Halo 3

XB360 / Action / Release: Sep 25, 2007 / ESRB: M


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Halo Movie Still Postponed, Nothing Has Changed

Yesterday, several major gaming news sites began reporting that the Peter Jackson-produced Halo movie was still in some form of production, and the story has only grown more popular in the time since. However, such claims are incorrect. In fact, the source of the matter, a Variety article, is horribly outdated. Variety's story was originally posted over a year ago, on October 19, 2006. At the time, numerous sites, Shacknews included, reported on the news that Universal and Fox had backed out of the project, allegedly due to budget concerns. About two weeks after Variety's initial report, Wingnut Films, Peter Jackson's production company, issued a press release that officially put the project on ice. "At this time Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, along with their partner, Microsoft, have mutually agreed to postpone making a feature film based on the Halo video game universe," said the company. "While it will undoubtedly take a little longer for Halo to reach the big screen," read the release, "we are confident that the final feature film will be well worth the wait." In other words, Wingnut and Microsoft's decision to postpone the project was the last public word on the matter. All those quotes about the movie still being in production are old and outdated. So there you have it. Move along folks, there's nothing else to see here.

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"Hollywood = dumb, although it probably died because Microsoft wanted mega $s for it."
- wwonderboy334    See all 9 comments

Halo 3 Pushes September Game Sales to $1.36B

NPD's U.S. sales figures for the month of September--the month of Bungie's Halo 3 launch--have arrived. Led by the highly anticipated title, total video game sales for the month reached $1.36 billion, a 74% year-over-year increase. Home console sales showed the most marked increase across the board, with $418.6 million in revenue, nearly three times more than the same month last year before the Wii and PlayStation 3 launches. Both software and hardware sales were dominated by either Halo 3 or the game's platform, Xbox 360. Unsurprisingly taking the top spot for software, sales of all Halo 3 versions hit 3,256,082 units, bringing Microsoft approximately $225 million in revenue. Each version actually sold more on its own that any game in September, with the standard $59.99 edition's 2,367,795 leading, followed by the $69.99 collector's edition with 511,437, and the $129.99 Spartan helmet-including Legendary edition's 376,850 units sold. No doubt spurred by Halo 3's launch, the 360 sold the most out of any hardware platform, with its 528,000 systems nearly doubling sales from a month prior. But even the Wii's second place at 501,000 consoles sold set a record for the platform, surpassing even the Wii's launch month in the states. Sony's systems took the last two spots in home console sales, with the PlayStation 2's 215,000 and the PlayStation 3's 119,000 units. Sales of portable consoles were up as well to $126.2 million, a 28% year-over-year increase, led by strong DS sales of 496,000. As always, the PSP trailed in second with 285,000, despite September seeing the launch of the system's slimmer redesign. After Halo 3, software sales for the month revealed an assortment of titles for all platforms bringing in $550.5 million total for the consoles, a 64% increase. Interestingly, sales of the PS2 version of EA Tiburon's Madden NFL 08 beat sales of the Xbox 360 version of the game. The 360 version beat the PS2 iteration handily last month, revealing something of a shift in the home console climate. Check out the top ten software sales and their respective figures below:

  1. Halo 3 (Bungie, Microsoft Game Studios, X360) - 3,256,082
  2. Wii Play with Wii Remote (Nintendo, Wii) - 282,000
  3. The Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass (Nintendo, NDS) - 224,000
  4. Madden NFL 08 (EA Tiburon, EA Sports, PS2) - 205,000
  5. Skate (EA Black Box, EA Games, X360) - 175,000
  6. Madden NFL 08 (EA Tiburon, EA Sports, X360) - 173,000
  7. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Retro Studios, Nintendo, Wii) - 167,000
  8. BioShock (2K Boston/2K Australia, 2K Games, X360) - 150,000
  9. Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day (Nintendo, NDS) - 141,000
  10. Heavenly Sword (Ninja Theory, SCEE, PS3) - 139,000
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"Hey, I have an idea, let's all get second jobs and buy PS3s /mwwahhh"
- dlr(2)    See all 28 comments

