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Found 17 results

  1. Here is a comment Frank O'Connor replied to Louis Wu regarding Quick time events. We have seen some quick time events in video, trailers and vidoc's, such as the Chief climbing over some scaffolding/ wreckage, prying open door and the part where the Chief throws an Elite over a ledge. But the the questions is do we control those quick time moments or do they happen automatically like they do in Reach? Here is the comment Frank O'Connor gave: "I would point out these moments are rare and only happen during events that are things you can't normally do physically. The first level has a couple of them to "train" you, but they won't be frequent or presented as QTE problems. They're transitional or cinematic vignettes that don't yank you out of the action. Also, if you don't smash that Elite he tosses you down the shaft". Original Link to Frank O'Connor's Comment Here
  2. Gaminformer interviewing Frank O'Connor franchise development director for the Halo franchise about Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn. Read below for more details Source: Gameinformer.com The third episode of Halo’s live-action web series premiered today, and we had a chance to talk to Frank O'Connor, the franchise development director for the Halo franchise. He has a somewhat ambiguous job title and it means that O'Connor has his hand in just about everything related to Halo. We spoke to him about creating Halo 4's live-action web series, Forward Unto Dawn, and got some clarification about what his job is exactly. You’re the franchise development director for the Halo franchise? What does that job entail? Obviously I’m a spokesperson and that entails being an expert in every aspect of everything that we’re doing and then talking about it, but the vast majority of my work involves building and creating new elements of the franchise that end up in all of the various aspects of it. It’s a very large business at this point, even outside of the game. Obviously the game is the bulk of it, the game is the absolute master of everything else we do in the franchise and so everything feeds back into the game. It’s a really big franchise and it’s a big business on its own. From that perspective, how involved were you with the show, with the production? Were you writing and that kind of thing? We were editing and we were tweaking, really all the writing was done by Todd and Aaron Helbing realistically. We make notes and stuff like that but we were in the initial meetings with the Helbings about story and their first pitch, and the reason they got the job actually, was a story set on Harvest, which is one of the worlds from the Halo universe. We’d interviewed a bunch of writers and we had seen a bunch of pitches, and their pitch wasn’t the show we wanted to make, but it showed a really profound understanding of the universe and what the universe was about. It also mapped directly to what we wanted to do which was tell a story about people because that’s what we wanted this thing to be. Obviously it’s going to be great for fans. Fans are going to look at just about every single detail in this and hopefully love it. We wanted this to be approachable for people who are not familiar with the Halo universe and to do some setup, not in the sense of a pure origin story, but to give context to the beginnings of events that actually end up playing out in Halo 4. So their Harvest story did a lot of that but we needed to do something much more directly connected to it, so in the early meetings we basically helped them craft the story from the get-go and it was a completely different story from the one they originally wanted to tell. We were very involved in crafting that original plot, but we barely put pen to paper, that was those guys. We had meetings where we discussing things like Lasky’s allergy to the cryo-sleep as a sort of motivation for his character. It was basically world and story building from the get-go but they did all the writing. You’re talking about getting pitches. Did you guys put out a call for writers? We did, we put out a call. First we interviewed a bunch of writers and then we narrowed down that list and then we put out a call for pitches, but those guys actually had the most complete pitch to begin with and the deepest understanding of the universe. They had done really good work on serials with Smallville and Spartacus in terms of really quickly being able to establish characters. We don’t have a lot of time with this show, it’s five weeks of content, so we needed writers that could rapidly establish character, and motivation, and universe building, basically in a very rapid time frame. I don’t mean their execution on the script, I mean the five weeks of content that this thing ends up being. What was the impetus for doing a live action show for a video game? We haven’t had a numbered Halo sequel in almost five years at this point, and we wanted to refresh people and we wanted to bring people back into the universe. We were talking about doing it both in the game and in TV commercials, and both of those things are actually going to happen. There’s going to be a lot of bringing people up to speed, hopefully in really unobtrusive and non-obvious ways. That conversation started extending out into, “Well what else can we do here?” What can we do to really make people sit up and take notice? And what can we do to tell a really good Halo story? I think people love watching the TV commercials, but they’re not terribly satisfying in terms of narrative content. They’re really big and you see some cool action, maybe an explosion, and while people enjoy seeing Halo stuff brought into the flesh as it were, they’re just not getting a lot of satisfactory resolution to those brief vignettes, and so it literally just snowballed from that conversation and we said, “Well why don’t we just make a show? We can do that kind of thing.” The next step was starting to talk to first a production company and our producers, so we gired Lydia and Josh (the executive producers behind Forward Unto Dawn) and with those guys in tow we started farming out the pitch to various writers and directors. We were really trying to pick people who would fit the scale of this project and honestly give us the most bang for our buck. All of the people we’re working with have worked on pretty cool things that are able to do a lot with fairly limited resources. We’re trying to get as much of our budget up on the screen as possible. Read on to find out exactly how Forward Unto Dawn fits into the narrative of Halo 4. How important Forward Unto Dawn to the plot of Halo 4? Will players who only play the game and skip the show be lost? Certainly not. They’re connected via characters and some elements I can’t talk about, but if you don’t play the game, Forward Unto Dawn will make perfect sense to you. In fact it’s very self-contained, again kind of like a superhero origin story where you’re finding out all this stuff and hopefully that will drive people to be interested in the game, not the other way around. People who play the game and have watched Forward Unto Dawn are going to recognize characters and scenarios and certain pieces of setup that should provide really cool resonance. They will work really well together but they’re absolutely not essential to each other. They both need to be their own stories and they both need to be complete. Is there a fear that this might turn into what the Matrix kind of had, where there was almost too many versions of stories that all came connected into one place and left people out in the cold a little bit? I think if you have a matrix, and I don’t mean the movie, if you have a matrix of things that are required to understand something, you’re just creating a mess for yourself. We don’t want to make an ARG. We wanted to tell a story that established the human covenant conflict, the basic ideas and premises of the Halo universe like the UNSC, what are Spartans, and this story actually does all of that. In some ways it’s kind of the origin story of the Halo universe as we understand it today, and it’s a completely standalone story. The connection points, again, are sort of through lines for characters. The character of Thomas Lasky, who’s the lead in Forward Unto Dawn, is going to be in his 40s by the time you see him again in Halo 4. Just that simple fact means that the stories, while connected, are not linear or chronologically connected and they both stand alone completely. Even in Halo 4 we want to make sure we have a story with a beginning, middle and an end that doesn’t require that you read a book, that doesn’t require that you have any previous understanding of the Halo universe. These things should all be complimentary, but not essential. If you do watch Forward Unto Dawn, and you do read all the books, and you follow all this fiction, and you check out all the terminals you’re going to have a very different experience. But if you shoe-in all of that stuff you’re still going to be in a perfectly safe and valid narrative space. You’ll understand everything that’s going on no matter which of those discrete pieces you consume, or all of them. Your experience should be enhanced by it, not required. You just talked about a character that ages 40 years when he appears in Halo 4, are there any other ways you can talk about how Forward Unto Dawn ties into the Spartan Ops or the main campaign of Halo 4? Not without giving away some spoilers. There’s a device that’s used throughout the show that does have a very direct connection to Halo 4, but I don’t want to ruin it. It’s a piece of context for the overall premise of the show and it will make sense by the time you see episode two, that will completely make sense, but I don’t want to spoil that for viewers. Do you feel like you had a good experience making the show? Do you think you would want to do more stuff like this? Not even necessarily for future Halo games but even just to keep going with the story? I think we had a great experience with the people in the production and actually seeing the final show last week, we had been watching it with ADR caption and the wrong colors and placeholder special effects and all that stuff. It was already really compelling at some point a couple months ago, where you could watch the whole thing from beginning to end, and we really enjoyed the story, but seeing it all come together as this polished piece – I had to watch the first two episodes for feedback in their finished form a couple of days ago and I was genuinely disappointed and irritated when I got to the end of episode two and I didn’t have the finished episode three to watch, so I went back and watched one of the unfinished builds of it just to keep the story going. It’s actually just a good story, it could be set in the 20th century or the 30th century and it would still be a good story about compelling characters. Be sure to check out our interviews with Forward Unto Dawn's Director Steward Hendler, and Daniel Cudmore, the actor playing Master Chief in the series. Halo 4 releases November 6 on Xbox 360.
