D1201 T2158 Y2008Greetings Reclaimers...

A week ago from today, Tied the Leader had the pleasure to play host to a live interview with Tim Dadabo, which Halo fans will recognize as the voice of 343 Guilty Spark. This interview was a bit different than any others you may have seen on this blog. We invited members and allies of Tied the Leader to come and join in on the action. Gamers were able to call in, submit questions they would like to hear answered, and listen to Tim answer their questions.

If you missed the action then fret not dear gamer. The interview is available below for you to listen to. We hope you enjoy it.

This may not be the last of these open format interviews. I wouldn’t expect them regularly, but I would keep an eye peeled if you want to join in on the discussion next time.

Posted by Dweezle

Reclaimers 10

D1204 T2157 Y2007Inside Bungie Studios

Click here to spend 17 minutes with Bungie Studios.

On 29 November 2007, “Tied the Leader” bypassed lobby security and infiltrated the multiplayer test lab at Bungie Studios for an advanced view of the downloadable content [hereafter to be referred to as “DLC”] in the Heroic Map Pack. Since that time, we have existed in a cone of silence at an undisclosed location, honoring the terms and conditions of a Non-Disclosure Agreement that we didn’t read as carefully as we should have. With the press embargo lifted, the story can be told…

The developers behind this offering put a carefully selected press corps through the paces of what awaits the Halo Nation on 11 December 2007. Various objectives were prosecuted in test matches hosted within each new environment. They also shared with TTL their perspectives on the rigors of keeping the Halo Experience fresh and new on Xbox Live.

You are welcome to listen in on the dialogue.

Special thanks to the Bungie guys who were gracious enough to sit before the mic and submit themselves to our curiosities.
They include:

Lars Bakken, Multiplayer Designer

Steve Cotton, Mission Design Lead

Brian Jarrard, Community and Franchise Lead

The hospitality of everyone at Bungie Studios was immensely appreciated. This was not a press event as much as it was a LAN Party – right down to the sprawling spread of pizza boxes that showed up at Noon. TTL was thrilled to lock horns and butt heads with everyone from HBO to IGN. The mood was casual and the gaming was good.


What’s that? Oh! You want to see the new maps? Why didn’t you just say so?

Very well then. Commencing full disclosure of all that was revealed…

This is an Official Warfare Briefing from the Tied the Leader Intelligence Agency. What you are about to see is Classified. Below the line, you will access tactical analysis and file photos for the next three theatres of combat in the Battle of the Halo Nation.


This skirmish zone has been compared to “Blood Gulch, except squished together, with 4000 foot satellite dishes”. While the resemblance to that coagulated classic is obvious, this map provides a more intimate gaming experience. By “intimate”, we do in fact mean more violent. You won’t find yourself joyriding across the plains of Standoff in search of targets – they will be everywhere.

On a symmetrical field that is perfect for team-based gameplay, opposing bases stare each other down from across the map. Missile silos border the midfield and add shape to the space. You can exit the map quite easily, but your time outside the boundaries will be spent in freefall – briefly.

With a Warthog [as well as a Mongoose or two] in every garage, there a lot of ways to get from one base to the other – and safely home again. Some are more dangerous than others, it should be said. Holding to the perimeter is a better means of insuring a strike team’s safety.

Love your motorpool on this map. No one gamer will carry their team to a win in a match on Standoff alone. It may be a smaller map, but it’s still a long walk home, carrying that flag all by one’s self. The Spartan Laser in the center will be the prized possession of both teams.

Anticipate a ruthless crossfire in the midfield. They don’t call this map ‘Standoff’ for nothing. When the objective is in play, both teams will find themselves fighting toe to toe to decide the outcome. The shortest distance between two points is not necessarily a straight line.

Of course, in the effort of balanced gameplay, there are many ways to take down the vehicle team that tries to skirt the fight in the center. Power weapons litter the lanscape, and a turret perches atop each roof. No free rides. Weapon control equals map control.


Like the name suggests, “Foundry” is the perfect companion to “Forge”. The hammer and anvil of the custom game architect will be gifted with a blank canvas to fill with howling darkness from every corner of their imagination. The default maze of scenery will provide a willing thunderdome for game variants found in every matchmaking hopper.

Prepare for close-quarters combat. Danger lurks around every corner. If you can hear that grenade bouncing at your feet, you may find that it is already too late, as you have nowhere to run! Get comfortable and make some friends – and some enemies.

Don’t let the tight spaces fool you, however. There is enough room to make the outcome of any objective uncertain. When you see your territory marker winking under the assault of your opponent, you will actually find yourself wishing Foundry was smaller.