Halo 3 Soundtrack Celebrates Thanksgiving Release

A two-disc soundtrack featuring songs from and inspired by Bungie's Halo 3 (X360) will arrive in stores by November 22. In addition to Marty O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori's original score, the release will pack at least one bonus track performed by an as-yet-undecided artist. Microsoft is currently running a contest to determine which band will be included and is awarding top entries with with a variety of merchandise including the Halo 3 Special Edition Xbox 360 console, a copy of Halo 3, an exclusive Halo 3 Ibanez Xiphos electric guitar, and a Halo 3-branded Zune. Details for the contest are available at the Halo 3 MySpace page. As can be expected, the ShackStaff endorses the efforts of our very own Chris Remo and his ode to Rocket Race. As with all Halo albums released thus far, the Halo 3 soundtrack will be published by Sumthing Else Music Works. The Halo 2 soundtrack was released across two separate one-disc volumes, the first featuring a combination of the game's score along with Halo-inspired tunes from Breaking Benjamin and Incubus, and the second volume focusing on the remainder of the game's original music.

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Movie Execs Say Halo 3 Caused Bad Ticket Sales

Lackluster ticket sales have some film studios blaming Bungie's Halo 3 (X360) for the decline in box office revenues and worrying about the possible effects of next year's Grand Theft Auto 4 (PS3, X360) from Rockstar North. Halo 3 amassed upwards of $300 million for publisher Microsoft in the week following its September 25 release, with over 2.7 million gamers hopping online and racking up more than 40 million hours of play across the same time span. That's a worrying figure for the film industry, which saw ticket sales reduced by 27% for the weekend of October 5 over last year, resulting in paltry total revenue of $80 million. Couple that with the less-than-stellar performance of The Heartbreak Kid--the latest directorial effort from Dumb & Dumber writers Bobby and Peter Farrelly (pictured left)--and it's got Hollywood sweating over the eternal struggle between games and movies. "The audience on this game is the 18-to-34 demographic, similar to what you'd see in cinemas," Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey told Advertising Age. "We marketed it like a film and now we're just as big or bigger than film," boasted Halo 3 product manager Josh Goldberg. Of course, not everyone attributes tinsel town's issues to Halo 3. Some merely blame the current trend of tired formulaic rehashes and actors playing the same basic character time and time again, a criticism frequently levied against Ben Stiller's roles in There's Something About Mary, Duplex, Meet The Parents, and The Heartbreak Kid.

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"Movies are too expensive and the majority are pretty crappy anyway. They are right to be worried. "
- aznboysix    See all 37 comments

Wizards NBA All-Star Admits to Halo 3 Cheating

After being called out on Bungie's forums, the Washington Wizards' Gilbert Arenas admitted to Washington Post blogger Dan Steinberg he's been playing rigged Halo 3 social matches with buddies and bogus teammates to beef up his experience points and rank. "Why not?" Arenas told the Post. "I mean, who is it hurting? It's two dummy players playing against each other. It's not messing with anybody. I have my friend, it'll be him and his fake friend, me and my fake friend, we'll take turns losing back and forth." Bungie's forum members got suspicious when looking at Arenas' history under his Xbox Live Gamertag, Agent Arenas. Though Arenas' wins obviously won't increase his actual ranking, they give experience points, which can increase officer ratings--Agent Arenas became a Grade 1 Colonel just today, in fact. Arenas seems to think his less-than-admirable deeds are more of an exploit than a cheat. "You can win things off of social, when you shouldn't [be allowed] to. All you have to do is do what we're doing," he said in the blog post. "I guarantee everybody's doing it. I mean, how would they know anyway?" Something of a Halo fanatic, Arenas is actually the sponsor of professional Halo gamer group and Major League Gaming participant Team Final Boss. The player boasted of his Halo 3 skills in a recent video on MTV's Multiplayer Blog.

