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    This Week In Gaming 11-20-18


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    Reid McCarter on the characterization of RDR2's Arthur Morgan as a man that wants to do good in a world that makes it seem impossible, part four of Zoyander Street's series of articles on games criticism with this one focused on hampering the search for real criticism and Youtube culture, Telltale Games liquidation underway and games being removed from Steam, New Frame Plus asks if Red Dead Redemption 2's detailed animations can hurt the game, Sony is skipping E3, Ludocriticism begins a look at the evolution of Arkane Studios' games over time starting with Arx Fatalis, Clint Hocking collects the best critical writing on Far Cry 2 that he has seen over the past 10 years, upcoming expansion for Civilization VI, Jeremy Signor on how Deltarune focuses on your values being at odds with others while Undertale focuses on questioning your own choices, diplomacy gameplay for Total War Three Kingdoms, and more.

     

    Gaming News (Announcements, previews, release dates, interviews and writing on upcoming games, DLC and game updates, company and developer news, country news, tech, mods)

     

    Sony Is Skipping E3 2019

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    Sony is skipping next year’s E3, ditching its traditional booth and press conference in a move that will have a significant negative impact on the video game industry’s annual trade show.

     

    Total War: THREE KINGDOMS – Diplomacy Gameplay Reveal (Part 1)

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    THREE KINGDOMS introduces the biggest update to Total War’s diplomacy system in the history of the series.

     

    Eastward 15-minute gameplay preview

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    "A detailed and charismatic adventure game with RPG elements."

     

    IndieWatch: Top 5 Hidden Gem Indie Games (Day of the Devs 2018)

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    Day of the Devs 2018 has come and gone! While all 70 games are truly doing special things, here are five indies that I didn't think would stick with me as strongly as they did...and are now five titles that I will be keeping a much closer eye on as they develop!

     

    Look Who’s Coming Back for the Command & Conquer Remasters

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    EA is teaming up with Petroglyph to remaster two classic PC games: Command & Conquer and Command & Conquer: Red Alert. The fans had a key request for the soundt

     

    Darkly cute adventure Little Misfortune launches early next year

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    That fox up there looks worried – rightly so. Misfortune Ramirez Hernandez (the titular Little Misfortune) might only have the best intentions, but between ambition and an overly encouraging narrator she might be on a dark path. Killmonday Games are following up their grim little adventure Fran Bow with another tale of a girl delving into places where not even the bravest adult would tread, and this time with a mission. She’s on a quest to claim Endless Happiness for her mum, because she’s a good kid. See just how good in the new trailer below. It’s due out “Q1 2019”.

     

    New Gameplay For Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s World Of Light And Rathalos Fight

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    Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s World of Light mode and the boss fight against Rathalos got some new gameplay recently, as well as some extra details regarding how the mode plays out compared to the version shown in the trailer.

     

    Conqueror’s Blade trailer shows off its massive, chaotic sieges

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    Conqueror’s Blade is a medieval warfare multiplayer that features huge-scale siege battles where you command huge armies from the commander’s perspective. It’s got a new trailer out that shows just how demanding that’s going to be.

     

    Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown Golden Joystick Awards 2018 trailer

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    Bandai Namco released a new trailer for Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown at Golden Joystick Awards 2018.

     

    Phoenix Point Backer Build 3 Gameplay - Part 1 - Strategy Layer (Geoscape) Overview

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    Phoenix Point is the new strategy game from the creator of the original X-COM series. It features turn-based tactics and world based strategy in a fight against a terrifying, alien menace.

     

    Super Robot Wars T Announced For PS4, Switch; Adds Cowboy Bebop, Magic Knight Rayearth

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    During a special Super Robot Wars live stream today, Bandai Namco announced Super Robot Wars T for PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. It’ll feature Cowboy Bebop, Magic Knight Rayearth, and more.

