- [So, you may have noticed that Gamasutra folks including Chris Remo attended San Diego's Comic-Con last week, and as a result got some good new info such as Jordan Mechner's resurrection of Karateka. Anyhow, he sent in these notes from the Halo Universe panel he attended.

While it was perhaps entertaining for some in attendance - they do give an indication of why these kind of dog and pony shows can be problematic. We didn't run anything from this panel on Gama. But I enjoyed Remo's primal scream so much that I thought we'd reprint his unedited notes here.]

On stage: Corinne Robinson/Jon Goff (McFarlane, action figure brand manager or something); Tobias Buckell (Tor Books, Halo novels author); Eric Nylund (Microsoft Game Studios, Halo novels author); Joe Staten (Bungie); Frank O'Connor (Microsoft, ex-Bungie); Graeme Devine (Ensemble).

Devine, lead writer on Halo Wars: his development history began porting Pole Position to PC, then working on 7th Guest, 11th Hour, and Quake III Arena. Now at Ensemble Studios

"How do you expand upon the Halo universe when Bungie's done the first three?"

"We talked long and hard with Bungie" to determine how to take the story to a strategy game. Ended up with a story set before main Halo games.

(showed cinematic from game)

Moderator: "Since E3 doesn't invite you anymore, I'm glad you guys could get in here to see this trailer." (boos from audience)

O'Connor, Halo universe supervisor at MGS (On his job at MGS) "I'm bean counting, doing powerpoint presentations."

Staten, Halo universe writer, novel author, directed series cutscenes: "I'm actually not the director of cinematics anymore, that's C.J. Cowan's new job. I can't tell you what I'm doing right now, but it's super fun."

[GREAT THANKS FOR COMING THEN]

Moderator: Do you have any announcements to make today?
Staten: "No I don't."

[AWESOME GOOD JOB]

Nylund, author of three Halo novels. "I work at Microsoft Games, I do a lot of work on a lot of secret stuff."

[HOORAY]

Also working on non-Halo book

Buckell, author of a forthcoming Halo book
Moderator: "Are you done with the book yet?
Buckell: "I don't know, am I allowed to talk about that yet?"

[THIS IS UNBELIEVABLE]

"I jumped over from the PlayStation [hardware] franchise for Halo, so when they asked if they could send my books over to Bungie, I was like, 'Oh yeah.' My wife said, 'Now you can justify all those hours spent on the game.'"

Robinson/Goff talk about action figure stuff and show pictures. They made a "Hell Spartan" which is "like a cross between Spawn and a Spartan."

[Thanks McFarlane. Clearly there was absolutely zero planning for what anyone was going to be talking about during this thing.]

Question regarding cliffhanger-ish ending of Halo 3 if you beat it on Legendary difficulty:

Staten: "Bungie has a grand tradition of coming up with stuff in the heat of battle, and not really thinking it through, and it takes us years and years to think of what it means. The Legendary ending [of Halo 3] was one of those things."

[People are asking the most insanely detailed story questions about the most ridiculous minutiae, this is crazy. Now some fan is seriously giving like a prepared speech as his "question."]

"When the first Halo was released, I could hardly believe it would blossom into a successful franchise of books, comics, toys, movies blah blah blah"

[Are you serious?]

[At this point, Mr. Remo snapped and had to be restrained from plunging a ballpoint pen through his eye socket. No, seriously - there were elements of good information to be had in here, but overall, it's probably an abject lesson in why people need to be prepared for panels, beyond show and tell of who you are and what your job is. Oh, and the fans are just the fans - that's fine.]