If you’re into mediocre console RTS’s, today is a good day for you. 343 Industries have announced that they have cancelled alleged plans to throw out Halo Wars stat tracking and leaderboards.

If you’re in need of delving once more into the Haloverse, you’re in luck, as the new novel by Greg Bear (sick name,) ‘Halo: Crytpum’ will be released in January next year. Bear hopes to outline the enigma of the forerunners, a concept lightly covered in the video games.

That’s right, a beautiful image consisting of all achievement images in Halo: Reach has recently hit the web. Look at them sitting in their glorious cartoon style, just waiting to be unlocked. Seriously though, Bungie have decided to release a jpeg of all the achievement symbols in the game, without the full corresponding points and requirement list. Somehow Bungie have created a ‘guessing game,’ which is sure to occupy fans and warrant pre-orders for some time.

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This time Firefight is not messing around. New game types, online matchmaking, player commendations, challenges and rewards are all there, no holds barred. Plus an incredible amount of customizable game options to let you create and share all those crazy new experiences you’ll be having once Halo: Reach drops on September 14th.

The new Firefight will also include all the new armour abilities, loadouts, new weapons, enemies and vehicles to play around with in the Halo: Reach sandbox environment. We also got a hold of a ton of new screenshots featuring the two new Firefight maps, Waterfront and Beachhead, that they’ve been showing off at E3. Firefight is sure to be one hell of a good time, I can tell you that much.

Despite a recent ‘alliance’ between Bungie and Activision, Bungie insist that they have no plans to work on any IP they don’t own. Halo lovers needn’t worry, as Bungie have kept the rights to the franchise, along with complete creative control.

According to the Bungie blog post, the Halo: Reach multiplayer beta will be released around “late morning” PDT. We’re assuming “late morning” refers to around 11:00am pdt, which would translation across to the following times:

Defying all logic, Bungie has announced that they have partnered with Activision, crafting a deal that will allow Bungie to to retain all of their intellectual property rights, but will bring their new games to “multiple platforms and devices”. The deal will last for 10 years. This new partnership doesn’t mean that Bungie is now owned by Activision, but that Activision has been given publishing rights to at least one of Bungie’s new IPs. Any information on those new IPs have yet to be released.

According to the official press release, “Under the terms of the agreement, Activision will have exclusive, worldwide rights to publish and distribute all future Bungie games based on the new intellectual property on multiple platforms and devices. Bungie remains an independent company and will continue to own their intellectual property.”

The boys and girls at Bungie have now released a whole load of details about the game on their website. Obviously bored with drip-feeding us information, they decided to fully open the valve, drowning us in golden Halo goodness.  Odd metaphors aside, the website lists a large quantity of changes and tweaks they have made, in an attempt to better the multiplayer experience.

Well, it seems Bungie is very pleased with the level of polish they have stuffed into their upcoming multiplayer beta of Halo: Reach. Community manager, Brian Jarrard, mentioned to GameInformer that the Halo: Reach beta will have more polish than many finished retail titles, he asserted: “People will be surprised at just how polished the experience is”.

In an attempt to tease those looking forward to the beta, Bungie have detailed a new ability for the use of the Spartans and the Spart-esses.  The ‘Armour Lock’ power basically allows you to become temporarily invincible, but at a price. You will be unable to move around and shoot.

Bungie has a reputation of fooling their fans in the past, so it might be best to take some hesitation with this news. Bungie’s twitter has posted an image and hints that “something big is dropping this week.” I’ve got a few ideas of what could possibly be going down this week.

Here are some possibilities (After the jump):