Friday Buffet: 'Halo 4's' release date and the gaming connection to the Norway tragedy

Conan O'Brien announced the release date 'Halo 4' on his show this week, although the late night host admitted he is "not a gamesman."
Conan O'Brien announced the release date 'Halo 4' on his show this week, although the late night host admitted he is "not a gamesman." (Team Coco)

News Roundup

•••• "Halo 4" got a November 6th release date, announced in completely subtle fashion through a 10-minute spot on "Conan." Details of the gameplay have already started to surface. To make you feel especially old, it will have been 11 years since the original "Halo" came out. [Team Coco]


•••• Bethesda released the debut trailer for Arkane Studios' new first-person action game "Dishonored." Based on the cinematic clip, it definitely looks like a must-play. From what we can glean, this also takes place in a steam-punkish whaling town. *Crosses fingers for a "Moby Dick"-inspired mission* [Dishonored]

•••• Science fiction author John Beiswenger is suing Ubisoft for allegedly ripping off his novel to make a little series you may have heard of: "Assassin's Creed." Beiswenger's novel "Link" features the creation of a device similar to the "Animus" in the game that allows people to tap into ancestral memories. Beiswenger is suing for $1.05 million. [Venture Beat]


•••• Barry Sanders will join Robert Griffin III on the cover of "NCAA Football 13," while Cam Newton and Calvin Johnson will battle for the "Madden 13" cover in the finals of their voting tournament. [CBS Sports, ESPN]

•••• Some sobering news from the trial of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik, as the man who has confessed his responsibility for the deaths of 77 people last July appears to be an avid gamer. Breivik says he "played 'Modern Warfare, several hours a week, for 16 months starting in January 2010, primarily to get a feel for how to use rifle sights." He also said that once he had decided on what was supposed to be a suicide attack, he took a sabbatical year in 2006 to play "World of Warcraft" for 16 hours a day. [NY Daily News]

Tweet of the Week

"Anders Breivik played a mage in World of Warcraft. Quick, write a sensational headline about how mages in WOW are latent sociopaths!" - @stillgray

Blowing Off Steam

Continuing with a grave but important theme, let's talk a little bit about Anders Breivik's gaming habits for a moment.

Clearly, it's not great press for the games industry that a mass murderer who has been so callous and proud of his actions is a "Call of Duty" and "WoW" fan. This happens every time a heinous crime is committed by a member of society plays video games, just like when we discovered Columbine shooter Eric Harris maintained a "Doom II" web site.

Obviously there isn't a 1:1 correlation of everyone who is really into shooting games being a homicidal lunatic. Anders Breivik probably has a lot of hobbies, and someone sharing those hobbies doesn't make them more or less likely to commit such a horrible, violent crime.

As the game industry has grown exponentially, measures have been put in place to prevent young audiences from being desensitized to violence (or to cover themselves legally, depending on your point of view). ESRB ratings and birthdates required to view violent trailers don't seem to have quelled anyone's appetite for guns and gore, though.

When we did our preview of the 15 biggest games of 2012, only one ("FIFA 13") did not involve carrying around a gun or a sword. Whether Breivik really did "train" himself on "Modern Warfare" or not, perhaps it's time for us to find more titles to entertain ourselves that don't feature violent acts as the main action the player performs. Not because it's causing people to become mass murderers, but simply because there's more to storytelling and imagination than death-dealing. How could it hurt?

Really Important Video

You may recall Andy Richter's "Skyrim" voiceover attempt, so it's no surprise that the sidekick and his host signed up to lend their talents to "Halo 4." It would not shock us to actually find a Conan-related Easter egg somewhere in the game when it comes out this fall. Conan also gets a look at some "exclusive" footage of the game in this clip.

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