KEEP IT CLEAN!

So, after a couple of days of countdown timer – much the same as the timer that was cancelled just before E3 by Microsoft – we finally have our big reveal from Bungie regarding their next project.

The timer followed a string of tease forum posts and articles posted by the Superintendent. And the big reveal? A trailer that hints at an expansion pack for Halo 3, featuring everybody’s favorite leathernecks, the ODST’s. Full video and discussion after the jump (readers on Facebook – click here to see the video)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

So what does this all mean? Other than it is the most bizarre teaser campaign ever known? Teasers to a countdown clock, that is s teaser to a trailer, which is a teaser. Wait…what?

Way back when, posts on Bungie’s forums began to appear from an enigmatic poster later to be known as the Superintendent. Similar to posts by the AI Adjutant Reflex that appeared prior to Halo 3‘s launch, these posts were instantly recognised as part of something in-house. Speculation ran rife about whether there was another ARG like Iris or I Love Bees about to surface. Then a countdown timer replaced Bungie.net‘s front page, and the clock was ticking down to E3. Everyone realised that something was going to happen, most likely during the Microsoft E3 presser. Wouldn’t be the first time.

And gamers of the world watched. And watched. And watched. And nothing happened. Later, it would be revealed that there was to be an announcement from Bungie, but that it had been pulled at the last minute by Microsoft, to be given a venue all its own. It was apparently too big to be lumped in with all the other stuff. And, as Microsoft said at the time, they already had shown an “emabarrassment of riches” (which is certainly true, they utterly pwned the weak and desperate presser thrown by Sony, and the utter cringeworthy patronising shitey bollocks that was the Nintendo presser).

Bungie pulled a special podcast at the last minute. Harold Ryan, sudio producer, posted an apologetic (and somewhat fucked-off sounding) note on the Bungie.net front page. And everything went quiet.

Until last week, when a post suddenly appeared on the site, from the Superintendent. The post featured a captured transmission between the Superintendent and the ONI Prowler ship, “Tokyo Rules“:

<\\> UNSC OFFICE OF NAVAL INTELLIGENCE

<\\> CLASSIFIED SIGNALS ARCHIVE [ONI.SEC.PRTCL-1A]                

<\ OPENED PER OFFICIAL REQUEST [DARE.V.500341(S1)]  

\ SOURCE: URBAN INFRASTRUCTURE A.I. [SUPERINTENDENT]

\ RECIPIENT: PROWLER “TOKYO RULES” [COMM.DUTY.OFFICER]                                                                
>> NOTATION KEYWORD SEARCH: “EMERGENCY” “DATA” “CORRUPTION”                                
>> (…) ~ QUERY RUNNING                                
>> (..)                                
>> (.)   \ VTT TRANSCRIPT AS FOLLOWS…                   

            [SUPERINTENDENT]: “METROPOLITAN EMERGENCY!”                 
            [SUPERINTENDENT]: “METROPOLITAN EMERGENCY!”                 
            [SUPERINTENDENT]: “METROPOLITAN EMER–!”                 
            [COMM.DUTY.OFFICER]: “We know. Personnel are en route. Can you–”                 
            [SUPERINTENDENT]: “DETOUR! PROCEED WITH CAUTION!”                 
            [COMM.DUTY.OFFICER]: “–put Kinsler on the line?”                 
            [SUPERINTENDENT]: [UNITELLIGIBLE > DOG GROWLING(?)]                 
            [COMM.DUTY.OFFICER]: “Sorry, what?”                 
            [SUPERINTENDENT]: “BE A HERO! REPORT VIOLATORS!” 
            [COMM.DUTY.OFFICER]: “Oh, come on… ”                 
            [SUPERINTENDENT]: “METROPOLITAN EMER–!”                 
            [COMM.DUTY.OFFICER]: “Listen. We have a report of core data corruption.”                 
            [COMM.DUTY.OFFICER]: “I need you to upload your–”                 
            [SUPERINTENDENT]: “PARDON OUR DUST!”                 
            [SUPERINTENDENT]: “YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK!”                 
            [COMM.DUTY.OFFICER] “–logs for the last twenty-four hours!”                 
            [SUPERINTENDENT]: “KEEP IT CLEAN!”                 
            [SUPERINTENDENT]: “KEEP IT CLEAN!”                 
            [SUPERINTENDENT]: “KEEP IT CLEAN!”                 
            [COMM.DUTY.OFFICER]: [UNINTELLIGIBLE > PROFANITY (?)]                 
            [COMM.DUTY.OFFICER]: “We’re sending a team, alright?”                 
            [COMM.DUTY.OFFICER]: “Until they arrive, all additional comm needs to route through me.”                 
            [COMM.DUTY.OFFICER]: “Repeat and acknowledge.”                 
            [SUPERINTENDENT]: “OBEY POSTED LIMITS!”                 
            [SUPERINTENDENT]: “YIELD TO UPHILL TRAFFIC!”                 
            [COMM.DUTY.OFFICER]: “I’ll take that as a ‘yes’…”                 
            [SUPERINTENDENT]: “PLEASE REMAIN CALM!”  

