Exclusive: Halo 3 ODST Special Edition Pictures!

WBX: WinBreak Exclusive
Low-Res images found their way into my hands recently of the Halo 3 ODST “Special Edition” package. What makes it special? You get a controller, similar to the one that was released with the Halo 3 special edition Xbox 360 console. Two weeks ago, Kotaku released a full sized image of the controller. We are pleased to be the first to bring you the packaging shots of this new special edition game/controller combo.

tagged exlcusive because I have yet to see the angled/back of the case on other sites, perhaps they do exist, but I haven’t seen’em! I’m just hoping for some higher res shots, I want to read the back of that package!

WBX: Halo’s "CALL TO ACTION" on Windows and Xbox?

Update 1.5: (see bottom of post)…
WBX: WinBreak Exclusive
I have got some “BIG” articles coming your way. Not necessarily the most exciting stuff, but lots of little goodies for you to take a gander at!

But before all of that comes to pass, take a look at that picture above. I have multiple pictures, all different shapes and sizes (“Tower” type pictures that webmasters can put in their side bars, banners for websites, along with these normal “block” type images). I have several that show “Games for Windows Live” branding, Xbox 360 Live branding, and this little beauty, which is co-branded. What in the world could be coming to the Halo Universe that includes a “call to action” on both the Windows and Xbox platforms? I haven’t heard anything of Halo Wars or Halo 3 ODST coming to Windows, nor any promotional heads up about Halo 3 being available on Windows. This logo, simply showing “Halo” could boil down to anything. So what do you think is coming our way? Register, then leave comments, or discuss it in the forum!

UPDATE 1: Well, it must be that people think I made this story up, because after 5 hours, not so much as a peep. I am an Xbox MVP under NDA, but these images all came from a Marketing source, with the intent to be used as advertising, but I still have no idea for what. Here are links to all of the original files (and there are many!):

UPDATED AGAIN (1.5): My damn webhost is having problems with PSD files. I think I need to modify my .htaccess file. Another time. For now, here is a ZIP file containing all 25 of the PSD files (I named it myself, do not bother scouring the internet for the zip file). I will leave the links below, for now, and hopefully be able to get them fixed in the near future.

see also: How to Open .PSD Extension Files Without Installing Adobe Photoshop.

WBX: Gears 2 Game Crazy Launch in full effect

WBX: WinBreak Exclusive
After our special report yesterday, Special Events reporter ButtonMasher79 decided to follow up to see how the launch went. She followed up with a few pictures, as well as the following report.

A full 100 people were expected and received for the Gears2 launch party at Game Crazy in Lakewood, CA. Gaming began at 9pm with a LAN-style player vs. player tournament with a total of four systems operating simultaneously. Customers were adding funds to their accounts so the transactions would flow smoothly and quickly. “The turnout is what we expected, it’s great for a weeknight and we’ll get more coming in tomorrow,” said Store Director Stephanie Armstrong. Game trivia, balloons, and giveaways peppered the evening and proved entertaining for all.

Down the street, GameStop had closed their doors and posted a sign that read “midnight launch tonight.” There were about thirty people waiting in the 55 degree ocean-cooled air in their fold-out chairs on the dark sidewalk.

A 20-minute drive from Lakewood is Universal CityWalk where a GameStop hosting Major Nelson and representatives from Microsoft. GameCrazy customer and editor-in-chief of BreakingTheGame.com Andrew Carr (pictured above with store manager Stephanie Armstrong) said he preferred this venue because he wouldn’t be guaranteed access to the dignitaries and thought that this location would be “a lot more fun.”

District manager Juan Rodriguez was working the sales floor and offering the strategy guide for 20% off with purchase of the game. “We overcame a lot of challenges to get here tonight but we’re glad to be here now,” he said, having arrived from the airport with the copies in-hand at 11:15PM. The existing copies will probably sell out by tomorrow at noon but the store anticipates replenishment as soon as Saturday.

