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How Cortana made the leap from Halo to Windows Phone

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Cell Phones, Features, Microsoft

Microsoft Cortana

Curious about how Cortana made her way from assisting Master Chief in Halo over to helping you out on Windows Phone? During a sit-down with Microsoft's Marcus Ash, he spoke to us about what it took to get Cortana just right on Windows Phone and to be seen as a legitimate competitor to Apple's Siri.

First, the Cortana logo was the first thing Microsoft has to get right. Originally, they didn't want a physical representation. The thought was that people could think it was creepy if it is "too human." They also didn't want it to be like Clippy, the infamous character from Microsoft Office that was hated by many. It was also decided that Cortana couldn't be just a voice, since it wouldn't feel the same.

Initially, Microsoft tried to use the Xbox Live avatar idea, but that was odd due to everyone having the female Cortana voice. Then they started playing around with the circle. A circle can stretch, bounce, and transform. They also tried triangles, diamonds, hearts, and the ability of letter the user choose any of these. At the end of the day, the circle next to Metro on the start screen looked good, so that was what Microsoft decided on. The next issue was that a simple circle isn't iconic, and is hard to brand. That's when the Windows Phone team met with the Halo team at 343 Industries.

Click to continue reading How Cortana made the leap from Halo to Windows Phone


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Microsoft announces Halo 5: Guardians for 2015

Halo 5 guardians

Microsoft has officially announced the next entry in the Halo series in Halo 5: Guardians. Exclusive to the Xbox One, Halo 5: Guardians will star Master Chief as he begins a new journey, which was previously teased at E3 2013.

"Halo 5: Guardians" is a bigger effort than "Halo 4." That applies to the content and scope of the game, as well as the technology in what’s now a brand new and more powerful engine. Certainly there are some core elements carried over from prior games, but we’ve invested a huge effort in retooling our tech to take full advantage of the Xbox One’s hardware and ecosystem to create worlds and experiences worthy of next-gen.

You can bet that 343 Industries will take full advantage of Microsoft's Xbox Live cloud infrastructure--but probably not too much Kinect integration. I'm sure we'll know much more at E3.

Read More | Xbox Wire

2012 Holiday Gift Guide: Halo 4 Limited Edition

Halo 4 Limited Edition

Halo 4 launched today, and is downright amazing. If there's a gamer in your life who didn't already pick this one up, do them a favor and grab them a copy of this Limited Edition version, because this one is good enough to make it into our 2012 Holiday Gift Guide. What sets the Halo 4 Limited Edition apart from the standard version? Well, a lot. Read on, but just remember that these are going to go fast. We don't expect to see the Limited Edition version in stock for more than a few more days:

  • Spartan-IV “Recruit” In-Game Armor
  • Spartan-IV “Prime” In-Game Armor Skin
  • Assault Rifle “Prime” In-Game Weapon Skin
  • “Prime” In-Game Emblem
  • Xbox LIVE Avatar “Recruit” Armor
  • Cryo-Tube Xbox LIVE Avatar Prop

Click to continue reading 2012 Holiday Gift Guide: Halo 4 Limited Edition

Read More | Halo 4 Limited Edition

Xbox 360 Halo 4 Limited Edition console bundle now available for pre-order

Halo 4 Xbox 360 limited edition pre-order

Remember that Halo 4 Limited Edition Xbox 360 console we told you about the other day? Yep, it's real, and it's now availabe for pre-order. The console will sell for $399.99, and will be released on November 6, 2012. You get the Xbox 360 console that decked out in Halo 4 artwork, along with two wireless controllers with artwork as well. The green LEDs are swapped out for blue, and the console has custom sounds from the Halo world. The actual Halo 4 game is also included. Pre-order it now at Amazon.


Video: 5 minutes of glorious Halo 4 gameplay footage from E3

Halo 4 trailer

In addition to the Halo 4 trailer from this morning's Microsoft E3 2012 Media Briefing, we've also got the full gameplay video as well. In the trailer, which you can view after the break, you get over 5 minutes of content showing off new enemies in the Halo world, and new abilities for Master Chief. 343 Industries looks to be off to a great start with its new Halo trilogy. Halo 4 will be available on November 6.


Watch the Halo 4 live-action trailer

This morning during its E3 2012 Xbox 360 Media Briefing, Microsoft brought us the first Halo 4 full-length trailer, and it's a thing of beauty. If you didn't catch it, we've got it for you above. Great stuff. Halo 4 hits stores on November 6, 2012.


