The Megg Easter Egg -- Halo: Combat Evolved


Megg is one of the oldest and most obscure Easter Eggs in Halo: Combat Evolved. The required set of actions to trigger it are so specific, it's impressive people figured out how to find it. Megg is also the first of several hidden Easter Eggs left for loved ones in each Halo game.


A second Megg easter egg exists in Halo 2, but merely requires you complete the level "Cairo Station" without losing your shields once, on Legendary difficulty. One you reach the final room, a sound clip will play: "Megg, please report to the red courtesy phone. Megg, to the red courtesy phone."


The Halo series is one of the most popular shooters in the world, winning hundreds of awards and praise. Yet, there are still secrets most fans don't know are hidden within Bungie's magnum opus for the Xbox. To fill you in, here are the Top 10 Halo Easter Eggs that you probably missed. From loving little gestures to smart mouthed Grunts, there's a lot of ground to cover. Let's roll out Spartans!

Grab Halo: Reach Free on Xbox 360 Games with Gold https://www.gameskinny.com/9v1tb/grab-halo-reach-free-on-xbox-360-games-with-gold https://www.gameskinny.com/9v1tb/grab-halo-reach-free-on-xbox-360-games-with-gold Tue, 16 Sep 2014 12:15:00 -0400 Venisia Gonzalez

For all you Bungie and Halo fans, this month you can grab the dramatic Halo: Reach for free on your Xbox 360 with your Gold membership. As part of the Games with Gold program, relive the heartwrenching heroism of Noble Team.

Halo: Reach is a FPS by Bungie for the Xbox 360 released in 2010. It takes place in the year 2552, shortly before the events of the video game Halo: Combat Evolved, and during the events of the novel "Halo: The Fall of Reach." Humans, under the patronage of the United Nations Space Command (UNSC), have been waging a very long war against an alien race known as the Covenant.

Players control Noble Six, a member of an elite supersoldier squad, when the human world known as Reach falls under Covenant attack. By the events of Reach, almost all of humanity's interstellar colonies have fallen. Reach itself is an Earthlike colony that serves as the UNSC's main military hub. The colony is home to over 700 million civilians in addition to the military presence.

The game follows the actions of "Noble Team," a UNSC special operations unit composed of elite supersoldiers known as Spartans. Players assume the role of a new addition to the team identified by the call sign Noble Six. Noble Team's leader is Carter-A259, a no-nonsense soldier. His second-in-command, Kat-B320, has a bionic arm; together, Carter and Kat are the only remaining original members of Noble Team. The other current members include heavy weapons specialist Jorge-052, assault specialist Emile-A239, and marksman Jun-A266.

I know I was enveloped by this game when it first launched. Both single-player and multiplayer are fantastic; and well worth playing. It is a very emotional story I will warn you. So grab it now for free while you can. I must say the Games with Gold Program on Xbox Live has made me quite happy with bringing us such a classic.

Keep it tuned to GameSkinny for all your Xbox news, tips and guides.

Four Free Games Available to Xbox Live Gold Members September https://www.gameskinny.com/b7t2z/four-free-games-available-to-xbox-live-gold-members-september https://www.gameskinny.com/b7t2z/four-free-games-available-to-xbox-live-gold-members-september Wed, 03 Sep 2014 12:35:30 -0400 Shane Yeager

In the month of September Xbox Live Gold members will have access to four free games. These games are free to qualifying Gold members and can be downloaded through Xbox Live.

Super Time Force

The first of these four is Super Time Force which will be available all month and is a side-scroller action game full of shooter fun and frenzy. This title is available on Xbox One. You can check more out about this game at http://supertimeforce.com/.

Monaco: What's Yours is Mine

On September 1st through September 15th, Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine will be available as a free download. Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine is a top view rogue game made by Majesco Entertainment. This title is available for download on the Xbox 360. To see more about this title view it at http://www.monacoismine.com/.

