DAYBREAK is a cluster of research facilities residing in the scenic highlands on the planet Oban. The map itself is comprised of two such UNSC facilities opposing each other in this large asymmetrical map. Strategy here is key; teams must split focus between attacking the enemy base while playing close defense to their own. Claim your team’s sniper rifle to cover the central Man Cannon, or grab a Warthog to push through the side channels and flank the other team’s base. The Rocket Launcher and Banshee both spawn in strategic positions as well. On Daybreak, claiming early power is essential to landing the first flag or taking an early lead.
New Carthage has always been a shining example of a healthy, growing colony –but hidden below the sky-high city of Pilvrosis this dangerous secret: one of the reactors is failing, and the entire city is now under evacuation. This large urban and industrial environment offers an up-close-and-personal view of the stunning yet unstable reactor and provides multiple vehicles, long sightlines, and close quarters combat, catering to nearly any gameplay style. Wheelmen and gunners will be right at home as a well-placed Warthog can lock down a quarter of the asymmetrical map, securing valuable ordnance for the team. Learning the interior routes is essential to both escaping danger and staging ranged kills. Be sure to look for the Gravity Hammer in Power Station 3, our team’s favorite revenge weapon against a pesky sniper or a big surprise for an enemy Warthog.
Set in a desert cliff environment, Outcast is a fortified network of rebel facilities hidden in one of Talitsa’s remote and harsh territories. This is why you can expect the medium-sized labrynthine map to be a treasure-chest of explosive, four wheel (and flying)-fueled battle. Controlling vehicle paths is critical in the circular map. As Outcast features frequent Mantis vs. Wraith battles, teams must keep their drivers informed with constant communication to get the drop on enemy movement. While driving the Mantis, target fusion coils in tunnels to flush out camping opponents, or cover your flag runner’s dash to a friendly Warthog.
Ah, yes people. It may have taken us a few months, but we finally ran our second Heretic into the ground with our trusty Warthog, Betty. I have to say, we’re pretty proud of ourselves with this hunt as Nevin didn’t even see it coming. We had him knocked down and tied up before he could say WORT?! The subsequent Needling and threats of… well, we’ll leave that part out, yielded a big fat juicy confession that was definitely worth the time it took us to track and capture this wily fellow. If you wish to know what kind of information we obtained from this one you’ll just have to read on…
1. Nevin, can you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am 28 and I’ve been performing in bands as a guitar player for more than 10 years now. I also work in a guitar store, making me a professional guitar geek. I’ve been married for almost 5 years now, and my wife and I live in downtown Toronto , which has been my home since day 1.
2. When did you first start playing Halo?
I got into Halo because of the hype. As a huge fan of the N64, I was an early Gamecube adopter as well. Over the first month or 2 of the Gamecube’s lifespan, I spent a lot of time enjoying games like Rogue Squadron, Wave Race, and a few other launch titles. It was my younger brother who first said to me “Halo is better than any of these games”. He’d gotten to play it at a friend’s house. So I watched some videos, read all the reviews, and came to the conclusion that Halo was a game that I really needed to play. At this time, 18 years old and still living at home, I had a full time job, so purchasing an Xbox was doable. I picked up my copy of Halo along with my Xbox, and was instantly blown away by it. I don’t think I blinked once during the entire first mission. I remember thinking to myself “This is it. This is the future of gaming.”
3. Of all the Halo series games, do you have a favorite, which one and why?
That’s tricky. As a complete package, I’d have to say Reach is my favorite. It is so strong in every single way. It is the most refined and polished across the board. I do have very fond memories of Halo 2. Of course the multiplayer was incredible, but I still think Halo 2 was the series highpoint in “Space Opera” storytelling. I loved the development of the Arbiter as a character, the Prophet of Truth was simply brilliant (best voice acting in a videogame EVER, in my opinion) and there was such an epic scale and sense of discovery during the missions on Delta Halo and High Charity. It also featured some of the best vehicle combat in the entire franchise… I could play that warthog rush through the tunnels of New Mumbasa all day!
