Halo 2 Vista

Key events

FeatureWhy I hate… Halo

I say goodbye.

In this new series of opinion pieces, some of Eurogamer's favourite writers reveal how they really feel about some of the world's most renowned, or most reviled, videogames.

MS working to restore Xbox 1 DLC

Still killing it off in mid-April though.

Microsoft has said that it's attempting to restore downloadable content access for people still playing Xbox 1 games.

Halo 3: ODST sales reach 2.5 million

Halo 3: ODST sales reach 2.5 million

Plus: Master Chief set to return.

Around 2.5 million people have snapped up Halo 3: ODST in the two weeks since it was released.

That's according to USA Today, which also reports the expansion pack has generated over $125 million in sales and brought the total number of Halo games sold to 27 million.

But what about the rest of the Halo franchise? Any sign of that movie? "We're being very careful to pick the right time and the right partner," said creative director Frank O'Connor. No, then.

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Maddie reference spotted in Bungie trailer

Maddie reference spotted in Bungie trailer

Controversy kicks off over what it means.

Speculation is mounting that the new trailer for Bungie's next Halo project features a reference to missing five year-old Madeleine McCann.

The trailer, released yesterday, has since been the subject of widespread analysis on the internet, as reported by Videogaming247.

Apparently the message "MADDIE, WHERE ARE YOU?" appears in three frames of the video. A debate has now kicked off over whether this is a reference to the missing girl, who disappeared in May 2007.

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FeatureBungie's Damian Isla

Bungie's AI guru on the thinking behind Halo.

Most big, modern games are, of necessity, a team effort - so much so that it's often hard to ascribe any particular part of the experience to one person. In the Halo series, for instance, all manner of people contributed to the games, and for the most part, you'd be hard pressed to pick out a great moment and say, "this person made this". It's a team effort. Everyone's fingers are in all sorts of pies, and every pie has all sorts of fingers in it.

Bungie talks AI and animation

It's all about picking up pencils.

The next big step for artificial intelligence in games will be making a character walk up to a table and pick up a pencil.

Vista games cracked for XP

Hacker groups taunt MS.

Shadowrun and Halo 2 - the first champions of Windows Vista gaming - have already been cracked by warez and hacking groups, with patches enabling both to function on Windows XP flying around the Internet's darker regions at the time of writing.

Halo 2

Halo 2

Missing Windows of opportunity.

The music in Halo 2 is bad. I recently mentioned this to someone and he was incredulous: Really? Wasn't the Halo music excellent throughout? Yes, the music in Halo was superb, but listen again to the music of its sequel. Halo 2 rapidly enters rock opera territory, with some of the most awesome ponce-metal orchestral posing I've ever heard. It's embarrassingly crappy, and a clear lapse in judgement.

In fact the same could be said of most of Halo 2, particularly this PC conversion. It was all a lapse of judgement. It's not utterly, damnably awful, but nevertheless I couldn't recommend that anyone spend their money on it. Let's just be clear: yes, it's Halo. There's some interesting things in that only Halo can do - and you even get to be a sneaky, cloaky Covenant beastie during the alternating story. We do love the Chief and his cast of friends, we roll around in the multiplayer like a dog in something stinky, but nevertheless, this sequel is Halo done badly.

The fighting itself is much the same, only now you can dual-wield. This ups the amount of damage you can put out, but that's balanced against the fact that there are quite a lot of enemies thrown at you. Ultimately there's not a huge amount of difference - other than you can see less of what is going on. The tactical actions of your enemies and the recharging shield dynamic are still as robust as ever, but I think they're let down by the overall design. There are too many straight corridors or moving platforms that must be defended. Only a few of the fights - a few of the 'arenas' in which the major actions take place - are anything like as good as the original game. There are no interesting defences, and nothing that reaches the heights of the Silent Cartographer. Remember that Library bit in the original Halo? I think the guy who made that had a bit too much say over Halo 2. Even when the Flood turn up they lack any drama. "Oh, them," you think, reaching for the shotgun.