Halo Reach

On September 16th through September 30th, Halo: Reach will be available as a free download. This first person shooter released in 2010 was the last entry Bungie made into the Halo series and still hailed by some fans of the Halo series as the best of the bunch. This title is available for download on the Xbox 360. To see more about this title view it at http://halo.bungie.net/projects/Reach/.

Crimson Dragon

Crimson Dragon continues to be available as a free download for the month of September. This spiritual successor to the Panzer Dragoon series made by MobyGames is available to download for Xbox Live users with a Xbox One. To see more information on this title view it at http://www.mobygames.com/game/xbox-one/crimson-dragon.

Game Industry Misbehaving Series: 1080p 60FPS Native for Consoles https://www.gameskinny.com/2oz01/game-industry-misbehaving-series-1080p-60fps-native-for-consoles https://www.gameskinny.com/2oz01/game-industry-misbehaving-series-1080p-60fps-native-for-consoles Fri, 29 Aug 2014 07:42:43 -0400 Pierre Fouquet

1080p 60FPS on Consoles Should be Standard (NOT Because Better Graphics)

All the games on the current generation of consoles (PS4, Xbox One WiiU) need to be running at 1080p native and at 60FPS. The N64 had more games running at 60FPS than all of last generation of consoles (Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii) did. And for those consoles I can only name one game off the top of my head. Vanquish, which was a great game! It did not run at 1080p, which was the trade-off to get it running at a pretty solid 60FPS, with anti-aliasing (2xMSAA). This is on both the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game.

 Vanqiush is pretty, and plays great! 

I’m Sure You’re Wondering, If You Say It’s Not Because Graphics, Why Are You Complaining About Graphics?

I love games, and will play them at 720p 30FPS, I don't mind that much. It's the game, not the resolution or frame rate which interest me (as long as it runs at a minimum of 30FPS otherwise it hurts my eyes). However as this is now a new generation, and a much older system could run at 60FPS, then the new gen needs to beat that right? Stepping from the N64/PS2 to Xbox 360/PS3 to drop the frame rate was acceptable, as we got HD which is the jump for that gen. But what jump are we getting from last generation to this generation? Sure the first few months of games for that generation will be running a bit behind, that’s fine. Developers need to get used to the hardware, and learn coding for optimisation. But a year down the line... something is fundamentally wrong with the hardware if all games cannot run at 1080p 60FPS native. I mean it’s only now we are getting games which can run like that.

Mario 64 ran at 60FPS 

This Is Not About Something Versus Something, This Is About a Generation Technological Jump

Just to put something out there, and to emphasise a point. I don't care what I game on, for the most part, except handhelds (they don’t interest me, but that’s preference). I don't care what resolution a game runs at, or how it looks. Pretty graphics are great to have, but not necessary for the core game to be good. I care about you, I care that you are not being ripped off with lies, and deceit. I care that consumers/customers (that’s you) are going to get what you pay for. And honestly, with the current generation of consoles, you simply are not getting that. You are being lied to, and looked down upon on. Deceived over and over again. That is why I am angry at the consoles not running at 1080p 60FPS as standard, not because graphics. But because that is the next jump for the generations step. A step across generations needs to bring some sort of jump, no matter what it is. Be it in the animations, or AI (doesn’t need to be graphics). This generation’s jump is believed to be, and marketed as, running at 1080p 60FPS native. However is this the case? No. If you look at the standout exclusives for the consoles (which we know how they are running), on the PS4 side we have The Order: 1886.

I'm sure it will be a fun game, but all the bull surrounding it puts me off.

