Halo programmer Corrinne Yu now developing for Naughty Dog on PS4

343 Industries programmer “excited to develop” for Naughty Dog

Corrinne Yu

The principal engine programmer on the Halo series has Microsoft studio 343 Industries and joined Naughty Dog to work on the new Sony console.

“I miss working with many capable developers on the Halo team, but am also excited to develop for PS4,” said Corrinne Yu on Twitter.

Yu joined 343 Industries more than 5 years ago and prior to that spent two years as studio wide director of technology at Gearbox Software where she programmed Brothers In Arms and Borderlands. Kotaku named her one of the 10 Most Influential Women in Gaming in the Last Decade.

Away from the games industry she has also done work with on the Space Shuttle program at Rockwell International California and won an award for her nuclear physics research.

Naughty Dog is currently working on a new Uncharted title for PS4.


Where are the Xbox One role-playing games?

Xbox One has a mammoth 23 games confirmed for release on day one in November, more than many expected – but there’s a distinct lack of role-playing games available to play.

It’s the one genre lacking from the launch lineup, which includes a number of shooters, action games, casual games, driving games and even a fighting game.

The Fable series – Microsoft’s RPG franchise – is heading in a different direction on Xbox One with the multiplayer-focused Fable Legends, and developer Lionhead has confirmed it has no intention of making a fully-fledged Fable 4.

So, what’s the deal? Has Microsoft lost faith in the RPG genre?

“RPGs for me personally, that’s the genre I grew up playing, starting with the old Ultima series,” Microsoft Studios boss Phil Spencer told Eurogamer at Gamescom.

“Those are games that are in my heart. When we launched 360 we invested in Lost Odyssey and Blue Dragon with Sakaguchi-san. Those were really important games from us.

“RPG games take a long time. You want to make sure those games are great. Lionhead’s taking Fable in an interesting direction and we’ve been playing that game for a while. That’s a ton of fun.

“RPGs specifically, we showed The Witcher 3 at E3, but I know what you’re asking. You’re asking about the more traditional RPG. I know you will see those games come to our platform. There’s just nothing to announce right now.”

Some have wondered whether the Xbox One will be home to as many Japanese role-playing games as the Xbox 360 was. Square Enix’s Final Fantasy 15 is due out on next-gen consoles, but Microsoft’s Xbox sales struggle in Japan is well documented, and the Xbox One will not launch there until 2014.

Amid concern about Xbox in Japan, Spencer reiterated Microsoft’s commitment to the Japanese market and said JRPGs will launch on Xbox One eventually.

“Specifically about the Japanese market – and I’ll be at Tokyo Game Show in a month – the Japanese development community remains incredibly important to us, and we’re continuing to invest there,” Spencer said.

“We’re having great conversations with people. We’re not announcing anything, but I can say both RPGs and specifically the Japanese developers are really important to our ecosystem.

“I know Dead Rising 3 isn’t an RPG and is being developed in Vancouver, Canada, but I’ll just say the relationship with the publishers and developers in Japan is something we’ll continue to invest in as important.”

“You’re asking about the more traditional RPG. I know you will see those games come to our platform. There’s just nothing to announce right now.”

Microsoft Studios boss Phil Spencer

Mistwalker’s 2007 JRPG Lost Odyssey was published by Microsoft

Microsoft’s Xbox One launch lineup is large – at least compared to previous console launches – but some have questioned whether it lacks a killer app in the vein of Halo: Combat Evolved on the original Xbox.

Spencer said gamers will decide what Xbox One’s killer app is, using history to guide his prediction.

“Even Halo – and I was there at the original Xbox – we didn’t know [the Xbox’s killer app] was Halo,” Spencer said. “And for those who remember how Halo performed at the E3 prior to the launch, I’ll be honest, there were some issues with how Halo played.

“You never know what the hits are going to be. We build things, we put our passion and creativity into the products, and then you put forward something, and the consumers decide what are the killer apps. The gamers will decide what the killer app is.”

Spencer continued: “We’ve got a breadth of content I’m proud of: Killer Instinct; we announced Zoo Tycoon, which is a completely different genre of game; Project Spark, which is a creativity application tool/game, which I think will bring a ton of people in; Forza; Call of Duty; Battlefield; Dead Rising; Ryse.