  3. This was taken off halo Waypoint from the bulletin posted today. I want to hear you guys's opinions on this. From the face of Frank "2012 was supposed to be the end of the world. Instead, it was the beginning of ours. Halo 4, despite being the seventh or eighth game in the Halo series (depending on how you count them), was our first game. That is to say, our first-ever fully fledged title, built from the ground up creatively and technologically. So let me save you the trouble of trolling my statement: We have a lot to learn. We made a lot of mistakes. We can do better. And we know this, and we will. But I don’t want to spend the first moments of the year thinking about the negatives, because frankly, I am incredibly proud of both the team and the game that team created. And for a first effort, it wasn’t half bad. Stepping into Bungie’s oversized shoes would have been difficult, even for a well-established team. The challenge of wrangling that engine, that universe and that community was dizzying, even withering. Four years ago when our charter began, the challenge of starting the seed of a development team and then creating a sequel to Halo terrified us. A small group of us – names you know, like Kiki Wolfkill, Bonnie Ross, Kenneth Scott Josh Holmes and other characters who have moved on to different projects, different places – was tasked with doing something that was almost impossible. But the team grew. And we learned. And we’re still learning. And the game arrived and it succeeded. Halo 4 is the best and fastest-selling Halo game in the series. It won critical acclaim. It won awards, from Best Graphics at the VGAs to Game of the Year at the Inside Gaming Awards. We altered the engine. We expanded the universe. We innovated in storytelling, technology, and even marketing. It wasn’t flawless by any stretch of the imagination, but by most objective criteria, it was a resounding success. So we know we have a lot to do. And we know we have a lot to learn. But we also know that we now have the capacity, the teamwork, the technology and the experience to do much better next time." "But my point is this: If you’d asked me three or four years ago if we thought we’d be where we are now, I would have looked doubtfully at you and said, “That’s a lot to ask.” But the team, through miracles of collaboration and individual contribution – and lakes of blood and tears – waded into the challenge with gusto and worked obscene hours with passion and verve to get it done. And now we’re beginning to really understand what “it” is. I think that, perhaps perversely, rather than being looked at askance with doubt and cynicism, in some corners we’ve been given extra latitude – the only benefit of low expectations. And then the ability to exceed those expectations. There are a ton of things we wish we'd done better: Features that didn’t make it into the final game. Glitches that emerged. Missteps made. DLC fiascos. Communication breakdowns. But there were things that went astonishingly well – the creation of a genuinely competitive AAA studio chief among them. A collection of talent and souls that can do something genuinely amazing on this and next-generation hardware. The overhaul of an amazing game engine – but one that really needed to be overhauled – and an amassed education on systems, people, code and audience that will stand us in great stead for the future." "Some of the high points of the last few years have been products as well as people – like Halo: Anniversary and Forward Unto Dawn. There have been amazing events – Halo Fest, the E3 debut, ComicCon – all blurring into a sea of faces, excitement, light, and noise. But the most important aspect of our success, and our efforts now and in the future, has been this community – a demanding, imaginative, engaged, vocal, varied and intelligent swarm of personalities, groups and individuals, each with subtly to radically different interests in this vast and varied universe we’re charged with. That isn’t lip service, nor is it pandering. You guys pay for the privilege of playing our game, and you have every right to have a voice in its development. It may not have ended up precisely the way you imagined – there are simply too many voices and perspectives to make all of the people happy, all of the time – but we think of the community as a direct and democratic extension of the team and, indeed, of the development process. A litmus test, a pH strip and a sounding board for ideas and innovations, you are the tension between the need for change and evolution, and the necessity of inertia. Technically, this should be a retrospective, but it’s safe to say I’m more excited about the future than the past. Excited about what this team is already working on. Excited about what this team is capable of. And excited about the future of Halo. A future we want you to be a part of. A future we’re building for you." As a community we appreciate Frank O'connor stepping forward and telling us what's been going on with Halo 4. Allowing us to hear these genuine comments from Frank himself goes a long way and allowing the community to have insight on 343 Industries thoughts of Halo 4. We hope in the future we will continue to receive information like this from 343 Industries informing and updating us on a franchise we love so much.
  4. 343 Industries' own Frank O'Connor, who's been with the team since it's start, has spoken out about leaks regarding games and their faults. Halo is a series well known by a large number of supposed leaks before a Halo game's launch, often revealing key points that would have otherwise been a surprise. Frank O'Connor, Halo's development director, took to NeoGaf.com to speak about leaks and the drastic problems they cause for developers, likely referring to the large number of recent Xbox related leaks and Halo leaks, but speaking about the Industry in general. He said, "Ultimately he [the leaker] is taking or being given information and leaking it, illegally and often erroneously. And he isn't doing it for some noble or worthy reason. He's doing it for attention." He also referred to it's proclamation as a prophecy, saying that it's "just annoying" and not assisting or helpful in any outcome to the developer or player. Frankie also discussed the overall dissatisfaction and worthlessness of leaking, even mentioning termination of employees for such issues, "It's not fun, and for what? So you can have a mildly interesting surprise 8 hours early and lacking context? Or get hyped or disappointed disproportionately? Or get someone fired or someone innocent yelled at?" This could hint at some of the previous Anniversary or Master Chief Collection rumors being completely true, or the opposite as the leaks could cause false hype. Do you think this is a ret-con or hint at some previous Halo rumors to go out publicly and make a full speech about leaking? Let me know below, thanks for the read! This post has been promoted to an article
  5. 343 Industries' own Frank O'Connor, who's been with the team since it's start, has spoken out about leaks regarding games and their faults. Halo is a series well known by a large number of supposed leaks before a Halo game's launch, often revealing key points that would have otherwise been a surprise. Frank O'Connor, Halo's development director, took to NeoGaf.com to speak about leaks and the drastic problems they cause for developers, likely referring to the large number of recent Xbox related leaks and Halo leaks, but speaking about the Industry in general. He said, "Ultimately he [the leaker] is taking or being given information and leaking it, illegally and often erroneously. And he isn't doing it for some noble or worthy reason. He's doing it for attention." He also referred to it's proclamation as a prophecy, saying that it's "just annoying" and not assisting or helpful in any outcome to the developer or player. Frankie also discussed the overall dissatisfaction and worthlessness of leaking, even mentioning termination of employees for such issues, "It's not fun, and for what? So you can have a mildly interesting surprise 8 hours early and lacking context? Or get hyped or disappointed disproportionately? Or get someone fired or someone innocent yelled at?" This could hint at some of the previous Anniversary or Master Chief Collection rumors being completely true, or the opposite as the leaks could cause false hype. View attachment: 1halo5.jpg Do you think this is a ret-con or hint at some previous Halo rumors to go out publicly and make a full speech about leaking? Let me know below, thanks for the read!
