Thrill Squad (Part 2) by Mega Bloks Halo

The second in an on-going Halo Mega Bloks series, Thrill Squad, was posted today. I found it to be a LOT of fun to watch. Action, great stop motion, good effects with some humor added in.

In case you missed part one, here it is:

So do you like these vids? Yes, they promote the toys. Of course they should. Other than that though, do you like the story, action, humor?

As a fan of Halo Mega Bloks, you know I do!


343 Industries to work with “external partners” on the future of Halo?

This is a reblog of an article posted today on, written by Edwin Evans-Thirwell. As usual, my thoughts will be interjected in BLUE.

Xbox One veteran sought to work with “existing codebase”

Here’s your enigma for today: 343 Industries is in the market for a software development engineer to help “drive the future of Halo”, a process that involves work with “external partners”. Another hint, perhaps, that talk of a third-party developed Halo 2 Anniversary reboot is more than talk?

HFFL: Okay, once again rumors crop up about a Halo 2 Anniversary. I say get on with it. If we’re getting it this year, then let’s hear SOMETHING about it. Yes, E3 is coming, but it’s still a couple months off. As well, here we are again with yet another third-party to be involved with Halo. With respect to 343, can’t they design their own franchise? Why myst they always look outside of their own studio? Is it that the talent pool isn’t as good? Or that they don’t have enough people? Or that their taking on TOO much at one time? I think it’s likely a mix of all three with the latter of the three being the biggest contributing factor.

The right candidate will help 343 with “the challenging task of ensuring our external partners are able to turn world class games into industry movers”. He or she “will be able to support external partners using a mature pipeline, drive new techniques and algorithms, take a lead on performance tuning issues and bringing passion and new ideas to the table. They will also be approachable and able to work with closely with artists and designers to understand requirements and solve problems.”

HFFL: Hmm, so this doesn’t actually sound like it’s an external partner per say, but rather a go-between/liason of the studio with those external partners.


Applicants should have “recently shipped a AAA Xbox One title”, and will be expected to “get up to speed quickly on [an] existing codebase already in production”. This suggests – and I’m stretching here, no doubt – that 343’s mostly unrevealed Halo Xbox One will be the technological basis for any hypothetical parallel projects.

HFFL: Okay, really…how many XBOX One vets are there out there right now? And how many of them have actually shipped a AAA title? Seems like a pretty small pool to get applicants from. Looks like they’re trying to steal away another person from another studio. Not at all unheard of. However, this again points to the worries by some in the Halo community that the skill needed for designing for the XBOX One isn’t fully there yet at 343. That’s worrisome if there is supposed to be a new Halo game for the One this year.

Halo Anniversary co-developers Saber Interactive and Certain Affinity are tipped to be working on Halo 2 Anniversary by a number of sources. Microsoft has stated that these and other reports are “based solely on speculation”, which isn’t quite the same thing as saying that they’re false. “Other than confirming that your Halo journey on Xbox One begins in 2014, we have made no announcements related to specific titles,” adds the statement in question.

HFFL: Again with this cryptic crap…Again, please, as a fan and consumer, I’d really like to know if something is coming out this year. It WILL impact my budget and purchasing for the XBOX One. Keep lagging on and not giving us any info and well….my money may have to go somewhere else. I’m not saying a different console, just for other things in general. I’d like to know now, not 2 months or more down the road. I do not yet have an XBOX One, so that’s $535 (includes tax) for just the console, not to mention the game and if there is any limited/legendary edition as well. Some of us are not made of money, so we DO need a large enough buffer of time to be able to save up for these things. 

Halo 2 Anniversary rumours aside, he mention of external partners could also allude to a project at Vanguard, co-developer of the moderately well-received Halo: Spartan Assault. It could also refer to an externally developed DLC pack for Halo Xbox One, rather than a full game. Your guess is as good as mine, frankly.

HFFL: Well, while I’ve enjoyed Spartan Assault, I don’t think it warrants having a sequel. DLC pack? Um, have they looked at sales of Halo 4 DLC? AND the fact that many who bought Halo 4 DLC are still PO’ed that they can’t play that content on a regular basis? I sincerely hope it’s not either of these cases, but rather a NEW game.

343 is known to be working on at least one game that isn’t Halo Xbox One or the forthcoming Halo TV series. We’ll hear more at E3, hopefully.

HFFL: Yes, I sincerely hope so. And it MUST be not just good, not just great, but OVER THE TOP AWESOME. Anything less is really going to be deflating to the Halo community, well, at least to THIS Halo fan…


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Tha Halo Bulletin 3-27-14

With BS Angel’s departure from being a community manager, for now I think we can safely assume Bravo will be writing all of these…


It’s Friday, March 21. The time is 11:00 a.m. PDT. Our live stream is set to begin in three hours, and members of our 343 Pro Team are preparing to battle it out against some of our top community members – StrongSide, Ace, Flamesword, and Snakebite. Somewhere, bs angel is selecting which cat shirt she will wear. For the Pro Team, the last few days have been full of Halo 4 practice and arguments about whether or not Killer V was the best gamertag of all time or the worst gamertag of all time.

That morning, I get an email saying that someone had just checked the Pro Team Lounge and found GH057ayame and Killer V reviewing Halo 4 Theater film, and that Dersky and Neighbor were eating a donut. At this moment, we knew we were ready. As a side note, I was slightly concerned as to whether or not Dersky and Neighbor were eating the same donut, but unfortunately did not have time to investigate. It was getting close to show time.

It’s now noon and time to head over to Xbox HQ. After a team huddle in the Pro Team Lounge, I grab Neighbor, hop in a car, and we’re off. In an hour the gameplay will begin, and we’re both thinking the same thing. But neither of us says a word. At least, I think he was thinking the same thing. Come to think of it, I am really not sure. Regardless, we arrive a few minutes late, and begin to set up his station. As expected, bs angel is nowhere in sight.