\ ~ QUERY COMPLETE

\ ARCHIVE CLOSED \>

This was dissected by the typically rabid and inquisitive Bungie followers, and it was understood that the Superintendent seemed to be a mertopolitan AI – a program that effectively runs a city, and communicates with the populace. It is assumed that due to corruption, the AI can no longer correctly communicate with the authorities, and has resorted to using phrases normally reserved for public signage to get its message across. Some have interpreted the message to mean that disaster has fallen the city, that the city should be avoided, has been occupied and that significant damage has been done to the infrastructure. It was also assumed – incorrectly – that the Prowler name “Tokyo Rules” was a suggestion that something was to be revealed at TGS in Japan next month. I say incorrect, as it seems we didn’t have to wait that long after all.

Then, a week later, another transcript appeared, this time between an ONI (Office of Naval Intelligence) Section One Lieutenant and an un-named Admiral aboard the heavy cruiser “Say My Name“:

<\\> UNSC OFFICE OF NAVAL INTELLIGENCE
<\\> TAC-OPS LOGISTICS DATABASE [ONI.SEC.PRTCL-1A]              

<\ * PRIORITY! * RESOURCE RE-ALLOCATION REQUEST

>> SENT: [DARE.V.500341(S1)]
>> RECEIVED: HEAVY CRUISER “SAY MY NAME” [SMN.ACTUAL]                                                                

\ PARTIAL VTT TRANSCRIPT AS FOLLOWS…                  

[SMN.ACTUAL]: “The situation on the ground isn’t my concern.”                
[DARE.V.500341(S1)]: “I understand, Admiral. But I need –”
[EXPLOSION (4.0098s)]
[SMN.UNKNOWN]:[UNINTELLIGIBLE > PANIC(?)]
[SMN.ACTUAL]: “Empty archer pods six through twelve!”
[SMN.ACTUAL]: “Ready the MAC, and come about!”
[SMN.UNKNOWN]:[UNINTELLIGIBLE > INSUBORDINATION(?)]
[SMN.ACTUAL]: “It may have passed us, Lieutenant, but it’s still in range.”
[SMN.ACTUAL]: “Come about. And shoot it in the ass.”
[EXPLOSION (2.3482s)]
[STATIC (3.8761s)]
[SMN.UNKNOWN]:[UNINTELLIGIBLE > COMPLIANCE(?)]
[DARE.V.500341(S1)]: “Admiral, about my squad?”
[DARE.V.500341(S1)]: “I’ve forwarded their NCO’s name to your –”
[SMN.ACTUAL]: “Enough, Captain!”
[SMN.ACTUAL]: “If I survive this attack…”
[SMN.ACTUAL]: “I will deploy per my orders from Fleet HQ!”
[DARE.V.500341(S1)]: “Sir. I don’t report to Fleet.”
[DARE.V.500341(S1)]: “And the men I want? Now they don’t either.”
[DARE.V.500341(S1)]: “Please. Read my request.”
[STATIC (2.8179s)]
[EXPLOSION (3.0194s)]
[STATIC (7.4501s)]
[SMN.ACTUAL]: “Didn’t think you S1 types ever left your cave.”
[DARE.V.500341(S1)]: “Desperate times…”
[SMN.ACTUAL]: “Alright, Captain. You’ve got your squad.”
[SMN.ACTUAL]: “If I survive the attack.”
[EXPLOSION (2.9016s)]
[SMN.ACTUAL]: “And right now? That’ll take a genuine act of God.”
[DARE.V.500341(S1)]: “I’ll see what I can do.”

