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Halo: Retribution

Although I am still finishing the Karen Traviss trilogy right now, I am already hyped for the next installment of Halo lore. On August 29th Troy Denning’s Halo: Retribution will release. The cover art alone is just beautiful!

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Here is the official summary:

December 2553. Less than a year after the end of the Covenant War, a string of violent incidents continues to threaten the tenuous peace in human-held space, culminating in the assassination of UNSC fleet admiral Graselyn Tuwa and the abduction of her family. It is a provocation so outrageous that the Office of Naval Intelligence must retaliate swiftly and ferociously—but only after its operatives identify her killer and rescue the hostages.

This mission will be the first for homicide-detective-turned-ONI-operative Veta Lopis and her young team of Spartan-IIIs, and something feels wrong from the start. The obvious suspect is an infamous Brute who leads the Keepers of the One Freedom, an ex-Covenant splinter group in fierce opposition to the UNSC. But Lopis and her team soon realize that the truth is much more insidious than they could ever have imagined, and with Fred-104, Kelly-087, and Linda-058 of Blue Team for combat support, they must stop a plan hatched in the bowels of the secret research station Argent Moon — a plan so sinister it could destroy all those still reeling from thirty years of intergalactic conflict…

I haven’t read Last Light by Troy Denning yet, but this seems to be kind of a successor to it. At least some of the same characters will appear. Most importantly Veta Lopis. I am really looking forward to her character and story and I will definitely read Last Light before Retribution.

The story is set in pre Halo 4 times, which is a little sad, because I am dying to read more Halo 5 era stuff like the one story in Fractures. Which one was that? The one where BB and Osman land on this secretive planet? Gosh, excuse my memory. It is the worst.

Hah! I just found out. It is Rossbach’s World. I really liked that story! And I would love to see more lore from this era. But that is a tricky part for 343 I guess. I don’t think they will make the same mistake as they did with Halo 4 and the Karen Traviss trilogy. Telling the complete pre story of the game in the books and the people who haven’t read that and only played the game (like me, back then) are completely lost. I don’t think that they would do that again, so I don’t expect much or any Halo 5 sequel lore soon.

But 343 could always extend the very weak plot of Halo 5: Guardians couldn’t they? They definitely could.

Gamescom 2017

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It’s this time of the year again. E3 is history and the Gaming World is looking towards Cologne, Germany. The Gamescom will open it’s doors on August 22th for Press and Media and on August 23th until August 26th for everyone who is lucky enough to have bought a ticket early on. As we have seen last year and the year before, tickets are selling faster and faster. By now there are no tickets left for Friday and Saturday. You can still get tickets for Wednesday and Thursday but I would hurry if you are interested in going.

343 has already confirmed that there will be no announcement of a major Halo title like Halo 6. We have to wait for next year. If you ask me I think that is quite alright. Although I would love to see maybe like a tiny teaser or something. Like the Halo 5 teaser with Chief in the Poncho.

Microsoft is going to have a live event on August 20th which will be hosted by the lovely Maxi and well known Scotsman Acey. The focus will be on the new Xbox One X and probably some of the new titles like Forza 7 and Sea of Thieves. I am looking forward to August!

 

New Narrative Director at 343i?

Brian Reed might no longer be the narrative director at 343i. 2 days ago they posted a job advertisement for the position of narrative director. Brian Reeds LinkedIn and Twitter accounts have also been deleted. I really hope that he is doing ok. cfbrianreedh5gi-a94275f0040c4e1595e9c955c9ab4dcbAt this point I don’t know if he decided to go or if he was let go. Both possibilities would make sense, seeing that he was subject to extreme harassment and didn’t have much fans in the community. His work as a narrative director was criticized a lot, so much so, that 343 shut down most threads concerning him on the Waypoint forums. I personally don’t like the storytelling of Halo 5. I think that it is the worst campaign of all the Halo titles. So yeah, I would not mind if someone else took the position of narrative director. What I don’t like at all is bullying and harassment though. And Brian Reed has definitely been a target of both. Some fans have been real assholes.

Despite all this I am quite excited to see how this unfolds. I wish for Halo and all the lore fans that they find someone capable of this huge task. I would not ever want to fill such a position and be watched and judged so closely. But it’s Halo. We care. Sometimes too much I guess.