I also think ODST is a very noteworthy game. I thought the tone and pace of the campaign was very powerful, and the mission design is perhaps the tightest in the series. It is also my favorite Halo game to play Co-Op. The levels are designed with the kind of branching paths that allow some great flanking moves if your team is coordinated.
4. What are your favorite UNSC and Covenant weapons to use?
I am a hug fan of the DMR. I’ll go on record as saying that reticule bloom is the best addition to Halo combat since hi-jacking in Halo 2. The DMR is a weapon that rewards skill, and patience, and strategy. Understanding how it works makes you feel truly powerful.
As for Covenant weapons, I’m a giant sucker for the Sword. I just can’t help, but pick it up and use it, even if I’m in the complete wrong situation for it. It’s too much fun.
5. Do you have a preference for any multiplayer game types and maps?
I like a little bit of everything. One of the reasons I love Halo so much is that it has a game type for every single mood I could possibly be in. If I’m feeling serious and competitive then I’ll jump into Team Slayer or SWAT. I always enjoy Objective games like CTF. I love the wacky custom games people have created, like Jenga, Monster Trucks, and of course Grifball.
But if I had to pick one game-type to play for the rest of my life, it would be Big Team Battle. To be, the BTB experience is everything that makes Halo special. I love the scale of the environments, and the interaction between vehicles and infantry. Halo 8 vs 8 walks that very fine line where things are crazy and hectic, but never quite fall apart. Just the right amount of chaos 🙂
6. How much Halo do you play on a daily basis not counting theater mode?
I don’t quite play every day, but only because real life gets in the way 🙂 On average, I probably spend about 10 hours per week playing Halo.
7. What do you think of the new Forge mode in Halo: Reach?
Ten years from now, people will look back at Halo Reach’s Forge Mode and say, “Wow that really was groundbreaking”. There are always nit-picky little things that can be improved, but when you step back and look at what you can do with the Forge Mode in Reach, it’s pretty clear to me that it is truly groundbreaking. The only unfortunate thing in my eyes is that most people who don’t play Halo are completely ignorant to what Forge can do, how it is being implemented back into matchmaking, or the amazing things the community is creating with it. Basically, I’m preaching to the choir. I told a friend of mine that I made a Halo map, and he said “Cool! What’s it like?” I told him it was a racetrack, and he said “wait, I thought you said it was a Halo map?” Outsiders really have no idea what the Halo community is doing.
8. Is there anything you wish Halo had that it does not?
There are always little things that I’d like to see them add, but I can’t complain. Halo fans already have so many more features and tools at their disposal than fans of other games do.
My “million dollar idea” for the future of the series would be to add some sort of Kinect integration with the Theater mode. Using Kinect to create motion-capture animations would be awesome for Machinima makers!
9. Are there any old armors and maps from the previous Halo games that you would like to see in Halo: Reach?
I think the armor selection in Reach is great. If I could add one thing, it would be an Arbiter Elite model. That would be awesome! As far as maps go, there are plenty of maps that I enjoyed in previous games that would be cool in theory, but in my experience the remakes rarely live up to the memory of playing them in their original game. I did play a forge-made remake of Coagulation from Halo 2 that I thought was a lot of fun. I like the base design much more than the current version. A friend of mine has built a great looking remake of Avalanche, but I haven’t had a chance to play-test it yet.
10. What are your thoughts on the rumors about the remake of Halo: Combat Evolved HD?
I’m excited about the possibility, but how excited I get would depend on the details of the remake 🙂 I replayed Halo CE just before Reach was released. In my opinion, the game has just been so greatly eclipsed by its sequels. What surprised me most was that it wasn’t the visuals that were pulling it down. There are just so many game-play elements that have been added to the series over the years. I found myself missing the ability to hi-jack vehicles, or use armor abilities, or assassinate enemies. The level design is also fairly hit and miss compared to the more modern Halo games.
So, the idea of a straight HD port of Halo CE would be cool, but I would much rather see an HD remake, with tweaked level design and some added abilities and weapons. Either way, I think it makes sense for 343 to do something before the next full-blown Halo release, just to work out the kinks. They’re under a massive amount of pressure. Their first game is going to be compared directly to Reach, so building some kind of remake would be a great way to get familiar with building a Halo game before they move into their first full release.
