interview stories

Sam DeHority and Matt Tuthill co-wrote this article. Depending on how you look at it, Frank O'Connor either has the best job in gaming or the worst. The head of 343 Industries is the man most directly responsible for launching a brand new Halo trilogy — and not a prequel or offshoot this time, but a new story arc set after the events of Halo 3. Hallowed gaming ground is beset with all sorts of pitfalls, as O'Connor is well aware having began work on the franchise during the development of Halo 2. He recently showed off the first few minutes of Halo 4 at E3 2012 — a sequence that sees a frightened Cortana wake the Master Chief out of hyper sleep so he can defend the frigate Forward Unto Dawn from what appears to be a rogue band of Covenant. It's clear the campaign mode will waste no time with exposition and thrust players right into the heart of the action, though O'Connor remains somewhat guarded on what role the Covenant will ultimately play and who the real antagonists are. In a recent interview, we picked his brain on campaign, multiplayer and bringing Halo into a new era.
Editor's Note: Troy Dreier told me about this iOS game he was hooked on, and the rather weird character who seemed to be at the center of it all: "GiantDong." It's interesting to think about the people behind the games we play. In World of Warcraft, say, players might get to know one another a little more, but in the mobile space such connections are fleeting, and yet here was a public, constant figure, greatly changing the shape of the game. Troy reached out to Dong, and this is what we found out. They call him GiantDong, and the Architects fear him. He is one of the master strategists of Shadow Cities, an addictive MMORPG for the iPhone and iPod Touch. In a game where many players seem to be focused only on the immediate mission at hand, GiantDong plots far-sighted strategies that ensure the Animators (the green team) triumph over the Architects (the orange team) every time. A streak of campaign victories for his New Jersey battle group stretching back months speaks of his success. Read on to meet a player who not only helped define the fun for a whole group of players, but who contributed to changing the very rules of the game.
Think Yelp, but Haiku No long reviews, which means no tl;dr Haiku Review initially comes off as a gimmick, and a risky one at that. If a new music site promises you nothing but bagpipe covers and you hate bagpipes, you're not going to get a lot of mileage out of it. Yet here, the haiku format is supposed to be a welcoming feature, not a barrier to entry. The proposed app, which is currently little more than the start of an idea on Kickstarter as dreamed up by a trio of Texans, wants to cut down on lengthy reviews without entirely cutting out opinion. We went back-and-forth with Stu Hill, one of the aforementioned Texans, about why forcing people to essentially bang out Yelp poetry isn't the worst idea ever. (And yeah, we're mentioning Yelp a bunch, but that's because Stu and his crew are positioning Haiku Review directly in the social reviewing behemoth's path.)
You might think that hiring Daft Punk is enough to make a film sound futuristic and "computery." But the makers of Tron Legacy actually faced the same tricky problem that the creators of the original film did: how do you decide what an entirely virtual universe set "inside" silicon computer chips should sound like? Go too natural, and it won't immerse viewers in a unique world; skew too synthetic, and the audience will laugh their way to the exits. Luckily, Disney had enough sense to trust the film's sound design to the alpha geeks at Skywalker Sound, who spent two years sampling everything from vintage synthesizers to real-world motorcycles to create Tron's signature audio effects. (They also got pretty tight with Daft Punk while they were at it.) The brain trust spoke to DVICE to give an inside look at how they updated the soundscape of Tron for 21st century audiences.