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"Cheating is cheating. No, technically it is not hurting anyone but I would have difficulty ..."
- SplinterCellSC20    See all 60 comments

Halo 3 Grabs $300M During First Week

Microsoft seems well on its way to its goal of profitability this fiscal year, as Bungie's Halo 3 netted more than $300 million in its first week of sales, Microsoft announced today. According to the announcement, this makes Halo 3 the fastest selling video game ever, but no hard numbers are given for actual shipments. More than 2.7 million players have logged on and played Halo 3 since it shipped on September 25, giving a rough estimate of the copies that have made it into gamers' hands. Already on its way to stealing the lives of the world's youth, Halo 3 garnered more than 40 million hours of play online during its first week, according to the announcement, equivalent to 4,500 years of nonstop gaming. The announcement follows Microsoft's previous claim of record-breaking $170 million launch day sales for the game, easily surpassing Halo 2's $125 million day-one revenues.

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"I hope every one that bought it will realize that console games will be at least $80 by the next ..."
- majinpsyduck    See all 13 comments

Halo 3 Scandals Explained; HD Resolution vs. 640p, Bungie Staff Leaving Microsoft?

As with any high-profile game release these days, a few scandals have cropped up in the wake of Halo 3's launch last Tuesday. Apart from some quickly resolved Xbox Live issues, two other subjects keep coming up: whether or not Halo 3 actually runs in high definition and Halo developer Bungie's future with Microsoft. 640p vs. HD The high definition argument initially came about as a result of some dedicated "jaggie counters" who claimed that Halo 3 rendered vertically at 640 pixels instead of 720. Since the game doesn't actually run in 720p--technically the picture is scaled from 640p to the user-configured preferred resolution--these folks and countless others claimed that Bungie had deceived the gaming populace into buying a game that wasn't really HD. Therefore, they wanted Bungie to, among other things, remove any mentions of HD, 720p and higher resolutions from the game and other relevant materials. The ExplanationBungie later confirmed the brewing scandal in its latest weekly update. "The reason we chose this slightly unorthodox resolution and this very complex use of two buffers is simple enough to see--lighting," wrote Bungie's Luke Smith. "We wanted to preserve as much dynamic range as possible--so we use one for the high dynamic range and one for the low dynamic range values. Both are combined to create the finished on screen image...In fact, if you do a comparison shot between the native 1152x640 image and the scaled 1280x720, it's practically impossible to discern the difference. "We would ignore it entirely were it not for the internet's propensity for drama where none exists," he continued. "In fact the reason we haven't mentioned this before in weekly updates, is the simple fact that it would have distracted conversation away from more important aspects of the game, and given tinfoil hats some new gristle to chew on as they catalogued their toenail clippings." Other Xbox 360 games said to render at a resolution lower than 720p include Bizarre Creations' Project Gotham Racing 3, Rare's Perfect Dark Zero, and Crystal Dynamics' Tomb Raider: Legend. Bungie Staff Leaving Microsoft?As for the supposed split between Microsoft and Bungie, things are a lot less definitive. Both sides refuse to offer any substantial or meaningful explanations on the rumor 8bit Joystick seems to have started, which says the studio is absconding from its corporate owner due to Microsoft's want of more Halo, "stingie[sic] [shared] profits" and other differences. With Microsoft literally owning Bungie, it is impossible that the company would be able to split from Microsoft without Microsoft's desire to sell it. Instead, an exodus of talent, perhaps to an established or new formed studio, is more feasible. In that instance, some members of the Bungie staff would undoubtedly stay at the studio and help train the next generation of employees, as Microsoft would not want one of its most successful internal studios to wither and die. Possible Escape PlansFormer Bungie employees have formed at least two independent studios in the past few years, which may provide some possible avenues for Bungie staff if they choose to leave the company and wish to continue their game development efforts. Bungie founder and creator of Halo, Myth, and Marathon Alexander Seropian went on to form Wideload Games, which developed Stubbs the Zombie (PC, Xbox) and is working on Hail to the Chimp and an Xbox Live Arcade Project. Much more interesting is the Austin-based Certain Affinity, which developed the Halo 2 Blastacular Map Pack released earlier this year. Presided by Bungie alum and Halo 2 online lead Max Hoberman, the company is currently working on two unknown projects and is known to have Xbox 360 development units at the office. Given Certain Affinity's close relationship with both Microsoft and Bungie, it would seem to be an ideal getaway for Bungie employees if the split from Microsoft's management proves true but the two hope to continue working together. Bungie's Known FutureRegardless, it's clear that Bungie will continue to work on the Halo franchise in some form. "Very specifically, we're working on downloadable content for Halo 3. It'll be multiplayer stuff--the kind of things people expect, the kind of schedule you can guess," Bungie's Frank O'Connor told Shacknews in mid-September. "Our next massive undertaking is the [Halo project] with Peter Jackson, but beyond that people are asking what we're going to do," O'Connor elaborated. "Will we go back and do Myth, will we go back to Marathon? The honest answer is we don't know yet, but we're prototyping. We have some choices, and we have some cool ideas."

