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XBox (Games)

Halo 3 Cinematics To Be Great Improvements on Halo 2's 106

1up is reporting that Bungie has admitted to not having the time to do cinematics right for the best-selling Halo 2. Along with statements they made earlier this year about flaws in Halo 2's multiplayer, the folks at Bungie seem quite willing to own up to previous mistakes. Their call to arms this time: everything will be better. "With Halo 3, they have artists and designers who've worked on epic Hollywood projects like The Lord of the Rings and King Kong, not to mention a former Industrial Lights & Magic guy (read: Star Wars) working out the details on an 'amazing space battle ... there's a bigger team, a team that has had the final cinematic script for much longer, and now has access to vastly more tools, resources and technology than ever before. These range from new tools for rigging facial animation, to better lighting and camera controls. Most of the improvements are a solid blend of technology and manpower this time around, and we hope the fruits of that labor end up as succulent as they look now.'"
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Halo 3 Cinematics To Be Great Improvements on Halo 2's

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  • And here I thought they gave Master Chief the helmet so they wouldn't have to bother with pesky things like facial animation...
    • Re:Hmmm... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot&worf,net> on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @11:02AM (#19037075)

      And here I thought they gave Master Chief the helmet so they wouldn't have to bother with pesky things like facial animation...

      They could also just do it Half-Life style, where all the cutscenes and stuff are rendered such that Gordon never talks nor appears (short of turning on third-person view on the original Half-Life). Heck, it leads to the great Half-Life mystery of the helmet...
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Xtravar ( 725372 )
        Like the GTA protagonist never had a name and never talked... until Vice City and San Andreas.
    • Immersion (Score:5, Interesting)

      by GodInHell ( 258915 ) * on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @11:35AM (#19037579) Homepage

      And here I thought they gave Master Chief the helmet so they wouldn't have to bother with pesky things like facial animation...
      You might think that, but everybody else in Halo 1 had a face (seargent, cortana, etc). I think it serves as an immersion tool - because the avatar dosen't have a face you can identify with the avatar as self - or if your subconcious works differently - the avatar as your favorite kind of hero. It eliminates the desire in the player for an avatar that reflects their own identity without forcing them to build in custom avatars (which would have been a stretch back in H1).


  • considering you could watch the halo 2 cinematics be drawn while it was playing this shouldn't be hard to do. Or they might be smart enough to stick with pre rendered instead of doing them on the fly.
    • If they're going to do a gigantic battle, then barring the use of multires, they'll have no choice but to prerender if they want it to look like anything other than pure crap.
    • The new Halo engine is much more powerful than the old. That's why Halo 3 won't be on the Xbox. Obviously, you weren't paying attention when they said a long time ago that they wished they had better graphics and they would still be using the game engine to do the cutscenes. Have you seen the trailers(not the Superbowl ad) on the Bungie website? They are rendered with the game engine and they look incredible.
      • having a beefier engine doesn't automatically solve the problem because the art direction will always want more than it can provide. It's very possible that bungie will once again insist on sticking to in game rendering to the determent of the game because their art needs outstrip their engine capability (a la Halo 2)
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Darundal ( 891860 )
          They ARE sticking to in game rendering, just like they did in Halo 1. It's just that this time around, they actually have the horsepower to not have it look like crap like it did in Halo 2...
          • well they hope to remember artistic needs are infinite, an engine (no matter the horsepower) is finite so if they don't do a better job of balancing their art wants to the capability's of the engine they are going to have the same problem.
  • fun (Score:5, Insightful)

    by John Nowak ( 872479 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @10:59AM (#19037017)
    Is there anyone here that would actually claim "improved cinematics" can make a game more fun? None of my favorite games (Fallout, STALKER, Civ) have anything approaching fantastic cinematics, yet they're still brilliant. This is an example of everything that's wrong with games nowadays.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sciros ( 986030 )
      To claim that it's an "example of everything that's wrong with games nowadays" is a bit harsh and shortsighted IMO, no offense intended. It depends on what games one enjoys. One of my favorite games of the last generation, Ninja Gaiden for Xbox, had fantastic cinematics throughout the campaign and they most certainly didn't take away from the game. Rather, they were almost like a "reward" of sorts between chapters.