Halo 4 Limited Edition details announced

Halo 4 Limited Edition

The release date of Halo 4 is quickly approaching, as November 6 is less than six months away. Today Microsoft announced the Halo 4 Limited Edition, a $99.99 bundle that beings Halo fans a ton of extras:

  • War Games Map Pack Access – The Limited Edition includes access to nine maps – three future competitive multiplayer map packs, each including three locations, available for download post-launch on Xbox LIVE.
  • Specializations – Receive early access to six Specializations, available at launch on Xbox LIVE, to achieve higher ranks in your Spartan career. In addition to gaining access to new ranks, Specializations unlock new customization options. Purchasers of the “Halo 4” Limited Edition will get access on launch day, while others will have to wait as Specializations are released over time.
  • The Limited Edition also contains the UNSC Infinity Briefing Packet, which includes an armor customization schematic, a blueprint of the massive ship itself, and insight into what it means to be one of humanity’s finest warriors: the Spartan-IVs.
  • “Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn” Special Edition – An extended 90-minute version of the live-action digital series that will bring the “Halo” universe to life as you’ve never seen it, and provide an enthralling backstory leading up to the events of “Halo 4.”
  • Bonus digital content through Xbox LIVE:
    • Unique in-game Spartan-IV armor skin
    • Unique in-game weapon skin for the Assault Rifle
    • An exclusive in-game emblem
    • Xbox LIVE Avatar prop
    • Xbox LIVE Avatar Spartan-IV armor set

Definitely a lot of content in exchange for an extra $40 above the standard version of Halo 4. You can pre-order Halo 4 now.

Read More | Halo 4 pre-order

Halo 4 release date: November 6

Halo 4 release date

Halo 4 is going to be one of the biggest video game releases this year, and gamers across the world have been waiting for confirmation of the release date. We can now tell you that Halo 4 will hit stores on November 6, according to Microsoft.

"We are beginning a new saga with Halo 4 and embarking on a journey that will encompass the next decade of Halo games and experiences," said Phil Spencer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Studios. "Millions of fans worldwide have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to step back into the boots of Master Chief, and, with Halo 4 leading the charge, we're confident 2012 will be the most successful year in Xbox history."

Halo 4 is the first in the series to not be made by Bungie. Instead, the game is being developed by 343 Industries, a Microsoft studio that actually works out of the old Bungie Studios building in Kirkland, Washington. Halo 4 takes place four years after the conclusion of Halo 3.

For more Halo 4 goodness, check out details on Halo 4 multiplayer, as well as a Halo 4 first-look video.


Halo 4 Multiplayer Details Leak

Halo 4 leak

Buckle yourselves in Halo fans because we have a lot of news to cover. On the 7th of this month a currently anonymous person, who we assume works at the ever popular magazine Game Informer, released for the viewing pleasure of the public the entire Halo 4 cover article. This article goes into great detail about the games multiplayer features and what we can expect at the games launch. Reactions are currently mixed, as no one knows what to make of all of this information. Neither 343 Industries nor Game Informer have made any comment about the leak.

Spartan Ops, Forerunner Vision, and Regicide are a few of the highlights posted in the leaked article. Let's break these all down. Spartan Ops, think Special Ops from Call of Duty but instead of all missions available immediately, we will most likely see Spartan Ops missions released as updates or DLC for the game. By the final Spartan Ops mission release, the entire length of the Ops is said to be comparable to the Halo 4 campaign itself. This is a tactic to keep players invested in the game over time and looks to be very promising. Forerunner Vision has many Halo fans up in arms, as this ability allows the player to see through walls. This could be used to locate enemy positions on the map easier, possibly eliminating camping. Finally there is Regicide, a free-for-all game type similar to VIP. In Regicide, the player with the most kills becomes the “King” and every kill that they get after that adds to points that another player can get after killing the “King.”

That is all we would like to share with you for now but if you would like to read the full list of Multiplayer additions and changes or you want to see a full gallery from the magazine, hit the link below.

Read More | GamePur

Making Halo 4: First Look Video

After months of development and secrecy, 343 Industries has released its first official 'ViDoc" explaining just a little bit of what they are working on for Halo 4. The video goes into detail about how the Master Chief looks with his upgraded suit and HUD, and also explain that the multiplayer for Halo 4 will be fairly independent from the campaign with newly designed multiplayer maps. This also goes on to explain that in multiplayer, instead of playing your campaign character, you are a completely new breed of Spartan, The Spartan IV. This, we can assume, will also give us a deeper look into the Halo Universe.

Right away in the ViDoc we notice that the Spartan model as well and the Battle Rifle have had a major overhaul and graphics update. The multiplayer, according to 343, will also give a reason as to why a Red Spartan should fight a Blue Spartan. We get a good look at two of the multiplayer maps throughout the video, one of which is “Warhouse”, an abandoned Military base with a giant mech in the middle that, while you play, is built. 343 stated that they want the player to feel completely submersed when they play the game, and go on to hint that the player will be able to manually open doors and even make jumps that would previously seem impossible in previous Halo games.

All of this news has come fast and will most likely be ushering more and more information from 343 Industries as the game gets closer to release.


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