Showcase Games

The Order: 1886 is a showcase game, to show off what they PS4 can do in terms of gameplay, graphics, frame rates etc. So what exactly is it showing? That the PS4 can render 4xMSAA in sub 1080p resolution (at 1920x800)? Chief Technology Officer Andrea Pessino quoted the reason for this, “…we do run 4xMSAA which looks spectacular! x800 with AA looks MUCH better than x1080 without : )” and later “To be clear, x800 with 4xMSAA needs more bandwidth than x1080 would, so 1080 no MS would be cheaper.” By cheaper I assume he means less resource intensive, so less taxing on the system. This means they have openly admitted that the PS4 cannot run this game with the extra 280 pixels with 4xMSAA. Why not just use FXAA? That is much less taxing, and still looks great. The Order is also only running at 30FPS, ReadyAtDawn have said the reason is something to this effect. “Running the game at 60FPS makes it looks to sci-fi/fantasy, so running the game at 30FPS hit the movie look we want”. I have a massive issue with these statements, the first is that it just sounds like an excuse for poor hardware, the second is that they are openly admitting that the very expensive hardware is not very graphically powerful. Now looking at the showcase for the Xbox One, Ryse: Son of Rome, exactly the same issue can be found here. The game runs at 1920x900 and at 30FPS. So what does that showcase? Exactly the same as the PS4. Lack of graphical hardware to be able to run the games. So no one console is better than the other.

All the effort went into making it look nice, and they failed at making it play well.

I have nothing wrong with a showcase of something, they just simply show the item in question in the best light. But when that best light is only a small amount (resolution wise) more than the last generation, for me it begs the questions. Where the consoles poorly designed? Where they released too early? Are they too hard to develop for? Or do they simply have weak hardware?

 In The End It Is Just About The Games

I do just love games, and want to play them. So when there are games, I deem (for me) worthy for the purchase of a console, then I will get that console. Even if I am playing at 720p 30FPS. If the game is amazing, or at the very least amazing fun, it doesn't matter how it runs. I have enjoyed it and that, for me, is exactly what I want.

I have enjoyed plenty of games running lower frame rates, or resolutions. The Last of Us, running at 720p 30FPS, did that take away from the gameplay? Or the story? No, not at all. It is one of the best games ever made. Halo 3, Reach and 4, running at 720p/1080p and 30FPS, did it detract from the immense fun, and amount of hours I have put into those games? Not in the slightest.


Such an amazing game, does not need 1080p but 60FPS will not hurt (will look smoother)

Generation Steps Need a Technology Jump To Go With It

That is the root of the issue I have, from the 4th generation to the 5th brought disks (PS1).

PS1 disks were black... for some reason.

The jump from the 5th to the 6th brought a lot more power (Dreamcast), games running from DVDs (PS2, Dreamcast, Xbox Original, Gamecube) and built in hard drives (Xbox Original).

Probally the best generation, in terms of singleplayer games of course.

Then the biggest jump in gaming, the 6th generation to the 7th generation (Xbox 360, PS3) brought high definition gaming to our homes, but not only that stable and fully fledged online systems (Xbox Live, PSN), which just grew as the generation went along.

The most impressive (so far) console generation graphically.

So what has the jump from the 7th generation to the 8th given us? Very expensive hardware, which can’t run game much better than the previous generation? We are starting to see where other little jumps are happening, with the cloud services, game streaming. But is this enough for a generations step? I don’t think it is, we need a small graphical, and frame rate jump as well.

The general gaming community is also looking at it from a graphical perspective, “OH LOOK IT’S NOT MUCH MORE SHINY.” I hear them cry. Where I am looking at it from a technological perspective.

Have I succeeded? Let me know in the comment bellow. And of course, thank you for reading.

Fails of the Weak Nominated for Notable Machinima or Video Series - 2014 Dragon Slayer Awards https://www.gameskinny.com/bjma5/fails-of-the-weak-nominated-for-notable-machinima-or-video-series-2014-dragon-slayer-awards https://www.gameskinny.com/bjma5/fails-of-the-weak-nominated-for-notable-machinima-or-video-series-2014-dragon-slayer-awards Sun, 03 Aug 2014 01:15:56 -0400 Evan Lower

This year's iteration of the Dragon Slayer Awards has officially reached its final round, which means it's time to vote for winners. One of this year's nominees for Notable Machinima or Video Series is Achievement Hunter's smash hit, Fails of the Weak.

Fails of the Weak began as a web series dedicated to recapping the week's worst Halo Reach fails, with the last word in the title being a purposeful error utilized to highlight the fortitude of the players committing these fails. 

