Warthogs, crash sites, skirmishes and more
Last night, Xbox Australia hosted a [[artnid:313355|Halo 3: ODST-themed event|See a full-sized replica of a Halo Warthog in Sydney Harbour this weekend]] on Cockatoo Island, Sydney Harbour. Guests of honour included Curtis Creamer from Bungie Studios and assorted bods from Weta Workshop (Weta built the full-sized Warthog replica and ODST crash site that featured at the event). The brisk winter night came with a few equally cool surprises, including all-new details about the game. Check out the rest of the slideshow for all the latest info.
The invitees who disembarked on Cockatoo Island included members of the games press, business associates of Bungie Studios and a swag of lucky competition winners, including this chap here.
Contrary to the pictorial evidence above, there were actually women at the event. Honest.
Reaching the Halo 3 crash site required a brave trek through these dimly lit corridors. According to legend, escaped convicts once became lost within these very same tunnels and were forced to eat each other. Maybe.
Some of these Halo fans look a bit sheepish to be there. Cheer up lads!
From out of the darkness, the Halo Warthog replica revs its engine threateningly. Despite this impressive display, it remained stationary throughout the event. Tch.
Behold!: the three-tonne Halo Warthog in all its glory. Vehicular highlights include a six-cylinder turbo-charged engine nicked from a Nissan Patrol, a custom-built all-terrain chassis, full four-wheel drive and the ability to withstand being launched off a 20-foot bank. It can also drive sideways, like a crab.
Astonishingly, the whole thing was built from scratch by Weta Workshop in under six weeks. Weta founder Peter Jackson was originally slated to produce the [[artnid:314407|ill-fated Halo movie|Halo Chronicles 'No longer happening'says Peter Jackson]]. (Luckily, the Warthog was fully assembled before the project was abandoned.)
Warthog front bumper and license plate detail. (It's not a Sony.)
Warthog machine gun mount. Rat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat!
Warthog interior. The Covenant 'road kill tally' on the front windscreen is an especially nice touch.
Warthog interior. (Sadly, we couldn't find a Blue X button on the dashboard, so rolling it could be a problem.)
See, we told you there were women at the event. [That's a PR rep -- Ed.]
Some IGN V-jays, accosted by what appears to be a UFO.
A pair of young Halo fans drink in the glory of the Warthog. If only you had your licence, eh boys?
Warthog rear view.
After feasting their eyes on the replica Warthog, attendees were treated to a sneak peak of Halo 3: ODST and a slideshow of Halo film props, with commentary from key Bungie and Weta personnel.
Weta's general manager Tim Launder flew in from New Zealand to talk about the "cool shut" he and his employees get up to. According to Launder, the funnest part of the job was smashing up the Warthog to make it look battle-scarred!
Next to take the stage was the fabulously named Curtis Creamer, the lead producer for Halo 3: ODST. Curtis talked us through what gamers can expect from the game.
Curtis also confirmed that four player co-op will feature in the finished game. The new map interface is sure to prove handy when strategising attacks -- this will allow you to set up pincer movements and ambushes quickly and effectively.
It's all suitably epic looking, isn't it? You could almost imagine Master Chief slinking into shot with assault rifle at the ready.
Curiously, wielding dual firearms seems to have been excised from the game. Boo-hiss. On the plus side, a modified version of the original Pistol from Halo: Combat Evolved has made a welcome return.
With the formalities out of the way, attendees got to try out the Firefight multiplayer mode in Halo 3: ODST. Naturally, the members of the games press trounced everyone else in the room (anyone who says otherwise is a liar).
After some tense firefights and requisite pwnage, it was time to check out the Weta-designed Halo 3: ODST crash site in closer detail.
This blast wall was constructed from real metal. An attempt to punch through it resulted in a sore hand.
Another interesting new addition to the franchise is the trusty ol' energy bar. Gone is the HUD-less display from previous Halo outings, with your lowly UNSC soldier forced to seek out health packs. (In other words, no more hiding in a corner to recover!)
Interestingly, the single player campaign appears to have a Gears of War flavour, with a squad of grizzled comrades exchanging tough-guy banter. Think Aliens or the original Predator and you'll get the gist.
Unlike previous Halo games, Halo 3: ODST will feature [[artnid:309349|an open, non-linear world|Bungie creative director: Halo ODST features open world]]. Players will be able to place markers on a map to help them reach important destinations -- just like in [[artnid:272929|GTA IV|Review: Grand Theft Auto IV]].
Apparently, the boys at Weta knocked up the whole crash site diorama in around 48 hours. (They should open up a side business in house renovation.)
Finally, it was time to head back home for some hot cocoa. Keep an eye out for the Warthog in a town near you soon - who knows where it might turn up next?
These kids were in seventh heaven (insert 'halo' gag here).
A scene from the opening five minutes of the single player campaign. (Oi! Down in front!)
The screen shots in this slideshow don't nearly do enough justice to how amazing the game looks. Halo 3: ODST runs off a heavily tweaked version of the Halo 3 engine -- and it shows.
Halo 3: ODST lead producer Curtis Creamer.
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