Thursday, October 11, 2007

Was Halo DS ever real?

Way, way back, nearly one year ago, Matt Casamassina of IGN claimed to have played a very early version of a proposed Halo DS title. Not too many people believed him. The general opinion was "no screens, no videos, no game". In other words, if Matt played it, why doesn't he show us it?

In Matt's own words, that blog "has haunted (him) since (he) posted it". So on the second of October, he posted this blog on his IGN page, attesting to the reality of Halo DS' existence. Within this article are videos and screenshots of the game, as well as more from Matt insisting that the game is real. Almost everyone is now believing that Halo DS did once exist, but there's still a select group of people who hold by their belief that it's no more than a hoax. Who's right and who's wrong? Did Halo DS ever actually exist?

Evidence attesting to it's existence

Matt's word as a member of the press
Matt Casamassina is a member of the press. Being in such a line of work requires integrity and honesty. Would he really just turn around after all these years of being a reporter just to boast about playing a game that never existed?

Craig Harris backing up Matt
Another reporter for IGN, Craig Harris, stands by Matt's word that he actually did play Halo DS. Like Matt, Craig is a member of the press, and should thusly share the same principles of honesty. Would Craig really risk his job to back up a liar?

Screenshots and footage
Of course, there's the screenshots and footage there to back up his claim as well. These screens look fairly legit, as does the footage. Craig attests to Matt's ineptitude regarding programming things (He apparently can't even program a coffee pot time), so Matt couldn't have whipped this up. And why would anybody else whip it up for him?

Matt and Mark playing Halo DS on video
One of the videos Matt posted is footage of him and Mark playing Halo DS against each other. Thusly, they have actually played it at least once. With the camera moving around constantly throughout the video, it would be extremely difficult to sync everything up just right. If done improperly, the screen wouldn't move properly when the camera angle changes. It would take a highly talented computer graphics team to have faked this footage. Halo was on those DS systems.

Evidence against it's existence

The "Halo DS is just a re-skinned Goldeneye" theory

There are many out there who believe that somebody grabbed a copy of Goldeneye: Rogue Agent (DS), hacked it to look like Halo, and that's what Matt used. Apparently the gameplay for both is so incredibly identical that it's hard to deny. I, however, have never played Goldeneye: Rogue Agent, so I cannot personally back up or deny this claim. However, I did watch so footage of Goldeneye on IGN, and it does bear a striking resemblance to Halo DS. Did somebody out there re-skin Goldeneye to resemble Halo?

Why did Matt take so long to prove it to us?
If Matt actually had played Halo way back when, why not just show us in the first place? At that point, the game was canned, and the leaked copy was in his possession. He could have taken all the pictures and footage he wanted, but apparently did nothing of the sort. If he did, he didn't post it, which is odd if he really wanted to confirm his claim to the masses. Could Matt have used this time to get a fake Halo DS made?

But how could compu-tarded Matt pull off such a feat?
An easy answer to this question would be, quite simply, he didn't. Who did? One such possibility is Matt BOZON. That's right, the brother of Mark Bozon, another editor on IGN. Matt B. doesn't work for IGN. He works for Wayforward Technologies as the director of the upcoming Contra 4 DS. Thusly, he would have access to talented graphical artists. Matt C. could have easily requested a short demo of a Halo DS just to shut up naysayers. Maybe even Mark asked it as a favour from his brother! Did Matt Bozon make a fake Halo?

Some problems with the video

There are a few problems with the footage of their multiplayer session. The following errors were pointed out by F@NB0Y$ author/artist Scott DeWitt (Typos have been corrected. I'm a stickler for that kind of thing!):

* Your scores never went up
* The time never changed
* You shot right handed guns with left bumper.
* there was no waiting time for you to host a multiplayer session
* Inaccurate ammo counts for the plasma rifle. Anyone who plays Halo can tell you it doesn't exceed 100 shots.
* The signal meter was non existent. It was there, but never showed any signs of being used.
* Slots for other joined players were empty when you were obviously "playing" against a human opponent. (this along with the no load times are the biggest flaws in the video)
* At the end the camera moved upwards when you were moving the stylus left and right (read: not up at all)
* I like how it cuts off right before the nice warthog physics could have kicked in.

All pretty valid points, really. Of course, several could be answered by the fact that this was (Supposedly) merely an Alpha build of the game, which would be subject to errors such as those pointed out above. Still, if the score display and wireless meter weren't working, why bother showing them until they were perfected? It seems like something a developer would rather hide than show, even in an Alpha build.

In the end, all this evidence is subjective, as there's no solid proof either way. There's plenty of things pointing in either direction in this argument, and I suppose we'll really ever know until one of the following things happens:

1: The developer of the Alpha build steps up and claims ownership, or
2: Matt fesses up to it being fake, or
3: Halo DS is revived and released, and contains the level shown in the IGN footage

Unless one of the three happens, I doubt we'll ever know for sure. What's your opinion on this whole deal?

The Duck Has Spoken.

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