Personally, I would rather see 343 make a DLC campaign add-on to Reach with a few missions that follow Jun and Halsey after they leave the rest of Noble Team. That would be much more interesting to me than a Halo CE remake.
11. Why did you decide to make a blog dedicated to Halo?
It really started just as a way for me to take all the crap I make and put it in one place 🙂 I had these Halo 3 montages that I really liked, plus the first few episodes of The Fails of Reach all on my YouTube channel, and that was cool, but then I started working on the Legacy Racetrack, plus I had some screenshots I liked, and I wanted to start making Achievement guides…. it just got to the point where I realized that all this content deserved a place to call home.
12. How much time goes into working on your site and keeping it updated?
If we’re just talking about time spent writing and maintaining the site itself, it’s probably about 20 hours per week. Add in the time I spend editing videos, and of course playing Reach to record material, and it would be substantially longer 🙂
13. What do you like more making montages or taking screenshots?
I like taking screenshots in little bursts, but overall I prefer making montages.
14. When did you start making montages and why?
It all started with Halo 3 Fails. I must have watched the first 20 episode of that montage series about 50 times each…. I couldn’t get enough of it. There was a time, somewhere around Episode 25 or 26, when the guys making Halo 3 Fails had to stop because they were too busy with school. The series did continue eventually, but it was during that gap that I thought to myself “It’s too bad nobody is making Fail Montages quite like that anymore. I guess I’ll give it a try!” I’d been building up my own personal collection of fail clips using Halo 3’s theater mode, so I grabbed some editing software and got to work. I made several montages before I got the technical kinks worked out. The first full montage I released was simply titled “Halo 3 Montage by CruelLEGACEY”. I made a few more Halo 3 fail montages before moving on to The Fails of Reach montage series.
The one element I’ve retained for my Fail montages is that I use all my own clips. It means I can’t release new episodes as often, but I think it helps give my Fails of Reach series its own personality. I recently launched The Fails of Reach: Fan Fails Edition as a submission series, so I’m now doing both side by side. The Fails of Reach is still all my own clips, and the Fan Fails series is all submitted clips.
15. What montages and screenshots from your own work are your favorites?
I still laugh like an idiot every time I watch The Fails of Reach – Episode 2. There were some magical moments in that one. I’m probably the most proud of my videos that feature my racetracks: Legacy Grand Prix and Coastline Grand Prix. I spent a lot of time fine-tuning the camera works for those, and the music fits really well. For screenshots, my favorite is definitely the Halo 3 shot of my Warthog landing on a dude’s head in Valhalla . My character’s head is turned towards the camera in just the right way… you can picture him saying “Did I just hit something?” Totally cracks me up.
16. What gave you the idea to make LASO guides?
I was just so shocked that I was actually able to make it through a Mythic run, I though “People have got to see this!”
As I’ve said in my guides, there are some really incredible Mythic Guides out there already. Tyrant’s guides over at halo.bungie.org are the best in my opinion. As far as “why do I make my own?” I want people to be able to see that it is possible to get through a Mythic run, even if you’re not as good as someone like Tyrant. He is so good at Halo, and he’s played these campaign missions so many times, that it can almost be intimidating when you see him play through a level. When you watch my guides, you’ll see me screw up constantly. I’m making mistakes all the time; missing shots that I shouldn’t running out of ammo at the worst possible time, and all sorts of other goof-ups. Yet I still make it through! I’m just hoping that my guides will help encourage people to give Mythic a try, since completing a Mythic run is one of the most rewarding feelings I’ve ever had while playing a videogame.