Rule of thumb: Hold the high ground. Rain down ordnance on your opponents, or choose a route for safe passage above the carnage below. Death awaits any foolish souls who patrol the trenches. How is your crouch jump? It will be tested.

Memorizing every nook and cranny of this killzone will take more than a few games. Foundry is a camper’s delight. Cover is ample. Hiding spots are abundant. With one’s favorite power-weapon, and a little patience, the pickings will not be slim. Look to the skies for vultures if your boots are on the ground.

Everything you see in Foundry can be made to go away in Forge. Drop in your own scenery. Add your favorite weapons. Throw down a vehicle or two. Maybe even add a soccer ball [that’s right, I said a soccer ball]. The potential for customization of Foundry is as endless as any gamer’s imagination.

Rat’s Nest!

This gamerblogger’s favorite environment in the Heroic Map Pack, Rat’s Nest is an indoor track with a very hostile infield. Hit and run vehicular tactics will come into play on any objective match. The call for a race game forged onto this map is so obvious, you can almost smell the smoking rubber.

Welcome to blue base. Your objective site lives here. To your left is a multi-level passage-way [bristling with power weapons] that leads to red base. To your right, outside the arch, is your motorpool. Use it well, or perish you will.

The “outer ring” promises a demolition derby at every turn. It’s the fastest way to the other side of the map. Your opponents know this as well. Ready yourselves for some head-on collisions, as there is not much of a passing lane on this obstacle course.

You are looking at the only sunlight you will see on this indoor map. Enjoy the view, but don’t fall – or get blasted – off the cliff. You are also looking at the best way to see your flag carrier home safely. Don’t make a brother walk! It’s a tough road to travel.

Your alternative is a field trip through the middle of the structure. As you can see, it is not a quiet neighborhood. The locals have access to just about everything that makes you dead, fast. They have been known to sport itchy trigger fingers.

If you must walk home, try not to play in traffic. There are no crossing guards in the Rat’s Nest. Pedestrians were seen coming to an untimely end on most occasions. While some game protagonists travel through the ductwork, a SPARTAN rises above it.

Here endeth the lesson. Your access to the DLC goes live in a week. See you in the game. Thanks again to Bungie Studios for the sneak peak, and for the chance to learn more about the motivations behind their creative process…

Posted by XerxdeeJ

Comment 24

D0904 T1640 Y2007Master Chief Interview, 2.0

CLICK HERE to listen to the MASTER CHIEF in person.

The final stretch leading up to the launch of Halo 3 lengthens like the last mile of an agonizing marathon. To sweeten the waiting endgame, Tied the Leader has revisited the voice behind the central figure of the Halo Universe. Linked to this post is our second interview with voice actor and radio personality Steve Downes.

Listen as he dances on the razor-edge of Non-Disclosure!

There is very little that needs to be said here [in print] that has not already been said better here [in audio] so we will cut to the chase. Lend us your earbuds, and become better acquainted with the Man Behind the Mjolnir. Tied the Leader thanks Steve Downes for his continued friendship and hospitality. We are fans. No doubt about it.

Want to hear more from The Chief? You can stream his morning drive Rock-n-Roll radio broadcast right to your desktop.


Sound Editing: Jericho
Graphics: Dweezle

Posted by XerxdeeJ

Listeners 37

D0514 T2340 Y2007Halo 3 NYC - Podcast

This article accompanies a Tied the Leader LIVE REPORT from the Halo 3 Press Event, held at BLVD in NYC.

Were you able to gain access to the Halo 3 Beta on Friday, May 11th? If you did, and you scored a kill on a gamer with a ‘tag that started with “H3NY”, you fragged a journalist in New York City. That is banned by the Geneva Convention, you know. We’ll overlook it, though. This time, at least.

As part of Bungie’s tireless campaign for world domination, members of the media were invited to a night club to jack into the Halo 3 Beta. Their opponents were the vanguards from the Friends and Family wave of beta-testers, shot from a cannon into an alien battleground. Similar parties raged simultaneously on the coasts of numerous continents. The outbreak of the new War of the Halo Nation broke out in several other theatres of combat. San Francisco. London. Sydney. Hollywood.

‘Tied the Leader’ was humbled with an invitation to attend the Halo 3 Press Event held at New York’s BLVD nightclub. While various affiliates represented their respective press outlets, this gamer represented our warring little community. Of course, the game was a target of opportunity, with access to the Beta made available on screens larger than the windshield of a Warthog. The game, however, could wait. My chief curiosity was how the free press would report on our Halo Nation.