  6. Little English Blog has gotten a chance to talk to Frank O'Connor of 343 about Halo 4. Read below for more details From: http://www.littleenglishhaloblog.com/ By: FlawlessCowboy On Wednesday night in a basement bar in London's Covent Garden, I got the chance to have a sit down with 343industries Franchise Development Director Frank O'Connor. I tried to cover a lot of the unanswered questions that I know many of you have been wanting answers to. Me: So what can you tell me about the Halo 4 ranking system? FO: What ranking system? Not the Exp based Spartan Ranks, a skill based system? That's not something we're talking about at the moment, we'll have more on that closer to launch. Ok, so what's on disc 2? [laughs] It's not really a big secret, the only reason we've not talked about this is because until everything is locked in we can't be 100% sure what's on each disc. But as you probably guessed it will be a split between campaign and multi-player content. Ok cool, so now that you've made competitive multiplayer fit within the Halo canon, does this mean that the multiplayer announcer, Jeff Steitzer, is a character within the universe? Although you won't meet him in the game, yes the implication is that he's an officer or trainer aboard the Infinity working with the Spartan IVs. I played Spartan Ops just now, and if I'm honest I didn't really get a feel for the "watercooler" moments you've discussed. I know you've likened it to Game of Thrones. At times it felt like the objectives were fairly standard 'defend this', 'destroy this' and so on.. Ah, this is absolutely to do with the nature of the demo we're showing today, the three missions we've selected were to demonstrate the different types of gameplay we have on show, so there's a big mission which focuses on vehicle combat, the mission that focuses on the Prometheans and another the Covenant. You don't see any of the cut scenes or story progression in this demo, you can rest assured there are some great moments and a really strong narrative throughout. The Game of Thrones analogy is a good one. I know this is something you'll have been asked before, but can you tell us anything about why we're fighting the Covenant again? Is it Telcam's boys? This is something that will be explored in the game, I don't want to go into any major plot details, but this will be a focus of the Spartan Ops story. You've said before that going forward "everything matters" within the Halo universe, does this mean we'll start to see more crossover between the expanded universe and the games? Yes, this is something that was one of our goals when 343 took charge of Halo and you can see that in the more recent books and how they're closely related to the events in the games. While not every story arc and character you could point to in the expanded universe will appear in the games there will certainly be some. Since last year's E3 we've seen a change in terminology from the "Reclaimer Trilogy" to "Reclaimer Saga" what's the thinking behind that? Is it because you see Spartan Ops having such an impact on the story between the games? Spartan Ops is certainly a part of that thinking, but it's bigger than that. When we took a holistic look at our plans for the story; be that the main games, books, Spartan Ops and Forward unto Dawn the phrase "trilogy" didn't really fit any more and so it became "saga". We've seen the work you've done to flesh out Grifball and Infection and make them feel more like full featured modes. Are there any other modes that have seen a similar lick of paint? SWAT, maybe? No, we've shown all the major changes now, we put a lot of work into Flood and Grifball as those have always been really popular modes. There will be some minor tweaks here and there, but we've shown all the big surprises. Obviously CTF has seen some significant changes too, but there's nothing else on that scale. Obviously you're one of the few who's made a Halo game with both Bungie and 343industries, how do they compare? In many ways they're very similar, in terms of the pool of talent and the quality of the teams. And both 343 and Bungie are absolutely committed to making the best game they possibly can. The main difference between the two is the way the teams were formed, with Bungie it was a slow organic growth over time, whereas at 343 we had to build a team much smaller time frame. Huge thanks to Frankie for taking the time out to talk to me. There are some more questions, but they relate to content under embargo, I may release them as a part 2 at a later date.
  7. Franchise Development Director, Frank O’Connor, and Director, Stewart Hendler, talk to X-Play’s Blair Herter about the Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, the live-action web series based on the video game. This series will take fans to the beginnings of the human and Covenant war and lead them into the events ofHalo 4. Check out the video below to catch some behind the scene footage as well as find out what it takes to create an epic story. (When the video becomes available on youtube i will post it here) Click here for the Source and the Video. http://www.g4tv.com/...e-small-screen/
  8. Frank O'Connor talks a little bit about the next Halo project it's is now in the very early stages of development. Read below for more details. Source: CVG 343 Industries is gradually reallocating its teams to work on the next major Halo project, an executive at the studio has told CVG. Frank O'Connor, the franchise development director for Halo, said that "a lot of people at 343 are already prototyping ideas and software and art for future Halo products". He added: "I can't say more than that, but work on the game started actually before we launched Halo 4 and continues apace as we cycle staff through the team's vacation breaks. We're excited about the next game." O'Connor didn't explicitly state that the next game is specifically Halo 5, though Microsoft has already confirmed that it is building a second trilogy of Halo titles. Many within the 343 Industries studio are still working on post launch content for Halo 4, the latest being the curation of a major international Halo 4 tournament. It has also developed a plot-led series of co-op games called Spartan Ops, which has been widely praised by critics. A second season of the co-op mode, however, remains up in the air. "Spartan Ops season 2 is yet to be decided, we're looking at how the first season does," said O'Connor. "We got such great responses from [live-action web series] Forward Unto Dawn and Spartan Ops that we're pretty happy with it and we're learning a lot of really interesting stuff for the future," he added. "You are going to see a spectrum of Halo support though the next year and beyond." This post has been promoted to an article
  9. Frank O'Connor talks a little bit about the next Halo project it's is now in the very early stages of development. Read below for more details. Source: CVG 343 Industries is gradually reallocating its teams to work on the next major Halo project, an executive at the studio has told CVG. Frank O'Connor, the franchise development director for Halo, said that "a lot of people at 343 are already prototyping ideas and software and art for future Halo products". He added: "I can't say more than that, but work on the game started actually before we launched Halo 4 and continues apace as we cycle staff through the team's vacation breaks. We're excited about the next game." O'Connor didn't explicitly state that the next game is specifically Halo 5, though Microsoft has already confirmed that it is building a second trilogy of Halo titles. Many within the 343 Industries studio are still working on post launch content for Halo 4, the latest being the curation of a major international Halo 4 tournament. It has also developed a plot-led series of co-op games called Spartan Ops, which has been widely praised by critics. A second season of the co-op mode, however, remains up in the air. "Spartan Ops season 2 is yet to be decided, we're looking at how the first season does," said O'Connor. "We got such great responses from [live-action web series] Forward Unto Dawn and Spartan Ops that we're pretty happy with it and we're learning a lot of really interesting stuff for the future," he added. "You are going to see a spectrum of Halo support though the next year and beyond."
