Halo 3 Championship Tournament to begin March 11th…

It looks like Bungie has concocted a way to compete with all of the top of the line games coming out over the next two months. A tournament of unparalleled scope. Open to players in the U.S. (except Vermont and Maryland, for some reason??), the tourment details can all be found on Xbox.com.

The following information is from the website:
Register via Xbox LIVE Marketplace by downloading the free Halo 3 US Championship Gamer Picture before March 17. To download the Gamer Picture:
Sign in to Xbox LIVE Marketplace
Select Game Store
Select Themes and Gamer Pictures
Select All Gamer Pictures
Select U.S. Army & Halo 3
Select Halo 3 U.S. Championship Gamer Picture and select Confirm Download

The tourney will be comprised of three rounds, culminating in an 8 man. The top eight players from the semi-finals round will meet on or around May 3, 2008, to compete in the Championship Round of the Tournament on-site in New York City.

Put down that Grand Theft Auto IV, soldier… there’s Halo 3 to be played, prizes to be won, and celebrity status to be established! At least, that’s what Bungie wants you to think!

[update 1] Best Buy and others drop HD-DVD drive to $50: 3 more days, 5 free movies!


I bought mine. How about you?

Best Buy – $50.
KMart – $50.
Amazon.com – officially holding @ $65, but the “used and new” category has them for $50.
Circuit City still quotes $129.99, but the in store manager on duty has the power to price match, as long as you can show that it isn’t a “sale” price by the competitor (i.e. Best Buy), but a new low price.

What are you waiting for? There are pleanty of good HD-DVD’s, and it’s not like they’ll suddenly stop working – they’ll just end up in the bargain bin soon! 😉

[Update 1]: Special thanks to DeaconBlade 360 for pointing this link out to me. If your purchase receipt is dated between October 1, 2007 and February 28, 2008, you qualify for 5 free HD-DVD’s, as long as you send in the paperwork by March 31st, 2008. That’s 3 more days to make up your mind if you think this is a good deal.

I also intend to test the PC compatability of the HD-DVD add on. I hear it works in Windows!

Slow in the wake of GDC? Let's catch up…

I admit, my posting has been a bit lacking after GDC. I have been crushed with work, and various technical problems with hardware at home (seems like everything from my laptop to my cell phone turned on me this week!). But that’s no reason for you to suffer, is it? This post is going to be a bit more editorial in fashion, just trying to cover a broad range of topics.

X3F: Misguided April Fool’s looks foolish?
So, after this weeks fiasco of Ask X3F (Xbox 360 Fanboy), there has been a small community backlash. It seems it’s a bit early for April Foolery. Many people found humor in the moment, but a lot of others were disgusted when Dustin hijacked the segment and intentionally tainted the image of many X3F’ers. “My Ask X3F hijacking is going to be rude, crude and so very un-helpful (is that even a word?),” he wrote. A user by the name of Graham even commented “X3F lost a lot of credibility when David Dreger left.” His comment was voted down, but I can’t help but think that, no matter how light and humorous the intention was, that a “professional blog” (if there is such a thing?) such as one under the umbrella of Joystiq should never intetionally “ruffle feathers” like this.

Gears of War 2: Where’ve you been all my life?
People have been suggesting that Gears 2 feels “rushed.” Well, fear not. Much like the first Gears, portions of the game are being “contracted out” to partner developer teams (certain multiplayer game types, map designs, etc… [side note: man I wish Psyonix would get a better webmaster!]).

CliffyB’s announcement that the first game was “a set up” to introduce you to the Gears universe is quite believable. While Gears 2 may feel rushed, if it were planned quite a while ahead, it could potentially live up to all things expected of it. Remember, the engine may have changed, and they may update a few textures and what have you, but for the most part, the game is built. It’s running on the same hardware, which they’ve already pushed the limits of once, expecting them to do so again is maybe expecting too much. Still, with some fine tuned mechanics and an even more involved story line, we are entitled to expect a lot from Gears 2!

LucasArts: Thank you.
Yes, we all know about Force Unleashed, but I would like to bring to your attention another LucasArts game that was recently announced and completely overlooked, Fracture. The story line is a little rough, but should prove to entertain. The game has the graphics and the setting that makes you feel like you are early in the history of the Mass Effect universe. And with their new “terrain deformation” mechanic, I think this game is going to be extremely entertaining. Oh, and incase there isn’t enough linkage today, here’s just one more for Fracture.

[Update 2]: Gears of War 2 confirmed: Due as early as October!

Updated: link included.

The press release has leaked early. The announcement due at the end of the Microsoft GDC Keynote (happening as I write). What you’re not gonna hear in the press papers? CliffyB has been strangely very hands off this time around. You didn’t hear it from us.

The GoW 2 video played at GDC, and as Joystiq described it: CliffyB burst in and leaves us with a quick piece of info. Gears 2 in November 2008, only on Xbox 360.

MajorNelson’s Flickr has some fun pictures of he and CliffyB playing with the fun Lancer of Cliff’s. Major also tells us to watch XBLM for a trailer of GoW2 later today!
Still don’t know what’s behind the XNA curtain.

[UPDATE 2] So much attention paid to the thing behind the curtain…

The above picture is from Kotaku, and, in the distance, it shows a mysterious shrouded stand, in the middle of the Microsoft XNA lobby, at GDC.

We aren’t there, we don’t know what it is, either. But there is something behind that curtain – and it is scheduled to be unveiled in about an hour. The teams at WinBreak Central Command and WinBreak Remote Command are all geared up and ready to blog. Of course, I’m a one man show, but I have my own tool set to try and get this news to you as soon as it breaks to the public.

It’s hard to imagine something to do with XNA is going to steal the show, after all, the Creators Club has so far failed to produce the amazing results we thought it would in 2006. But there is something that Microsoft has deemed interesting enough to hype up a little bit, and leave to the imagination, so here’s hoping! More than likely, whatever the surprise announcement is, it will be featured on Inside Xbox, Major Nelson, and Gamerscore Blog.

UPDATE
Community made XNA games will be distributed through Xbox Live. Many games will be playable on Zune. Windows – Xbox – Zune all expected to be ‘cross platform’-ish with XNA.

But behind the curtain? Is it a GoW 2 display? Screenies of all of the XNA games supposedly available on the XBLM? We don’t know yet… but we do know the GoW2 video is playing at this very instant at GDC.

UPDATE 2: Kotaku has presented us with pictures of “the stand behind the curtain.” Just as I (sort of) guessed, it is a demo station featuring the announced XNA games. Also, interestingly, a link to XNA Game Studio Connect at the bottom – must be the one that goes directly to your PC? Don’t know, I didn’t play around enough with XNA last year when I was playing around with it at all… but I’m sure there will be clearer details to come this week.