All of these fails are accompanied by humorous play-by-play by the series creators, Geoff Ramsey and Jack Pattillo, also co-creators of Achievement Hunter itself. 


With the release of Halo 4 in November of 2012 and Weak's rising success, the series stretched its reach to the new Halo game and eventually began accepting submissions from across the entire Halo series. 

Since its launch in 2010, the series has never missed a week of awesomely tragic Halo fails, and recently celebrated its 200th episode! And with its 200th episode, the series has changed its formula from a Halo-based fails compilation to a weekly recap of the worst fails submitted on Achievement Hunter's other web series, Game Fails.

The greatest part about this web series in particular?

It's completely community-based. Other than the episode featured at the top of this article, every episode of Weak is made up entirely of community-submitted video clips. 

Being that Guild Launch's Dragon Slayer Awards have always been community-centric, what better way to celebrate the community than to feature its own exercises in humility and hilarity? 

Other than being completely community-based, Weak is utterly hilarious, and that's just as important in this category.

So if you'd like to vote Fails of the Weak in as Notable Machinima or Video Series for this year's Dragon Slayer Awards, head on over to Guild Launch's voting page and drop a vote for every other category while you're there!

ESports Expert Buckness Sees A Level Playing Field For Female Gamers https://www.gameskinny.com/tq2kt/esports-expert-buckness-sees-a-level-playing-field-for-female-gamers https://www.gameskinny.com/tq2kt/esports-expert-buckness-sees-a-level-playing-field-for-female-gamers Fri, 09 May 2014 06:36:50 -0400 John Gaudiosi

Doug Fleming is known as "Buckness" to eSports fans. The 27-year-old pro gamer from Oceanside, CA has played Halo competitively over the years. These days, he’s working with Astro Gaming within eSports and is also working on becoming a pro League of Legends player. Fleming reached out to me after he read the Kelly Kelley interview on females in pro gaming and wanted to offer a male perspective on the opportunities eSports has opened up for gamers of both sexes. He explains why we’ll see more females integrated into pro gaming teams in this exclusive interview.

How did you get involved in eSports?

Fleming: “I got involved with eSports when I was 16 years old. I played Halo 2 when it was around its prime in MLG. I was also very into Madden football and watched the Madden Challenge, as well. My good friend Ben Jackson was on a pro Halo team and the more I played with him, the more I got into Halo and wanted to get better and be a part of the scene.”

Can you discuss your career thus far?

Fleming: “My career in eSports has been a pretty fun one. I've played in tons of tournaments around the world. Although I haven’t taken any championships, I have had some pretty consistent results over the years. I’ve also networking with a lot of different gaming companies to be able to reach my goal, which is to ultimately be able to help push eSports to a new high. I currently help Astro Gaming at major gaming conventions and act as an ambassador for them as well.

What have been some of the keys to your longevity in eSports?

Fleming: “The biggest thing is my ability to network and also the knowledge I have about eSports. Of all the people I know in eSports, I think I know more about it both here in the US and overseas then anybody. That has definitely helped me stay relevant, being able to talk about eSports on a player level and a business level. I also think I’ve been around for so long because of the pride I take in being a part of the eSports community. I’m always explaining and telling people about the ins and outs of eSports and explaining things they may not understand about a game they don’t play or a player they don't know. I love talking about eSports and I love spreading knowledge about it.

How have you seen eSports evolve over that time?

Fleming: “When I first saw eSports it was in a little convention center in a not so big hotel. Then I started seeing it in bigger venues. At that time there wasn’t really any streaming, so if you wanted to watch your favorite player it had to be live. Then Tournament sites started streaming their tournaments on websites like MLG, WCG and CGS. All of a sudden I was watching Halo on USA network and I was really excited because we were one step away from being a real sport and running television. When I saw ESPN get involved with MLG I was pumped because what better way to portray eSports then ESPN. I honestly thought that it was going to be the peak. When Riot Games sold out the Staples Center I thought, “we have arrived.” It’s just amazing to me to see that at one point as gamers we barely filled a conference room and now we are selling out stadiums. It’s just amazing to me.

How have you seen female pro gamers compete against the guys over the years?