17. Have you made any Forge maps? And what game type do they support?
I’ve made a couple racetracks. The first is called Legacy, and it’s a large cross-country style track on Forge World. I’ve always loved driving vehicles across natural terrain in Halo, and Forge World has so many great pieces of land for driving. I built Legacy just as a way to connect all these great bits of terrain together. It’s a blast for large groups, like 12-16 players. The second racetrack I made is called Coastline. It takes place on Tempest, giving it a nice visual identity that stands out from the thousands of Forge World creations we’re used to seeing. With Coastline, I still wanted to have some all terrain driving, but I did place much more emphasis on the constructed track than I did with Legacy. Overall, Coastline is a far more polished and well constructed map. I spent a lot more time testing and iterating, with several group test sessions. It’s a little more chaotic than Legacy as well, thanks to the explosive hazards and the jump through the EMP beam. It will support up to 16 players, but I find 8-12 players is the sweet spot for Coastline.
18. What links and support does your site provide for Halo gamers?
I have a simple “Contact & Links” page that provides links to many of my favorite Halo websites, which I’m constantly adding to. I’ve also just recently added a “Community Spotlight” feature section to the site. Once every couple of weeks, I feature a person or group within the Halo community by putting together a short article about them. I introduce them, and include a few paragraphs written by the subject of the feature, describing themselves and what they do, and I also link to their website or YouTube channel. I also like to include an example of the subject’s work within my feature. So if I’m featuring a group that makes Machinima, I’ll link to their YouTube channel and embed one of their videos into the article itself. The response so far has been great…. I think it makes sense for me to do this kind of thing because I dabble in so many different areas of the community. I get to meet a lot of people doing really cool things. Someone who spends 40 hours a week working in Forge might not be exposed to that much Machinima, or vise-versa. But I get people from all corners of the community visiting my site, and maybe they’ll discover something they really like that’s just outside their usual area of exposure.
19. Do you have any plans of breaking into Machinima?
I have lots of vague ideas, but nothing concrete enough to begin working on it. I’ve met someone whom I’m really excited to work with on a project, but it will take a little time bouncing ideas around before we go ahead and actually make something.
20. Do you have any up coming projects that you will be posting on your site in the near future and wish to provide a heads up about?
Right now, I have my hands full just trying to maintain and continue all the projects I’ve already started. I’m constantly working on new episodes for The Fails of Reach, as well as taking submissions for the next Fan Fails Edition (Fan Fails 3 is just about finished, so I’m now taking submissions for Fan Fails 4). I’ll be making my next Mythic guide sometime over the next couple of weeks… Long Night of Solace is going to be a tough one. Of course, I’m always looking to do new Community Spotlights, so if anyone wants to talk to me about getting their work featured they should contact me. I’m also considering writing more articles and reviews. I’ve posted a few pieces, such as my PAX East coverage, my Defiant Map Pack review, or my editorial on the future of Halo, that have gotten great responses from readers. I’d like to continue doing more written pieces like those, and I’m entertaining the idea of posting full game reviews when the mood strikes me.
21. Any tips for any Halo fans that are thinking of making they’re own Halo fan blog?
Go out of your way to meet other people in the community. You don’t have to be a pro forger to swing by Forge Hub or XForgery and introduce yourself, meet people, and generally see what’s going on. Check out the official Grifball leagues, contact other Halo fan sites, check out the machinima and montage sites to meet the filmakers, etc. The Halo community is so vast, it’s easy to tuck yourself into a little corner where you only interact with the people who are really into the exact same things that you are. That’s important, but it also limits your possibilities. Before I watched Tyrant’s Mythic guides on Halo.Bungie.org, I was never interested in attempting a Mythic run. Now my own Mythic guides are becoming a cornerstone of my website, and something that I get a ton of personal enjoyment from. Plus, people who thought they were only interested in Mythic guides will come to my site, and maybe they’ll end up watching one of my montages and decide they really like that sort of thing too. In my opinion, the main reason any of us do this is to share what we love about Halo with each other, so be proactive about going out there and taking an interest in what others are doing, and people will take an interest in what you do at the same time.
*End Note: The interrogators of this interview, Massaikur and PAraNoia817, are not sadistic people and we do not torture our interviewees (much)…Nevin, Thank you for agreeing to do this interview with us and letting us share it with both our own fans, as well as, yours. Best of Luck to you!