We set up the live stream, quickly download some Champions Bundles (Ricochet on Pitfall is a must) and 45 minutes later, I get a text from bs angel asking if we need her for the stream. I panic and wonder if everything is okay. This was going to be a stream where her and I chatted about some of her bestest memories in the Community Manager role, and she is rarely late. Did something happen? Was there an emergency?

I text her back with these questions, and (just as unsurprising as her tardiness) it turned out she was just outside the door and trolling me. Once everyone got situated, the stream would start, and this is where the video below begins. If you’d like to check out a rebroadcast of the stream, with all of the laughs, ridiculous stories, and *SPOILER* the 343 Pro Team victory, check it out here. The gameplay starts around 28:00.


343’ers checking out Friday’s Pro Team matchup on the big screen.

We’d like to thank our pro team, all of the community pros, and of course all of you for tuning in to Friday’s stream. We had a blast, and we hope you enjoyed bs angel’s ridiculous stories about Norman Reedus, appearing naked on the red carpet and more. We plan to be back with more live streams in the future, so stay tuned to Waypoint. Speaking of the future, we just announced some upcoming Matchmaking experiences.

Upcoming Playlists

If you’ve been keeping up with our Matchmaking Calendar, you may have noticed that we were getting awfully close to April and the Ninja Assassins update, which was the last update listed on the calendar – until this morning! Today, we’re excited to announce some of our upcoming Halo 4 playlists, which include the return of some favorites. Check out the details below!

calendar_layout_apr-chopped-a7cdd6dbf1b543268ee364e0d6a5da30HFFL: All I can say for the above is YES! I’ve been wanting Squad DLC! Now hopefully there are enough people in the playlist!

calendar_layout_apr-edit-11c3e8227ddf48eeac9c60b402411a1bHFFL: Multi-Team!!! It’s about freakin’ time. Why this was ever taken out to begin with is beyond me. I LOVE this playlist. SO much fun and chaos!!! I really want it to be a permanent playlist!!!!! I’m happy as well that Dominion is coming back (but as a 4v4 team and not 6v6?). And two weeks of KOTH? YES PLEASE!

calendar_layout_june-edit-1042b5d9dfad405aac3c3acd0c5a9213HFFL: Hmm, what playlist if TBD? LOL, yes, I know what it means…


Multi-Team will return to Halo 4 Matchmaking on April 28, offering a wide variety of fun and chaos that only four-team gameplay can offer. The playlist will feature both Slayer and objective game types.


The Dominion playlist will return to Matchmaking in mid-May, but this time with a new 4 vs. 4 format. With customized settings and maps, this new iteration will give players an opportunity to earn Dominion commendations and medals as well as the sweet taste of sweet, sweet objective-based victory.

King of the Hill

The ultimate test of map control, King of the Hill will return in the first week of June, with an updated map pool, game variants, and more.

We’re excited about these upcoming playlists as well as future unannounced playlists, and hope you are as well. To see the full calendar (and keep up with upcoming playlists and playdates), head over to the Matchmaking Playlist Calendar.

Next Matchmaking Update


On top of the upcoming playlists, our Matchmaking Systems team has also been hard at work on Monday’s playlist update. Let’s dig in.


We’ve teamed up with the Flood community leaders and Community Cartographers to deliver a refresh to the Flood playlist, which includes new maps and game types. To start, let’s take a look at the new maps that will be included in the playlist:

  • Constellation by The 0micron
  • Morgan Bay by REMKings
  • Plaza by PA1NTS
  • Procedure by SammichEaterPro
  • Prora by Oasis Hurler
  • Repository by SammichEaterPro
  • Substance by PA1NTS
  • The 4th Kind by PA1NTS
  • Until Now by TheElderAcorn
  • Villa del Pena by CANADIAN ECHO

The following maps will be updated to patch various map specific exploits:

  • Payload by NARB GUY
  • Temple by Mr. Pokephile

Additionally, we’re adding a new game type: Last Stand. This game type was created by PA1NTS and S1ERRA420. Here’s a breakdown of the game type:

Last Stand captures the genre of “holdout” style Flood game play. The game type creates a separation of survivor territory from flood territory, containing survivor movement to a holdout area while flood are able to roam free and assault the survivor space from locations outside of the survivor’s reach. Survivors must band together and strategize within the holdout while the flood attack relentlessly from beyond the holdout’s walls. Last Stand can be played on:

  • Constellation
  • Plaza
  • Repository
  • Substance

To watch the teaser trailer for the game type, head here, and for a detailed breakdown of the game type, head here.

Squad DLC

The Squad DLC playlist will feature a mix of DLC-only 6 vs. 6 Slayer and objective play on maps from Crimson, Castle, and Bullseye Map Packs. Additionally, we know that Heavies was fairly popular during its run in Halo 4 Matchmaking, so we’ll be featuring the game type in Squad DLC for the next two weeks, and also discussing some more permanent options for vehicular warfare in Halo 4 Matchmaking.

Special Edition Ricochet!

If the madness of this month has basketball on your brain, be sure to check out next week’s Bulletin to learn about our upcoming special edition basketball-themed Ricochet playlist, which will be available from April 4-7.

Community Choice: Big Team Battle


Lastly, thanks to your votes last week, Team Snipers was selected for inclusion into the Big Team Battle playlist. Grab some friends and hop into the action!

HFFL: Ugh, Snipers…well, I know what playlist I definitely will be avoiding… I am not skilled at that weapon. I’m marginal at best.

Available Now: Halo: Escalation #4

escallation4_head_800-2311046b4b634aa6a20b99d847dde376HFFL: As I’ve already covered this topic in the past two days, I’m electing to skip this part of the bulletin.

Screenshot Spotlight: Haven

HFFL: This week’s topic was Haven. I’m not posting any of them as I really didn’t like any of the ones picked.

For your chance at being in the next spotlight, take a screenshot featuring one or more Frag, Plasma, or Pulse Grenades and then tag it with “Grenade” and “Halo Waypoint,” and maybe, just maybe, yours will be featured in the next Halo Bulletin!