      This year I played through Final Fantasy XII, and its biggest drawback (assuming one likes t
      • Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath- awesome cinematics. Looked incredible.

        My wife would actually watch these cinematics! The game gave you the option to replaly them once they were unlocked. This was the first time she was even remotely interested in this sort of thing.

        I loved it too.
    • Fallout and Civ (I haven't played STALKER) had some great cinematics, but they were used very sparingly. For example, seeing the faux-news intro to Fallout was amazing, setting the feel for the entire game. With Civ, you saw your Wonders built and in the end the rocket launch, which was a tasty reward for your efforts.

      What should be avoided is lots of cutscenes that take control away from the player. And yes, I learned that the hard way after being a bit too cutscene-happy with my own game development []
      • I actually found the civ4 cinematics to be lacking. I think Civ2 did a great, with much more in-depth wonder movies and a much longer winning movie.
        • by great om ( 18682 )
          I really miss the filmed advisors that CIV2 had -it was clever, and by the time it got annoying, you could turn it off. That was the best use of filmed actors that I can recall in a game.
    • None of my favorite games (Fallout, STALKER, Civ) have anything approaching fantastic cinematics, yet they're still brilliant

      Yeah, but don't you think it depends on the kind of game we're talking about? I mean, Civ, for example, doesn't need great cutscenes to be brilliant. However, in "story" based games it's possible (and perhaps even necessary) to use the cinematics to really enhance the storyline, which in my opinion is perhaps the #1 shortfall of 99% percent of games made in the past few years (ther

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nomadic ( 141991 ) *
      Is there anyone here that would actually claim "improved cinematics" can make a game more fun?

    • by linzeal ( 197905 )
      I remember when each generation of games cinematics would be a preview of the gaming graphics of the next few generations of games. At some point when ray tracing and 3 month compiles on render farms were required to get 30 minutes of cinematics I sort of missed the point. It is not like we are going to get real time ray tracing soon.
    • by Endo13 ( 1000782 )
      Most of my favorite games don't have cinematics, but one of them had the best cinematics for the day, and I really liked them. I guess I even played the whole way through the game an extra time or two because of them (to get them back after a Windows reinstall). That was Red Alert 2.
    • by Kardall ( 886095 )
      Amongst all of the replies... I would like to post my response to this comment and post.

      I don't buy a game for the movies. It's the reason i stopped playing Final Fantasy after 8. 8 Had enough cinematics to make me want to only pay $13 for it, cause that's how much I could have seen the goddamn movie for in the theatre.
      Maybe someone will spare the rest of the world with cutscenes, and put some "game" into videogames. You know... good things, like storyline while giving purpose to killing those aliens,
    • by Sibko ( 1036168 )
      Your point would make sense if Bungie was expending massive resources to create beautifully rendered CGI videos that don't add much to the game for their cost in time, and money. But that's not at all what's going on here. The cinematics in Halo have always been rendered in-engine, Bungie is just saying that with the extra time they have with Halo 3, they're going to improve the sound, dialogue, animation, and so on, over what they had in Halo 1 and 2.

      This is hardly indicative of what's wrong with games
    • by grumbel ( 592662 )
      Depends on how they are improved, decent facial animation can enhance the experience quite a lot (Half Life 2), while bad ones can ruin things quite a bit (Zelda:TP). Good voice acting is also extremely important, actually the most important part, static images and good voice acting are still far superior to the newest animation tech with bad actors. When it however comes to pure 'fluff', like more explosions, more slow motion effects, motion blur, bloom and such I pass, they can be sometimes fun to watch,
  • Finally, a press statement where they don't use the word next-gen as a lame excuse for not doing something "astonishing" before. Hurray for Bungie!
  • Cinematics (Score:5, Informative)

    by MeanderingMind ( 884641 ) * on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @11:06AM (#19037149) Homepage Journal
    Cinematics =/= Prerendered.

    They aren't talking about extended CGI sequences we all know and hate, they're discussing the in-game cutscenes Halo and Halo 2 were riddled with. Supposedly Halo 3's will be better.
    • Re:Cinematics (Score:4, Interesting)

      by kestasjk ( 933987 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @11:27AM (#19037457) Homepage
      Halo was great because it was so simple; it set up a simple world where you could run from cool looking scene to cool looking scene and kill some aliens.