     

    Left Alive - "The Survivors" Character Story Trailer

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    Get a closer look at game's main characters and their stories of survival in Novo Slava in the upcoming survival action shooter game. Left Alive will be released on March 5, 2019 for PS4 and PC via Steam.

     

    Tokyo Chronos second trailer

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    Tokyo Chronos is due out for PlayStation VR, Oculus GO and Rift, and Steam VR in 2019.

     

    Battlefield 5 free Panzerstorm map, Practice Range, first Tides of War chapter dates confirmed

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    DICE has detailed some of the biggest content drops coming to Battlefield 5 in the near future.

     

    Valve is changing Artifact after ‘pay for everything’ backlash

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    Artifact’s beta begins today, with the game set to officially launch November 28, but some potential players are already upset about the planned pricing scheme for Valve’s forthcoming CCG.

     

    Gathering Storm Expansion Brings Climate Change To Civilization VI February 14

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    Watch the announcement trailer for the second expansion to the award-winning Civilization VI coming to PC on February 14, 2019.

    Civilization 6: Gathering Storm isn't interested in debating climate change, says Firaxis

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    "No, I don't think that's about making a political statement," said lead producer, Dennis Shirk. "We just like to have our gameplay reflect current science."

     

    Rainbow Six Siege Wind Bastion: hands on with two of the strongest operators ever

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    Wind Bastion’s operators are very unpleasant to come up against: they’re versatile, deadly, and have the tools to become indispensable additions to their respective sides. My hands-on time with Kaid and Nomad on the new Fortress map shows that simplicity still reigns supreme in this tactical shooter.

    Ubisoft walks back Rainbow Six Siege art changes following fan backlash

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    Global changes meant to help Siege meet regulatory standards in China will be undone.

     

    The new Total War Definitive Editions are free upgrades if you own the base game already

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    Creative Assembly has announced it is giving Empire: Total War, Napolean: Total War, and Medieval II: Total War a Definitive Edition upgrade. Better still, if you already own the games, the upgrade will be a free update.

     

    Final Fantasy 14’s newest expansion announced, adds fan-favorite Blue Mage class

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    Called Shadowbringers, this expansion will see players take the fight directly to the villainous Garlean Empire.

     

    Telltale Games is closing, liquidation underway and games being removed from Steam

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    Telltale Games is going through assignment proceedings, a process similar to bankruptcy, but designed to move quickly and settle the company's affairs. The writing has been on the wall for some time, but a company by the name of Sherwood Partners is expected to handle the process of winding Telltale Games down completely. Sherwood has initiated conta

     

    Rapper 2 Milly wants to take legal action over Fortnite’s use of his dance

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    Fortnite’s Swipe It emote could spark a legal battle between rapper 2 Milly and Epic Games.

    Scrubs actor who invented the Fortnite dance: “they jacked that s**t”

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    Donald Faison, the actor who played Chris Turk on the (brilliant) medical sitcom Scrubs, says that Epic Games “jacked” a dance he created for the show, and claims he hasn’t been paid for it. His comments follow similar complaints by hip-hop artists such as 2 Milly and Chance the Rapper, whose moves have also made their way into the game.

     

    Bandai Namco Studios Vancouver has shut down

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    Bandai Namco Studios Vancouver has shut down today, with the studio's SVP of development and Tekken Mobile game director Landon Nguyen breaking the news on Twitter.

     

    Husband and wife ordered to pay $12m to Nintendo for running ROM sites

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    An Arizona couple have been ordered to pay Nintendo a whopping $12.23m (£9.5m) in damages for running a pair of sites which offered pirated ROMs.

     

    The US Army wants to attract more soldiers by fielding a Fortnite team

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    In an attempt better connect with America’s youth, the U.S. Army is standing up an esports team. The effort comes during a period in which the Army is having difficulty meeting its recruitment targets.

