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We Went Toe-to-Toe with the Covenant, Legendary Voice Cast and More at Halo: Outpost Discovery Orlando - Gaming Respawn
I recently attended the Halo: Outpost Discovery event at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. The event was from July 5th to July 7th, 2019. I attended the event on Friday with my two boys, both of whom have enjoyed playing Halo. My youngest was looking forward to meeting Steve Downes, the voice behind the legendary Spartan known as John 117, also known as the Master Chief. He also wanted to meet Jen Taylor, the voice behind the AI construct known as Cortana, as well as Dr. Catherine Halsey, the creator of the Spartan II project. My other son was really looking forward to playing Halo: Reach on the PC. This is the first game of the Halo: Master Chief Collection that is now heading to PC. As for me, I was hoping to meet Larry Hryb, the Director of Programming for Xbox Live, also known as Major Nelson. Furthermore, I was hoping to meet Justin Robey, the Director of Player Voice at 343 Industries, also known as Robeyonekenobi. As for the event, I was looking forward to seeing all that it had to offer. This is the first convention-type event I have been to (all the others were just ticket-based concerts), so it was exciting to get a badge to wear at the event, which we acquired through use of an app created for the event. After getting our badges, we had to wait about 45 minutes to get in. We went through a security checkpoint into an open area, and my initial thought was, “That’s all?”. After looking around some more, I realized this was just part of the experience. In this area was an information kiosk, a food court, and an area dedicated to cosplay, mainly used by a group called The 405th who are a community focused on cosplay related to Halo. The entrance to the main area was also here. The line to get in was long, but when the event opened to general admission, it moved very quickly. There were two ticket levels: VIP and General Admission. VIPs had access to the event an hour before and an hour after and access to the VIP lounge. They also got a goody bag of items. At a one-day price of $170, I did not feel it was worth it. After talking to a few other attendees, they also shared my sentiment. The VIP lounge was really just a gathering area with some Xbox consoles and a Fireteam Raven arcade machine. Both of these could also be played on the main floor. The first thing we decided to do was to walk around and take in what was all there. There were plenty of static displays to go along with the attractions. The static displays consisted of the Hall of History, which showed the history of events for the Halo games. These were well done, although I thought there could have been more information on each one. With the interaction of the Augmented Reality and hunting of items in the app, it added more layers to it. Along with the descriptive displays, there was a drivable Warthog on display, along with a full size model of the Master Chief and an Elite. Along with these were a spartan helmet from Halo: Reach, and life size models of weapons and other equipment. Next on our agenda was to hit up the PX: Post Exchange. This area had items to purchase related to Halo, and they ranged from pins, cups, helmets, and clothing. I chose to get a POP Master Chief figure since it was exclusive to the event. The lines in this area were initially long, and we spent over half an hour waiting to make our purchases. After the initial wave, some of the items, such as the POPs and helmets, were sold out. I overheard some workers there saying they would get resupplied the next day. After this, we went to the Range, a simulated shooting range with NERF-like weapons that looked like items from the games. The goal was to shoot at targets on the screen and get a high score. To start playing, you scan your badge, and it would keep your score along with leaderboards on the app. It was fun, but the weapons were very inaccurate. My boys wanted to do an event where you got to create your own Halo emblem. This sounded great, so we had to find out where it was. It ended up being in a room center to the floor above us, and when we got to the room, we found out that the emblem creation was merely just using paint on a Microsoft Surface. Not wanting to waste time, we went back through security and headed back to the main floor. The next destination we decided on was to get some food and then try for the Ring Experience. This was an immersion experience based on one of the Halo rings. The line to get in was wrapped around the area twice, and we ended up being in line for over an hour just to get halfway through it. My oldest son decided to go sit in the recharge area, which was near the vendors so you could sit and charge your phone. My other son wanted to go the the Steve Downes and Jen Taylor signing. I told him that if the wait for the Ring Experience took too long, we would skip it and go wait in line for the signing. It was at this time that Larry Hryb was walking around the floor. I got out of line and waited for a couple of other people to finish talking to him. With Mr. Hryb was the event manager (I did not get his name l, but he was really nice), and he asked me what I thought of the event so far. I told him that the lines were ridiculous, but overall, we...