Rumor — the invisible force said to actually power the internet — has it that this console generation is coming to a close. If this truly is the last year of this triumphant generation, a generation that began as any other (with pretty graphics and prettier promises) but evolved into a full blown fusion of home media and dedicated gaming, then it’s all the more important to reflect on the virtual adventures 2012 gave us.
We laughed, we cried, we cried even harder trying to slog through Halo 4 on Legendary…2012 was the culmination of six years of advancement, where devs’ were past their growing pains fumbling with new technology and knew how to fully utilize the tools at their disposal. 2012 was a year in which we reaped the benefits tenfold through the sheer amount of excellent games rapid-fired onto store shelves (or, more realistically, Steam shelves. Yeah. Steam shelves).
“People have a lot of variety about how they actually interact. Some people look very deadpan when they’re really enjoying things, and some people are laughing because they think something is ridiculously bad…We’re not just here about collecting information to understand things. We’re here about making the game better by having actionable data, and knowing someone smiled at four minutes and 38 seconds into a mission doesn’t help us out a lot.”
-Eric Schuh, senior user researcher assigned to Halo 4’s playtesting and data analysis.
If you haven’t happened across it yet, Polygon has an absolutely fantastic article following Microsoft’s Studios User Research and Central Analytics department, a dryly named group of individuals whose sole focus in life is to ensure Halo 4 is, above all else, playable. In the world of blockbuster video games — in this case, a new, highly awaited sequel within a franchise estimated to be worth nearly three billion dollars — playability is crucial.
Through extensive playtesting, data collection, and exhaustive attention to player behavior and comprehension, the User Research group provides 343 Industries with information and guidance that hammers out rough spots, tightens loose bolts, and smooths out potential wrinkles that could inadvertently derail a player’s enjoyment of the developer’s labor of money-spewing love.
Those looking to unearth Halo 4’s revelations need to look elsewhere, but if you’re interested in a behind-the-scenes look at one of the gaming industry’s least scrutinized areas of development, hit the link.
Watch 343 Industries Create An Epic in ‘Halo 4 Prelude’
Calling Halo 4 a massive undertaking is officially a staggering understatement once you check out this trailer.
343 dropped a tastefully filmed, scored, edited trailer that shirks standard preview conventions and borrows the spotlight from their creation to focus on the creators themselves. While the duration of the video depicts art teams, programmers, sound engineers, a live orchestral arrangement, and mo-cap actors all absolutely pouring their time and energy into this big budget sci-fi epic, you can still catch several never-before-seen glimpses at the game including a gameplay sizzle reel at the very end.
More production shots from Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn. It’s lookin’ pretty sweet.
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
Set against the backdrop of a United Nations Space Command (UNSC) military academy, a group of highborn cadets are training to be the next generation of soldiers in the UNSC’s ongoing war with insurrectionists in the outer colonial planets.
Bungie may have departed from the franchise but Halo is going strong. An absolutely fascinating take on the lore is happening in 343 Industries’ Halo 4 this November, but October 5th sees the start of an amazing looking five-part web series molded by professional Hollywood talent both behind and in front of the camera all in the hopes in delivering a supplementary experience on par with the quality of a theatrical film.