How Martin O’Donnell Got Paul McCartney to Help Him On Destiny

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Booting up “Halo: CE” for the first time was just one of those moments.

While the thrill of playing a new console (the Xbox) and the hype the game had generated shortly before release were enough to amp you up before you even booted the game, it was the moment the main screen appeared that you immediately realized you were about to embark on something special. That’s because it was the moment you heard the “Halo” theme in all its glory.

Not only does it remain one of the best gaming themes of all time, but to this day it stands as one of the few musical themes across all mediums that manages to perfectly convey the material it represents, as its haunting intensity can flood memories of long nights of play into your conscious with no more than a note.

It’s the kind of work a composer could hang his hat on and call it a career, but that isn’t the case for “Halo’s” composer Martin O’Donnell, who has continued to work on the famed series, and who’s newest task sees him composing the theme to Bungie’s new game “Destiny.” That’s no small task considering that Bungie is trying to work with a clean slate not reliant on any previous success, meaning they’ll need a theme as epic as the one in “Halo,” but without being the one in “Halo.”

To help him in this herculian task, O’Donnell has recruited a man that’s had more than a little experience in producing hits over changing conditions.

Sir Paul McCartney working on an FPS with the composer of “Halo” may sound like an odd (or even dreamlike) scenario, but its roots are much more humble. As O’Donnell explains it, he was talking with a friend that worked on “Rock Band” when McCartney was helping that team out, and the friend mentioned that they could name drop O’Donnell to the rock legend. O’Donnell said why the hell not and since McCartney had played “Halo” with his grandkids (imagine that for a moment) knew O’Donnell’s work and took the chance to assist him with “Destiny.”

According to O’Donnell, McCartney is always excited to work on new ventures, and has brought a fresh perspective, as well as his tape loop machine used on Sgt. Peppers and years of experience, to the process. The combination of these great minds, has to date produced a 50 minute soundtrack which, according to O’Donnell, tells its own story within “Destiny” and will be released separately ahead of the game.

From the ambitious looking footage, its clear that Bungie has no interest in selling “Destiny” as a carbon copy FPS with “From the makers of Halo” stamped on the box, and this move to reach out to, and attract, a legend like McCartney is further proof of that, and that even in a crowded gaming line up we should all be keeping an eye on “Destiny” and an ear on its theme in anticipation of one of those moments.

Reach: The Good, the Badass, and the Ugly


Most of the time this blog is dedicated to happenings in Riot Games’ League of Legends, but I do occasionally branch out and play other games. Halo is one such game, and I’m always excited by the announcement/experience in the latest the franchise can offer. I got to play a bit of the Reach beta, and there was a lot to like (finally, a needle rifle). There was a lot I didn’t like, too, but I can hold my judgements for a release version of the game.

For now, you can see some of Bungie’s thoughts on the beta in the video above. There are some great shots, and I love that they included an ugly section for all the things that just shouldn’t be happening. Hopefully those will all be fixed by September 14th, when Reach officially launches.

Halo:Reach gets the live action treatment

Skull spartan.More and more video games are turning to live action shorts to serve as commercials in the months leading up to release. Perhaps the most notable was the Halo:ODST trailer last year, but there were also shorts for Assassin’s Creed II, Alan Wake, and Ghost Recon:Future Soldier. We can now add another to the list for Bungie’s latest and last Halo project, Halo:Reach.

The Reach short will debut tomorrow night at 9PM PST. The short, which was directed by Noam Murro, details the story of Carter 259, the Spartan squad leader you’re sent to control for the title’s campaign. More specifically, you’ll get to see how Carter evolved from your average marine into a suited-up badass Covenant killing machine.

Keep an eye on Bungie.net for more updates.

Doritos gives gamers a scouting combine

Picture 3Once upon a time I was considering going pro as a Halo player. No joke. I was in college, logging several hours of play a day and winning local tournaments as often as I could find them. Being in college, though, I was dead broke, unable to afford the plane ticket and lodging it would cost to to get from central Ohio to one of the early MLG tournaments with hopes of landing a team spot and competing at the national level. At the time, pro gaming, at least for consoles, was just getting its start, and there wasn’t another venue that would offer that kind of opportunity before I was set to graduate and find myself in need of gainful employment.

If you’re in that same situation, things have gotten a bit better. There are loads of pro leagues all over the country, and regional tourneys happen all the time. Breaking into the MLG scene can still be pretty tough, which is why Doritos has put together the Pro Gaming Combine in select cities around the country. You still have to get there, and there is an entry fee, but pro gaming has reached a point that, if you’re any good, you can easily get noticed at an event like this and start to make a name for yourself.

The combine runs for three days at a time with both team and solo categories. Players who demonstrate the highest level of “slaying power, teamwork/communication, leadership, objective play and support play” will be selected for further evaluation by the MLG Scout Team and given an opportunity to play at an MLG Pro Circuit event and an invite to the National Championship Competition, all expenses paid. Combine registration is $100 per team or $10 per player, which is much better than the actual circuit tickets last time I checked.