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ShackCast Episode 11: Halo 3, Team Fortress 2, Hellgate: London, Crysis, Tokyo Game Show

We're trying out publishing the podcast on Friday going forward, to better line up with how news is released. Unfortunately, we ran into numerous bizarre technical problems, hence the later-than-intended release this week. Let us know what you think of the new schedule, and keep sending your questions and comments into shackcast@shacknews.com. Episode 11 starts off with plenty of Halo 3 discussion, followed by Team Fortress 2 impressions and Nick's highlights (and lowlights) of TGS, including Metal Gear Solid 4, Ninja Gaiden 2, and NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams. Nick and Steve have been playing and enjoying Hellgate: London, and Remo finds out Crysis' multiplayer component is more ambitious than he anticipated. Faylor really wants Samba de Amigo on Wii, Remo likes Jam Sessions on DS, Steve and Faylor are mixed on Clive Barker's Jericho, and Retro Studios has crushed our dreams by debunking its own Metroid Dread rumors. Play or download the podcast now, browse the episodes through iTunes, RSS, or Digg, or check out the full breakdown. 00:00: It's a song! 00:52: Halo 3 Halo 3 Halo 3 Halo 3 Halo 3 Halo 3 Halo 3 Halo 3 Halo 3 Halo 3 23:58: Team Fortress 2 Team Fortress 2 Team Fortress 2 Team Fortress 2 34:55: Nick recaps Tokyo Game Show 37:33: Metal Gear Solid 4 is super cool (Preview) 39:16: Ninja Gaiden 2 is super violent (Preview) 40:00: Nights: Journey of Dreams is super lame? (Preview) 41:58: Samba de Amigo on Wii is super unconfirmed but probably real (Story) 46:49: Hellgate: London is super awesome, say Nick and Steve 58:13: Crysis' multiplayer mode is super ambitious 66:58: Clive Barker's Jericho is super beautiful but lacking otherwise (Demo) 68:24: Jam Sessions for DS is super rad and musical 75:10: Metroid Dread is super nonexistent...thanks, Retro (Story) 78:21: Reader listener mail: how games are marketed

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"I actually saw an ad for the Orange Box on TV tonight! I believe it had the voice from Portal ..."
- helvetica    See all 76 comments

Harry Potter's Day-One Revenues Possibly Greater than Halo 3's

When Microsoft declared Halo 3's $170 million launch the "biggest entertainment launch in history," the company claimed to have surpassed both Spider-Man 3's box office record and the latest Harry Potter novel's first day at retail. It turns out Master Chief's latest outing might not have dethroned the latest Potter party after all, as J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" could have made anywhere from $149.3 million to $290.4 million, according to MarketWatch. Microsoft based its victory assumption on a $166 million estimate of Deathly Hallows day-one sales cited in The New York Times and elsewhere, but a Scholastic book rep told MarketWatch this figure wasn't official. The publisher says it sold 8.3 million copies of the book in its first 24 hours at retail, but won't disclose its revenues. MarketWatch got its estimated range of launch-day sales from the book's variety of retail prices, which spanned from $17.99 to the suggested retail price of $34.99. Though it's kind of a silly issue, it's one of those things that sheds light on the bizarre world of video game fandom. Book readers couldn't care less if a publisher made tons of money on a recent novel, and Scholastic doesn't really have a reason to come out and declare itself champion of something like earning gobs of money on a product's launch day. Video game fans actually know the figure offhand, and are sometimes rewarded for this knowledge.