\ ~ REQUEST COMPLETE
\ DATABASE CLOSED \>

This time, it appears to suggest a request for a squad, seemingly to deal with the situation that has befallen New Mombasa. Remember that rumors abounded that the “new project” that Bungie were crafting was a gritty and dark Rainbow-Six style tactical squad shooter featuring ODST’s. Now it seemed that that could still be on the cards, within the Halo universe.
 
Then we have Monday’s countdown timer taking over the site, and finally today the teaser video for…something…is released. Fans are dissecting it as we speak, but several things seem apparent at first pass:
  • Signage within the film and the presence of the Space Tether elevator tower suggests that New Mombasa and surrounding cities are the source of the CCTV footage.
  • It is assumed after comparisons that *some* of the pods seen hurtling towards the ground are ODST (Orbital Drop Shock Trooper) pods. However, some are seen veering off in a different direction, and it is not known if these are Covenant or other UNSC forces. This lends a lot of weight to the rumors about the nature of the game.
  • A Covenant heavy cruiser – similar to to the Prophet Regret’s ship that loomed over New Mombasa in Halo 2 – can be glimpsed off in the distance.  
  • The white flash – that the CCTV text describes as EMP – is seen, and knocks out the camera. But it is not clear if this is the blast that struck New Mombasa after Regret’s ship jumped to slipspace in Halo 2, as the post-flash damage seems far less.
  • The phrase “POP: 0” on the camera text suggests that the city has already been evacuated successfully.
  • Signage for “AMG” (the company that makes the Warthog) and “Traxus” (the shipping company prevalent in the Halo Universe) can be seen on buildings.
  • Familiar phrases from the Superintendent – the city AI – appear in flashes, including “Pardon Our Dust“, “Please Remain Calm” and  the ironic “Danger: Flood Zone“. It is unclear what the phrase “Maddie, Where Are You?” means, although Brian Jarrard at Bungie has explained that it has nothing to do with missing child Madeleine McCann and is a coincidence (although why anyone should think of that I have no idea. I grew bored of that media circus and story months ago and have long relegated it to a distant and forgotten memory).
  • The date 01/06/09 appears within garbled text, but it is unclear as to the relevance or significance of this date. That is, whether it is a release date or, alternatively, simply a date for a new teaser or trailer. Also, there is no way to know if this means January 6th or June 1st, 2009 (personally, I hope January 6th, because, well, that’s like, much closer to NOW).
  • The trailer is now available on Xbox Live with the following item descriptor: “Action and deep mystery await players in this new Halo 3 Campaign experience. Prepare to drop!“. This suggests that the new “game” is in fact perhaps an add-on to the Halo 3 campaign, and puts you in the role of an ODST. Which would kick ass. Like, serious ass. Due to the vague nature of the teaser video, it is unclear whether this expansion (if that is what it is, and not a standalone game) will take place before the events in Halo 2, alongside the New Mombasa missions that we played through as the Master Chief, or AFTER the blast caused by Regret’s ship jumping to slipspace.

So, watch, pick apart, and study the frames. After all, if you are still reading, you are obviously a Halo geek like me, and will undoubtedly do so anyway. Find something interesting? Let me know and I’ll add it.

 I can has new game now plz? Kthxbai!

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2 Comments

  1. bman
    Posted September 26, 2008 at 5:38 am | Permalink | Reply

    I can’t wait for this, this site has a lot of hot girls who play halo wow check it out gamernook.com

  2. keith m
    Posted September 26, 2008 at 2:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

    there is a section during the computer reboot (I think) where there is text that is written upside down that says “Evacuation: Complete” This means that the assumption that the evacuation has taken place is actually confirmed in the video

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  1. By Respecting Religion (Sarah Palin Hates Witches) on September 25, 2008 at 10:05 pm

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