Sara Culver, Special Events Reporter for WinBreak.com

You can view a few more pictures in the Gears 2 Lakewood Launch photo album.

WBX: Gears 2 Launch @ LA Game Crazy almost ruined!

In the darkness of a Federal Express warehouse, a crime affecting LA area gamers is alleged to have occurred. “I awoke to a call from my district manager saying all my Gears of War 2 copies had been stolen,” said Stephanie Armstrong, Game Crazy Store Director in Lakewood, California. Investigation is pending with Federal Express and law enforcement but it appears likely that a warehouse worker has absconded with the property. “We wondered why we didn’t get the shipment yesterday, but some companies will only ship overnight for delivery on release day.” She says this is sometimes done to maintain street date.

An anonymous source has indicated that he purchased a copy of Gears2 at a 7-Eleven convenience store. “They didn’t scan my game, they just scanned a generic bar code they had on a piece of paper and took my money.” The bar code is a unique product identifier that would electronically reflect the date and time that particular product was being sold, “by using a generic code it would be possible to circumvent the street date and the store can just scan them all out after midnight,” said the buyer.

Juan Rodriguez, District Manger for the LA Market, Game Crazy intends to pick up an emergency shipment at the airport this evening to make copies available for customers at the midnight launch. No word on the Collectors Edition copies yet but Game Crazy will do their best to make things right for their customers despite the malicious acts of a third party criminal.

Sara Culver, ButtonMasher79 and LA Special Event Reporter for WinBreak.com.

[update 1] WBX: Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars Developer Interview!


WBX: WinBreak Exclusive
I’ve talked about it before, it’s the little game with the big name! Anyon who has been interested to see what Battle-Cars is going to offer may be thrilled to read this one. I sent off an email to Psyonix, not sure if it would ever be seen again. Amazingly, within a couple of days, my questions were answered by Director of Development Dave Hagewood himself! And if you’ve got unanswered questions at the end, place them in the comments, and perhaps I will be able to get them answered, or maybe Dave himself will stop by and answer them for you! Enough friendly banter, here’s the meat…

NuAngel: To begin with, I’d like to thank you for taking the time out of their your day for a lowly blogger like myself.
So, first question: what is your name, and what is it you do at Psyonix?

DH: I’m Dave Hagewood, Director of Development at Psyonix.

Nu: As you can probably tell from my website, I’m mostly an Xbox 360 gamer, who is still branching out to the other consoles. With the 360 having publically available tools like the XNA Studio and other familiar development tools, what draws you to develop on the Playstation 3?
DH: Sony has done a great job making their platform available to smaller-sized, independent studios. In fact, they pretty much welcomed us with open arms whereas there are an enormous number of titles competing to go on XBLA right now. XNA Studio is fantastic, but we are Unreal Engine developers at our core. UE3 makes it just as easy to develop on either platform and I think a lot of small studios don’t realize how accessible Epic Games has made their technology for downloadable games.

Nu: Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars appears to be Psyonix’ first full game – is it? And how was the process of developing a full game different from working on certain game types and levels as you have done in the past?
DH: It is our first title developed entirely in-house. We’ve been fortunate to have been involved with shipping games all the way to completion several times before so it actually went pretty smoothly as this is a smaller game than most we have worked on. We are also self-publishing the game however and that definitely presented a new challenge for us. Lots of paperwork!

Nu: Have you considered porting the game to the Xbox Live Arcade, or even the Wii Shop?
DH: The game is exclusive for PLAYSTATION(R) Network right now but XBLA is definitely a platform we are considering for the future.

Nu: How did the concept come about / How was this game first pitched?
DH: We started thinking about it shortly after we did Onslaught for Unreal Tournament 2004. I’d always wanted to do something we cars that can jump and it just went from there. We had the idea that by “bootstrapping” the development in between outsourcing projects we could develop the game for as long as we wanted, with no real deadlines or budget restrictions. Because of this the concept actually changed quite a bit. It started out as more of a track challenge game. From there it went to a vehicle combat multiplayer game, and finally the soccer-based we have today. We didn’t intend for the soccer game to be much more than mini-game at first but after playing for a while we quite literally became obsessed with it around the office. At that point we knew it was the game we had to do.