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"Halo 3 sold $170 million in the U.S. alone so it did beat Harry Potter worldwide."
- luis1986    See all 38 comments

Halo 3 Nets $170M Launch Day, Surpasses Halo 2

The numbers for Bungie's North American Halo 3 launch yesterday are in, making the iconic shooter's $170 million in day-one revenues the highest-grossing release in entertainment history, according to Microsoft. The title's U.S. revenues handily surpass the $125 million of the Halo 2 launch. Though comparing movie and game revenues can be tricky, as seen in the Shack's own feature article on the subject, the title does reclaim the entertainment launch revenue throne for video games. At the time of its release, Halo 2 was also the highest grossing entertainment event, but was since surpassed by last summer's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and again by this summer's Spider-Man 3, with an opening weekend of $151 million. Though Microsoft didn't say how many copies of the game were sold to retailers in the first 24 hours of launch, the 1.7 million preorders made Halo 3 the fastest pre-selling game as well. In comparison, Halo 2's $125 million launch moved 2.4 million copies of the title within 24 hours of its release. It's possible Halo 3 actually shipped a comparable or even lesser number of copies than Halo 2, given the $10 premium on both the standard and limited editions of the game for this console generation, in addition to Halo 3's outrageously priced $129.99 Legendary package.

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"My wii has made my roommates and their friends (a bunch of sorority girls) enjoy video games. ..."
- Defacil    See all 43 comments

Halo 3 Launch Center

With Halo 3 finally out and in the hands of gamers everywhere, you might be interested in catching up on some of the wealth of Shack-generated Halo 3 content published in the recent days. Reviews, media, features, news and even a contest. Have at it! Reviews - Halo 3 Campaign Review: "All in all, for such a mainstream series, Halo 3 feels surprisingly tailored for the hardcore player." - Halo 3 Multiplayer Review: "Halo 3's multiplayer is a bona fide revelation that sets a new standard for complete, coherent, feature-packed multiplayer suites." Halo 3 Media Explosion: Halo 3 Media Explosion: Screenshots, Concept Art, Diorama Photographs, Wallpapers, More Features - Catching Up with Bungie's Frank O'Connor: Shack sat down with Bungie's Frankie for a chat about how it feels to be done with Halo 3--and what's coming next. - Forging Your Own Games in Halo 3: We delve deep into the Forge and gametype editors, and even provide some custom game examples to get you started. - Halo 3 Contest Winners: Shackers came up with some novel unofficial Halo 3 marketing campaigns, and they get free stuff as their reward! - Halo 3 Discussion Thread of Doom: It's the game everyone is talking about. Join the discussion! News - Halo 3 Nets $170M Launch Day, Surpasses Halo 2 - Halo 3 Experiencing Online Issues - Microsoft Stock Increase from Halo 3 Nearly Matches Halo 3 Bump - Microsoft Replacing Damaged Halo 3 Discs - Wal-Mart Canada Matches U.S. Halo 3 Pricing - Halo 3 Crisis Confirmed: Scratched Discs