And with that, this week’s Bulletin comes to a close.
Until next week,

If you want to read the full bulletin as well as see the screenshot spotlight, you can go HERE to the official site.


Color me this articles postponed.

You may have wondered why I didn’t post yesterday’s color me this article. Well simply put, it was due to a lack of entries. I had one reader submit a colored in DMR. I had two ready to go as well. However, since it seems this line of articles isn’t so popular, I’m going to shelve it for now and possibly revisit it some time in the future.

Thanks to those who did contribute to these over the past 3 weeks.

Halo Escalation #4 (comic book) is out! SPOILERS!!!

22704The story is definitely starting to rev up in this issue.

We find that Thorne has indeed been given command of Fireteam Majestic. (Not a surprise to me really, when given the events of Spartan Ops in Halo 4. I still think he’s going to be the one who bears the torch after Master Chief.

Lasky and Spartan Ray go on a mission to obtain information on the UNSC mole who gave up the location of the diplomatic meeting between the Arbiter and the Brute Chieftan.

Lord Admiral Hood wants to try out the Forerunner engines of the Infinity and gives Roland (ship’s A.I.) the “wheel” so to speak. However, just before they are about to go into slipspace, the Infinity receives a transmission from an old UNSC signal…

A ship called the Pilgrims Pride is found and is about to be brought aboard the Infinity. However, before that happens, the Infinity comes under attack from old UNSC Vultures and Sparrowhawks. Puzzled, but determines, Spartan fire teams are deployed. We learn of two Spartan fire team names. Colossus and Fenrir. The Spartans come under attack within the ship and the Infinity finds out that the core of the Pilgrims Pride is about to explode. With little time to spare, the order is given to evacuate the Pilgrims Pride, however the Spartans are too deep in the ship and Thorne makes the decision to have the core ejected from the ship. The core is ejected successfully, though damage was taken to the Pilgrims Pride.

Meanwhile, Lasky and Ray meet up with one of Lasky’s old friends from his childhood who has become a journalist. The journalist wants information in return. Not anything simple easy. She want info on the Master Chief!

Back aboard the Infinity, crew bring in the wreckage from the quick battle and track down the I.D. numbers of the ships to the originating ship…It is indeed the UNSC Spirit of Fire!

The crew informs Lord Admiral Hood and prepares to put a report of the ship together for him, when he states he knows all there is to know of the ship as he is the one responsible for the reason it went missing almost 30 years ago!

This issue contains lots of action and intrigue as we only just begin to find out the whereabouts of the Spirit of Fire, Lasky’s past, and the future of fire team Majestic.

Do yourselves a favor folks, if you haven’t bought into this series yet, DO IT! If you can’t find the physical copy of the comic books, don’t worry, you can always buy the digital versions direct from Darkhorse!



Spartan Assault now $9.99 for XBOX One and 360!

Halo Spartan Assault LogoIf you haven’t yet bought Spartan Assault, it’s just gone on sale (last night).

Barely three months after being made available on the One and not quite two months for the 360, Spartan Assault’s price has dropped by 33%!

Folk, it’s definitely worth it for $9.99. It’s a fun game and a new experience for Halo fans. It’s EASY to play, however getting those gold stars on each level (without micro-transactions) means a grind to level up stuff. Still, if you need/want a new Halo experience or a change from the FPS style, then give Spartan Assault a try!

You can purchase through your consoles or you can go HERE for the One and HERE for the 360.

Source Link from HaloWaypoint.



Halo Escalation #4 preview

Halo Escalation is coming in TWO days. Here are a couple of pages from the book:

227041483376_618720648209210_1815547781_nHalo Escalation 4 2-pg spreadWhat’s interesting to note of the two-page spread is that it’s Majestic team, sans DeMarco. (To find out about him, get Escalation #3). It’s certainly good to see 4/5 of Majestic intact!

Also, note the UNSC Hawk is also present. Not just one, but SEVERAL! If you’re not familiar with this ship, it was in Halo Wars:

1555612_origThis brings us even closer to the talk of the UNSC Spirit of Fire being in Escalation. Consider this, it looks like UNSC ships are fighting UNSC ships. One might draw the conclusion that Serena, has of course gone rampant and left orders for the ship to attack anything that came in the vicinity of the Spirit of Fire after her death. With the crew of the Spirit of Fire presumably still in Cryo sleep, this would be the only way to protect them while they are awoken. Now, the Hawks and Shortswords should be piloted by humans right? Maybe. It could be that Serena made a way for those ships to be controlled by the Spirit of Fire temporarily, again to give enough time for the crew to wake up from Cryo Sleep and take over. VERY curious this is indeed!

For those of you who need more of a refresher on the Hawk, Mega Bloks did come out with a set for this back in 2010:

odst-hawk-96850-944 With the prospect of the Spirit of Fire coming into play in the comic book, this series is going to get MUCH more interesting and even BETTER!

Now I always say you should support your local comic book store first, and I hold true to that. However, if you can’t find one locally, you can pre-order this directly from Darkhorse HERE.


Halo game minimalist posters.

I found this via a link off of twitter. I can’t seem to find the artist name though, so if anyone knows and can provide a link to them, please forward it on to me so I can give proper credit to them.

In the meantime, here are the Halo game posters they created in a minimalist style:

Halo CE
This one sums it up nicely. Chief and the Halo ring in perspective.Halo 2
I really like this one. The city in the background with the immense space tether help to give it scale.Halo 3
Ah the Ark! Classic pose for Chief too.Halo 3 ODST
This one is pretty dark. But then again, the mood for much of the game WAS dark. Once again we visit New Mombasa, but this time in the poster it’s closer, more “intimate”. That also reflects the tone of this game. Kudos to the artist for capturing the game’s essence in this poster.Halo Reach
Poor Reach. Doesn’t ever seem to stopped being glassed.Halo 4The look of this poster is very much like it’s more colorful official poster.

