Another Call of Duty game released, another record is set. On November 13 Call of Duty: Black Ops II came out and in 24 hours the shooter generated more than $500 million worldwide. For the fourth consecutive year, Call of Duty is the biggest entertainment launch of the year following Modern Warfare 2 (generated $310 million in 24 hours in 2009), Black Ops ($360 million in 2010), and Modern Warfare 3 ($400 million in 2011). “Life-to-date sales for the Call of Duty franchise have exceeded worldwide theatrical box office receipts for Harry Potter and Star Wars, the two most successful movie franchises of all time,” said Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick in a press release.
In other video game sales news, Halo 4 released last Tuesday on November 6 and raked in over $220 million on launch day. This makes it the most successful Halo launch in the franchise’s history, narrowly beating sales of Halo: Reach which generated $200 million in 2010. It was expected that Halo 4 sales would surpass the $300 million mark during its first week on the market, but that figure has not been made official yet. Stay tuned.
This Tuesday Halo 4 releases for Xbox 360 and a new trilogy forges on. In the original trilogy developer Bungie introduced us to the iconic Master Chief and we controlled the super-solider as he discovered the Halo Array and the Ark, crippled the alien alliance known as the Covenant, and battled the parasitic Flood. After going on to release a prequel to Halo 3 designated ODST and a prequel to Halo: Combat Evolved with Halo: Reach, Bungie handed the franchise’s reigns to a new developer, 343 Industries. Halo 4 brings us back into control of the Chief, and we find him just where we left him at the end of Halo 3 in 2007; he’s aboard the UNSC ship Forward Unto Dawn, floating in space drifting toward a mysterious Forerunner planet called Requiem. Chief’s last words were delivered to Cortana, his AI companion, and they were, “Wake me, when you need me.” Halo 4, in addition to providing addicting online multiplayer modes, will delve deeper into the franchise’s mythology as Master Chief inadvertently crash lands on a Forerunner planet infested with Covenant, Forerunner technology, and, according to the game’s marketing, “an ancient evil awakens.” And on top of that, there’s something wrong with Cortana; she is going “rampant” (or insane) because she is operating beyond her natural lifespan.
Excited yet? Let me give you a boost…
Leading up to the release of Halo 4, Microsoft Studios and 343 Industries developed a five-part live-action web series set in the Halo universe. Forward Unto Dawn follows a group of freshman cadets at the UNSC’s Corbulo Academy of Military Science and places particular focus on troubled cadet Thomas Lasky. The story takes fans to the beginning of the Human/Covenant war and it seamlessly weaves into where things kick off in Halo 4. The series is a bold journey into the Halo universe and it tells a compelling story worth investing your time in, especially if you’re a fan of the franchise. The acting and special effects are surprisingly effective, and in addition to amping you up for the new game it will also make you wish a Halo miniseries a la HBO’s Band of Brothers was made. Forward Unto Dawn can be viewed online at Machinima or on your console via the Halo Waypoint app.
Halo 4 is being sold in various forms; there’s the regular copy ($60), the limited edition copy ($100), it’s bundled in a Halo-themed 320GB console package ($350), and there’s a Halo-themed wireless controller ($60). Want a read more before jumping in? IGN gives a glowing review. Watch the launch trailer after the break. (Click here for more…)
Halo 4 lands November 4, and to celebrate the start of a new trilogy from developer 343 Industries Microsoft is coming out with a limited edition Halo themed Xbox 360 console decked out in a grey-and-blue hue. $400 will net you the 320GB console, two Halo themed wireless controllers, a wired headset, a standard edition copy of Halo 4, and tokens for exclusive in-game and avatar marketplace DLC. What is typically a green glow around the console’s power button and the controller’s Xbox button is replaced by a blue glow to match the overall color scheme. Also, the console features in-game sound effects that can be heard when you turn the console on and press the disc eject button. If you want a slice of the Halo hardware without putting down four Benjamins you can opt to get the wireless controller that will sell standalone at $60 that same day. Get your preorder on at Amazon today. Soak it all up in the gallery below.