“In the end the gamers will decide what the killer app was. There’s enough content there that everybody will pick their thing that will work. I know from a quality level – and I’m playing all the games now at home – the teams understand what the platform is capable of. We’ve got people making use of Kinect, like Kinect Sports Rivals. We’ve got some tried and true shooters and fighting games. The quality across so many genres is something we haven’t seen at launch before.”

“For those who remember how Halo performed at the E3 prior to the launch, I’ll be honest, there were some issues with how Halo played.”

Spencer, who has Xbox One’s game release schedule outlined up to Christmas 2014, said part of his job is to ensure that with Xbox One Microsoft makes a commitment to gamers that there will be a steady flow of eye-catching games.

He again pointed to the past to highlight his point, saying key Xbox 360 games Gears of War, Crackdown and Halo Wars all released after the console’s launch.

“If you look at what happened on Xbox 360, Gears of War wasn’t a launch game,” he said. “It came a little bit later. We had investments like Crackdown, Alan Wake, which came later. Then we iterated on Halo. Halo Wars. Fable was there all along. We had this collection of things people could believe in and were tried and true franchises. Some of those were first on the original Xbox. Then we had things like Minecraft later in the cycle, which came from PC. That’s sold over eight million units now, pushing nine.

“That is to me the commitment you make as a platform holder to the gamer: we’re going to continue to invest in new content. Gamers want great new games. They want to know they can play their favourites and they want to know they’re going to get surprised by the new unexpected things that will come out. That is our commitment to them.”



Bungie: Destiny can surpass Halo, sit alongside Star Wars

Pete Parsons talks to us about future-proofing Bungie and how the studio believes next-gen gaming is “no longer just about the hardware”.

Pete Parsons

Before 2001, when the first Xbox and Halo took the console industry by storm, redefining what a first-person shooter could be like with a controller (instead of mouse/keyboard), most mainstream gamers probably hadn’t even heard of Bungie. More than a decade later, Bungie is now respected as one of the top developers in all of gaming. The company will forever be remembered for the iconic Master Chief and putting Xbox on the map, but the entire team – many of whom are still present from Halo 1 – hopes to make an even bigger mark with its next monumental IP, Destiny.

GamesIndustry International caught up with Bungie COO Pete Parsons to talk about the studio’s grand ambitions for Destiny’s 10-year arc, how the company is future-proofing itself, what next-gen really means and more.

There can be no doubt that the investment in Destiny by Bungie and publishing partner Activision is absolutely huge. Committing to a brand-new IP for the next decade requires a lot of resources and certainly a lot of confidence. While Parsons would not disclose budget to us, he made it abundantly clear that Bungie and Activision are shooting for the moon. The goal is to create something fans are so passionate about that it surpasses even Halo.

We like to tell big stories and we want people to put the Destiny universe on the same shelf they put Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter or Star Wars”


“We like to tell big stories and we want people to put the Destiny universe on the same shelf they put Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter or Star Wars; we’ve already seen they do that with Halo. We were extremely proud of what we achieved with Halo… I’m pretty convinced we are going to do it again with Destiny in a way that maybe even Halo never achieved before,” Parsons said. “What excites me is a number of years ago we talked with Activision and Activision believed in that vision, and that’s why we like this partnership so much; these guys know big entertainment as well. They prove it over and over again.”

While Bungie’s dream is to reach a Star Wars-like frenzy for Destiny, the studio is making a game first and foremost. There are no plans to create novels or comics or movies… yet. If the property gets as big as Halo, though, Parsons isn’t opposed to it so long as it truly does enhance the universe Bungie is creating.

“If they happen in a way that’s exciting and helps propel the universe forward, I think that’s great. But it’s not the ambition and it’s not something we set out to do. The thing we set out to do is to build an entertainment universe that people want to be a part of and continue to invest in,” he noted. “And we didn’t think of entertainment in the Halo world either – it was never something that we set out to do. Now, do we think it’s exciting if we can help increase people’s experience and investment in that universe? Yeah I think that’s great. We have a number of talented friends who do more than make games and if there’s an opportunity there that helps better the universe or propel it forward, that’s awesome.”