  10. Gaminformer interviewing Frank O'Connor franchise development director for the Halo franchise about Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn. Read below for more details Source: Gameinformer.com The third episode of Halo’s live-action web series premiered today, and we had a chance to talk to Frank O'Connor, the franchise development director for the Halo franchise. He has a somewhat ambiguous job title and it means that O'Connor has his hand in just about everything related to Halo. We spoke to him about creating Halo 4's live-action web series, Forward Unto Dawn, and got some clarification about what his job is exactly. You’re the franchise development director for the Halo franchise? What does that job entail? Obviously I’m a spokesperson and that entails being an expert in every aspect of everything that we’re doing and then talking about it, but the vast majority of my work involves building and creating new elements of the franchise that end up in all of the various aspects of it. It’s a very large business at this point, even outside of the game. Obviously the game is the bulk of it, the game is the absolute master of everything else we do in the franchise and so everything feeds back into the game. It’s a really big franchise and it’s a big business on its own. From that perspective, how involved were you with the show, with the production? Were you writing and that kind of thing? We were editing and we were tweaking, really all the writing was done by Todd and Aaron Helbing realistically. We make notes and stuff like that but we were in the initial meetings with the Helbings about story and their first pitch, and the reason they got the job actually, was a story set on Harvest, which is one of the worlds from the Halo universe. We’d interviewed a bunch of writers and we had seen a bunch of pitches, and their pitch wasn’t the show we wanted to make, but it showed a really profound understanding of the universe and what the universe was about. It also mapped directly to what we wanted to do which was tell a story about people because that’s what we wanted this thing to be. Obviously it’s going to be great for fans. Fans are going to look at just about every single detail in this and hopefully love it. We wanted this to be approachable for people who are not familiar with the Halo universe and to do some setup, not in the sense of a pure origin story, but to give context to the beginnings of events that actually end up playing out in Halo 4. So their Harvest story did a lot of that but we needed to do something much more directly connected to it, so in the early meetings we basically helped them craft the story from the get-go and it was a completely different story from the one they originally wanted to tell. We were very involved in crafting that original plot, but we barely put pen to paper, that was those guys. We had meetings where we discussing things like Lasky’s allergy to the cryo-sleep as a sort of motivation for his character. It was basically world and story building from the get-go but they did all the writing. You’re talking about getting pitches. Did you guys put out a call for writers? We did, we put out a call. First we interviewed a bunch of writers and then we narrowed down that list and then we put out a call for pitches, but those guys actually had the most complete pitch to begin with and the deepest understanding of the universe. They had done really good work on serials with Smallville and Spartacus in terms of really quickly being able to establish characters. We don’t have a lot of time with this show, it’s five weeks of content, so we needed writers that could rapidly establish character, and motivation, and universe building, basically in a very rapid time frame. I don’t mean their execution on the script, I mean the five weeks of content that this thing ends up being. What was the impetus for doing a live action show for a video game? We haven’t had a numbered Halo sequel in almost five years at this point, and we wanted to refresh people and we wanted to bring people back into the universe. We were talking about doing it both in the game and in TV commercials, and both of those things are actually going to happen. There’s going to be a lot of bringing people up to speed, hopefully in really unobtrusive and non-obvious ways. That conversation started extending out into, “Well what else can we do here?” What can we do to really make people sit up and take notice? And what can we do to tell a really good Halo story? I think people love watching the TV commercials, but they’re not terribly satisfying in terms of narrative content. They’re really big and you see some cool action, maybe an explosion, and while people enjoy seeing Halo stuff brought into the flesh as it were, they’re just not getting a lot of satisfactory resolution to those brief vignettes, and so it literally just snowballed from that conversation and we said, “Well why don’t we just make a show? We can do that kind of thing.” The next step was starting to talk to first a production company and our producers, so we gired Lydia and Josh (the executive producers behind Forward Unto Dawn) and with those guys in tow we started farming out the pitch to various writers and directors. We were really trying to pick people who would fit the scale of this project and honestly give us the most bang for our buck. All of the people we’re working with have worked on pretty cool things that are able to do a lot with fairly limited resources. We’re trying to get as much of our budget up on the screen as possible. Read on to find out exactly how Forward Unto Dawn fits into the narrative of Halo 4. How important Forward Unto Dawn to the plot of Halo 4? Will players who only play the game and skip the show be lost? Certainly not. They’re connected via characters and some elements I can’t talk about, but if you don’t play the game, Forward Unto Dawn will make perfect sense to you. In fact it’s very self-contained, again kind of like a superhero origin story where you’re finding out all this stuff and hopefully that will drive people to be interested in the game, not the other way around. People who play the game and have watched Forward Unto Dawn are going to recognize characters and scenarios and certain pieces of setup that should provide really cool resonance. They will work really well together but they’re absolutely not essential to each other. They both need to be their own stories and they both need to be complete. Is there a fear that this might turn into what the Matrix kind of had, where there was almost too many versions of stories that all came connected into one place and left people out in the cold a little bit? I think if you have a matrix, and I don’t mean the movie, if you have a matrix of things that are required to understand something, you’re just creating a mess for yourself. We don’t want to make an ARG. We wanted to tell a story that established the human covenant conflict, the basic ideas and premises of the Halo universe like the UNSC, what are Spartans, and this story actually does all of that. In some ways it’s kind of the origin story of the Halo universe as we understand it today, and it’s a completely standalone story. The connection points, again, are sort of through lines for characters. The character of Thomas Lasky, who’s the lead in Forward Unto Dawn, is going to be in his 40s by the time you see him again in Halo 4. Just that simple fact means that the stories, while connected, are not linear or chronologically connected and they both stand alone completely. Even in Halo 4 we want to make sure we have a story with a beginning, middle and an end that doesn’t require that you read a book, that doesn’t require that you have any previous understanding of the Halo universe. These things should all be complimentary, but not essential. If you do watch Forward Unto Dawn, and you do read all the books, and you follow all this fiction, and you check out all the terminals you’re going to have a very different experience. But if you shoe-in all of that stuff you’re still going to be in a perfectly safe and valid narrative space. You’ll understand everything that’s going on no matter which of those discrete pieces you consume, or all of them. Your experience should be enhanced by it, not required. You just talked about a character that ages 40 years when he appears in Halo 4, are there any other ways you can talk about how Forward Unto Dawn ties into the Spartan Ops or the main campaign of Halo 4? Not without giving away some spoilers. There’s a device that’s used throughout the show that does have a very direct connection to Halo 4, but I don’t want to ruin it. It’s a piece of context for the overall premise of the show and it will make sense by the time you see episode two, that will completely make sense, but I don’t want to spoil that for viewers. Do you feel like you had a good experience making the show? Do you think you would want to do more stuff like this? Not even necessarily for future Halo games but even just to keep going with the story? I think we had a great experience with the people in the production and actually seeing the final show last week, we had been watching it with ADR caption and the wrong colors and placeholder special effects and all that stuff. It was already really compelling at some point a couple months ago, where you could watch the whole thing from beginning to end, and we really enjoyed the story, but seeing it all come together as this polished piece – I had to watch the first two episodes for feedback in their finished form a couple of days ago and I was genuinely disappointed and irritated when I got to the end of episode two and I didn’t have the finished episode three to watch, so I went back and watched one of the unfinished builds of it just to keep the story going. It’s actually just a good story, it could be set in the 20th century or the 30th century and it would still be a good story about compelling characters. Be sure to check out our interviews with Forward Unto Dawn's Director Steward Hendler, and Daniel Cudmore, the actor playing Master Chief in the series. Halo 4 releases November 6 on Xbox 360. This post has been promoted to an article