The impending release of Halo 3 represents far more than just another title made available at your local game retailer. The social impact behind the phenomenon of online multiplayer gaming makes our coveted finishing of the fight a bonafied news item. We, the gamers, become a subject for scrutiny. As games bring us together, in either friendship or conflict, we emerge as a unified demographic – rather than a lost tribe of geeks isolated from society by the idiot box.


To illustrate this phenomenon, ‘Tied the Leader’ offers a LIVE REPORT from the scene. We reported on the reporters – as well as the architects behind the game. We welcome you to give it a download. Gain an inside perspective from the party-goers who attended this event. This is not a review of the game. There will be many chances for all of us to swap war stories from the chilled vistas of Snowbound. Instead, we invite you to share in a dialogue with the journalists who will be reporting on the Halo Nation as it migrates to its new home.


Oh, and enjoy the rest of these pics…

On the Bowery in NYC
Exterior: BLVD
“Two men ENTER!”
Proof that not all Propaganda is bad
You know you want this in your house
Mongoose test drive
Shooting with the wrong weapon
Frankie delivers a combat tutorial to the press corps
Just 1 of 18 LIVE-enabled gaming stations
It’s quiet – too quiet…
“Ball Taken”
Slaughterhouse in the back room
Louis Wu stopped by to tell us about a Mjolnir costume he is making
The couple that Slays together… well, you know
WARNING: Gameplay experience may change after frequent and repeated visits to the open bar


Posted by XerxdeeJ

Comment 26

D0829 T0059 Y2006A Night with Podtacular

The man behind the award winning, Unofficial Podcast of the Haloverse hosted a chat with yours truly this week. I was even invited to guest host Episode 78. Written word meets spoken word. Two new mediums [blog and podcast] sat down for a jam session about how much we love our new pastime [online multiplayer].

Foo Mo Jive, ringleader of Podtacular, is certainly no stranger to the Halo Community. Here are some things I learned on the other side of the mic…

1. Podcasting is worlds more complicated than blogging.

2. There is no backspace key that you can use to take back something you say on a Podcast that is stupid.

3. You can, like, make a telephone call through your computer.

4. Foo Mo is a gentleman and a scholar, and just as cool off the mic.

5. The Podtacular Listenership is filled with passionate gamers who are as committed to keeping the show packed with Halo fodder as they are to listening to it.

6. Someone needs to kick the asses of those Podtacular All Stars.

7. Despite all my rantings about glitching, I wouldn’t have the patience or skill to learn how to do most Halo tricks if I harbored a secret desire.

8. My wife worries about me when she walks into the room and I am talking to my computer about Halo.

9. Someone really needs to kick the asses of those Podtacular All Stars.

10. I play too much Halo.

Posted by XerxdeeJ

Comment 9

D0823 T0030 Y2005A Visit From the MASTER CHIEF Himself

UPDATE: Listen to our more recent interview with Steve Downes, recorded just prior to the launch of Halo 3.

Guerrilla Phone Interview: Episode ONE.
Moderator: XerxdeeJ
Editor: DJ Stigmutha

It is with profoundest thanks that ‘Tied the Leader’ welcomes the Master Chief, more realistically known as Steve Downes.

As was blogged previously, Steve is a natioanally renowned voice-actor, Rock-n-Roll radio veteran, and overall on-air personality who calls WDRV in Chicago his home.

This week, he was gracious enough to sit for an interview about his experiences in lending vocal talents to Bungie in aid of their endeavor to bring the Master Chief to life. To maintain the faceless identity of The Chief, this interview was conducted via telephone from an undisclosed location.

I bid you welcome to listen in on our conversation.
I ask only several considerations…

1. I will not criticize the blogger for questionable audio quality, given the fact that a telephone mouthpiece was used as the recording element to make the best use of The Chief’s valuable time.

2. I will not beg The Chief to read copy for my upcoming Machinima project.

3. I will give The Chief’s radio show a listen the next time I have the chance.

Posted below are the results of our chat in 3 parts…

Introductions and reminiscences about how the gig with Bungie began.

Commentary on the impact of the Halo phenomenon.

Predictions about the HALO movie, and words for the fans!

To hear more from Steve Downes, you can LISTEN LIVE and stream the broadcast of his morning-rush radio show directly to your desktop.

Using the links at left, enjoy the Man Behind the Mjolnir lending 35 years of context to his first passion: Rock-n-Roll.

“Respect the Music

SOUND OFF, Marines! This is your chance to give a shout-out to The Chief.

Posted by XerxdeeJ

Comments 45