At a quick glance, someone watching Destiny may think it looks quite similar to Halo, but the game’s focus on social connectivity takes the experience another step beyond Halo. It’s really just an evolution of what Bungie set out to do as far back as Marathon. It’s ultimately in Bungie’s DNA.

“It’s no longer just about the hardware. It’s about these wonderful networks on both PlayStation and Xbox… The hardware is absolutely subordinated to those communities, and that’s great for us because that’s what we’ve been trying to do for a long time”


“I would say it looks very Bungie-esque. I mean that sincerely. We made Marathon before we made Halo; that’s almost 20 years of making games, and when you look at our games I sure as hell hope that they have a Bungie look to them. Bungie created Halo, not the other way around. We love action games, we love the shooter mechanic. We’re ambitious; we were ambitious and we brought people online with Marathon… And we successfully brought a shooter to the console and changed the way people played, and we changed it again when we brought out Halo 2 and made it online. And much of the code that was in Xbox Live at the time was code that we collaborated on with the Xbox Live team,” Parsons said.

He continued, “And we did it again with Bungie.net in terms of bringing people together outside the game. And we did it with user created content for Halo 3. We have every intention on defining what the next generation of shooters look like – that it has a Bungie aesthetic to it to me is exactly what we want to be doing. What’s different though is we’re taking a huge, for us very logical, leap forward. We are saying, ‘How do we take the core mechanic that we’re known for, add to it elements like how do you use space magic, how you put deep server-side investment into that while retaining the visceral simulation of a shooter, and then how do we put that into a persistent world?’ Those are big challenges that we’re taking on, and how do you make all of that super complicated matchmaking happen completely under the surface?”

Parsons doesn’t want people to think of Destiny as an MMO, however, just because people are coming together in the game’s public space. “So when you think about the public space, we think less about MMO attributes and more about stringing together storytelling. Here are a whole bunch of people moving from one place to another but for a moment in time we all come together and say ‘hey should we take down the enemies together?’ I could just sit there and people watch. I don’t need to join in, or I can join and get a reward for it. So for us, it’s about how do we bring people together? How do we move social more to the center of what we’ve done? And I would argue we’ve been trying to do that for a long time, but the technology and learning wasn’t there,” he acknowledged.

Indeed, this social aspect may be the “killer app” of next-gen gaming, if you ask Parsons. Everyone knows that games look pretty nowadays. Improving the social connection, though, could be the next big step.

“For us, that is next-gen,” Parsons remarked. “We’re going to be on all consoles, and we’ve been working on this game for five or six years, maybe even longer, so long before there’s even been a thought of next-gen we’ve been thinking about what kind of universe we want to create. I would argue that next-gen games are going to be wonderful in terms of visuals, but I believe that unlike prior console generations that have really been about the hardware, it’s no longer just about the hardware. It’s about these wonderful networks on both PlayStation and Xbox; they created these wonderful, vibrant, gigantic communities.”

“The hardware is absolutely subordinated to those communities, and that’s great for us because that’s what we’ve been trying to do for a long time. Every advancement they make there just helps make our universe better. That’s what’s really exciting about next-gen. I think the big advancements are how do we keep bringing people together? How do we make a game that’s not just about ‘here are a bunch of people in the same room together’, but it’s about what we want to do, which is to give you really finely crafted storytelling and competitive multiplayer and remove the barriers between those two,” he added. “Think about all of our previous games in the LAN parties… Those were all attempts really to bring people together. At the end of the day we were shipping three separate games on the DVD – we were shipping campaign, cooperative and multiplayer, and they are arguably different games. Well, now we don’t have to do that; now we can actually have people crossing each other at different points. You can build your avatar for weeks, months or years while enjoying storytelling and then move into multiplayer in that same build.”

This focus on social interaction and merging the worlds of campaign and multiplayer have been somewhat liberating for Bungie as well. Instead of obsessing about what the next-gen platforms would be like, the studio was more concerned with preparing for the future and setting up the 10-year arc it has planned for Destiny. The future-proofing Bungie engaged in automatically meant that the company could be prepared for whatever platform was thrown its way.