I’m wondering if the artist will also make posters for Halo CE Anniversary and Halo: Spartan Assault? I can only hope!

So do you like these? If so, which is your favorite? Click that reply button and let me hear you! (or rather read… 😛 )


What if? (In the Halo universe) Week 1’s responses and Week 2’s NEW question!

Last week I introduced a new on-going column asking a “What if?” questions. The first “What if?” questions asked was:

What if the Covenant had not found humanity?

I received some responses from readers and here they are now:

GoodwillHunter jokingly scribes: I imagine the fanbase would be much less fervent for a game called “Settlers of Reach.”

kevinandrewjohnston writes: I think this question has a lot of variables. First though, if the Covenant had not found humanity, I believe that the reverse would have been true. Humanity was rapidly, expanding, and we have always been explorers. Eventually, we would find them.  The question then comes down to first contact.

D Town Ninja gets to the point of what my response is in his reply: Very interesting “What If?” I think that if the covenant hadn’t ran into us, things would have been much much darker for humanity. First, the insurrection war would have been much more drawn out, with alot more deaths on both sides. Might have even ended up with a split of humanity, so to speak. UNSC friendly with half of the colonies (probably the inner ones) and the insurrectionalists with the other half (outer). Probably wouldn’t have lasted long though, because both sides would eventually need each other, for supplies and whatnot. But unfortunately none of that really means anything, because once the covies attempted to light the rings, they would have realized they need a reclaimer. So really, nothing in the grand scheme of things would change. Still get an invasion, still have to light the ark, and we would still have to deal with a war with the covenant. The timeline would just be off. The road to ‘The Great Journey’ still would have to go through a human. But thankfully, we still would have Spartans, and would still kick the covies butt!

And my (HFFL) response to the question: First it should go without saying that the war with the Insurrectionists would have persisted for some time. Though ultimately I believe the UNSC would have won out, especially with having Spartans on their side. The cost of the war in human lives would have been high, though no where near as high as the war with the Covenant. I believe that for a long time humanity would have had an uneasy yet relatively peaceful existence. Undoubtedly, there would be a flair up form time to time form some Insurrectionist terrorist organization. Those would be quickly quelled by UNSC forces. Of course that would lead more and more colony folks to hate and mistrust the UNSC.

Spartans would have been glorified within the UNSC while demonized in the colony worlds. The fact that some of the Spartans came form colony worlds might have gotten out. If so, there would be yet more political turmoil and possibly a defection or two (or more) from the existing Spartan ranks to the colony worlds. Had that happened, we could have seen a “real” red vs blue kind of story where the UNSC Spartans wore Blue, while the Colony Spartans wore Red. (or vice versa, take your pick). I chose blue for UNSC since Chief was part of blue team.

No doubt Halsey’s hand in the Spartan program would have completely demonized her in the eyes of the Insurrectionists. This likely would have resulted in a bounty on her head. At this point, she probably would have had a Spartan bodyguard. Chief? Maybe. Most likely not. A tangent of that part of the story could have been that she would have been captured by Insurrectionist forces, led by those Spartans who defected. In this way, we’d have had a slightly similar story for Halo 3. Instead of Chief rescuing Cortana, he’d rescue Halsey instead.

In the meantime, the Covenant would have gone about searching for more Forerunner technology. They likely would have come upon Requiem with no resistance from the UNSC since neither faction had made contact with one-another. Had that happened, would the Didact have been released? Needing a Reclaimer to do so would have prevented the Covenant from wakening the Didact. However, they would have had a treasure trove of technology to harvest from Requiem which would have made them even stronger.

Humanity may have become a bit complacent by then since the majority of the Insurrectionist would have been wiped out or made to stand down. Most certainly the UNSC Infinity would not have had Forerunner upgrades, though likely would have still been built.

Now, this begs to wonder, would the Covenant ever find humanity? Since humans have a penchant for exploration, it is nearly without a doubt we would have made contact with them. First contact with the Covenant was with Brutes. Had humanity found Elites instead would this have changed things? Would the Covenant invite them into the fold? Or would they too have sought to destroy them, especially after seeing the size of the fleet humanity had (even if technologically inferior)?

If humanity would have joined the covenant, the secrets of the Forerunners would have begun to be unlocked. The rest of the covenant would have seen this happen. In turn they would have either used that to their advantage or taken captive humanity in why would become a bloody civil war between human and other race factions of the covenant. The Didact would have eventually been awakened as well and with the civil war in full swing, humanity could have taken a much harder hit. The reason for that being that the covenant would have known the positions of human worlds, those could have been given to the Didact for him to exact revenge.

So looking back at it all, it’s actually better, in a twisted way, that the Covenant found humanity as it did and the events in the official timeline played out as they did. Otherwise, humanity could have been wiped out of existence.

Whew…okay, I’d love to read your responses to my answer and the other answers as well, so feel free to post your comment s below.

In the meantime, here is week 2’s “What if?” question:

What if Cortana didn’t die at the end of Halo 4, instead was saved and reached meta-stability? (Meta-stability meaning she would have overcome rampancy)


First ever Halo 4 exhibition match between 343/Community Pros RESULTS!

livestream_exhibition_3-19_700-v2-693bc1c483e348dbb2e5ab8ada7edecfAs I write this the stream is still going one with Rukari hosting BS Angel and Bravo. However, the exhibition match portion of the stream is over and HFFL brings you those results!

Game 1 343 resultThe first game went to the 343 pro team which showed some great team work. They held a big lead for much of the game with the Community Pro team started mounting a comeback. Ultimately though, 343 won with a final score in a match that ended close.
343 Pros 310 – Community Pros 290

Game 2 Comm result
The Community pro team came together in this match and dominated the 343 pro team. Having much of the map control during the game and scoring tons of throw in goals, some coming from open ramp through the slot The 343 team never came close in this match.
Community Pros 310 – 343 Pros 100

Game 3 343 result
This game saw some good run-in goals by the 343 team. Some clutch moves as well. Neighbor for whom we were watching the stream through had an awesome triple kill. He was also a nuisance during much of the match for the Community pro team. The community pros couldn’t overcome the mounting lead by 343, which the 343ers won handedly!
343 Pros 310 – Community Pros 150   Advantage 343 2 games to 1.

