Probably not many of you reading this have ever been to an Electronic Entertainment Expo, which is now called something like the business and media summit, more commonly referred to as just E3. These shows have been around for quite a few years, originally starting in the 90s in Los Angeles. E3 migrated over to Atlanta for a little while but eventually found its way back to LA where it has stayed ever since. They used to include a day for the public to come in and check out the games, but the show has been gradually becoming more of the closed door, press pass, VIPs only type of affairs. Last year it still had the big announcements but was lower key overall, with pretty much press and buyers the only folks allowed to get in and see the wares. So although we’re going to be showing Halo Wars there, you’re likely going to have to live vicariously through second hand accounts from members of the press.
We will certainly update our website, as we did last year, with some E3 materials, links to announcements, articles, and any other information that comes from the show.
What are we going to be showing? We’re going to be showing a recent build of the game. We have a milestone that is shortly before E3, so we’re going to take a few days to test it and make sure it’s running well, then take it to LA. A lot more of the game will be visible and hopefully we will be able to hand over the controller to let people try it for themselves. We’ve come a long way in the last year, so get ready for a new look under the hood.
One of the new units that was revealed in the recent GamePro feature on Halo Wars was the UNSC Cyclops. People who’ve played our games may remember Age of Mythology, which allowed players to use the mythological Cyclops unit. The unit name is a nod to that game, and the fun we had with that unit. The GamePro article described the Cyclops in Halo Wars as a “gigantic bipedal mech”, which is something of a hyperbole. This naturally brought on nightmare-ish imagery to some Halo fans of a MechWarrior style machine of war with missile and guns on it. That’s really not the case.
The idea of the Cyclops is simply a repurposed piece of equipment. It’s not a giant fighting machine, it’s not actually not much larger than your average Spartan, and certainly smaller than something like a Scorpion. These mechanical suits house a man who operates it, and they would normally be put to work moving around supplies, ammunition, or doing the heavy lifting on construction projects. When the Covenant come knocking though, you’ve got to fend them off with whatever you have at your disposal, including these awkward looking things. We don’t feel that a guy in a mechanical suit (Spartan anyone? Mark I?) is a big stretch for the UNSC.
The UNSC Arsenal
With UNSC vehicles and weapons in mind, we’re going to be rolling out some general information on the forces that they can wield here on the site. This will include some possible renders, concepts, or maybe some animations as well. In addition, we’re going to be revealing the structures that you can build at your base. Many of you will remember that we have previously talked about a socketed base system, where you construct buildings in predefined locations. A large part of the strategy in the game is not only based around what units you build and field, but what buildings you decide to set down and when. We’re sure you’ll hear about this during E3, and over the summer we’ll be providing more on how that all fits together to create the UNSC in Halo Wars.
A gaming news site that some of us visit recently posted some screen captures from our 2007 E3 demo and proclaimed them as new. Things like that really make you realize just how far the game has come. Even screenshots in our gallery from a few months ago really don’t do the current game justice. With that in mind, our screenshot gallery is going to undergo a few updates in the near future to feature some more recent images from the game. Some new, some from magazine articles etc which you may have seen before. So watch for that as well!