“We knew we were making this game on a 10-year arc and we did a bunch of planning around that. We had to plan what our team would look for such an ambitious project, what we had to do with our technology to be future proof. We didn’t say we have to plan for the next-gen consoles, but we said we have to plan to be on any platform possible,” Parsons said. “We didn’t set out to think just about the consoles, so we actually changed our development philosophy. What we decided to do was make one central design build, and then understanding how we export that to each of the individual platforms – that’s the right way to future proof our technology, particularly when you’re making a much more living, persistent world. That allows us not only to think of the platforms of today and tomorrow but also other platforms as well.”

“We’ve always admired people like Pixar, and we are finally in that moment where we have this raw, amazing talent that I think rivals entertainment creators anywhere across any entertainment ever”


Part of that future planning involved developing a new, proprietary engine for the Destiny universe. Parsons noted that the investment in technology is already paying off, making development much smoother for the team.

“This is an enormous universe that we are building and that we will continue to build over time, so yes the engine helps us gain a lot of efficiency. The Halo set of tools was really powerful but really at times unwieldy, and we knew that we would need to be able to make content at a rate that was much faster and achieve much more collaboration between designers and artists. Now we can have designers and artists working in the same space. Really improving our workflows in our content pipeline was job number one. Also, every time we build a new object it goes into a library to be used or referenced at a later date, which is exciting for us,” he said.

The extreme level of preparation Bungie is able to commit to Destiny and its own future is a nice luxury, one that most studios don’t really have, and one that Bungie didn’t have either for quite some time. There was a lot of uncertainty during the Halo days.

“We have a pretty good understanding of what we want to do over a ten-year period with Destiny, which is not to say we know exactly where the gameplay and story will go, but we’ve future proofed ourselves on a number of levels with technology and how we built the team and how the team interacts, and what we think our narrative arc looks like. Imagine many many thousands of pages on how we future proof ourselves in a way we never did for Halo because we didn’t know what came after Halo 1. And we didn’t know what came after Halo 2. It was like ‘alright it’s Return of the King for Halo 3!’ That was the pitch to the team. So what happens is you’re not prepared in the way that you want to be, so you can do things like paint yourself into a corner with canon and do all these things that sort of set you sideways,” Parsons admitted. “So I think we’ve learned a bunch there, but were continuing to learn a lot and I don’t think you ever stop making mistakes and learning – it’s just the nature of our business.”

In the end, Parsons is just eager to let Destiny do the talking for Bungie. It’s being released at a time when there’s more interest in games than ever before, and the medium is able to stand toe-to-toe with just about any other entertainment out there. “We’ve always admired people like Pixar, and we are finally in that moment where we have this raw, amazing talent that I think rivals entertainment creators anywhere across any entertainment ever, and Activision is helping us bring that reality to life,” he said.



Halo Story Timeline [Image]

If you’ve played any of the Halo 4 campaign you’ll know that the story draws heavily on the full breadth of the Halo mythology — not just the previous video games, but also the expansions to the canon provided by the various tie-in novels.

To make sense of it all, we’ve prepared this comprehensive timeline, which begins with the story of the Forerunners, so crucial to Halo 4. If you’re wondering who the Didact and the Librarian are, or why they’re so concerned about “The Mantle,” wonder no more.

Halo 4 Universe Timeline


Source: Gamefront

Playing Halo 4′s Multiplayer Will Earn You Microsoft Points

Would you like earning some Microsoft Points while playing Halo 4‘s multiplayer? Of course you would! What’s even better is that it’s so simple to do.

Simply sign up to the Xbox Live Rewards program and then get online, it couldn’t be easier. As part of the scheme’s new Combat Tour Offer if you play over 35 hours in Halo 4‘s multiplayer you will earn 100 Microsoft Points, over 70 hours will net you 300 Microsoft Points and if you manage to amass over 140 hours online you will be rewarded with 600 Microsoft Points. The offer is only available until November 30.

There’s also a promotion that will refund some Microsoft Points spent on Halo content for Xbox Live Reward members. If you spend over 1500 Microsoft Points on Halo content you will be rewarded with 100 back, and if you spend 3000 and play 35 hours of multiplayer you will get 800 back.


souce: egmnow