     

    Steam finally sells games in Australian dollars starting next week

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    Australia’s gotten the short end of the stick in game prices for years, but soon Aussie gamers will at last be able to purchase Steam games in their local currency. AUD support has been mentioned for ages, an

    Steam China may be launching soon

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    Valve’s Chinese partner Perfect World will help bring Steam to the Chinese market. No launch date has yet been announced, and Valve promises that “no changes are planned for Steam’s existing worldwide operations and services” as a result of the news.

     

    Turkish Ministry of Commerce investigating PlayStation over price increases

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    Red Dead Redemption 2, other major titles in Turkish PS Store see high prices in the midst of country's inflation

     

    Esports News

     

    SonicFox Is Still The Best Injustice 2 Player In The World

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    Last night, the Injustice 2 Pro Series wrapped up months of competition in Chicago, Illinois, bringing together some of the most accomplished competitors in the world to play for a $100,000 prize pool. Competition began early on Tuesday morning in order to make sure the event’s finals were ready for a broadcast date with Disney XD (seriously), leading to a three-hour break before the final four played out the last few matches of the event.

    SonicFox donating $10K of his Injustice 2 Pro Series grand prize to opponent’s family

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    Dominique “SonicFox” McLean was crowned champion in the Injustice 2 Pro Series this week, and he’s donating a large portion of his winnings to fellow eSports professional Curtis “Rewind” McCall.

     

    Rainbow Six Siege Pro League just banned Lion for the first part of Season 9

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    Pro League players won’t have to worry about spending one of their bans on Lion for a while – the Rainbow Six Siege attacker has just been banned for the first segment of Season 9.

    Rainbow Six Siege to add esports operator skins to profit-sharing pilot program

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    Ubisoft has hinted that esports team skins are on the way for Rainbow Six Siege operators as part of the game’s profit-sharing program with several professional teams.

     

    League of Legends European Championship announces new identity and team lineup

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    The League of Legends pro circuit’s European league is rebranding, with a new team lineup set to kick off at the beginning of 2019. What was formerly known as the European League of Legends Champion Series or EU LCS has been relaunched as the more-succinct League of Legends European Championship, or LEC.

     

    Crowdfunding News (not sharing everything I find, just ones that look interesting, have known talent behind them, and a chance to succeed)

     

    OMNO - an atmospheric exploration and puzzle adventure

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    A journey of discovery through an ancient world of wonders

     

    Content I found interesting this week (interviews, recommendations, think pieces, history, music, culture, design, art, documentaries, criticism, etc)

     

    One thing gaming could learn from Stan Lee

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    "From time to time we receive letters from readers who wonder why there's so much moralizing in our mags," Lee wrote in one of his monthly Stan's Soapbox columns. "They take great pains to point out that comics are supposed to be escapist reading and nothing more. But somehow, I can't see it that way... None of us lives in a vacuum--none of us is untouched by the everyday events about us--events which shape our stories just as they shape our lives. Sure our tales can be called escapist--but just because something's for fun, doesn't mean we have to blanket our brains while we read it!"

     

    The Designer’s Designer

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    She appeared in public for the last time in May of 1998. The occasion was, once again, the Game Developers Conference, where she had always shone so. She struggled audibly for breath as she gave the last presentation of her life, entitled “Do Online Games Still Suck?,” but her passion carried her through. At the end of the conference, at a special ceremony held aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach Harbor, she was presented with the first ever GDC Lifetime Achievement Award. The master of ceremonies for that evening was her friend and colleague Brian Moriarty, who knew, like everyone else in attendance, that the end was near. He closed his heartfelt tribute thus:

    It is no exaggeration to characterize tonight’s honoree as the world’s foremost authority on multiplayer computer games. Nobody has worked harder to demonstrate how technology can be used to realize one of the noblest of human endeavors: bringing people together. Historians of electronic gaming will find in these eleven boxes the prototypes of the defining art form of the 21st century.

     

    The Controversy Over Bethesda's 'Game Engine' Is Misguided

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    This morning, news headlines and YouTube videos across the internet declared that Bethesda will not change engines for the upcoming games Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI, setting off a wave of outrage that’s become oh-so-common in the world of video games. This story, however, is misleading, based mostly on speculation and widespread lack understanding of what a “game engine” actually is.

