Halo 3: Recon Becomes Halo 3: ODST For Some Reason, Has Nathan Fillion

Ok, so remember how Bungie made a big deal of rolling out their newest project, Halo 3: Recon? It’s not called that anymore. Now it’s Halo 3: ODST.

“Stay tuned to Bungie.net in the coming weeks and months for development updates and new details on our latest project,” says the website. “In the meantime, please remove ‘Halo 3 : Recon’ from your memory banks and replace it with ‘Halo 3 : ODST.’”

I guess that’s one way to do it, changing the name of your project after you do your huge initial PR push, replacing a straightforward subtitle with one that’s meaningless to all but your most committed fans. (ODST stands for “Orbital Drop Shock Trooper,” by the way.)

The news of the name change came too late for the magazine GameInformer, which arrived in the mailbox today with the title “Halo 3 Recon: World Exclusive Details Straight From Bungie.”

The article did have several interesting tidbits in it, however. Foremost among them, at least for me, was the news that Nathan Fillion will be playing the squad leader that your rookie character belongs to. You may be familiar with Mr. Fillion from such roles as Captain Malcolm Reynolds in Firefly and Captain Hammer in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. If you’re not, I don’t want to know you.

Gears of War Meets the Real World

As any responsible owner of guns knows, there’s some basic safety procedures to follow when handling a firearm. Treat every gun as if it were loaded. Never put your finger on the trigger until you’re ready to fire. Don’t point the gun at your friends.

Thanks to YouTube user “pfcthiel”, we can add some more rules: “Do not put a Gears of War-style electric chainsaw bayonet on a working rifle” and “Do not use said chainsaw bayonet to awkwardly chase a pumpkin around.” Video after the jump.

Dude, you are going to kill yourself with that thing.

I saw this on Kotaku, but the videos are posted in a thread in AR15.com.

The device is actually billed as a “firearm mounted anti zombie device” rather than a Gears of War knockoff. When another poster wonders aloud whether the Gears bayonets are gas-powered, the creator replies:

I don’t know I never played the game.

But mine is more stealthy if that’s the case.

Stealth is relative for chainsaws, I guess.

Still, watching this video, you realize just what a horrible idea the Gears of War Lancers would be in practice. Soldiers would be cutting their own legs off left and right. I’ll stick with the Nerf version, thanks.

Manipulating Gamerscores

Recently, Microsoft has just finished another massive cleanse of offending Xbox Live accounts. I think Microsoft has adopted one of the best policies to deal with users that artificial inflate their gamer score. The user’s gamerscore is wiped clean and their Xbox Live account is branded with the mark of a cheater. The account can still be used for online gaming and purchases though, so the money that went into the account is not wasted. Continue reading

Black Mesa Trailer Teaser

There’s a fan remake of the original Half Life underway, going by the name Black Mesa. The site for the mod is utterly blitzed under the traffic, but here’s the trailer they just put out.

Tell me that doesn’t look pretty sweet, eh?

You may be thinking there was something similar already released. It’s true that the original Half-Life was re-released under the modern Source engine, but aside from a few minor special effects facelifts, the game looks more or less the same, using as it does the same models and textures as the old one.

As you can tell from the trailer, this is a remake from the ground up. The dialog has been re-recorded, clearly. My goodness, the scientists don’t all have the same four heads now! Some of them are women, even!

Look at the attention to detail on the blind tentacle bursting through the test fire room, bending and breaking railings as it goes. That’s the definitive moment of Half Life, recreated beautifully.

The mod is supposed to be out sometime in 2009, and would work for anyone with a regular Source game already installed, like Counter-Strike: Source, Half Life 2 or Team Fortress 2.

Until the site is back up, you might still be able to glean some information out of the forums or this interview at Planet Half-Life.

Eidos PR Firm Massaging the Review Numbers… But Nothing’s Wrong, Really.

I know I’m late to the party with this bit of news, but it’s too good to pass up.

Eidos’s UK PR firm was telling reviewers of Tomb Raider: Underworld to hold off on publishing their reviews if they planned on rating it below 8 of 10. This was confirmed by the PR firm itself.

“That’s right. We’re trying to manage the review scores at the request of Eidos.”

When asked why, the spokesperson said: “Just that we’re trying to get the Metacritic rating to be high, and the brand manager in the US that’s handling all of Tomb Raider has asked that we just manage the scores before the game is out, really, just to ensure that we don’t put people off buying the game, basically.”

Which sounds a lot like “No no no, we’re not trying to ‘trick’ people into buying the game. We just want the ‘bad’ reviews to come out ‘later’ after people have already purchased it.”

In response to the news of the “review management,” the firm put out another statement, pointing out that some sub-8 reviews had already been published and saying they were not in the business of telling reviewers what they can and can’t say. The statement ended with:

Barrington Harvey has been working hard to ensure the launch scores of Tomb Raider Underworld are in line with our internal review predictions over the launch weekend – but to suggest that we can in some way “silence” reviews of the game is slightly overstating our influence.

Which raises the question, does making sure the launch scores are in line with internal predictions involve telling reviewers not to publish reviews? Like the other guy just said you were doing?

Maybe Eidos’s representatives need to finish their instructions with “Don’t worry if you don’t, though. It’s not like we’re going to threaten to pull our advertising and get you fired. Not this time, at least.”