      Halo 2 sucked because it tried to have a rich storyline and character development that I don't think anyone cared about. One minute I'm killing some alien spider on earth, next minute I'm on some second halo or something, next minute I'm in a floating temple and there's some infighting amongst aliens for some reason.

      In Halo 1 it's just "regroup, find the control center, go to the control center, save the captain, get the index, destroy Halo", none of this "prophesy" bullshit. K.I.S.S!
      • Wait...
        There is a single player in Halo 2?

        If they kept track, I would bet that I've played about 500 hours of Halo 2, that of which probably 10 were spent on Single player.

        Am I the only one?

        I am still impressed with the graphics in both of the Halo's. They seem flawless in some weird way. It's like I know that Splinter Cell and Ninja Gaiden look better, but they don't seem as flawless.
      • by grumbel ( 592662 )
        For me its the other way around, Halo1 sucked a lot in terms of story, while Halo2 was very enjoyable. The reason for this is that the story of Halo1 went in circles forever without ever letting the player accomplish anything, its like "to this", next mission is "undo this" because it was the wrong thing to do, then you have those "rescue that person", only to find that he is already dead/dieing, it comes down to the point where you are exactly where you started in the end and have to blow up your own ship,
  • by GodInHell ( 258915 ) * on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @11:08AM (#19037173) Homepage

    Next generation of technology said to be more advanced than last! (Who knew?)

    Shouldn't this article be met with a resounding "DUH!" ?


  • Bad Idea (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Cap'nPedro ( 987782 )
    They should have talked to the guys behind the Command & Conquer cut-scenes. They were (and still are in C&C3) absolutely amazing.

    Although, I don't think the whole live action thing would work too well with Halo.
  • I, for one, enjoyed the Halo 2 cutscenes, I didn't feel they were too obtrusive and the extra detail they were able to pump in was certainly a nice touch. Given the additional power of the 360, I look forward to seeing what they can pull off.

    On an unrelated note, am I the only one who had a problem with apparently the texture detail jumping during the cutscenes in Halo 2? As soon as someone or something appeared on-screen it'd have a relatively low-res texture applied to it for as long as a second or so, th
    • It's not you, it's the game.
    • Nah, happens on mine and a couple others I've seen. It's the game.
    • by Osty ( 16825 )

      On an unrelated note, am I the only one who had a problem with apparently the texture detail jumping during the cutscenes in Halo 2? As soon as someone or something appeared on-screen it'd have a relatively low-res texture applied to it for as long as a second or so, then bump up to the full quality. I've never figured out if it's a problem with my xbox or just a fact of life in the game.

      That was by design, and Bungie has commented on it several times. Essentially, it's a compromise between load times

  • by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @11:43AM (#19037695) Homepage
    ...have you so easily forgotten the cinematics to Diablo II? Easily the best collection of cutscenes in any game EVER.
    • 2-5 minute cut scenes are one thing... having to wait 30 to 40 minutes till I can play again are another.

      Xenosaga has amazing cut scenes... but I would have to watch for almost 40 minutes till I could play again.. that is not a game, that is an Anime episode where you get to move a charcter once and a while.

    • by tcc3 ( 958644 )
      "East...always east"

      Some times I watch my collectors edition cutscene dvd just for fun. And its still looks pretty good even by todays standards. I just wish it had the Lord of Destruction cut scenes too.
    • Diablo II had cutscenes? Really? I don't remember any, I must have skipped them to get to the GAMEPLAY.

      Really, who the FUCK cares about a noninteractive story in a videogame? Videogames are supposed to be about having the player create actions and events by himself; anything that gets in the way of that is absolutely useless. Maybe give a small explanation about what's going on at the beginning via text, but get it out of the way quickly and let me PLAY THE GODDAMN GAME.

      Most of modern "gaming", if you c
      • by Pojut ( 1027544 )
        We didn't get 30 hours of non-interactive storyline time back in the day because the technology didn't exist to tell the story how the creators wanted to tell it...or do you forget that your main char in a game used to be 6 pixels?

        Games were simple. Games were fun.