     

    How Aardman made a WWI game look like an oil painting

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    Behind the divisive art of ‘11-11: Memories Retold’

     

    Hampering the search for real criticism: the algoritualism of Youtube culture

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    This is the fourth post in a series about problems facing games criticism – see part one here. It was inspired by an article by games producer Jessica Price, which appears to misguidedly imply that there is no in-depth games criticism being done. While I know for certain that a great deal of quality games criticism is being made every week – it was my job at Critical Distance to curate it for almost three years – I also think that this work is becoming harder and harder to find, unless you happen to know where to look. And despite appearing misinformed about the current state of games criticism, Price’s article brings up some insightful points about what criticism could offer games culture.

     

    How One Dev Is Using Games as Therapy to Reach Across Generations

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    Game designer Alex Jimenez and social worker Timothy Burns are using games to help young patients open up about mental health.

     

    The Singular Life Of Twitch's Most Foul-Mouthed Streamer

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    To hear her tell the story, Twitch streamer Sweet_Anita has lived a fascinating and unusual life.

    Here’s what you might learn watching her stream the first-person shooter Overwatch: Anita takes care of 35 animals, including rabbits, rats, and chinchillas, although in the past, that number has swelled to 200. Her mother contracted an illness from a volcano. For one year, Anita lived in a treehouse in a field, where she was raised by hippies. She has attended almost no formal school. To make ends meet, she has sold hand-picked pastel-colored sea glass from the English coast. Once, she fell into a pit of corrosive acid, human excrement, and dead livestock.

    And if you watch her Twitch streams, you’ll certainly learn that Anita, 28, has Tourette Syndrome, a rare neurological condition.

     

    How Red Dead Redemption 2’s character customisation sets up an emotional gut-punch

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    This feature contains major story spoilers for Red Dead Redemption 2, pertaining to the end of Chapter 6.

    Why Red Dead Redemption 2's Sean MacGuire is the best Irish character in a video game yet

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    After many years of seeing "Irish" characters so un-Irish they upset me, I can't begin to stress how vital it is Red Dead 2's Sean is recognised for what he is: a video game character who's actually Irish. There are a plethora of accents interspersed throughout the Emerald Isle, although none of them sound in any way like the pot o' gold leprechaun singing and dancing at the end of the rainbow.

    “A Good Man,” by Reid McCarter

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    When the player first meets Arthur Morgan, protagonist of Red Dead Redemption 2, he appears to be almost entirely unlikeable. His voice, which is so gruff it makes Sam Elliott seem delicate, seems to be barely pushing down a vast anger. He carries himself stiffly, heavily, and deliberately, moving through the knee-deep snow and frosted cabins of the game’s mountain-set prologue like some partially shaven, mildly sedated bear, always ready to lash out if provoked enough to break his stoicism. Only one aspect of him betrays real warmth at this point: his relationship with horses.

     

    Hell is Other People

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    Susie has no patience for sparing things that are in her way, declines to recognize the inherent value in others, and, indeed, you can join her in mowing everything in your path down. But if you want to ensure everyone lives, you need to compensate for her rampage, minimizing the damage she can do. Deltarune recognizes the shortcomings of Undertale’s message – facing the consequences of your actions by acknowledging other people exist, too, though their views might be harmful. Even if you’ve found ways to not cause harm to others in Deltarune, no matter what, you can’t control people, and that’s an important lesson to have in general. Sometimes you can’t convince people to care about other people. Sometimes all you can do is minimize the harm their lack of empathy leaves in their wake.

     

    The Tin Man of Far Cry 2: Part 7

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    To conclude this series on my favorite pieces about Far Cry 2, I have chosen a handful of pieces that, for one reason or another, I felt did not ‘fit’ in the Top 10.