Nu: Though “arena” concepts have to be similar, how many levels will be shipping with the game?
DH: Three levels will ship with the game with more to come shortly after release over DLC. We really want to support a community around the game and do as much free DLC as possible.

Nu: Free is always music to the ears of people out here! Here’s hoping! Are the cars like players in a sports game, with different classes or stats? Or are all vehicles created equal?
There are subtle handling differences just because of their different shapes but for the most part they are equal. We see the game as a serious competition game and we don’t want to introduce balancing issues with cars that have differing stats.

Nu: Let’s say I just downloaded the game, can you give me some advice as a first time player?
Make sure you learn to powerslide right off the bat so you can do a quick turn. Also, don’t be afraid to jump to hit the ball!

Nu: How many players can play the game online simultaneously? Will the game include local split screen? If so, can split screen players also go online?
DH: 8 players online, 4 players split-screen, and yes, split-screen/online combos are supported. We wanted to support everything mutliplayer! We even support a persistent team system where you can register a team with your friends that actually gets ranked in the leaderboards with its own name.

Nu: Very interesting! Few games support a good team system! Will the game support regional / global leader boards?
DH: We totally support leaderboards, both individually and team-based.

Nu: Do you have any plans to release downloadable content?
DH: Yep, as I mentioned above we already have a new arena that will be ready very shortly after release.

Nu: Is the game being released internationally?
DH: US is coming first with Europe shortly afterward.

Nu: Is there a target release date or a set price point, yet?
DH: Not yet, but we should be announcing that soon. Right now all I can say is early Fall.

Nu: You guys have a history of working with modders-turned-employees… do you have any plans to include a level editor and level-sharing (ala LittleBigPlanet) to see what your fans can create?
DH: That is a very big endeavor for a downloadable title. It is something we would love to do in some way in the future however.

Nu: And the irresistible question: the previews for Gears of War 2 have shown quite a few “vehicle” scenes. Were you guys heavily involved with the production of Gears 2?
DH: Actually we’re not involved with Gears of War 2 this time around. Besides, we would have insisted they call it Super-Destructive Cover-Jumping Locust-Blasting Chainsaw-Fest! 😉

Nu: I would totally still buy that game! 🙂 I want to thank everyone for their time, and wish you the best of luck in with Battle-Cars and all future endeavors. Final question: would you be willing to share you Playstaion Network ID so we can find you online for a challenge?
DH: Sure! I’ll be on as “CapitalistDog”.

Nu: And that’s it for my interview with Dave Hagewood, Director of Development at Psyonix!

I can’t thank these guys enough, it seems like they have gone above and beyond to take their time out for a little site like mine. I truly appreciate it.

You may have noticed I forgot to ask about a demo – well there are murmurs about one floating around out there, and I have asked Dave a follow up just to get some kind of confirmation. I will update this article when I hear back from him. I doubt we will be able to get a date on that, as the final launch date for the game hasn’t been officially set, either – but we’ll all know soon enough. And you can bet WinBreak will be covering that as soon as it happens! Until then, thanks for reading another WinBreak Exclusive.

Update 1: I contacted Dave about the demo question… kindly, he got back to me within hours. Are they planning a demo? DH: “Absolutely! We expect to release a demo the same day as we release the game.”

WBX: "Told you so" would be mean, but…

WBX: WinBreak Exclusive – Follow up
Remember in EARLY JANUARY, when I said two specific games would be making their way to the still-new Xbox Originals? One of those games I mentioned, was Guilty Gear X2 #Reload. Well, as of yesterday, June 11th, Major Nelson has confirmed Guilty Gear X2 #Reload will be released this coming Monday, June 16th, along side The Legend of Spyro™: A New Beginning.

