In two very distinct happenings this week, a scandal broke surrounding the European Halo 3 beta codes giveaway throughout the Xbox Community Network; and today we received a mail on behalf of Max Hoberman (the former multiplayer team lead for Halo 2 and Halo 3), announcing that he left Bungie and formed a new studio called Certain Affinity. They also revealed some of their immediate plans, but we'll get to that in a bit. First, the Halo 3 beta "cash for codes" controversy.
The story was broken by Britxbox, who was among the XCN websites picked by Microsoft to offer Europeans the chance to win beta codes for the upcoming Halo 3 multiplayer beta. According to BXB's report (which has since been removed, by request of the XCN management), one of the XCN websites entrusted with Halo 3 beta codes has been abusing Microsoft's unlikely generosity, by trying to sell its beta codes, instead of giving everyone a fair chance of winning them. Upon finding out about this malpractice, Microsoft sent out a letter to all XCN websites in Europe, containing the following warning:
"If your site is found to be one of the offenders you will not receive any beta codes and will be removed from the XCN with immediate effect. We will also ensure that Microsoft will no longer have any involvement with your site"
In the meantime, over in America the registrations for the beta have been pouring from day one. In the first 24 hours alone, Microsoft says that over 140,000 people signed up for the beta on Halo3.com, obviously bringing the official website to a crawl. Keep 'em coming!
All right, now about that other thing. As I said, a new studio called Certain Affinity was formed by the ex-multiplayer team lead for Halo 2 and Halo 3, Max Hoberman. It's based in Austin, Texas, and it already has a "strategic partnership" with Bungie Studios and Microsoft Game Studios. Certain Affinity's first project is developing multiplayer maps for Halo 2, which will release this spring exclusively for the Xbox 360. The company is also creating a new Xbox 360 title to be announced at a later date. Here's a bit more from the announcement:
Founded by Max Hoberman, an industry veteran and former Halo 2 and Halo 3 multiplayer team lead, Certain Affinity is focused on creating top-tier games and content in an efficient, no-nonsense manner. The company's staff and leadership averages 12 years in the industry and draws on a wealth of experience from such companies as Origin, Digital Anvil, and Bungie. The team includes major contributors from dozens of hit titles including games in the Ultima, Wing Commander, Myth, Asheron's Call, Freelancer, and Ghost Recon series, as well as all of the titles in the Halo series.
"We're not setting out to change the industry," says Hoberman. "We're creating games by choosing strong leaders, talented and experienced developers, and solid partners. This partnership with Bungie and Microsoft Game Studios is a piece of that puzzle and we hope it's the start of a long and fruitful relationship."
12 years of average experience in the gaming industry? Not bad, and quite an impressive background they have there.
pfff if it wasn't so exclusive to North America. no halo3.eu =(
a new company spawned off the success of halo o0o...