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Halo 2 achievements detailed

See what the PC wants from you.

The Microsoft development team converting Halo 2 to Windows Vista has spoken out about some of the achievements you'll be able to unlock as part of the game's integration with "Games for Windows - LIVE".

BT among those handling Xbox 360 IPTV

More on Gates' CES speech, inc. Halo 2 Vista clarity.

Commercial deployment of Xbox 360's IPTV service is being trialed with groups including BT and Deutsche Telekom - suggesting we won't be left behind as we were with Video Marketplace - while UNO will be among the games that Windows Vista users can play against their Xbox 360 counterparts, but Halo 2's functionality may be more limited.

Jackson talks up Halo film

On script, director, more.

Film maker Peter Jackson says that preliminary work and script doctoring on the Halo film he's executive-producing is going well, and he's got nothing but admiration for young director Neill Blomkamp, despite his relative lack of feature experience.

Halo film director speaks

On the Chief, Covenant, more.

Newly announced Halo film director Neill Blomkamp has spoken out about how he's approaching the film's coveted source material, and about his views on Halo in general.

Halo film due in 2008

Director a relative unknown.

Halo will hit the silver screen in summer 2008, not 2007, Microsoft announced this week - and relative unknown Neill Blomkamp will direct.

New Halo comic announced

New Halo comic announced

It'll be published monthly.

At the Comic-Con held in San Diego last week, Marvel and Bungie announced plans to launch a new monthly comic titled Halo Ongoing.

As you might have guessed, it'll be based around the hit Xbox shooter, but that's all there is to report so far - there's no word on the comic's plotline, or on which artists and writers have been signed up to produce it.

Halo Ongoing is set to appear in shops later this year, following the release of the Halo Graphic Novel. As previously announced, the 128-page book will go on sale in the US this July, and its storyline will focus on the battles between the Covenant and the Flood.

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More Halo 2 PC details

More Halo 2 PC details

Player-numbers, Live Anywhere.

Bungie's shed some more light on the PC version of little known FPS Halo 2, including the fact that you'll be able to track your Xbox 360-style achievements using a mobile phone thanks to Microsoft's Live Anywhere technology.

Fielding a few questions on the Bungie website, project-lead Jo Clowes said that the PC version, which will run exclusively on Windows Vista, will support up to 16 players in multiplayer with dedicated server architecture to back things up.

As you'll know if you've been following the game's progress, Halo 2 Vista won't actually enable you to play against people on Xbox or Xbox 360, but that doesn't mean it won't include Live Anywhere functionality, says Clowes. "Live Anywhere extends the Xbox Live service beyond Xbox. Anytime you are logged in with your Gamertag, your friends can see you and you can see them, no matter what device you are using," he told the Bungie website.

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Halo graphic novel preview

Halo graphic novel preview

Now available online.

Anyone looking forward to the Halo graphic novel might like to head over to Marvel.com right now.

That's because you can now enjoy a preview of the graphic novel - or "comic", as they used to be called in our day - online. You have to register for the site, but it's free and doesn't take too long.

As reported back in March, the Halo comic will weigh in at 128 pages and is set to feature a host of characters and weapons familiar to fans. It's being worked on by French comic book artist Moebius, along with the likes of Phil Hale, Ed Lee, Tsutomo Nihei and Jay Faerber, plus Bungie's own art team.

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500m Halo 2 games played

Bungie celebrates online success.

Bungie Studios has reported that more than 500 million games of Halo 2 have been played online since the game launched in November 2004.

Halo 2 PC isn't Live Anywhere

Does have new maps though.

Halo 2 may be one of the first games that runs exclusively on Windows Vista, but Bungie says it won't be one of the first to adopt the principles of Microsoft's cross-platform Live Anywhere formula.

Halo 2 heading to PC

But only if you've got Vista.

Microsoft has announced plans to release Halo 2 for PC - specifically, PCs which use the new Windows Vista operating system.