  11. An interview with Frank O'connor on Halo 4 and the Newly released Forward Unto Dawn series from Big Shiny Robot. Chris:So Frank, you are Franchise Development Director at 343. What is a normal day like for you and what does that role entail? Frankie:There isn’t a normal day, because it entails so many different things. Last week I was in most countries in Europe doing a press tour showing off the game and just being a spokesperson. But most of my real proper job is crafting stories and a universe in and around the Halo game franchise. That can be anything from, in the case of Forward Unto Dawn sort of the inception and creation of that product and the story, all the way to working with our writers and narrative director on our video game. Of course the extended franchise: the action figures, and skateboards, and you name. It is all a business that all has to be run and all has to be appropriately and correctly tied into the rest of the universe all in the service of the game. What was your specific involvement with Forward Unto Dawn? Helping craft the idea in the first place with Matt McCloskey, one of our business directors, and helping to coalesce a small kernel of team for the thing to snowball around. It had been 5 years since the last numbered Halo game, and you know, that’s most of the life of a new hardware platform, the 360 in this case. We knew there were a lot of people curious about the Halo universe, and were going to be curious about it, and we wanted to give them a piece of fiction and a piece of story that could tell them a little bit about the Halo universe without being intimating and without being too gamey. The 2nd half of it was kind of an organic evolution of conversations that we’d had about our live action TV commercials for the big game launches. The fans love those. We made some shorts with Neil Blomkamp and fans loved seeing the Halo universe brought to life. Those two ideas sort of met in the middle and we decided to make a TV show. It was as vague and organic sounding as that sounded. After production of Forward Unto Dawn was complete, what was your first reaction to seeing the Halo universe brought to life in such a cinematic way? I mean, we had seen it a little bit with working with Neil Blomkamp on the shorts with Peter Jackson back in the day before the movie kind of went away. So I’ve seen this stuff lots and lots of times and it never ceases to amaze me. I think the really interesting thing about this product is that we’ve done all these vignettes and they never had any real narrative content, they were moments. It was like, this is an action moment in the life of a Spartan, or this in action moment in the life of the Warthog as it were. That’s cool and its great to see that stuff, but its not satisfying in terms of having an actual narrative arc. So the exciting for me was really the first day of work with Todd and Aaron Helping, the screenwriters, as we modeled through what the story was going to be and what these characters were going to be, and we started to realize we had this germ of a really amazing story. Obviously fans have been hoping for a full length feature Halo film, and Forward Unto Dawn seems like it will certainly scratch that itch, but do you think this will be as close as we will ever get to a full length studio Halo movie? No, we obviously own the full rights to Halo as a franchise. There’s really nothing stopping us from doing that other than bandwidth and timing. One day if all the stars align and the right script and the right director and everything is there, then sure we’d absolutely love to do it, but there’s no plans at this time. Spartan Ops has been likened to a TV series. It sounds really unique and exciting. Has it been difficult to approach and plan missions for it that could have possibly been saved for Halo 5 and 6? No, in fact one of the really cool things about Spartan Ops is that, you know when you are playing the main Halo campaign, let’s say it takes a player 10 hours to go through, we can’t control the pace of either the narrative or the gameplay experience because 10 hours is too much to expect most people, and there will be people that do it, but you can’t expect most people to sit down and play it for 10 hours. So you can’t really predict the holistic experience, whereas if you are making a movie or TV show, a movie is an easier metaphor, if you are making a movie and its an hour and 45 minutes, you know where the beginning the middle and the end is you can really kind of use music and drama and story to manipulate the viewer’s experience, right? With a video game you can’t really control it to that discreet level of detail. This actually gives us the ability to do that both with the episodes of story that accompany Spartan Ops, but actually also the missions. We knew that we could make a mission, let’s say 15 or 20 minutes long, we know where the lows and highs are going to be in that and we can craft, actually a fairly different type of campaign experience even though its similar to the co-op campaign in the main game, we can actually control the pacing in a much more accurate way. So it does have a really different feel to it Let’s talk a little bit about multiplayer. Last week Ragnarok, which is a remake of the fan favorite Valhalla from Halo 3, was revealed. Why was this map chosen and what was the process like for recreating it? Valhalla was obviously a fan favorite. It was really suitable for a lot of different elements of the whole Halo sandbox and that’s obviously true of Halo 4. One of the main reasons to pick Valhalla this time was because of the way the Spartans move in Halo 4. Its not a big deal for players in most other video games, but its a big deal for Halo players, is that now every single Spartan has sprint. The weird thing about Valhalla is that even though its quite a long map, once you have sprint it meant we were able to make it really really multipurpose. It totally worked for vehicles, but now it actually works for on-foot combat as well. Of all the remakes that we could have considered it gave us the most flexibility for the most different types of gameplay and that’s the reason it was picked. Nice, I’m really excited for it. Another exciting thing on Ragnarok is the mech, Mantis. How does that work? Its very powerful. Its very slow. Like everything in the Halo sandbox its about sort of empowering the player, but keeping things nice and balanced. It is armed with a machine gun, a missile launcher, and a stomp move where you can basically run up to Spartan or a vehicle and stamp on it and destroy it. Of course that’s balanced with it being a lumbering, noisy, mechanical object so its not horrifically overpowered. In fact one of the most satisfying things to do in the game is to carjack the Mantis and yank the occupant out of the little pilot’s wheelhouse. When you stomp a vehicle or a Spartan is there a medal you get specifically for that? I believe there is actually. I think that we will be revealing the medals in the upcoming weeks, but yeah I believe there is a special something for proficient Mantis users. Awesome. Tuesday morning Ryan over at IGN and 343’s Kynan Pearson revealed a new multiplayer map called Abandon. What can you tell us about the map’s location and unique look? Oh my god, I do not have a good time on that map at all. Its definitely one my weak points. When maps have a lot of verticality my 42-year-old twitch reflexes get killed. Its like most of the maps set on obviously an alien world. Its overgrown and in ruins. Actually its funny, a lot of the maps that we have in Halo 4 are very new, sterile, clean spaces because its this living Forerunner world so this is one of the rare instances were you are going to things that are really overgrown and sort of decrepit. Yeah its got a really unique look from what we’ve seen. Yeah and it works really well for close quarters combat so if you are using things like the Scattershot, there’s loads of ways to surprise people. Its got lots of sort of honeytraps where you think “I’m going to go there” and people can lay in wait for you. You may not be able to answer this yet, but what new additions and improvements can we look forward to in Halo 4 and Halo Waypoint in terms of stats tracking and will there be a developer API? We aren’t going to expose a developer API at least in the immediate term or at launch. Its definitely something we think about for the future. There will be significant upgrades to all of Waypoint’s current functionality in time for launch and a little bit before. My group of friends and fellow bots here at Big Shiny Robot really got into Bungie Pro and rendering film clips to show off cool things we did. Can we expect a similar feature? We will have more information about video rendering and other features of that kind closer to launch. Sorry, I know you hate those kind of answers. Can you tell us about a key moment during development that you thought was really cool or interesting? You know, its not really a moment, but there was a point where there were literally 9 members of 343 Industries and we were being tasked with taking over the entire Halo universe, we suddenly had this realization that we were going to have to grow from 9 people to almost 300 by the time we shipped. It was sort of terrifying, but maybe in the first couple of interview loops we started to realize something which was that every single person that came to interview for the job was a Halo fan. Of course it makes logical sense, but its not something you are thinking about when you are trying to poach people form AAA studios and trying to bring them to Seattle from different parts of the world. That turned out to not only one of the easiest parts of that challenge, and it wasn’t easy at all let me be clear about that, but it actually gave us some of the best opportunities because for all the people who were Halo fans and knew what made Halo cool and knew what was special about Halo, they had all these techniques and perspectives and abilities that they were able to bring from the other studios and from the projects that actually helped us grow and evolve the game. So Halo 4 went gold about a week or so ago, congrats on that by the way, what does it feel like at 343 and how is the team reacting? Thank ya. Its weird because there’s a few more parking spaces and people are of course off crunch more or less, but there’s still little segments of team. I mean to your point earlier the Waypoint guys are working on getting the website and the backend stuff ready for launch. We’re still working on Forward Unto Dawn doing final color correction and VFX for the last couple of episodes. We’re doing all of this launch activity and marketing stuff and for some of us we just keep going. I’d like to say there’s a huge sense of relief but not for me, not quite yet. I think the team is really, I think they’re really elated about the project, I think they are rightfully proud of the game. I think that they are really sort of pleased and proud at how they’ve come together as a team and as a family. To grow that quickly, to grow from 9 people to 300 people in 3 years and build a game and come out of that process with what we hope is a great game and a really sort of happy, successful, collaborative culture is way more than we could ever have hoped for when we started this. The sense of camaraderie and team spirit that is gathered from places like Twitter and