[Via Major Nelson]
The long-awaited return of Master Chief is almost here. Halo 4 is so close you can
taste it preorder it. This week Microsoft fleshed out the $100 “Limited Edition” package that will go on sale alongside the standard $60 version of Halo 4 when it hits shelves November 6. Forty extra bucks will get you the following: War Games Map Pack (early access to “three future competitive multiplayer map packs, each including three locations”); Specializations (early access to “six Specializations to achieve higher ranks in your Spartan career and new unlockable customization options”); UNSC Infinity Briefing Packet (“includes an armor customization schematic, a blueprint of the massive ship itself, and insight into what it means to be one of humanity’s finest warriors: the Spartan-IVs”); and bonus digital content available through Xbox Live including unique armor and weapon skins, an exclusive in-game emblem, Avatar props, and an extended 90-minute version of the live-action digital series Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn (it provides “an enthralling backstory leading up to the events of Halo 4). Preorder your UNSC-engraved Halo 4 Limited Edition package today. Image of the LE case and PR after the break.
Oh, and how awesome is the official Halo 4 game box art that’s pasted above? Watch it come alive after the break.
At last, Microsoft has set a date for the return of Xbox’s hero Master Chief. Halo 4 drops November 6, 2012. In a press release (in full after the break) Microsoft and new game developer 343 Industries spilled some details on franchise’s long-awaited comeback. “Set four years after the events in “Halo 3,” Master Chief returns to confront his destiny and face an ancient evil that threatens the fate of the entire universe,” reads the release. “”Halo 3,” the biggest consumer product launch of all time when it released in 2007, concluded the original game trilogy, but left many unanswered questions around the fates of the series’ beloved hero, the Master Chief, and his artificial intelligence companion, Cortana. On Nov. 6, fans will experience the next chapter of the iconic franchise.”
Microsoft’s Phil Spencer is quoted: “We are beginning a new saga with ‘Halo 4′ and embarking on a journey that will encompass the next decade of ‘Halo’ games and experiences. Millions of fans worldwide have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to step back into the boots of Master Chief, and, with ‘Halo 4′ leading the charge, we’re confident 2012 will be the most successful year in Xbox history.”
It still hasn’t been determined what or who exactly John-117 will battle against in the next-gen first person shooter, but whatever it is I’m amped. Unless it’s The Flood again, cuz that would suck. Other Halo factoids… orignal game composer Marty O’Donnell is out (what a bummer!) and former Massive Attack member Neil Davidge has taken over the important role. Orchestrator Matt Dunkley explained to Edge: “We respect absolutely what [O'Donnell] did, and obviously these iconic themes are very close to gamers’ hearts. So we all listened to what he’d done, and I think you’ll always be on a hiding to nothing if you’re trying to pastiche that. Instead, we wanted to take that to another level. Hopefully the Halo fans will see that we’re being respectful, but we’ve also taken it somewhere else, and maybe onto a higher plane. If you’re always trying to reference back, you’re not creating new things.”
Jump after the break to get a behind the scenes look at the audio composition behind the game as well as soundtrack samples. In somewhat related news, 343 Industries invited late-night talk show host Conan O’Brien to their studio; watch the fun unfold after the break. Below, concept art.
November 6, are you here yet?
When I mention the date September 14, what comes to mind? If it isn’t Halo: Reach then what’s wrong with you?! Well, probably nothing…but if you’re any type of gamer you should know that the next game in the coveted Halo franchise drops on that day. To celebrate the release of Halo: Reach, Bungie and Microsoft have teamed up to create a limited edition Xbox 360 console inspired by the game. It is worthy to note that this is the very first new 250GB Xbox 360 themed console. The “whisper-quiet” fans, built-in 802.11n WiFi adapter, and slim form factor remain in tact. It does away with the black glossy exterior and introduces a Halo: Reach theme. It features “an exclusive silver design” that “captures the look and feel of the game.” It also packs “custom sound effects from the “Halo” universe”; the press release did not elaborate on this feature, so it shall remain a surprise to buyers upon powering up the console. The Xbox 360 comes bundled with a copy of Halo: Reach, two custom Xbox 360 Wireless Controllers with artwork inspired by the game, a Reach themed Xbox 360 wired headset, a token for the Limited Edition Elite armor set, and an episode of “Halo Legends”, the anime-styled show based on the game. The bundle is priced at $399 and is available to preorder today. It will hit the market in tandem with the game on 9/14. The Reach wireless controller ($59.99) and a wireless headset ($49.99) will be made available to purchase separately in late Augsust. Look in the gallery below to view the console at various angles.