        Games now are complicated. Games now are still fun.

        See the connection? Games = fun. The era shouldn't matter, the capacity in the storytelling shouldn't matter; what should matter to you is that you are holding a controller and are living thro
  • Why is everyone dissing cutscenes? I'm not a huge gamer but I remember with the old Blizzard RTS games like Warcraft and Starcraft, I thought the pre-rendered CGI cut scenes were rippin' good fun, made for a nice break between the action and a cool "reward" for finishing a level. Didn't detract from the game play at all, at least not for me.
    • I don't think it's so much that people are dissing cutscenes, per se. It's the fact that they are using cutscenes as like a selling point for the game. Like they have nothing else to tout except for their new more-awesome-er cutscenes which has absolutely no bearing on whether the game is fun.
    • Eh? Warcraft and Starcraft were great games. Why would I want to take a break by watching some cheesy cut scene? If I wanted to stop playing I'd just get up and do something else. Thankfully I just pressed the Esc key every time yet another cheesy render appeared on my screen.
      • by ricree ( 969643 )
        Honestly, I think that you missed out on a lot then. Starcraft, especially, had some good cutscenes, in my opinion. I've always felt that they added a lot to the story, and were in general a great example of how to get it right.
    • I for one welcome our new cutscene overlords.
  • All this "We know we screwed it up last time...but this time it will be AMAZING" crap reminds of the promotion for the movie "Superman IV." I can still vividly remember interviews with Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, et. al. where they talked about how badly they had screwed up "Superman III" and how IV was an apology for that mistake, how amazing the new movie looked, etc.

    Of course, the insight here is not lost on anyone who had the misfortune of seeing the abysmal abortion that was "Superman IV" (by a

  • The question is - Why are they bothering?

    Unless I've been reading all the wrong message boards it appears that most Halo players are by far more interested in the multiplayer deathmatches than the story. The backlash over the "story" in Halo 2 was all over Halo 2 boards for months following the game's release.

    I wouldn't put too much stock in the story neither since I doubt they'll be lifting ideas from an Iain M Banks novel [] this time...

    • Unless I've been reading all the wrong message boards it appears that most Halo players are by far more interested in the multiplayer deathmatches than the story. The backlash over the "story" in Halo 2 was all over Halo 2 boards for months following the game's release.

      Halo 1 had a decent story that was COMPLETE on release.

      Halo 2 had a deeper story that was more involving.. and then stopped suddenly half way through.

      The story is important to me, and most of my friends - but anecdotes aren't evidence. I don't know if anyone is bothering to survey gamers to find out either.


    • by ravyne ( 858869 )
      While the multiplayer aspects are certainly Halo's holding point over the long term, the single-player campaigns are fun as well. The arguements against the Halo 2 plot was not that it was bad, or lacking, but because the story arch fell apart at the very end -- The plot was never concluded, it simply stopped. Basically, they botched an attempt at a cliff-hanger ending.
    • I happen to enjoy the story. And I have been reading scifi for the better part of 20 years or so. It's not Frank Herbert, but it's not L. Ron Hubbard either.
  • Instead of cinematics, how about they spend some time on the actual gameplay, graphics, and sound, all of which seem like they come out of 1996? I don't understand the obsession with Halo. I got Halo 2 for the XBox, played it for a few hours, and returned it to the store. Halo has got to be one of the worst FPS's I've ever played. I don't think that improved cinematics is going to help at all.
    • You mean to say that if they work on a cutscene at all they are spending too much time on it? I've been reading the updates on the Bungie website and they spend most of the time talking about everything but cinematics. You must have been really young in 1996, I would have been blown away by Halo: CE's graphics in 1996.
    • In what way does the sound sound like it is from 1996? If I recall, in '96 a lot of stuff was still crappy MIDI and poorly compressed recordings. If actual instruments and recordings of voices that sound like recordings of voices is 1996esque, what do we sound like now? Futuristic robots? Reverberating disembodied voices of transcended beings?
  • Of all the games I have played, Homeworld's cinematics have had the most emotional impact on me. The black and white sketches, combined with some scenes scripted using the game engine, were very powerful.
  • Does a story whose only existence is to hype Halo 3 really need to be posted?