Fleming: “I’ve seen a lot of girls come into eSports and get eaten alive and I’ve seen a lot of girls destroy a lot of guys consistently. Although sometimes it seems like girls are inferior in eSports, this is untrue. The girls that stay motivated and hungry are the ones who have stuck out and dominated the scene, whether they won a championship or not. Some girls have closed the gap in this male-dominated sport overall. Although there hasn’t been a wave of dominance where all you see is girls winning, for the most part a lot of guys know which ones are a threat and have started to treat them and respect those girls accordingly.

What opportunities do you feel eSports opens up for both sexes?

Fleming: “It gives both sexes a chance to work with the companies that they love, whether it is community management, event staff, game testing, booth modeling, designing, or selling merchandise. This ultimately lets them stay around the things they love, which are games and eSports.  The dream goal for most people is to be able to work for the company that makes their favorite game or their former sponsors. Nowadays companies are looking at the ex-pros and super fans -- both male and female -- who have made a sizable dent in their games community so the company is able market to fans and consumers they maybe couldn’t reach before. If eSports wasn’t as big as it is now, companies wouldn’t be as willing to look at someone with just hands-on experience instead of someone who is fresh out of college with a degree. ESports has definitely opened the doors for people to transition from player to working on the back-end. You have Bravo, who was a pro Halo coach for the top teams now working for 343, you have Xena who was the first Halo pro now working for Bungie, you have the Frag Dolls who now work for Ubisoft, and you have Combofiend, a pro gamer in the fighting game community now working for Capcom. And that’s just a few.”

What are some successful female pros that stick out in your mind?

Fleming: “The biggest ones who stick out to me are the ones who either changed the game, set a standard, or did something no one ever thought was possible because they were female, or put fear in male opponents. There have been a good 50, but a few that are my favorites are Bittersweet, Xena, Smiley, Miss Harvey, Madelisk, Scarlet, Kayane, Hafu and Pixxel.”

What are your thoughts on what Kelly Kelley said about the hardships of females competing in eSports today?

Fleming: “This is a sensitive subject because it can be taken the wrong way by one group of female gamers and embraced by another group of female gamers. It’s harder for the females that don’t want to work for it and cut corners or expect to be handed shortcuts because they are female. This sport has never been easy to break into -- not even for the guys. Girls are treated just like how the pros treat amateurs because you have to prove yourself. You can’t expect to just gain respect because you won a show or you sometimes play in a pro lobby, get Twitch viewers or you dated somebody that has a sizable reputation. It has to be consistent. For some females to only say ‘it’s hard for girls’ is an excuse to a certain extent. The ones who put in 8+ hours a days and the ones who are making the results slowly but surely on LAN are the ones who are getting the respect. Guys are going to respect the female gamer who shows that they are willing to work and grind not the female gamer who hits a certain point and then has their hand out looking for handouts. I’ve seen a lot of them do that and wonder why they are not taken seriously. The way certain females carry themselves at events plays a part to because if you have a reputation as someone who’s there the event after party and not to compete and do well, we all see that. Nothing worth fighting for is easy and if being pro is something you really want, you have to go through the dirt before any success. And that goes for everyone, not just female gamers.”

Do you think a female pro gaming league like the WNBA would work?

Fleming: “I think they would work.There are a good amount of leagues for female pros now like Ironlady, and Zowie tournaments for Starcraft. I don’t think it will be on the same scale as the leagues we have now, just like the WNBA isn’t on the same scale as the NBA. But people will still watch it because it’s still eSports and it would be supported.”

How do you see things evolving moving forward with pro gaming between the sexes?

Fleming: “ESports will still be male dominant but more and more female gamers will start to show face, wanting to be taken seriously and showing their skills that demand respect. We will see more mixed teams as the gap closes, but I don’t think we will see a consistently dominant all-female team in League of Legends or Call of Duty anytime soon.”

More than any other traditional sport, does eSport offer a truly level playing field in which female pros could play with and against guys?