At the end of this match we watched as Neighbor talked some smack to Ace. Ace had went +11 in the match only to see his team lose. See folks, in objective games it’s NOT about who has the best K/D…

Game 4 343 result
The 343 pro team completely dominated the Community pro team in what would turn out to be a blowout for the final game of the exhibition match.
343 Pros 310 – Community Pros 150   343 wins the first ever Exhibition match 3 games to 1 not even needing to play the 5 game.

A great victory for the 343 pro team and a bit humbling for the Community pro team.

Bravo promises to bring more of these exhibition matches and streams in the future. One can hope that won’t be too long in coming. It’s always great to see/hear from the official folks!




The Halo Bulletin 3-19-14

Bravo brings us this week’s bulletin.halobulletinheader_3-19_700-0002b7d726754e499d035077146966fa

Sometimes, I skip breakfast. Monday was not one of those days.

I spend most mornings (and sometimes entire days) very hungry. When I arrived at the studio Monday, I quickly realized this day would be different. Spread across kitchen tables, desks, and even the senior management board room, were colorful, leprechaun-adorned boxes of Lucky Charms. Luckily, this held me over until green bagels were delivered (note: bs angel definitely does not approve of green bagels), which held me over until green banana nut muffins arrived (she didn’t like those either), which held me over until green rice crispy treats appeared. By the end of the day, I ate a ton of St. Patrick’s Day-themed treats, all of which were delicious, and none of which were approved by bs angel due to their holiday hue. The important thing to note here is that holidays here at 343 are awesome, as long as you’re okay with food coloring.

We’ve got a few things to talk about this week, (one of those things features a special guest who is much taller than a leprechaun, but not much taller than an Unggoy), so let’s get into the details, starting with Matchmaking.

Matchmaking Playlist Update

This week, Extraction returned to Matchmaking alongside Proving Ground, a new Battle Rifle start playlist. We got some great feedback so far, and appreciate your input regarding map pool, game types, and more as we continue to add to the playlist. Next week, we’ll have news regarding Squad DLC and an update to the Flood playlist, but for now, we have a new Community Choice Poll.

HFFL: I can’t wait for Squad DLC. Not only is it a 6v6 playlist (which is much needed), but also a DLC playlist, which I feel is needed as well, especially for those of us who paid for the DLC. Right?

Community Choice Poll: Big Team Battle


HFFL: This one for me is a toss up between Neutral Flag and Legendary Slayer BR. The latter is closer to Halo 3 play, while Neutral Flag is always fun (for me). I think this once, I’m going to pick slayer over and objective game type though. (I not so skilled at snipers in matchmaking, so there’s on way will I ever pick that.)

Each of the above game types offer different experiences, so to help you choose, here are the details:

Neutral Flag
Lots of players, but only one Flag. Bring it back to your base to score and be ready to run it again!

Legendary Slayer BR
Big Team Slayer with standard UNSC goodness: Battle Rifles, Assault Rifles, and Frag Grenades.

Team Snipers
Be stealthy, be sneaky, but don’t poke your head out too far. Because the other team will snipe it off.

Head here to vote on the Waypoint forums. Voting will be open for approximately four days. Next week we’ll announce the Community Choice winner along with the Matchmaking Update!

Next up, we’ve got a pretty special segment from a guest writer you likely know and love. Please allow me to now hand it over to our very own bs angel.

A Note from bs angel

My first day at 343 Industries was September 13, 2010. I completed orientation (no, I will not say inappropriate jokes while at work; yes, I will make numerous innocent remarks about balls, every single one of which will be about the game type present in Halo multiplayer) and made my way to the EMP Museum. Typically an institution focusing on music, sci-fi, and pop culture, that night it transformed into the perfect venue for celebrating the launch of a new Halo game. That’s right, my first day was the day Halo: Reach launched.

I spent the evening manning kiosks and watching fans play the very game that would soon be spinning in their Xbox 360s. If there was one prevalent sentiment I felt that night, it was the feeling of knowing I found my home away from home – a job where I would be surrounded by people who not only love Halo as much as I do, but also understand the power of the franchise and the fans who celebrate it with us.

If I seem a little sentimental, it’s because I am. I’ve loved every second I’ve spent as Community Manager for 343, and it’s because of this love that I’ve accepted a new position within the studio. In a matter of days, my new title will be “Studio Operations PM.” It’s not particularly flashy nor impressive (I requested Chief Cat Consultant but was denied), but the potential impact I will have on the studio, and thus the franchise, is enticing, exciting, and, when you look at our goals, essential.

I joined 343 because I love Halo, I stayed because I love 343, and it’s the passion for both that takes me into my new job, where I will focus on ensuring the studio is an environment in which our developers can do their very best work. The importance of that should not be underestimated, as we are working on some incredible projects slated to release this year, next, and beyond. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: good things are coming…and a lot of ‘em, at that.

I’m not bidding you adieu, because I’m still going to be here – five desks up and three rows over from my usual spot, in fact. So, as I don’t have any goodbyes to say, I’m instead going to share my most bestest and memorablest experiences I had while in the role of Community Manager. And yes, bestest and memorablest are totally words. ‘Cause I said so (clicks “Add to dictionary” and proceeds).

Norman Reedus – I love him for his brains 


It’s Emerald City Comicon 2011, and I’m working the booth. We’re showing off Halo: Reach and get a request from a handler whose celebrity clients want to stop by and play the game. Apparently the two gentlemen are from The Boondock Saints, which I haven’t seen because clearly it’s a football movie and I’m not into football (I’ve heard of the Saints, you can’t fool me!). I spent 10 minutes or so showing a ruggedly handsome man the basics of the game, wondering the whole time if someone hid all of the world’s razors, if he was half Teen Wolf/half Chia pet, and other totally realistic scenarios that would explain the Brillo Pads of facial hair exploding out of his jowls.