Game: Halo: Reach
Release date: September 22, 2010
OK, so if you’re reading this I’m sure you know all about the next game in the coveted Halo franchise. Halo: Reach is a prequel that tells the story of the fall of planet Reach and it takes place before Halo: Combat Evolved and before the life and times of Master Chief. You play as Noble Team and your enemy, as usual, is the devout alien tribe known as The Covenant. Reach was not available to play at the Microsoft booth, however there were private screenings of live demonstrations of the single and multiplayer gameplay. Not only did I attend one of these live demonstrations, I managed to record the entire live demo!
In Part 1 (see above), a Reach producer plays through a mission called “The Long Night of Solace” and it takes place about half-way through the game. Watch as Noble Team kicks some Covenant ass. Part 2 (look after the break) takes you deep into space for some combat in the sky, spaceship-style. Part 3 (also after the break) features Firefight mode gameplay. Three people in the crowd were asked to join the Bungie reps to help show how this multiplayer mode works in Reach. Firefight mode is simple co-op fun; it’s just you and up to three other players joining forces to fight off Covenant attack. And now this mode supports match-making; so if your friends are not available to play with you the game will find others with similar skill level to help you beat up some Covenant, no problem. You will also be able to highly customize the gameplay in this mode. For example, you can control the number of rounds, where enemies show up, how they are killed (head-shots only, for example), and what happens when they killed (they can explode into confetti!). You can even save and upload your customized game rules to the Bungie servers so other Reach players can jump into your creation. Lastly, another addition to Reach multiplayer is the ability to rack up credits and use them to purchase upgrades in the armory; these are used to customize your own Spartan avatar.
So what are you waiting for? Watch the splitscreen mayhem unfold in the video embedded after the break!
Mark your calenders, people. Halo: Reach will release September 14, 2010. And if you’re an ultimate Halo fan and expecting to get your game on day one, be sure to preorder as soon as possible. Bob McKenzie, senior vice president of merchandising at GameStop: “Pre-orders for ‘Halo: Reach’ have been off the charts, with fans snapping up the limited and legendary editions since they were introduced just a month ago. Overall, it’s a real testament to the passion of the ‘Halo’ fan base.”
The Halo: Reach beta invitational was a huge success for developer Bungie and Microsoft. Over 2.7 million gamers participated in the beta, playing over 13 million games for over 16 million hours. In a fun way to thank Halo fans for taking part in the beta, Bungie compiled a bunch of in-game footage captured by players. The video, embedded above, contains some awesome sticks and impressive kills..so check it out.
Check out this trailer for Halo: Reach multiplayer. It reveals a bunch of the new multiplayer modes. And don’t forget–if you purchased Halo 3: ODST you have an invite to participate in the Reach multiplayer beta which starts on May 3.
Take a peek into the reconstructed Halo Universe. Halo production leaders discuss how Halo: Reach ties back to our very first glipse of the vast world Bungie created in Halo: Combat Evolved (“that sense of wonder and exploration”) and why they decided to rebuild it all from the ground up. “This is the definitive Halo made by the people who created Halo.” Aaaand I’m pumped. Check out a handful of new screenshots and artwork below.
Many publishers used this year’s Spike Video Game Awards as a launching pad for their future games lineup. Notable titles include Halo: Reach and Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands. Surprise announcements include Arkham Asylum 2, a reboot of the Medal of Honor series, a stand-alone Green Day Rock Band game, and a lead up to the 2010 Tron movie called Tron Evolution. Check out the Halo: Reach and Green Day: Rock Band trailers below and look after the break for trailers for the rest of the games mentioned here, plus more! 2010 already looks to be a solid year for video gamers. Get pumped. And for those who are curious–The Beatles: Rock Band won (and rightfully deserved) music game of the year and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves nabbed Game of the Year. Look after the break for the full rundown of winners.
Note: A press release announces that the Halo: Reach multiplayer beta begins Spring 2010.
