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Halo used to be a juggernaut in the gaming industry. Its success is the reason the Xbox even exists today, with Halo serving as the system-selling launch title for the original Xbox. When the 360 came around, Halo 3 continued to sell Microsoft consoles and became the highest grossing game in the series. New Halo titles used to be events for gamers and now, we only get controversial or lackluster entries. Worse still, the series seems to be on life support. There’s no 10th anniversary remaster for 3 this year and 343 Industries has confirmed 6’s reveal “won’t be soon.”

Halo’s previous success put it as a solid rival to even Call of Duty. However, Halo 3 was a peak from which things only went downhill for the franchise. The next entry we got in the series was Halo Wars, an RTS made specifically to be played on Xbox 360. While different from past games, Wars didn’t sell anywhere near as well as them. Ensemble Studios, the game’s developers, were even shut down before Wars released due to controversy with Bungie.

Then came Halo 3: ODST which, while most applauded what content it had, was panned by many critics. The biggest complaint was that it cost $60 but felt more like Halo 3 DLC than a full game. The final game made by Bungie was Halo: Reach. While many applauded it as a quality send-off from Bungie, many others weren’t fans of the gameplay changes. From what I noticed, this was where the first major wave of people left the fandom.

Bungie left to work on Destiny and 343 Industries was created by Microsoft to continue work on the series. Their first big project in the series was a remaster of Combat Evolved and, despite positive reviews, it wasn’t anything new. Halo 4 ended up being 343’s first big expansion of the franchise. It ended up being an incredibly polarizing game due to major changes in aesthetic, gameplay, and music. This game marks the beginning of the 343 era, but that also meant that Bungie purists lost interest in the series.

From here on Microsoft decided to release a bunch of minor games. We got Spartan Assault and Spartan Strike, a duo of top-down shoot ‘em ups that went under the radar of most gamers. When the Xbox One came out, we got our first teaser for future Halo projects. This included hints at a new game, a mini-series, and even a Steven Spielberg-produced TV show. However, next to nothing shown at the E3 2013 conference ending up coming to fruition for the series besides the Ridley Scott-produced mini-series.

Then 2014 came around and we got the remaster of Halo 2 with The Master Chief Collection. Hyped as potentially being the first system-selling game for the Xbox One, it ended up being incredibly disappointing, with a plethora of bugs and shoddy multiplayer servers. Once more, many fans lost faith in the series. Halo 5: Guardians looked to rectify these mistakes the next year, but it ended up being the most polarizing entry in the series. Most agreed its multiplayer was fantastic. However, it shipped with a campaign many found short and uneventful, it added micro-transactions to the series, and it didn’t even have split-screen.

This game ended up being the last straw for many, myself included. I’m personally no longer excited about this franchise’s future. Halo Wars 2 was a breath of fresh air, but it wasn’t fantastic and it seems to be all we’re getting this year from 343. There are still plenty of chances for announcements throughout the year, but if 343 didn’t have anything to show at E3, that’s most likely a false hope. As bleak as things seem for Halo, 343 seems to be taking their time and focusing their resources on 6. Here’s hoping that the series can regain its lost fanbase and become a respected shooter once more.

I spend most of my days working towards my Writing and Rhetoric degree at the University of Central Florida, but I spend a lot of my down time keeping up to date on the best TV, movies, and video games the industry has to offer. Here I put all of that extended time to use discussing each of them in-depth.

Gaming

The director of Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth is making a final plea to content creators regarding spoilers

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Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is on the horizon, with our review already available. There’s just one week left until the game’s official release on February 29th, exclusively on PS5. This highly anticipated sequel to Remake, based on one of the most beloved video game stories, is best experienced without any spoilers, according to creative director Tetsuya Nomura.

On Twitter, Nomura made a final request for players and content creators to avoid spoiling the game for others, especially on social media and video-sharing platforms, where spoilers can spread rapidly. Naturally, there’s a specific moment that everyone is eagerly anticipating to see how it will compare to the 1997 original, and it’s bound to be quite chaotic on launch day. Nevertheless, Nomura still holds onto a glimmer of hope for humanity and has made a seemingly impossible request for content creators to exercise a degree of restraint.

It’s important to remember to include spoiler warnings when sharing content related to the game’s story on social media and video-sharing sites to avoid spoiling the experience for others. I would greatly appreciate it if you could avoid using scenes from important parts of the story in your video thumbnails.

https://x.com/finalfantasyvii/status/1760605439698591859?s=20

Nomura points out that the developers intentionally did not limit the recording and sharing features of the PS5 for any aspect of the game. They believe players should have the freedom to share and discuss their favorite gameplay moments. It remains to be seen if that trust was justified.

Do you think players and content creators will follow Nomura’s request and minimize spoilers? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Gaming

Xbox may want to become more acquainted with the Platinum Trophies on PS5 and PS4

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Obsidian’s first Xbox game, Pentiment, a historical adventure, is now available on the PS5 and PS4. From what we’ve seen, this port of a highly popular game seems to be solid, and we aim to provide you with a review soon. Meanwhile, one aspect caught our attention regarding the conversion that Microsoft may need to address in the future.

Pentiment’s list of Trophies perfectly mirrors its Xbox Achievements, featuring identical descriptions, titles, and icons. There is a slight variation between the two versions: PlayStation offers 42 trophies to unlock, whereas Xbox provides 41 achievements to earn. The distinction lies in the Platinum Trophy, which is awarded once you have collected all the other trinkets in the set.

Since it’s not included in the original game, the developer has not named the trophy, so it appears as ‘PlatinumTrophy’ in the list. This has already generated amusement among Trophy enthusiast communities. “They chose such a basic name for the Platinum Trophy and somehow still messed it up,” a fan expressed.

This issue is quite insignificant in the bigger picture and could likely be fixed with a quick update or patch. As Microsoft gains more experience with PlayStation development, we hope their command of the Trophy system will improve. After all, those platinums are difficult to earn and deserve a more memorable name.

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Gaming

Brock Lesnar and Vince McMahon have been excluded from the final roster of WWE 22K24

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2K Sports unveiled the complete roster for the upcoming WWE 2K24, featuring more than 204 playable superstars, including 70 Legends who are no longer part of the main rosters, along with eight managers. However, fans were quick to point out the absence of some notable names from the list: 7-time WWE Champion Brock Lesnar and former WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon. Lesnar was previously excluded from the Forty Years of WrestleMania edition.

Following accusations of sex trafficking against McMahon by a former WWE employee, a report from the Wall Street Journal brought the issue to light. Although Lesnar’s name was not directly mentioned in the proceedings, insiders informed the WSJ that he was the unidentified WWE champion in question. McMahon refuted the allegations but stepped down as WWE CEO the day following the federal lawsuit.

Nonetheless, Lesnar and McMahon will still be present in the game. GameSpot has reported that the Lesnar vs. Undertaker match from WrestleMania 30 may be included in Showcase mode. It is speculated that another match already confirmed for Showcase mode (Stone Cold vs. The Rock, WrestleMania 17) will probably include an appearance from McMahon as well.

WWE 2K24 will be available for purchase on March 8th for PS5 and PS4, or March 5th for those interested in the Deluxe or WrestleMania editions.

 

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