Fast forward to last fall when I discover the good, clean fun that is The Walking Dead. I can’t shake the feeling that Daryl is oddly familiar when it struck me: it’s the dude from Comicon… the guy I taught how to play Halo! I’d like to think his aptitude for headshots came from those very special 10 minutes we shared. I mean, it can’t be a coincidence, right? RIGHT? (You’re welcome, Norman. Call me. Wink wink.)

VGAs – bs angel’s new clothes


Three months after starting my job, I was sent to LA to cover the 2010 VGAs. I was going to be on the red carpet, interviewing the personalities walking the length of the vibrant colored path. Being the non-high maintenance person that I am, I spent hour after hour and evening after evening shopping for the perfect outfit, planning the perfect hairstyle, deciding on the perfect makeup, and selecting the perfect accessories.

It was only after our video was released and I read dozens of comments on YouTube asking if I was naked did I realize that while my shimmery, strapless gown was beautiful, it perhaps wasn’t the right choice for a situation when you’re being taped from the shoulders up.

Lesson learned, YouTube, lesson learned.

Xbox One Commercial – And start feeling…

I don’t have a bucket list. Well, I didn’t until I took part in the Xbox One Anthem. When I was approached by the Xbox team to take part in a super-secret video, I knew it would be an amazing experience. I was dolled up before the shoot (“Yes, you may do my makeup with all your fancy-schmancy MAC stuffz.”), had people adjusting my hair in between takes (“Excuse me, I have a single strand out of place!”), and was followed by a crew of approximately 10 people through the woods, while I attempted to feel natural, and also alive (pretty sure I failed on both accounts).

The video was shrouded in confidentiality, so I didn’t get to see it until it launched. When I saw it starred Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg, and J.J. Abrams (among others), I ran to my desk and immediately started a bucket list. First thing on it was “be featured in a video with Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg, and J.J. Abrams.” First thing to be crossed off was “be featured in a video with Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg, and J.J. Abrams.”

Oh, and did I mention I was in a video with Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg, and J.J. Abrams? ‘Cause I was. And let me tell you, did I ever feel ALIVE…

Cortana VO – I will not allow you to leave this sound booth


There’s a certain part of game development where campaign levels are fleshed out enough to begin dropping in voice overs during important parts of each mission. This is often before final VO is recorded with our professional voice actors. During that interim period, members of the studio sometimes read the lines so placeholders can be implemented in pivotal moments. During this part of Halo 4’s production, I put my name in the hat for Cortana and was selected by an audio engineer who was apparently unaware of my ability to perfectly replicate the intolerable screech of nails on a chalkboard with each and every spoken word.

The experience I had in the recording studio was one of the most memorable I had during Halo 4 production. While the recordings were provisional, I read them in the real sound lab, received direction from the audio team and creative director of the game, and truly felt, for a few brief hours, like the character I was portraying. I refused to play through those missions for as long as my VO was in the game (I didn’t need to hear myself to know how truly bad I am at voice acting) but I do remember walking out of the studio that day with a sense of despair that I couldn’t completely shake for several hours.

Spoiler: Cortana has a rough time in Halo 4. And on that day, so did I.

When You Wish Upon a Star…


One of my core beliefs is using your voice to make a positive impact, especially if said voice is louder than average. Thankfully the studio mirrors those sentiments, which means I often have the honor of hosting Make-A-Wish visits. Meeting these kiddos has made more of an impact on me than I can express, and certainly not one that I can discuss without emotion.

One of those kiddos was Mathieu. After successfully battling cancer three times in his 16 years of existence, the fourth took its toll. We chatted regularly during this trying time, talking about both significant and insignificant topics. Something he said during one of those conversations stuck with me, so much that I knew we needed to make it a reality. After recognizing his time was fleeting, he offhandedly said, “I wish I could live forever in Halo.”

We had him take a series of headshots, and then modeled an in-game Marine after him. His character is in Halo: Anniversary, and arguably one of the most important in the game. He’s the person that lets the Master Chief out of his cryo-chamber, and he also teaches the player the controls for playing the game. We made that choice because Mathieu, to the very end, wanted to help others. And to this day he continues doing just that, inside the Halo universe.

Real-life Warthog – I call turret


Up until this point, you may think my job is completely glamorous and I’m the luckiest person on the planet. While the latter is true, the former is not. My day-to-day responsibilities are typically mundane, and sometimes consist of making sure parcels arrive safe and sound at the studio. In fact, one time I drove to a city almost 30 minutes away (SO FAR) to confirm the intact arrival of an incoming shipment.

When I arrived at the warehouse, I was told our package had, in fact, reached its desired destination, and I should verify it was in acceptable shape. This particular time, that meant I needed to sit in the driver’s seat. And the passenger seat. And hop on the turret for good measure. Sure, I was unable to see over it (I’m not that tall – DON’T JUDGE) but that didn’t matter. I had a job to do, and I was going to do it. ‘Cause I’m that dedicated. And I like joy rides. But more the dedicated thing. ‘Cause yeah.


While I consider myself incredibly blessed to have the aforementioned experiences, none of those things compare to the relationships I’ve had the pleasure of building with many of you. From receiving your emails to meeting you at events to participating in .gif wars on Twitter to engaging in formally arranged cat picture exchanges, getting to know those of you on the other side of the controller has been an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world. Some of you I’ve been friends with since the days of Halo 2. Others I’ve met after the release of Halo 4. But regardless of whether you fall into one of those groups or somewhere in between, I’m thankful for our interactions. My own little world – and the Halo franchise – is a better place because of them <3.

And now, I leave the community in the hands of several capable individuals, some of which you know by name (Alfa! Charlie! Foxtrot?!), and others that quietly and effectively work behind-the-scenes (Uncle Dolan!). So, I’ll see you on the virtual battlefields, my friends. Until then…

#heartz #hugz #andallthatjazz
bs angel

HFFL: So, I take it that means Bravo is now the Senior Community Manager? Or at least the one in charge of community relations, even if he didn’t get a title promotion.