forums is just really awesome. It seems like everyone is really tight tight-knit there. Yeah. I think that was part of the process of having to grow so quickly I think actually worked in our favor because you know we had this shared passion and it was all Halo, Halo, Halo. Then of course you get to know each other as colleagues and friends and it seems artificial from the outside but from the inside it felt, it really did feel like family. One more question then Arse-bot has one. As a fan of Halo what are you most excited for? I honestly, this is no word of a lie, every day I go back to my house and I have a recumbent bike in my basement gym, which is all creepy, and I get on the bike and I play Reach every single night. I play various multiplayer modes. So I’m excited just as I was to move from Halo 3 to Halo: Reach, I’m excited to move from Halo: Reach to Halo 4, and to just get a fresh new multiplayer experience for my workouts. I always burn more calories when I’m losing, because I can’t rage quit really, because I’m on a bike, so the worse I do the more calories I burn, and luckily I’m very bad at the game. Tyson: You had kind of touched on this a little bit when we were talking about the map Abandon. My friends which includes Chris who is conducting the interview, and some of the other guys who run our site, we get together, we played Halo: Reach, we played Halo 3, we’re big into hopping online, getting a squad together, and just trying to tear things up. We all have a different style of play. I’m kind of the running gun type, we’ve got friends who hang back and snipe, we’ve got the guys who go for the vehicles. Could you describe your play style? How do you play the game and how would you describe your Halo style? So you actually brought up a really brilliant point about Halo, which is that its not monolithic. I mean obviously you have role players in Counter Strike, but my experience in Counter Strike is that everyone is some sort of genius at killing me. Its a very sort of specific game and game style that you play depending on the mode obviously but there’s always the same feel. Halo players are really not monolithic. They do tend to be role players. I’m great at, I’m not great at a lot of things, but I’m a good driver, and I’m excellent at sneaking and getting flags. Right? I can’t hold a territory, but I can get a flag when a good team is otherwise occupied. Those are my skills. One of the cool things about Halo 4, and I think that people tend to think of the career progression as a way to get more power, but it doesn’t really empower you, what it does is it empowers you to create a player that maps to your style. A good vehicle specialist for example is going to be able to customize his character to be not only better at driving, but to be rewarded for being a good driver. That’s what its really about. Its about customizing your character to suit your style of play, rather than to simply make your character more and more and more powerful as you grow. Its more about about giving your more fine tuned controls over doing the kinds of things that you like to do and we hope that that promotes really interesting dynamic and teamwork. Other than that I’m a pretty decent SWAT player. That’s about it. *Laughs* Again I’m 42 and often we’ll go play MLG players and I think they expect because I work on the game that I’m going to be good, not great, but at least good, and they’re very pleasantly surprised when they absolutely destroy me. Tyson: Well you know, we’ve had discussions too about its not always about the win necessarily. Obviously we all love to win, and there’s always some friendly trash talking going on, but sometimes its just about how close the game is. We’ve had talks about this with some of the other first person shooter games how it seems to be really off balance, but with Halo it seems like you guys have really been able to fine tune it to where even if you are losing, you get matched up with a group where its like “Gah, you know we lost but that was an awesome match.” Its a combination of the way the game’s interior systems work and TrueSkill and obviously the way matchmaking playlists are split up. But you are right in Halo it tends to never be a complete blowout unless someone on your team quits and that’s one of the reasons we added join-in-progress is to ameliorate that problem and keep those games balanced. You’re absolutely right, I don’t feel bad if we lose 50 to 48, in fact I feel pretty good about that. That’s one of the hard things in game design is that for competitive play to be satisfying, you can’t always win and you can’t always lose so it should really be about how you performed on that day and that moment and that should be where the satisfaction comes in. Tyson: I can tell you right now we get a lot of satisfaction from Halo games, and we are huge fans, and we appreciate all the work that you and everyone at 343 has put in. We’re really excited for Halo 4 and we’re looking forward to Forward Unto Dawn as well. We appreciate you taking time out of what I’m sure is a busy schedule to talk to us today. This post has been promoted to an article
  12. An interview with Frank O'connor on Halo 4 and the Newly released Forward Unto Dawn series from Big Shiny Robot. Chris:So Frank, you are Franchise Development Director at 343. What is a normal day like for you and what does that role entail? Frankie:There isn’t a normal day, because it entails so many different things. Last week I was in most countries in Europe doing a press tour showing off the game and just being a spokesperson. But most of my real proper job is crafting stories and a universe in and around the Halo game franchise. That can be anything from, in the case of Forward Unto Dawn sort of the inception and creation of that product and the story, all the way to working with our writers and narrative director on our video game. Of course the extended franchise: the action figures, and skateboards, and you name. It is all a business that all has to be run and all has to be appropriately and correctly tied into the rest of the universe all in the service of the game. What was your specific involvement with Forward Unto Dawn? Helping craft the idea in the first place with Matt McCloskey, one of our business directors, and helping to coalesce a small kernel of team for the thing to snowball around. It had been 5 years since the last numbered Halo game, and you know, that’s most of the life of a new hardware platform, the 360 in this case. We knew there were a lot of people curious about the Halo universe, and were going to be curious about it, and we wanted to give them a piece of fiction and a piece of story that could tell them a little bit about the Halo universe without being intimating and without being too gamey. The 2nd half of it was kind of an organic evolution of conversations that we’d had about our live action TV commercials for the big game launches. The fans love those. We made some shorts with Neil Blomkamp and fans loved seeing the Halo universe brought to life. Those two ideas sort of met in the middle and we decided to make a TV show. It was as vague and organic sounding as that sounded. After production of Forward Unto Dawn was complete, what was your first reaction to seeing the Halo universe brought to life in such a cinematic way? I mean, we had seen it a little bit with working with Neil Blomkamp on the shorts with Peter Jackson back in the day before the movie kind of went away. So I’ve seen this stuff lots and lots of times and it never ceases to amaze me. I think the really interesting thing about this product is that we’ve done all these vignettes and they never had any real narrative content, they were moments. It was like, this is an action moment in the life of a Spartan, or this in action moment in the life of the Warthog as it were. That’s cool and its great to see that stuff, but its not satisfying in terms of having an actual narrative arc. So the exciting for me was really the first day of work with Todd and Aaron Helping, the screenwriters, as we modeled through what the story was going to be and what these characters were going to be, and we started to realize we had this germ of a really amazing story. Obviously fans have been hoping for a full length feature Halo film, and Forward Unto Dawn seems like it will certainly scratch that itch, but do you think this will be as close as we will ever get to a full length studio Halo movie? No, we obviously own the full rights to Halo as a franchise. There’s really nothing stopping us from doing that other than bandwidth and timing. One day if all the stars align and the right script and the right director and everything is there, then sure we’d absolutely love to do it, but there’s no plans at this time. Spartan Ops has been likened to a TV series. It sounds really unique and exciting. Has it been difficult to approach and plan missions for it that could have possibly been saved for Halo 5 and 6? No, in fact one of the really cool things about Spartan Ops is that, you know when you are playing the main Halo campaign, let’s say it takes a player 10 hours to go through, we can’t control the pace of either the narrative or the gameplay experience because 10 hours is too much to expect most people, and there will be people that do it, but you can’t expect most people to sit down and play it for 10 hours. So you can’t really predict the holistic experience, whereas if you are making a movie or TV show, a movie is an easier metaphor, if you are making a movie and its an hour and 45 minutes, you know where the beginning the middle and the end is you can really kind of use music and drama and story to manipulate the viewer’s experience, right? With a video game you can’t really control it to that discreet level of detail. This actually gives us the ability to do that both with the episodes of story that accompany Spartan Ops, but actually also the missions. We knew that we could make a mission, let’s say 15 or 20 minutes long, we know where the lows and highs are going to be in that and we can craft, actually a fairly different type of campaign experience even though its similar to the co-op campaign in the main game, we can actually control the pacing in a much more accurate way. So it does have a really different feel to it Let’s talk a little bit about multiplayer. Last week Ragnarok, which is a remake of the fan favorite Valhalla from Halo 3, was revealed. Why was this map chosen and what was the process like for recreating it? Valhalla was obviously a fan favorite. It was really suitable for a lot of different elements of the whole Halo sandbox and that’s obviously true of Halo 4. One of the main reasons to pick Valhalla this time was because of the way the Spartans move in Halo 4. Its not a big deal for players in most other video games, but