Fans continue to wait with bated breath for 343 Industries to fire its first shot in the post-Bungie campaign to keep Microsoft's "Halo" franchise moving. There will presumably (hopefully) be an announcement at this year's E3, but the new franchise lead has been busy preparing some things to tide us all over in the interim. A press release from Microsoft reveals today that it all starts with a new update to "Halo Waypoint" -- the Xbox Live Arcade-based portal to all things "Halo" -- this week on Friday, April 15.
In addition to bringing a "significant performance boost," the "Waypoint" update will also add a number of new features to the XBLA metagame app. "Halo: Reach" player service records will now be fully accessible from there, "making everything from detailed game history to weapon stats and Challenges available" for your viewing and bragging pleasure. To up the brag value, you'll also now have access to a "Compare with Friends" feature. You can probably figure out how that one works, right? Two new "Waypoint" career levels will be added as well.
Players will now also be able to launch the Games on Demand version of "Reach" from inside "Waypoint," though that's a feature which is similarly accessible with the press of a button in the Xbox 360 guide. The replay video player will also be updated with the "Instant On" streaming that Zune uses, which Microsoft says will result in "faster and easier" access to player-created clips.
Coming to "Waypoint" later in the month, on April 23, is "The Mona Lisa" motion comic. The story comes from the "Halo Evolutions" anthology. It follows the crew of the UNSC Red Horse as they venture off to investigate a derelict ship -- the Mona Lisa -- at the wreckage site of the destroyed Halo artifact. They'll apparently face a threat "more terrifying than the Covenant," which presumably means that the Flood will be making an appearance.
It also seems that those holding out hope for a "Halo"-related announcement at E3 might have to wait a little longer. The press release notes that a "Halo" will be treated "in a very special way" at this year's Penny Arcade Expo Prime, held in late August.