For the date and location schedule, check out the official page at MLG. There will be several online events leading up to each tourney, giving you the chance to see how you stack up before spending that Hamilton or Benjamin on your registration.

Bungie finally denies Halo: Reach Natal rumors

Halo: Reach logo.Ever since Microsoft announced Project Natal there has been speculation about which blockbuster titles would see motion controlled support. What’s more blockbuster than Halo? Nothing. But thankfully, Bungie confirmed it won’t be making Reach with Natal capabilities.

The confirmation came after a leaked screenshot showed a targeting reticule off to the side of the screen.

“Halo: Reach is NOT a Natal title and is being developed expressly with the traditional Xbox 360 controller in mind.”

Just to assuage any doubt, Bungie included the bug report for the anomaly along with it’s denial of Natal support. The full post was a “mythbusters” post, resolving other rumors like HUD and crosshair customization. You can find all those goodies at the Bungie website.

James Cameron rails against Halo comparisons

Na'vi.James Cameron is notoriously grumpy when it comes to talking about his movies. In a sense, he has a right to be. People keep telling him his ideas just won’t work and he keeps proving them all wrong.

In his latest episode of mind-speaking, Cameron railed against people who have been comparing Avatar to Bungie’s Halo. “The funniest thing is when some of the so-called fanboys get up trashing Avatar for looking too much like Halo,” he told G4. “It’s like… pay attention. If I’m referencing anything, I’m referencing the source work for Halo, which is my own stuff.” He’s referring to Aliens, a movie Bungie has long said was inspiration for its hit franchise.

There may be more alien worlds coming from Cameron in the near future, who said he has plenty of stories but not enough time to make them all into movies. Oh, and if you haven’t seen Avatar yet, go.

Halo: Reach trailer airs at the VGAs

Good to its word, Bungie showed off the last game will make under the Halo franchise at the VGAs last night, a game we all know as Halo: Reach. The trailer was a mashup of pre-battle scenes. A warthog driving across some open terrain. A bunch of Spartans back at barracks. A bunch more Spartans at their barracks. A bunch of Spartans leaving their barracks.

Sounds kinda boring, doesn’t it? Well that’s because it is. I embedded the video below so you can see just how boring for yourself. Granted, this all about setting up the conflict that started Halo, so there’s a lot of dialogue. It’s strange, though, that Bungie is investing so much in establishing stock characters in a short trailer. You have the chick trying to prove herself in command. The psycho sharpening a knife with a skull painted on his visor. The dutiful lieutenant reporting for duty. I’m not sure what about this was supposed to excite me, and there was virtually nothing to make me say, “yeah, this will be the biggest game of 2010,” other than the word Halo in the title.

See for yourself:

Greenberg says Reach will be the biggest game of 2010

Aaron Greenberg lookin silly.Microsoft had a great November. The Modern Warfare 2 launch pushed through 4.2 million units, nearly a million more than Halo 3 did at launch. Among other things, the 360 outsold the PS3, even though overall sales were down year on year. Microsoft’s product management director, Aaron Greenberg, had a lot to say on the matter, but the most notable was his prediction for Halo: Reach.

“I feel confident that there’s nothing that will compare in size. Halo: Reach will be the biggest game of 2010.”

So what else releases in 2010? Here’s a short list:
-StarCraft II
-Mass Effect 2
-God of War III
-Final Fantasy XIII
-Gran Turismo 5

Greenberg thinks the Master Chief can beat every one of those. A few on the list, sure, but GT5? Final Fantasy XIII for the West? I have my doubts.

Source: Gamasutra

Halo: Reach to debut at the VGAs December 12th

Halo: Reach cropped logo.Fans of the Halo series now have another date to look forward to. Spike TV’s Geoff Keighley tweeted today that the premiere of Halo: Reach will be at the Video Game Awards on Spike this December the 12th. It will be the first look anyone gets at the game, probably with an exclusive trailer.

I’m pretty excited about the game. I was always a bit more interested in the story behind Halo than I was the storyline proper. I think it’s the Flood. Just not an interesting enough villain for me, but hey, zombie plagues are in, right?

I have to say, though, announcing games on television is just so five years ago. C’mon Microsoft, we live in the age of the internet. More people will doubtless watch the trailer there than on Spike. Why not do something cool like offer double experience for all Halo games and stream the trailer over live as it’s broadcast?

Microsoft hiring for Project Natal and Halo

Halo Reach.A couple of interesting job postings went up for Microsoft this week, including positions for both Project Natal and Halo development. Don’t worry, fanboys, those are separate positions. No one’s diluting your competitive gameplay just yet.

The Halo listings are for designers, AI developers, animators, and a multiplayer game design lead. The Natal listings didn’t specifically mention a game or IP for the position, but at least one mentions “a large franchise.” That could mean, well, anything. Another of the Natal positions is for “an excellent next-generation” type thing, which again could be anything, just probably not something we would have seen or heard anything about.

Joystiq got in touch with Major Nelson to confirm that the posts are real. They are. That’s all he would say.

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