A Halo-inspired Lego short film is six years in the making! Creator Alex Kobbs has been hard at work shooting the Legos frame-by-frame to create what will be nothing short of a masterpiece. The 25 minute film will take place in the Zanzibar map and will feature Red vs. Blue Halo bricks fighting it out. The Battle of the Brick is expected to make its long-awaited round on the Internet sometime in early 2010.
Major League Gaming forum member “ToM MoReLLo” claims to have leaked some screenshots from Bungie’s highly anticapted Halo: Reach, the next installment in the Halo first-person shooter series. In the post MoReLLo shares information on new weapons and mission descriptions that relate to the events that happened in first Halo novel, Halo: The Fall of Reach. Though these images could all be fakes they look pretty legitimate to me, especially with all the other details surfacing with them. Bungie plans on unveiling the Halo: Reach beta to the masses (or everyone who purchased Halo 3: ODST and received an invite code) in 2010.
As we have known for quite some time now, Halo Waypoint (HW) is going to be the one-stop destination for all things Halo on Xbox Live. According to IGN, HW “seeks to bring together the entire Halo universe in one place and provide a sort of string that ties each game together. Included will be an assortment of screenshots and videos — some official and some fan-made – a career system that links the achievements for all Halo games together, and the latest in Halo news.”
HW creative director Jason Pace on the acheivement system and how it differentiates from Xbox Live acheivements: “The career milestones are a little different from achievements. As you earn new [Halo] achievements… you will level up your career milestone. There will be 40 milestones, or levels, available at launch. With 3950 possible achievement points to unlock through three Halo titles on Xbox 360, there are plenty of ways to reach that level cap. It will take about 60% of the total achievement points unlocked to reach the highest milestone, a percentage that was chosen with care.”
Though HW’s focal point will be on the Xbox 360 console, Pace goes on to say that there are plans to bring aspects of it onto the web so players can view and share their achievements and other Halo-related material outside of the console realm. “We are working on a feature right now where we’ll allow users to upload cool stuff through Xbox.com/halo. Right now we are going to partner with Bungie on Bungie.net and we’ll do “Best of” community submissions. And that will generally be chosen by our community manager and then featured in weekly spotlight areas for community content on Waypoint on the Xbox.”
Pace summerizes the impact HW will have with Halo fans worldwide: “We’re definitely looking at expanding career mode and really making you feel like your entire Halo gaming history is encapsulated in a meaningful way and your identity expands across all of the Halo experiences you play.”
Halo Waypoint launches on November 5 on Xbox 360. It will initially be free for Xbox Live Silver and Gold users; on November 26 the service will only function for paying Xbox Live Gold subscribers.
Journey with IGN on a quick adventure through the Halo universe and rediscover (or for you newbies, discover) the Halo story from Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, and Halo 3. This is all in preperation for Halo 3: ODST which releases this week on Xbox 360. Go ahead; get caught up, preorder a copy, and PREPARE TO DROP.
I really enjoy these live action Halo trailers/videos. I can only imagine what director Neill Blomkamp (District 9) could do with it to create a live action Halo movie. Halo 3: ODST drops September 22 for Xbox 360.
In celebration of the upcoming Halo: ODST game for Xbox 360, the brainiacs behind the Red vs. Blue series have put together a special episode incorporating the new soldiers from the game. It’s a funny watch.
The Halo universe is about to be expaned in two major ways, first by way of Halo Legends. Microsoft has teamed up with a bunch of renowned anime studios to create a collection of original short films that will bring the exciting story of Master Chief and the discovery of the mysterious Halo rings to life on the small screen. The short anime-style films will be produced by Microsoft’s 343 Industries and creative direction will come from anime pioneer Shinji Aramaki. Aramaki: “Halo and its characters are a very natural fit for anime.” If you are at all interested in the back story of the world of Halo and its characters, this will be a must see. All seven short films will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray in 2010. However, a preview of select episodes debut on Xbox Live this fall.
Also announced is Halo Waypoint, a one-stop destination for all things Halo on Xbox Live. According to Microsoft, “It will inform fans of the latest Halo news and activities, and grant access to content ranging from podcasts, trailers and screenshots, to exclusive video footage you won’t find anywhere else. It also will provide a new challenge for Halo gamers with a career system and player rankings tied to both in-game and out-of-game accomplishments related to Halo.” Look out for this new portal on Xbox Live this fall. Halo fans, rejoice!