While Spyro might be for the ESRB aged “E10” in your home, and not getting a warm welcome from the “gaming elitist” community, I have actually heard many good things about Guilty Gear X2 #Reload and think that there are more than just a few people excited about this one coming to the Originals program.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, don’t distrust the WBX, you’ll only end up embarrassing yourself. 😉

WBX: New PSN (Xbox Live?) game this August: Crash Course


WBX: WinBreak Exclusive
Okay, so it’s only an exclusive in that, I may be the only one who cares. 😉

The gear heads (determine just how funny that is as you read on) over at Psyonix are working on their own game. Tired of barely getting recognized for their work in other multi-platinum games, the team that brought us “Burn’t Rubber” in Gears of War is now combining cars and sports… some how.

The team hasn’t officially announced much of anything, but based on their previous publication efforts, the game will be on the Playstation 3 only. Hopefully similarities in the platforms will lead to an Xbox 360 version, as well. The website only points to one image, with the initials “bb” – renamed and shown below:

I did a little detective work to find the picture I put at the top of the article, and thus the title. But the name of the screenshot having the initials “bb” could mean that Crash Course may just be a working title, or “BB” was a hint at a working title – who knows – but for now, I’m calling it Crash Course. 🙂

It’s hard to tell what’s going on in that picture, really, other than a huge ball, and some cars… cars with guns. The game really has no description, so let’s hope some early looks at the game by reviewers are able to decipher more of what’s going on. But graphically, it looks exciting, and the giant Samus Aran morphball looking thing is almost a tease to old school Metroid fans. 😉

WBX: Microsoft to buy Epic? Don't make us LOL…

WBX: WinBreak Exclusive
IRISHprik411 pointed me to an article at dbtechno.com which said Microsoft was planning to buy Epic. Unfortunately for them, it’s completely bogus. It might get them some hits, but it’ll die off soon enough.

After CliffyB stating, last week, how Epic intends to focus the majority of their work on consoles, I can’t expect that they’re suddenly going to buddy up to Microsoft. Further cementing the idea that Epic is out on their own, today they announced the implimentation of Scaleform GFx, which “…[enables] artists to create scalable data-driven UI elements for menuing systems, overlays, HUDs and animated textures directly on 3D objects. GFx also provides an innovative text and font system specifically designed to enhance productivity and streamline localization.”

Additionally, I got in touch with a source “friendly” with Epic who, preferred to remain anonymous, who had this to say: “Its a rumor, lol …. well, rumors start easily …. I’m not sure where it came from, or why.” I just had to include the “LOL” in his message, reaffirming that Epic isn’t going anywhere, and they’re certainly not about to join Microsoft Game Studios. Clearly the most popular game engine right now (what game have you played lately that didn’t have the Unreal Engine logo at the beginning!?), Epic still has enough money to resist even the best offers from Microsoft, if they were to make one.

WBX: More Xbox Originals Confirmed…

WBX:WinBreak Exclusive
I announced Peggle several days ago. Four days later it’s picked up by other sites and it took them even longer to confirm what we knew all along. Don’t doubt WinBreak, please. It’s embarassing to you! 😉

In keeping with WBX tradition, here are two more un-announced Xbox titles which we have confirmed will be released on the American Marketplace (and perhaps others) as Xbox Originals.

At this time, we don’t know when these will hit the marketplace, but we don’t expect it to be along side Burnout 3 Takedown, slated to come out January 14th.

Exclusive: Popcap's PEGGLE coming to XBLA

WBX: WinBreak Exclusive
It’s not quite as exciting as our first post of the day, but nobody has really made mention of this little headline. The game has been a huge success on the PC, but nobody has announced that it’s coming to the 360. Rated “E for Everyone” and confirmed by the ESRB, popular time waster “Peggle” will be making its way to the Xbox Live Arcade later this year. Rated by multple people’s favorites list (last link not work safe – ZeroPunctuation), there is no reason for Popcap to assume it will sell hugely on the Xbox Live Arcade. The game is widely available, even through iTunes now, apparently. So go ahead and check out their official site, and see just what you might be spending your Microsoft points on in the near future.