Fleming: “The playing field -- as far as resources and tools to be pro -- is level. We have the same console, games, controller, keyboards and mouse. If you put in work, you will get results. And that goes for both sides. If female gamers put in work like the guys they want to beat, then it will show. There’s no cheat codes to give advantages in skill. It all comes down to a matter of mental expertise.”

Bungie Fires Halo and Destiny Composer Martin O'Donnell https://www.gameskinny.com/7j2tu/bungie-fires-halo-and-destiny-composer-martin-odonnell https://www.gameskinny.com/7j2tu/bungie-fires-halo-and-destiny-composer-martin-odonnell Wed, 16 Apr 2014 06:39:08 -0400 Elijah Beahm

When you think of the Halo series, a few things come to mind. You see Master Chief stealing vehicles and dual-wielding needlers while dodging plasma bolts; you feel the controller firmly in your hand as the controlled chaos of Bungie's organic AI interactions flow in front of you; and you can hear Martin O'Donnell's booming and sweeping orchestrative notes making every moment feel like a climax before calming you down right as the next big moment is to come.

O'Donnell's music has defined the Halo series--from composing the first Halo game's score all the way to Bungie's final Halo project with Halo: Reach's somber setting.

Starting as contract work for earlier Bungie titles such as Oni and both Myth games, it seemed like we would be seeing him produce a brand new sound for Bungie's Destiny; that will not being happening though. Earlier this week, Martin O'Donnell was let go by the Bungie Board of Directors. As he says in his tweet below, it appears to have been without cause.

All that Bungie has said in relation to the firing of O'Donnell is the following:

“For more than a decade, Marty O’Donnell filled our worlds with unforgettable sounds and soundtracks, and left an indelible mark on our fans. Today, as friends, we say goodbye. We know that wherever his journey takes him, he will always have a bright and hopeful future. We wish him luck in all his future endeavors.” -- Bungie community manager David Dague 

This rather warm message suggests one of two things. Either the Board of Directors alone wanted rid of O'Donnell and there was some problem he presented to them by remaining on staff, or Bungie isn't commenting on whatever problem was occurring that made this the ideal choice. The former seems far more likely, but we'll have to wait and see. Since his last tweet above, there has been no word from O'Donnell as to his plans, although I'm sure we all hope he lands on his feet soon and gets a chance to make more fantastic compositions.

What do you think happened at Bungie to result in O'Donnell being fired? Is there a developer you're hoping he'll join up with now that he's no longer at Bungie? Let us know in the comments below!

Opinion: Why the Potential Failure of Xbox One is Not a Cause for Schadenfreude https://www.gameskinny.com/vh02b/opinion-why-the-potential-failure-of-xbox-one-is-not-a-cause-for-schadenfreude https://www.gameskinny.com/vh02b/opinion-why-the-potential-failure-of-xbox-one-is-not-a-cause-for-schadenfreude Wed, 13 Nov 2013 11:45:49 -0500 Destrolyn.Bechgeddig

We're just over a week away from the Xbox One's launch, and the news just keeps going from bad to worse. We reported yesterday that two senior marketing executives have reportedly resigned from Xbox, showing no calm in the storm that's been going on for a while at Microsoft's headquarters.

With people still unconvinced by reassurances that Microsoft really have changed their tune regarding requiring regular connections to the internet, ways in which the Kinect will use marketing, and DRM policies, the Xbox One launch could be a real disaster.

But if everything does go bottoms up for the beleaguered console, it should not be a cause for celebration, and we should be poised to lament the potential decline of a brand that has become synonymous with console gaming, and has contributed a lot to the advancement of the industry.

Why We Love To Hate Xbox 

Before anyone accuses me of not disclosing the fact that I'm a Sony fanboy, I'd like to point out that I've had no qualms about admitting to such in anything I've written for the magazine. Indeed, my rundown of Microsoft's reveal of the Xbox One's interface and features was less than reverend and complimentary, and I'm fully aware of that.

But the way I see it, the reason there's such a chasmic divide between the Xbox and PlayStation (PS) communities has always been driven by the communities themselves, not through any flaws in the respective systems or business strategies.