If you want read more about Brian Reeds role at 343 and his backstory visit Halo Monitor. Kind of an old article but very relevant right now.

Bonnie Ross – A Woman who inspires

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Credit to Bloomberg Businessweek

 

Right on time with the launch of Halo 5: Guardians on October 27th, the Business magazine ‚Bloomberg Businessweek‘ features a big piece on Bonnie Ross, head of 343 Industries. The article follows Ross and several others like Frank O’Connor over the course of this past summer. I highly recommend reading this article, seeing that it provides insight behind the curtains of 343 and presents Bonnie Ross in her role as a female executive in a still male dominated workspace. It also highlights Microsofts need to have a huge hit with Halo 5 in order to survive next to the Playstation. I took some quotes from the article that I found noteworthy, funny or surprising.

When asked about her ambitions for Halo, Ross always comes back to Star Wars, which she adored as a kid. “For those of us that are a little bit older, we saw Star Wars and stood in line the first time around,” she says. “We are seeing the same thing with Halo, where a lot of dads and parents that started playing when they were 20 or 30 now have kids that are coming in through our, you know, Mega Bloks line.” 

Obviously I can relate to this very much. I am this parent who was 20 years old when I first played Halo. What I find really cool about Ross is, that she’s an actual gamer. Of course she won’t play as much as she would like to or as a 18 year old with lots of time on his/her hands would, but she played every Halo game and has read every Halo book. Being a female in a management position is rare enough but being one in the gaming industry is even more surprising. In my opinion the gaming industry needs more women. And I’m not saying this as a feminist, although I would have every right to. I just think that every company needs the balance of men and women working together. Women bring certain qualities with them, as do men. Let’s have both.

As a rare female executive in an industry dominated by men, Ross worked to remind her colleagues that girls play video games, too. She’s insisted that fully realized female characters play prominent roles in Halo 5 and made sure that dorky Halo T-shirts come in cuts for women, too. This may seem unobjectionable, but in the world of video games, trying to broaden the audience is daring.

Bonnie Ross is also a very clever business woman and she wants to make money. Before taking over 343 in 2007 she said: „If I take it over, I want to be George Lucas. I want to own everything, and I want to do things differently.”

She says that when she inherited the game, the philosophy was to say yes to any company willing to pay royalties. The worst? Some tacky pajama pants. “The pajamas actually were really comfortable,” Ross says. “But they weren’t super high-quality.” When she took over, she cut the line.

I want to take the time here to mourn those pajamas. I wished I had one. Who cares about good quality? Well actually I do but I’m sure I would’ve overlooked it once.

Bonnie Ross is a parent herself. She is 48 years old now and has a 10 year old son. In the article she talks about him and her playing Halo together. To do that with my daughter in the future is a dream of mine.

Ross has been tutoring one new Halo player: her 10-year-old son. Until recently, she’d considered the game a bit too violent for her children, but she’s begun letting her son play with her. “I firmly believe that your kids are going to play games, and you should play with them,” she says. “I want to share that first experience with him.” Mother and son have worked through two levels of Halo 5 together and occasionally play in multiplayer modes. She’s better than he is—for now.

To read the whole article click here: Bloomberg Businesweek

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Credit to Bloomberg Businessweek

 

Best gift ever

As I mentioned before I recently became a mom. Our daughter was born on May 27th….yes, exactly 5 months before the release of Halo 5. She’s already a Spartan at heart. It has been the most amazing thing that has happened to me. She makes us so incredibly happy it’s beyond comprehension.

You can imagine how touched I was when we received a package from Microsoft/343 with the following content:

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Dwight Schrute from The Office had to function as a weight. Pardon me Mr. Schrute. Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica. Haha, I get carried away when thinking about The Office. One of the most hilarious shows on earth. R.I.P.

Anyway back to the topic. The poster with the inscription is so wonderful. It’s one of the best quotes in Halo and I promise I won’t make a promise I can’t keep. To own something so personal and rare is just amazing. Now I can show this to my baby girl when she’s older and maybe, just maybe she’s into Halo as much as me by then.

I also got this beauty:

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A signed copy of the Master Chief Collection. Whaaat! I feel so blessed. I really appreciate the gifts. As a collector this is the jackpot. Thanks 343!

 

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