Friday Live Stream – 3/21 1PM PST

If you got a kick out of the above stories, you’re not alone. In my experiences both as a community member and a member of the community team here at 343, I saw firsthand just how lucky the Halo community has been to have a community manager that cared so deeply for the franchise and its fans. Although she did (still does) everything in her power to make me lose every multiplayer match I play, and made (still makes) fun of me for playing Action Sack, there were a few times when we got along, although food bribes and delicious (non-green colored) snacks were generally involved. The community team will miss having her on board. But as she said earlier, I’ve confirmed that luckily for me, and unluckily for her, she’s still within waving distance, just a few desks over. This means that there will still be plenty of team killing, high-pitched squeals, and cat pictures around the studio, and we’re pretty sure this is okay. We’re not sure if desktop computers will still be bursting into flames, but we have a volunteer junior fireman on staff seated adjacent to bs angel’s new desk. You know, just in case.


This Friday, March 21st, bs angel, myself, and a few others will be hopping on a live stream at 1pm PST to chat about some of the above stories and more, because it’s been a while since we’ve hung out. We’ll be streaming at, chatting with you, and also showcasing a long overdue Halo match-up. Oh yes, read on.

HFFL: Ya know, I wish they would stream/podcast more often. Having that interaction with them would be great for both the community and themselves. Of that I’m certain.

Over the past few months, you may have read through the Twittersphere or interwebz that we’ve hired some talented Halo players to help us work on some of our projects. Internally, we call this group of eight players the Halo Pro team. For many moons, we dreamed of them representing the studio near and far, winning championships on our home turf, foreign lands, and eventually distant planets. This Friday, the dream will come true: we give you the first ever 343 Pro Team vs. Community Pro Team match-up!

The four players representing the 343 team will be:
343 Pros

Representing the community pro team will be:
Community Pros

All of the above individuals have some serious Halo accomplishments under their belt to say the least. Our pro team players have multiple tournament wins (including national championships), but we’re expecting that our professional community opponents will be quite the match. Between the Halo 4 Global Champion Ace, the Halo 4 Infinity Challenge winner StrongSide, and professional veterans Flamesword and Snakebite, the 343 pro team certainly has their work cut out for them, and we’re pretty excited to check out the action.

The friendly exhibition series will include a best of 5 series of Ricochet matches, and we’re expecting lots of interceptions, long-range tosses, and good times. Come hang out and join us this Friday!

HFFL: Okay, that’s going to be fun to watch! Hmm, I think I’m going to have to side with the 343 pros here. Yes, the community pros have Ace and Strongside, however, the 343 pros have all the insights to the game and likely an easier time gaming together. Will it be close? Maybe, but again, I give the advantage to 343.

Screenshot Spotlight: Fire

Last week, we turned the spotlight on Skyline. Take a gander at the following Fire screenshots, and maybe even find inspiration to make your own.

screenshot spotlight FIRE 3-19-14

HFFL: I’m partial to the following two from this week’s gallery:

I really like the “fire glow” off of the spartan. Very cool!
I’ve seen this type of pic done before and still love it. That crackling lava flow kind of thing just looks AWESOME. (I wish we could have THAT as a permanent skin for our armor!  

For your chance at being in the next spotlight, take a screenshot on Haven and then tag it with “Haven” and “Halo Waypoint”, and maybe, just maybe, yours will be featured in the next Halo Bulletin!

And with that, this week’s Bulletin comes to a close.
Until next week,

As always if you want to check out the bulletin on the official site, go HERE.


Color Me This: Halo 4 Weapons series; DMR

Last week I loaded up a line art rendering of a Battle Rifle and asked you to create a skin for it.

We had three readers send in submissions and here they are (click pics to make bigger):

Newly registered Arturo sent in his “Green and Blue” skin in honor of Master Chief and Cortana:
BR Green and Blue Mix
Looks like Cortana is wrapped all around Chief! Nice work.

Neal Block is a huge fan of the Flash from DC comics, so he made a “Flash” skin:
Very nice. Definitely reminds me of that zippy super hero!

Reader Brandon brings us his “Insurgent” skin:
Insurgent H4_BRExcellent work. I love that blood spatter on the front!

And here are my two renderings. The first I wanted to invoke a special ops feel to, so I did not include any bright colors. Instead I went with black, greys, and white. I call it “Midnight”.
H4_BR Midnight

This next one I made would likely see use in cold weather climates, VERY cold that is. It’s called “Fridgid”. After inking in the colors, I then decided to add a iced over effect to it. See the difference below:
H4_BR Fridgid
H4_BR Fridgid w-ice

So as you can see we got a nice mix of colors in all of the artwork submitted. From colorful to hot and cold, realistic and dark.

So do you have a favorite? If so, what made it your favorite?

Now we come to this week’s Color Me This Halo 4 weapon, the DMR.

As always you have one week to submit your designed skin of this. Feel free to download this artwork and color in as you see fit. You can submit your colored in versions to me and I’ll show them next Wednesday here on the blog. Nothing vulgar folks. You have until noon Wednesday March 26. I can’t wait to see what you all come up with!


Xbox VP: It was a mistake to ‘sugar-coat’ the Xbox One controversy

The following is a reflagged article from yahoo:

Long before sales figures and game releases dominated the headlines, the only thing any gamer wanted to talk about was Microsoft’s radical online strategy for the Xbox One. As it was originally described, theXbox One was going to be an online-only console in the strictest sense — if you weren’t connected to the Internet, the device wouldn’t function. After several unsuccessful attempts to reach a middle ground with consumers, Microsoft threw in the towel and reverted to the standard policies of the previous generation.

In an interview at SXSW, Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft Studios, admitted that he and his team did not approach the delicate situation in an ideal manner.

