Twenty Years of Halo: Halo 3 Essentials & Halo Landfall

Artwork by Usbaia

The Halo franchise is owned by Xbox Game Studios

Like with the bonus and behind the scenes content with Halo 2 this was planned to be an interim episodes instead of taking up its own cozy spot on the weekly schedule, but the more I dove into the two disc Essentials and everything involved, yeah there was no way I could get this done as a mere aside.  There are A LOT of features on these discs and plenty to talk about, so let’s not waste any more time and dive right in!

.

Halo 3 Essentials (Bonus Features) – 2007

We’ll start things off with how they were released.  The first disc which was released in both the Collector’s and Legendary editions of Halo 3 is something I SOMEHOW managed to get a copy of many years ago (I’m still baffled that this thing wound its way in my collection) and only works on an Xbox 360 console.  I can’t even find information confirming that it works on Xbox One or Series S/X, so unless you’re like me and can’t throw away anything this disc and its content are going to be hard to get ahold of going forward.  The second disc on the other hand which was only available on the Legendary Edition is a simple DVD and will work in anything that plays those.  Considering the massive marketing campaign around this game it’s no surprise that something like this was added to the game to entice people to spend a little more, and I’m not sure how many games even bother with this kind of stuff anymore.  I remember the PS2 having a few games that had some pretty cool bonus features like God of War having a ton of Making Of videos and even something like Aqua Teen Hunger Force Zombie Ninja Pro-Am having an episode of the show on it, but I guess with YouTube being so accessible that companies will just post stuff on there if they even feel like bothering with it; and even then a lot of it is pre-release so there’s always the sense of it still trying to sell you on something whereas these kind of features are more of a celebration after the fact.  In any case, there’s a lot to talk about here so we’ll group them together into loose categories to try and cover a little bit of everything.

.

Making Of Features

Now this includes the VERY extensive Making Of feature on disc 1, Seven Steps to World Domination on disc 2, and the unfortunately yet still appropriately named Git Tur Wurk back on disc 1. The Making Of document is the pick of the litter here as it’s a full hour but is filled with some VERY cool stuff about how the game was developed.  It’s well produced, we get insights into many of the interesting tools used, and the enthusiasm of those being interviewed is infectious.  Just hearing Xi Wang, one of the Graphics Engineers, talking in depth about the water engine is engaging and I learned about things you could do with the water in Halo 3 that I would have never even thought about!  There’s stuff like that, the in depth showcase of the damage system, the way the tested the online servers with teams in Japan, but my favorite bit was their play testing process!  There’s this really nifty tool they had where they would have play testers play the game and be able to report issues while in game.  Then, the developers not only get a list of these issues, they know exactly where in the level it occurred and can even watch a replay of the player playing the game at that time!  That is just really cool to me and I’m now wondering if this kind of software is standard in the industry!

If only they had this for the first game!  The Library level would just be one big sea of red!
Continue reading “Twenty Years of Halo: Halo 3 Essentials & Halo Landfall”

Cinema Dispatch: What Men Want

WMWCD0

What Men Want and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Adam Shankman

Despite its connection to a notably popular movie, I hadn’t heard a lot about this film until it finally decided to come out like a week ago.  Sure, I knew that they were making it and that the film was going to be gender flipped, but beyond that this is yet another film that completely flew under the radar for me which now that I think of it PROBABLY makes some amount of sense as it would have had to of been marketed in the last few months; i.e. Oscar season followed by a very crappy January for me.  So is this movie a hidden gem that I just didn’t give the time of day until it was staring me right in the face, or did this movie actually get shunted down the release schedule priority list to quietly slink away after a hopefully decent opening weekend?  Let’s find out!!

Ali Davis (Taraji P Henson) is a sports agent working out of Atlanta and is one of the rock star employees at her… firm?  Is that the right word?  Anyway, she consistently does great work for the company but FOR SOME REASON keeps getting looked over when it’s time to promote someone to partner, but she isn’t afraid of uphill battles gosh darn it!  If a woman has to work twice as hard to get half the credit, well she’s just gonna work TEN times as hard!  Her goal is to hire this up and coming hot shot basketball player named Jamal Barry (Shane Paul McGhie) who could be big for the firm but has a very demanding father Joe ‘Dolla’ Barry (Tracy Morgan) who is demanding and demeaning at almost every turn and making life a living heck for Ali.  Clearly she needs to relax and perhaps learn to get into the mind of men instead of just trying to compete with them, which fittingly enough would make her compete with them better!  Good thing she’s got a bachelorette party to go to where there JUST SO HAPPENS to be a psychic with magic tea that will let her hear men’s thoughts!  Well it was either that or the crushing blow to the head she received later that night, but the point is that she wakes up the next morning and is able to hear the thoughts of all the men around her; including her assistant Brandon (Josh Brener) who is the only person she’s willing to confide in regarding this new power.  At first it seems like a curse but now that she can get into Joe and Jamal’s head to find out what they really want; not to mention the men in her office who have been quietly scheming against her from day one.  Will Ali be able to close this deal and finally get the job she’s always deserved?  Just how far will she go to succeed, and how many people will she have to hurt along the way while using these new abilities?  You’d think there’d be a lot more dudes singing random songs in the movie, but I guess you’d then have to license them all.

WMWCD1jpg
“Really?  Nothing but Ninja Sex Party songs going on up there?”

Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: What Men Want”

Cinema Dispatch: The Night Before

TNBCD0

The Night Before and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures

Directed by Jonathan Levine

Is it too late to declare a war on Christmas?  I don’t mind the holidays, but I’ve also worked in retail so I got a firsthand look at the Christmas calendar creep and how NO ONE likes to push this shit in October, let alone November.  Thankfully they ALMOST waited until December to start throwing out holiday films with last week’s Love the Coopers and now The Night Before.  Unlike that other film though, I was REALLY looking forward to seeing this because I love Seth Rogen and his particular brand of comedy.  Not everything he’s been a part of has been great (I thought The Interview was pretty underwhelming), but I always like to see what he does next which this time seems to be pretending he’s in the same age group as Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie.  Wait a minute.  HE’S THE YOUNGEST ONE OF THEM!?  Huh.  Learn something new every day.  So will this be the kind of movie to bring out the holiday cheer and break out the eggnog, or will this make everyone feel even Grinch-ier than they already are at this time of the year?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows the adventures of Ethan, Isaac, and Chris (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, and Anthony Mackie) on their last big Christmas Eve together before ending their tradition.  You see, about fifteen years ago Ethan’s parents were killed by a drunk driver right around Christmas time and so his friends decided that they will spend the holidays with him which soon became a tradition.  What also became a tradition is that they would party their ASSES off because they were young when they started it so of course that’s what they ended up doing.  However, it’s been going on for way too long and Isaac and Chris have their own things going on while Ethan is still stuck in place, unable to get his life going.  Still, he agrees to this being the last time they make this a big party event and even has a surprise for his friends that will make this the best one of them all.  There’s a super-secret party that takes place every year (the Nutcracker Ball) that they’ve never had a chance to go to because they could never find out where it was or how to get invitations.  Through sheer luck, Ethan finds three tickets for the damn thing at his shitty job and steals them without a second thought so that he and his friends can have the greatest night of their lives!  Will this final night be all it’s cracked up to be, or are they just too damn old to keep going the way they’ve been going even for one more night?  Will they be able to salvage their friendship despite the changes in their lives that makes it harder for them to find the time?  Wait, how fucking deep is this movie about taking drugs and Christmas shenanigans!?

TNBCD1
WHY ARE THERE FEELS!?!?!?

Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: The Night Before”