     

    "Streamer" Modes Are Usually Gimmicky BS, But in 'Dead Cells,' It's Magic

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    I finally beat 'Dead Cells' last week, but it didn't happen the way I expected. It happened with a community who was helping (and hurting) me the whole time.

     

    Firaxis employees’ years of service are commemorated with a growing pyramid

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    Keeping employees around means retaining institutional knowledge: people who’ve been around your company a long time tend to know more about how it works, it turns out. And some videogame companies like to mark service milestones with special mementos. Firaxis, the developer behind the XCOM and Civilization franchises, has their own way of

     

    First Steps: Arx Fatalis & Arkane | Arkane Studios Ludography (1/6)

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    Support me on Patreon if you want: https://www.patreon.com/ludocriticism

    This video essay examines Arkane Studios' 2002 Arx Fatalis, and how it struggles to let the player take part in its many great concepts due to a lack of what's called 'conveyance.'

    The video on Prey (2017) was a huge success—Raf Colantonio called it "extremely intelligent," after all—so we're gonna go through all of Arkane's games! This one takes a look at Arx Fatalis.

     

    The Quiet Man: Deconstructing a Disaster

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    I strongly believe that studying where things go wrong in media is incredibly important for avoiding those mistakes in the future, so with that in mind I'll just say this: The Quiet Man is maybe the worst game I've played since Ride to Hell. On almost every conceivable level, from the inefficiency of its storytelling to its woeful handling of visual information in gameplay, it is an absolute trainwreck. Let's talk about it.

    Support the show on Patreon - http://patreon.com/writingongames

     

    Orwell: Being Big Brother | Draz

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    Orwell: Keeping an Eye On You is a fantastic game about governmental surveillance and privacy. Far too many people don't consider what breach of privacy actually feels like, and the idea of your conversations being listened in on is beyond comprehension. Orwell sets out to make it perfectly clear just how invasive it really is, and it *nails* it.

    Support Draz on Patreon! https://www.patreon.com/DrazGames

     

    Is Red Dead Redemption 2's Animation Too Slow? - New Frame Plus

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    Red Dead Redemption 2's detailed animations are incredible, but do they make the game better? LET'S TALK ABOUT IT.

     

    Are There Benefits to the Absence of Animation?

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    Sure, you can play Spider-Man and Red Dead Redemption 2, but have you played Donut County? Let's look at if the absence of animation has any benefits in puzzle games.

     

    The World Design of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night | Boss Keys

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    There’s a reason why we call these games “Metroidvanias”. After a bunch of largely linear games, Castlevania opened its doors for exploration in 1997’s PlayStation classic, Symphony of the Night. In this video, we look at how it’s world design works, as we learn what it means to make a good Metroidvania.

     

    What Makes Video Game Stories Special?

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    Support me on Patreon! https://www.patreon.com/ArchitectofGames

    Video games are the new kid on the block when it comes to expressive artforms, and they've got a lot to learn. More specifically, they've got a lot to learn about themselves.

     

     

    Good Game Design - Music and Sound

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    The making of Total War: Warhammer’s Necrofex Colossus

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    Perhaps it’s the slime glinting off its hull in the sunlight, but one star shines particularly brightly in Total War: Warhammer 2’s brilliant Curse of the Vampire Coast DLC trailer – the Necrofex Colossus. A towering construct built from pirate shipwrecks and corpses, it may be made of wood, but it’s the most metal unit in the game so far. That’s why, when we got the chance to discuss the Vampire Coast with Total War developer Creative Assembly, the origins of the Necrofex Colossus were upmost in our minds.

     

    Psychonauts 2 · Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp

     

    Halo 2 Devs Revisit Unreleased E3 2003 Demo Gameplay

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    343 Industries developers Brian Jarrard and Frank O'Connor - who both worked at Bungie on Halo 2 - fire up an old Xbox dev kit with a build of the infamous E3 2003 campaign demo for Master Chief's first sequel.

     



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