HFFL: You don’t say? First, having suits deliver the message for the next console was a HORRIBLE idea. Yes, they want some limelight and yes, by showing themselves, they tried to give the perception that they believe in their product. But honestly, I think we can all just about agree that the reveal last year weeks before E3 was a monumental failure. I personally would have rather had celebrities come out and pawn the new system off to me than some suits in the high-up offices of MS. A music act would have been great too. In fact, having a live show ALSO being shown live on the XBOX One would have been a GREAT way to demonstrate it. 

Total Xbox has taken the time to transcribe some of the more interesting quotes:

“I look at last summer and that wasn’t a high point for me, coming out of the announcement of Xbox One and E3, where I thought our messaging around what we believed in was confused,” said Spencer.

HFFL: The biggest failure was not showing what the gaming portion of the system could do as well as conflicting information about the always online format. It of course didn’t help that we as a nation had just gone through reports of revealing info about the NSA’s involvement with wire-tapping and potentially through gaming consoles as well. Having the Kinect be a mandatory part of the console which raised the cost by $100 AND the NSA spook stuff really REALLY hurt MS. Not to mention Don Mattrick’s advice to those who didn’t want Kinect. That was (paraphrased), if you don’t want Kinect, stick with your 360. Man, that was a kick in the nuts to many a gamer, even the loyal ones.

“I learned a ton last summer as leader of our groups about being true to your core vision about what a product is, not being confusing, and frankly, when you’re going to say something to a consumer that might put them off, it’s better to just be direct and honest, rather than trying to sugar-coat something that might be controversial. I’d rather deal with the controversy of what we’re doing, and have an above-table conversation about that topic, rather than trying to sugar-coat it with some other news.”

HFFL: Not what I’m hoping that in-house developers, especially 343, gains from this is that they too MUST follow suit. Be DIRECT AND HONEST. That was one thing that really hurt Halo 4. The whole “perks” thing. Secrecy for secrecy sake, when after what was revealed was more of a let down than anything that merited being kept secret in the first place. I am SO much for honesty even if it means you “rat” yourself out. ‘Fess up to your mistakes from the onset and people WILL be more understanding then than trying to hid things and hope for the best later.

Had Microsoft been more forthcoming at the outset, explaining in detail how its new online strategy could affect the next generation of consoles for the better, consumers might have given the Xbox One the benefit of the doubt. Instead, confusing, drawn out reveals and a refusal to answer basic questions resulted in outrage. If there was anything to be gained by Microsoft’s bold plans, the awkward delivery assured that we’ll never know.

HFFL: It’s possible many gamers may have accepted the new format if it were presented in a better light. The complete mismanagement of the reveal and subsequent showing at E3 really deflated what SHOULD be an otherwise stellar next-fen console. So again, I reiterate that as this pertains to Halo, I hope like heck 343 learned from the mistakes of not just themselves, but those of their superiors AND how those superiors responded. The bolded-underlined portion above is the biggest thing I hope they get. 


/End reflagged article…

You’ll forgive me if it seems like I’m harping on either MS or 343. I make no money from this site, so it shouldn’t really affect me, right? Well, yes and no. See, I have a real passion for Halo. So if MS screws things up for the XBOX One and 343 had a less than stellar game, well that affects the Halo community in general. Sure those BIG sites who are well diversified might be fine, but those like mine that are SOLELY focused on one franchise will have a harder time going forward.

I just do not want to go through another hyped up launch of a Halo title only for it to fall flat a month or two after launch. If Halo is to rebound, the hype has to start earlier. It also has to be honest and sincere.

Just as MS/XBOX execs sugar coated the XBOX One, so too did 343 do with Halo 4. perks WERE/ARE perks. Maybe not exactly the same, but close enough. Saying that they were bring Halo back to it’s core, when what they should have said was bring the Halo campaign back to it’s core… I’m sure I’m not the only one that thought they meant bringing multiplayer back to it’s core. Leading us to believe that Spartan Ops was to be an on-going series, only to have the can it after the first season…

They just can NOT do that stuff anymore. Their own execs have said as much for the console and that trickles down to the in-house devs for the respective games/franchises as well.

Okay, sorry, rant over. I just needed to get that off my chest…again. It’s been a VERY slow Halo week. That, plus the fact that I was sick for a few days last week just didn’t give me much to work with/on for the blog.


What if? A new on-going column asking this very question, with regards to the Halo universe and community.

The premise of these articles is to pose the question of “What if?” in varying Halo scenarios. Most will be in-universe “What If?” questions, however, some will also be about the real world Halo community and business of Halo.

Here are some examples of “What If?” questions that will be posed:

  What if Cortana didn’t die at the end of Halo 4, instead was saved and reached meta-stability?
  What if you were in charge of 343, how would you handle the Halo franchise?
  What if Master Chief were killed off, who then would take his place?
  What if the Didact had won at the end of Halo 4?
  What if Bungie were still in charge of the Halo franchise?

These and many more “What if?” articles will be posted over the next several months.

The way it will work (starting with the second article) is that I will post the question from the previous week, for which you will have had time to write your responses. I’ll post my response, then your responses as well. At the end of the article, I’ll give the next question for you to consider writing a response to for the next week. That pattern will repeat weekly.

Please respond by e-mail for these articles as I do not want to comments section potentially clogged up here. Responses for the What If? column can be sent to [email protected]. In your response, please give your screen name here as the name of the author of the response. If you are not yet registered with HFFL, you can still respond to the “What If?” articles. Registration to HFFL is FREE, btw. Click “REGISTER” for instructions.

Okay, so let me ask the first “What if?” question…

What if the Covenant had not found humanity?

This is quite a loaded question here. Lots to ponder. I won’t give you those ideas/thoughts though, so as not to sway your respective answers.

You have until 6pm EST Friday March 21 to get your reposes to me. They can be as short as a sentence or several paragraphs long. Please try to keep to no more than 500 words. Also, PLEASE run spell check on your responses. If it looks like I have to do a lot of editing to your response, it may not be posted.