its a big deal for Halo players, is that now every single Spartan has sprint. The weird thing about Valhalla is that even though its quite a long map, once you have sprint it meant we were able to make it really really multipurpose. It totally worked for vehicles, but now it actually works for on-foot combat as well. Of all the remakes that we could have considered it gave us the most flexibility for the most different types of gameplay and that’s the reason it was picked. Nice, I’m really excited for it. Another exciting thing on Ragnarok is the mech, Mantis. How does that work? Its very powerful. Its very slow. Like everything in the Halo sandbox its about sort of empowering the player, but keeping things nice and balanced. It is armed with a machine gun, a missile launcher, and a stomp move where you can basically run up to Spartan or a vehicle and stamp on it and destroy it. Of course that’s balanced with it being a lumbering, noisy, mechanical object so its not horrifically overpowered. In fact one of the most satisfying things to do in the game is to carjack the Mantis and yank the occupant out of the little pilot’s wheelhouse. When you stomp a vehicle or a Spartan is there a medal you get specifically for that? I believe there is actually. I think that we will be revealing the medals in the upcoming weeks, but yeah I believe there is a special something for proficient Mantis users. Awesome. Tuesday morning Ryan over at IGN and 343’s Kynan Pearson revealed a new multiplayer map called Abandon. What can you tell us about the map’s location and unique look? Oh my god, I do not have a good time on that map at all. Its definitely one my weak points. When maps have a lot of verticality my 42-year-old twitch reflexes get killed. Its like most of the maps set on obviously an alien world. Its overgrown and in ruins. Actually its funny, a lot of the maps that we have in Halo 4 are very new, sterile, clean spaces because its this living Forerunner world so this is one of the rare instances were you are going to things that are really overgrown and sort of decrepit. Yeah its got a really unique look from what we’ve seen. Yeah and it works really well for close quarters combat so if you are using things like the Scattershot, there’s loads of ways to surprise people. Its got lots of sort of honeytraps where you think “I’m going to go there” and people can lay in wait for you. You may not be able to answer this yet, but what new additions and improvements can we look forward to in Halo 4 and Halo Waypoint in terms of stats tracking and will there be a developer API? We aren’t going to expose a developer API at least in the immediate term or at launch. Its definitely something we think about for the future. There will be significant upgrades to all of Waypoint’s current functionality in time for launch and a little bit before. My group of friends and fellow bots here at Big Shiny Robot really got into Bungie Pro and rendering film clips to show off cool things we did. Can we expect a similar feature? We will have more information about video rendering and other features of that kind closer to launch. Sorry, I know you hate those kind of answers. Can you tell us about a key moment during development that you thought was really cool or interesting? You know, its not really a moment, but there was a point where there were literally 9 members of 343 Industries and we were being tasked with taking over the entire Halo universe, we suddenly had this realization that we were going to have to grow from 9 people to almost 300 by the time we shipped. It was sort of terrifying, but maybe in the first couple of interview loops we started to realize something which was that every single person that came to interview for the job was a Halo fan. Of course it makes logical sense, but its not something you are thinking about when you are trying to poach people form AAA studios and trying to bring them to Seattle from different parts of the world. That turned out to not only one of the easiest parts of that challenge, and it wasn’t easy at all let me be clear about that, but it actually gave us some of the best opportunities because for all the people who were Halo fans and knew what made Halo cool and knew what was special about Halo, they had all these techniques and perspectives and abilities that they were able to bring from the other studios and from the projects that actually helped us grow and evolve the game. So Halo 4 went gold about a week or so ago, congrats on that by the way, what does it feel like at 343 and how is the team reacting? Thank ya. Its weird because there’s a few more parking spaces and people are of course off crunch more or less, but there’s still little segments of team. I mean to your point earlier the Waypoint guys are working on getting the website and the backend stuff ready for launch. We’re still working on Forward Unto Dawn doing final color correction and VFX for the last couple of episodes. We’re doing all of this launch activity and marketing stuff and for some of us we just keep going. I’d like to say there’s a huge sense of relief but not for me, not quite yet. I think the team is really, I think they’re really elated about the project, I think they are rightfully proud of the game. I think that they are really sort of pleased and proud at how they’ve come together as a team and as a family. To grow that quickly, to grow from 9 people to 300 people in 3 years and build a game and come out of that process with what we hope is a great game and a really sort of happy, successful, collaborative culture is way more than we could ever have hoped for when we started this. The sense of camaraderie and team spirit that is gathered from places like Twitter and forums is just really awesome. It seems like everyone is really tight tight-knit there. Yeah. I think that was part of the process of having to grow so quickly I think actually worked in our favor because you know we had this shared passion and it was all Halo, Halo, Halo. Then of course you get to know each other as colleagues and friends and it seems artificial from the outside but from the inside it felt, it really did feel like family. One more question then Arse-bot has one. As a fan of Halo what are you most excited for? I honestly, this is no word of a lie, every day I go back to my house and I have a recumbent bike in my basement gym, which is all creepy, and I get on the bike and I play Reach every single night. I play various multiplayer modes. So I’m excited just as I was to move from Halo 3 to Halo: Reach, I’m excited to move from Halo: Reach to Halo 4, and to just get a fresh new multiplayer experience for my workouts. I always burn more calories when I’m losing, because I can’t rage quit really, because I’m on a bike, so the worse I do the more calories I burn, and luckily I’m very bad at the game. Tyson: You had kind of touched on this a little bit when we were talking about the map Abandon. My friends which includes Chris who is conducting the interview, and some of the other guys who run our site, we get together, we played Halo: Reach, we played Halo 3, we’re big into hopping online, getting a squad together, and just trying to tear things up. We all have a different style of play. I’m kind of the running gun type, we’ve got friends who hang back and snipe, we’ve got the guys who go for the vehicles. Could you describe your play style? How do you play the game and how would you describe your Halo style? So you actually brought up a really brilliant point about Halo, which is that its not monolithic. I mean obviously you have role players in Counter Strike, but my experience in Counter Strike is that everyone is some sort of genius at killing me. Its a very sort of specific game and game style that you play depending on the mode obviously but there’s always the same feel. Halo players are really not monolithic. They do tend to be role players. I’m great at, I’m not great at a lot of things, but I’m a good driver, and I’m excellent at sneaking and getting flags. Right? I can’t hold a territory, but I can get a flag when a good team is otherwise occupied. Those are my skills. One of the cool things about Halo 4, and I think that people tend to think of the career progression as a way to get more power, but it doesn’t really empower you, what it does is it empowers you to create a player that maps to your style. A good vehicle specialist for example is going to be able to customize his character to be not only better at driving, but to be rewarded for being a good driver. That’s what its really about. Its about customizing your character to suit your style of play, rather than to simply make your character more and more and more powerful as you grow. Its more about about giving your more fine tuned controls over doing the kinds of things that you like to do and we hope that that promotes really interesting dynamic and teamwork. Other than that I’m a pretty decent SWAT player. That’s about it. *Laughs* Again I’m 42 and often we’ll go play MLG players and I think they expect because I work on the game that I’m going to be good, not great, but at least good, and they’re very pleasantly surprised when they absolutely destroy me. Tyson: Well you know, we’ve had discussions too about its not always about the win necessarily. Obviously we all love to win, and there’s always some friendly trash talking going on, but sometimes its just about how close the game is. We’ve had talks about this with some of the other first person shooter games how it seems to be really off balance, but with Halo it seems like you guys have really been able to fine tune it to where even if you are losing, you get matched up with a group where its like “Gah, you know we lost but that was an awesome match.” Its a combination of the way the game’s interior systems work and TrueSkill and obviously the way matchmaking playlists are split up. But you are right in Halo it tends to never be a complete blowout unless someone on your team quits and that’s one of the reasons we added join-in-progress is to ameliorate that problem and keep those games balanced. You’re absolutely right, I don’t feel bad if we lose 50 to 48, in fact I feel pretty good about that. That’s one of the hard things in game design is that for competitive play to be satisfying, you can’t always win and you can’t always lose so it should really be about how you performed on that day and that moment and that should be where the satisfaction comes in. Tyson: I can tell you right now we get a lot of satisfaction from Halo games, and we are huge fans, and we appreciate all the work that you and everyone at 343 has put in. We’re really excited for Halo 4 and we’re looking forward to Forward Unto Dawn as well. We appreciate you taking time out of what I’m sure is a busy schedule to talk to us today.