The Xbox and Xbox 360 have been the go-to for first person shooters (FPS) and multiplayer combat for a long time; the scope for doing both those things significantly out-did its rival. Therefore it has always attracted a macho and uncouth crowed, stereotypically known for shouting juvenile abuse at each other down their headsets.

The PS, PS2, and PS3, however, has always had more variety and what many would consider more narrative and cerebral games. This attracts a stereotypically more educated, emotionally stable, and pretentious crowd who are actually concerned about gaming's exploration as a medium of entertainment.

That's absolutely not to say that cross-over does not exist - it absolutely does. At points I'd daresay that there has even been envy of the other from both camps. But these are the established generalisations that the gaming community have concluded upon, providing much humour and discussion on this difference of attitude between the two.

Love the Player, Hate the Corporation
"Microsoft's behaviour has been nothing short of various attempts at shameless extortion...it's really hard to feel Schadenfreude over the fact that [the Xbox community is] getting shafted."

As the rivalry is based around what one thinks personally about the other, it's unreasonable to gloat at the raw deal Xbox players have gotten; it's not at all their doing. Microsoft suddenly turned into something incredibly nasty(er) in the run up to their contribution to eighth generation of gaming. All the policies and strategies they originally stated were going to benefit them, their investors, and big game studios, at the expense of the community that has flourished under their previous two consoles. Microsoft's behaviour has been nothing short of various attempts at shameless extortion, each time realising they pushed their luck much to far causing them to (supposedly) run back with their tails between their legs.

If the Xbox One is a joke, it's unrelated to the Xbox community, so it's really hard to feel Schadenfreude over the fact that they're getting shafted. The situation is absolutely unfair and a huge betrayal to those who have invested and supported Xbox and Microsoft for over 10 years. If Sony had done that to PS users, it would be just as huge a travesty.

Love the Console, Hate the Corporation

Personal rivalries aside, you also have to feel sorry for the hardware. It's a brilliant machine. Yes, the PS4 is technically the more advanced console, but it's by a margin. I'd wager that most people probably won't notice a difference unless they're technology buffs or particularly pernickety. I've played the Xbox One at Eurogamer Expo 2013 and, even if I think the PS4 is the better machine, I'll still admit to being bowled over by Microsoft's efforts. It's a shame that hideously bad business strategy is going to mar the machine, especially as so much of Microsoft's avarice has been poured into components like the Kinect, which is an otherwise powerful piece of kit.

What Have The Romans Has The Xbox Ever Done for Us?

Even if you have played on a PS for your entire life, you can't deny the impact that the Xbox and its games have had on gaming. The Microsoft vs. Sony rivalry has been one of few examples of where competition and free market have actually benefited its consumers. In trying to better each other, we have had a gaggle of excellent games, four stunning machines, and are now on the third head to head.

Furthermore, Halo, a series that has been the flagship for the Xbox, has also helped advance the standard of video games as a whole. It was one of the first FPS to inject an extensive narrative drive across the series, to the point of doing the unthinkable with Halo: Reach - having players knowingly work towards failure and a doomed ending. In a genre that has always saturated its audience with bravado and victory, this was ground-breaking. Now, it's difficult to find an FPS that has not given weight and importance to creating an involving story as much as inventive combat.

It has also emphasised the importance music plays in video games, with composer Martin O'Donnell being propelled to celebrity status through his astonishing contribution to the franchise. Now there is an academic community and professional interest in music across video games as a whole, culminating in Game Music Connect this year in London.

"It's not pity that I feel for Xbox users and the console, it's greif and anger that its creators have forsaken them and it in such a cynical fashion."
 In Memoriam
Therefore, it's not pity that I feel for Xbox users and the console, it's greif, and anger that its creators have forsaken them, and it, in such a cynical fashion. Despite what you may think, the failure of the Xbox One will impact us all in that it will be a sad loss to something that has driven the industry to excel.

Reports that it might get sold off as a division is probably the best thing that might happen to it, as it might put the console in the hands of a business who understand its customers as much as it understands profit.