    I mean just look at the title of the linked webpage. "Halo 3's Cinematics > Halo 2".

    Wow, who would have thought. Please, tell us more about how great Halo 3 is.

    If they produce some awe-inspiring cinematics that raise the bar for games everywhere, then post about their accomplishments, but leave the commercial pandering out.

  • "Requires" DX10 => requires Vista
    As I will not ever purchase Vista (DRM-ridden bloatware)
    I will unfortunately not get a chance to play Halo3.

    On the Xbox 360? Nein, meinherr. I have one,
    but FPS with thumbstix suxxors.
    • by tcc3 ( 958644 )
      "I suxxors at FPS with thumbsticks"

      I corrected that for you.

      Im used to playing FPS with a controller; Cut my teeth on Goldeneye in college. I recently started playing computer FPSs because I finally found a controller for my left hand that let me move better than a crippled 3 legged half wit.

      Sure its easier to aim with a mouse. So easy there's very little aiming skill involved. It doest feel like aiming a weapon, it feels like a souped up version of those old "click on the fast moving objects for points" tw
      • "So easy there's very little aiming skill involved. It doest feel like aiming a weapon"

        Please, and the thumbstick does? Not sure what sort of weapons you're used to. I mean really, if you want to go that route lets all control games by strapping Wii-like remotes to our cocks. Now _that_ takes skill!

        Inferior controls do nothing but piss people off.
        • by tcc3 ( 958644 )
          You feel better now that you brought your dick into the discussion?

          My whole point was that the two control schemes are different. You say mouse & KB has better aim? I saw it has lousy movement controls.

          To each his own. Each control scheme is so different its silly to compare them like they are equivalent. What ever floats your boat.
        • by grumbel ( 592662 )
          ### Please, and the thumbstick does?

          No, but one things that makes the classic thumbstick controls more "realistic" (or ought I just say different?) then classic mouse controls is that with a thumbstick you have a maximum turn speed, while with a mouse you can turn around as fast as you can throw the mouse around. This difference makes the mouse kind of a cheating device, since in normal games your character is limited buy the build in rules, you can't run faster just because you press the button harder, wit
          • I'll concede that point, that the maximum turn speed is more realistic. Even so, something like the wiimote is probably a much friendlier implementation of that (disclaimer: I haven't yet played a FPS with a wiimote).

            The idea of perfect (or best-possible, anyway) controls is that you give everyone better potential to be good thus raise the level of gameplay. If there are a very very select few that can headshot you every time, well, Annie Oakley could probably have done it in real life, so there's your real
  • I want the sound to work better. I am tired of the soundtrack swelling at *just* the right time to make the actual dialogue impossible to hear. Difficult as it may be to believe, some of us do play the games for the plot, as much as the "come in peace, shoot to kill" game play.
  • I liked the effect in Halo 1 where you would wake up talking to a guy and start following him. Perhaps a mission where you need to keep a guy alive is in order while he talks to you. This effect is much of what made me enjoy playing games like halo, Half life, etc.
  • No, they don't get my respect for owning up to this mistake/failure.

    They'd get my respect if they'd owned up to it when/as it happened. Not more than a year after the fact when they aren't concerned in the slightest about selling copies of the game. It's just hype for the next one at this point.
  • "Halo 3 cinematics to be great improvements on Halo 2's"

    It's a game, not a movie. I find it strange that people would be interested in improvements to the cinematics, which have no impact on gameplay. To me, the headline of this article just sounds weird. Next thing you know, we'll be having articles about how the menus look better in halo 3 than halo 2, or something.

  • I just hope they give my party members enough phoenix downs so I can get woken up for the next cutscene.
    • I would advise going to your local multiplex for all-cutscene gaming, on a huge projection screen totally free from interaction. But the stories they tell are often lousy and formulaic, sort of like the difference between Madden 06 and Madden 05.

      You may have missed the dry humour in this post.
  • from TFA "they simply weren't as polished or pretty as we wanted them to be"

    from my experience that means: "most of them they never got far beyond pre-vis"

    honestly around 90% of the models/textures/animations in the cutscenes looked terrible.

    You either sink time/money into network/multiplayer or into single-player. You can't be the best at both & get it finished on time.

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.