  13. Source: http://www.xbox360achievements.org/news/news-13043-343-s-Frank-O-Connor-Talks-Halo-4---Keeping-the-Franchise-Fresh--Says-Triple-A-Titles-Will-Never-Go-Away.html By: Dan Webb "In a month's time, literally, 343 Industries' debut Halo outing hits the Xbox 360... and by debut, we mean proper debut. HD remakes don't count. Really." "We caught up with 343's Franchise Development Director, Frank O'Connor, when he was in London recently to talk all things Halo, including the passing of the torch - or the Halo bible, as it's known - the future of triple-A titles, how 343 are keeping the franchise fresh, Spartan Ops and we even touch upon the new bad guy, very briefly. That's not it of course, if we were to sit here and name every talking point, by the time we finish a real-life Halo would probably exist." Halo 4 is out November 6th worldwide... except Japan, where the game comes out November 8th. Video: http://www.viddler.c...secret=54974750 This post has been promoted to an article
  14. Source: http://www.xbox360achievements.org/news/news-13043-343-s-Frank-O-Connor-Talks-Halo-4---Keeping-the-Franchise-Fresh--Says-Triple-A-Titles-Will-Never-Go-Away.html By: Dan Webb "In a month's time, literally, 343 Industries' debut Halo outing hits the Xbox 360... and by debut, we mean proper debut. HD remakes don't count. Really." "We caught up with 343's Franchise Development Director, Frank O'Connor, when he was in London recently to talk all things Halo, including the passing of the torch - or the Halo bible, as it's known - the future of triple-A titles, how 343 are keeping the franchise fresh, Spartan Ops and we even touch upon the new bad guy, very briefly. That's not it of course, if we were to sit here and name every talking point, by the time we finish a real-life Halo would probably exist." Halo 4 is out November 6th worldwide... except Japan, where the game comes out November 8th. Video: http://www.viddler.c...secret=54974750
  15. Little English Blog has gotten a chance to talk to Frank O'Connor of 343 about Halo 4. Read below for more details From: http://www.littleenglishhaloblog.com/ By: FlawlessCowboy On Wednesday night in a basement bar in London's Covent Garden, I got the chance to have a sit down with 343industries Franchise Development Director Frank O'Connor. I tried to cover a lot of the unanswered questions that I know many of you have been wanting answers to. Me: So what can you tell me about the Halo 4 ranking system? FO: What ranking system? Not the Exp based Spartan Ranks, a skill based system? That's not something we're talking about at the moment, we'll have more on that closer to launch. Ok, so what's on disc 2? [laughs] It's not really a big secret, the only reason we've not talked about this is because until everything is locked in we can't be 100% sure what's on each disc. But as you probably guessed it will be a split between campaign and multi-player content. Ok cool, so now that you've made competitive multiplayer fit within the Halo canon, does this mean that the multiplayer announcer, Jeff Steitzer, is a character within the universe? Although you won't meet him in the game, yes the implication is that he's an officer or trainer aboard the Infinity working with the Spartan IVs. I played Spartan Ops just now, and if I'm honest I didn't really get a feel for the "watercooler" moments you've discussed. I know you've likened it to Game of Thrones. At times it felt like the objectives were fairly standard 'defend this', 'destroy this' and so on.. Ah, this is absolutely to do with the nature of the demo we're showing today, the three missions we've selected were to demonstrate the different types of gameplay we have on show, so there's a big mission which focuses on vehicle combat, the mission that focuses on the Prometheans and another the Covenant. You don't see any of the cut scenes or story progression in this demo, you can rest assured there are some great moments and a really strong narrative throughout. The Game of Thrones analogy is a good one. I know this is something you'll have been asked before, but can you tell us anything about why we're fighting the Covenant again? Is it Telcam's boys? This is something that will be explored in the game, I don't want to go into any major plot details, but this will be a focus of the Spartan Ops story. You've said before that going forward "everything matters" within the Halo universe, does this mean we'll start to see more crossover between the expanded universe and the games? Yes, this is something that was one of our goals when 343 took charge of Halo and you can see that in the more recent books and how they're closely related to the events in the games. While not every story arc and character you could point to in the expanded universe will appear in the games there will certainly be some. Since last year's E3 we've seen a change in terminology from the "Reclaimer Trilogy" to "Reclaimer Saga" what's the thinking behind that? Is it because you see Spartan Ops having such an impact on the story between the games? Spartan Ops is certainly a part of that thinking, but it's bigger than that. When we took a holistic look at our plans for the story; be that the main games, books, Spartan Ops and Forward unto Dawn the phrase "trilogy" didn't really fit any more and so it became "saga". We've seen the work you've done to flesh out Grifball and Infection and make them feel more like full featured modes. Are there any other modes that have seen a similar lick of paint? SWAT, maybe? No, we've shown all the major changes now, we put a lot of work into Flood and Grifball as those have always been really popular modes. There will be some minor tweaks here and there, but we've shown all the big surprises. Obviously CTF has seen some significant changes too, but there's nothing else on that scale. Obviously you're one of the few who's made a Halo game with both Bungie and 343industries, how do they compare? In many ways they're very similar, in terms of the pool of talent and the quality of the teams. And both 343 and Bungie are absolutely committed to making the best game they possibly can. The main difference between the two is the way the teams were formed, with Bungie it was a slow organic growth over time, whereas at 343 we had to build a team much smaller time frame. Huge thanks to Frankie for taking the time out to talk to me. There are some more questions, but they relate to content under embargo, I may release them as a part 2 at a later date. This post has been promoted to an article
  16. Frank O'Connor was interviewed at PAX over the weekend of Aug 31-Sept 2, but a new interview has come out with more details. Johnathan Toyad from Gamespot.com covered a whole new set of questions not included in the PAX interview. For the full article Click Here How much will players have to change in order to get use to Halo 4 multiplayer? No doubt every player that picks up a new Halo game will have an immediate feel for the controls. We've been getting some good feedback from pro gamers so far. We are working closely with MLG especially on multiplayer strategy guides. What are the most requested maps? The Pit, Valhalla, Beaver Creek, which these maps may not come back because sprint is now a default command. This may make some maps too cramped. We have one remake but we can't reveal that yet. Campaign News You've had animes and graphic novels made of halo, what other venues are you exploring? Currently our biggest exploration is in digital TV space. We are creating the series forward unto dawn which starts on October 5th. It's suppose to help tap into the human side of the UNSC and it takes place 20 years before Halo 4. As for how it got started? it was all an internal preproduction discussion. We knew we were going to have new players join into the mix, so we wanted something to serve as an introduction. When we looked back to other TV commercials we've done we discovered that they made people excited about it, but were disappointed that there was no story to follow. Thus, Forward Unto Dawn was a good way to kill two birds with one stone. I know this is a lot of info to take in, but some of this info is very interesting. That's it for this post, but leave your comments and ideas below. Make sure to let me know if you like by hitting the like button because this took a lot of time and effort. Thanks.
  17. Here is Frank O'Connors interview from PAX, I find this interview interesting because he covers some things that I've been curious about. Uploaded by ReadyUpLive http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nmDHmuA_NY&feature=g-all-u
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