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Halo 3 Contest Winners

I don't suppose you've heard of this new first person shooter game on the Xbox 360, Halo 3? No? Understandable. We at Shacknews didn't really feel like Microsoft did enough to promote this entry into the otherwise unremarkable Halo series and asked Shackers to suggest some new ways of reaching the poor untouched masses. Many stepped forward to meet this challenge, and we thank all. And while I regret the act of having to say one is better than another, here are best of the bunch: For not only crafting the right presentation for a product, but actually creating it, Sailor of Fortune has scored a raid boss' worth of Halo 3 loot. We're adding two of the McFarlane designed Halo 3 special edition controllers, which have actually been signed by the artist, to the stash of Halo 3 for the Xbox 360, a Halo 3 "First to Play" shirt along with a Halo 3 Multiplayer Beta t-shirt, a "First to Play" poster, signed by Bungie's Lars Bakken and Joseph Tung, four Halo stickers, and a copy of The Halo Effect. The runners up will also receive a copy of that book. Thanks to everyone who entered. Even if you didn't win this time we'll be sure to have more opportunities for you soon in the future.

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"no cross promotions with 300? mc = spartan, 300 = spartans? that was the first thing i thought ..."
- the_algor    See all 28 comments

Halo 3 Experiencing Online Issues (Updated)

Update: Shacknews has received several reports that those who were plagued by the non-existent update were able to go online with Halo 3 later in the night. Complaints persist of issues with uploaded screenshots not appearing on Bungie's servers. Original Story: Reports flooding in from around the internet, including our very own chatty thread, indicate that problems with Halo 3 are preventing at least some, if not most, from playing the recently released title online. According to numerous Shackers, players are informed that they must first update the game before they can play online. However, choosing to update presents an error message, thus preventing them from signing into Xbox Live. Others report an inability to upload and access screenshots via Bungie's servers. Further evidence of a widespread problem comes from Bungie's very own stat tracking, which, as of this writing, shows a paltry 420 players online. That said, not all gamers are experiencing a problem. Following the initial publication of this story, I had no difficulties hopping online and joining a multiplayer game, despite the in-game stats indicating the selected playlist was empty. Moments later, the game listed 15,521 gamers as being online--a far cry from the 420 currently listed on Bungie's site. Shacknews has contacted Microsoft and Bungie for more information.

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"Finally got into some Halo 3 multiplayer and I realized what a cheap fucking bastard I am. ..."
- phobium    See all 56 comments

Microsoft Stock Increase from Halo 3 Nearly Matches Halo 2 Bump

With trading closed for the day on Wall Street, shares of Microsoft buoyed by today's launch of Halo 3 were up to $29.56, a 1.651% increase over yesterday's closing price. The increase doesn't quite match the grav lift of greenbacks Microsoft received from the game's predecessor Halo 2, which gave the company a 1.673% increase at the end of its November 9, 2004 launch day. The increase can't be attributed solely to Halo 3 hype though, as talks of Microsoft investing heavily in social networking megasite Facebook have spurred investors as well. Oddly enough, rival game giant Nintendo actually stole most of the attention of the stock market world today, closing on the Tokyo Stock Exchange with a 3.1% increase on Microsoft's own Halo 3 launch day. For the record, shares of PlayStation 3 provider Sony closed today on the New York Stock Exchange after a 1.373% decrease.

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"CNBC has really been giving Halo3 alot of airtime. I haven't heard anothing about Nintendo in ..."
- gyokuro    See all 10 comments

MS Replacing Damaged Halo 3 Discs

Following widespread reports of scratched Halo 3 Limited Edition discs, Microsoft will be replacing any and all discs damaged as a result of the tin's faulty disc nub. The company usually charges $20 to replace the game disc of a Microsoft-published title, which are typically not damaged in the shipping process. Due to the numerous issues stemming from the Limited Edition's lackluster disc protection scheme, Microsoft has waived that fee for those seeking pristine copies of Halo 3's Limited Edition. Owners of Halo 3 Limited Edition have until December 31, 2007 to swap their damaged discs without cost. The only downside of the exchange program is that gamers must first part with their game discs and ship them to Microsoft before a replacement can be issued, introducing yet another wait for the highly anticipated conclusion of Bungie's Halo trilogy. For more details, including the requisite exchange form, check out Microsoft's official disc replacement site.

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"The ridiculous thing is, the mechanism for holding the disc in place works just fine. It's like ..."
- Entity    See all 37 comments

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