Halo 4 Limited Edition Xbox 360
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Released on 06/11/2012
Halo 4 Limited Edition includes:
- War Games Map Pack Access - The Limited Edition includes access to nine maps - three future competitive multiplayer map packs, each including three locations, available for download post-launch on Xbox LIVE. (A detailed release schedule for the map packs will be announced at a later time)
- Specialisations - Receive early access to six Specialisations, available at launch on Xbox LIVE, to achieve higher ranks in your Spartan career. In addition to gaining access to new ranks, Specialisations unlock new customisation options. Purchasers of the Halo 4 Limited Edition will get access on launch day, while others will have to wait as Specialisations are released over time.
- The Limited Edition also contains the UNSC Infinity Briefing Packet, which includes an armour customisation 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.
Bonus digital content through Xbox LIVE:
- Unique in-game Spartan-IV armour skin
- Unique in-game weapon skin for the Assault Rifle
- An exclusive in-game emblem
- Xbox LIVE Avatar prop
- Xbox LIVE Avatar Spartan-IV armour set
Set almost five years after the events of Halo 3, Halo 4 takes the series in a bold new direction and sets the stage for an epic new sci-fi saga, in which the Master Chief returns to confront his destiny and face an ancient evil that threatens the fate of the entire universe. In addition to a rich story and campaign, Halo 4 introduces a groundbreaking new multiplayer offering, called Halo Infinity Multiplayer, that builds off of the Halo franchise’s rich multiplayer history and promises to continue to innovate and redefine the way people think about storytelling and multiplayer experiences.
Introducing Halo Infinity Multiplayer
The hub of the Halo 4 multiplayer experience is the UNSC Infinity - the largest starship in the UNSC fleet that serves as the centre of your Spartan career. Here you’ll build your custom Spartan-IV supersoldier, and progress your multiplayer career across all Halo 4 competitive and cooperative game modes. Surrounded by the sights, sounds and crew of the biggest vessel in the UNSC fleet, your multiplayer experience will be embedded in the fiction of Halo like never before, where your progress and game choices affect your appearance, arsenal, and role on the battlefield.
The story of the UNSC Infinity intersects with the Halo 4 campaign, then continues on in a brand-new, story-driven experience known as Spartan Ops. A first of its kind and an exciting new addition to the Halo franchise, Spartan Ops is an episodic adventure that blends immersive storytelling, high-quality cinematics, and action-packed gameplay to deliver an unprecedented serialised experience.
Through a weekly series of cinematic episodes on Xbox LIVE, Spartan Ops will tell the continuing story of the UNSC Infinity, following the events of Halo 4. These episodes will centre on the UNSC Infinity leaders and crew, and a new team of Spartans - Majestic Squad. These cinematic episodes will provide the backdrop for the weekly Spartan Ops gameplay missions. Playable in single-player or cooperatively (with up to three friends), explore the corners of Requiem in these objective-based missions, and help uncover the secrets of the mysterious Forerunner world.
A massive-scale adventure that builds off the Halo 4 story, access to Spartan Ops is included with Halo 4 at no additional charge - effectively delivering two campaign experiences in one game.
The competitive multiplayer modes of Halo 4, known as War Games, take place on the combat deck of the UNSC Infinity and revive the visceral and immersive experiences that Halo multiplayer is famous for. Halo 4 introduces fresh, immersive new game modes and strategies to help you progress your Spartan-IV career, while also delivering an experience that’s still distinctly and uniquely Halo. More details on all the modes of War Games will be released at a later time.
Total Combat Freedom and Player Progression.
Halo 4 features a vastly expanded suite of new multiplayer modes, weapons, vehicles, armour abilities, a new loadout and player progression system, and a new armour modification system that introduces gameplay-enhancing customisations for the first time in a Halo game. These advancements can be used in both Spartan Ops and certain War Games matchmaking playlists, empowering player choice, vastly expanding their creative options, and make the experience deeper for core fans and more approachable for newcomers.
The Halo 4 player progression system goes beyond simple aesthetic upgrades, encouraging players to invest time and effort to create a Spartan that looks and plays the way they want. Players can earn and activate combat enhancements called Specialisations based on the style of play they engage in, from stealth to all-out assault, and everything in between.
Bungie, the studio responsible for the massively successful Halo franchise, will return to consoles in 2013, it has been revealed.
Little is known about the game, other than it is currently code named Destiny, and has been described as "World of Warcraft in space". What we do know is that Bungie is contracted to deliver the game next year, and it will be the start of a new "action shooter" series of at least four games. The confirmation comes as Bungie's contract with new publisher Activision was released as part of a court case.
Clearly, the revelation caught Bungie by surprise. "So, yeah. While we�e not ready to show you what we�e been working on, we can reconfirm that we are hard at work on our new universe. We can� wait for you to see it," read a post from staff member DeeJ on their official website under the heading "Well, that just happened..."
"See you starside in 2013," they added, with a cheeky strikethrough on the word "starside".While we may have to wait a while for Bungie's next, the series they launched is still going strong. Master Chief has been handed over to Microsoft's 343 Industries with Bungie's blessing, and Halo 4 arrives on Xbox 360 on November 6th this year.
More information on what we can expect from the upcoming Halo 4 has slipped into the wild, thanks to Microsoft's ExpertZone website, which helps retailers answer customer questions.
Presented as a quiz to test retailers "deployment readiness" for the hotly anticipated sequel, the site reveals that there will be ten new weapons and two new vehicles in the game, alongside "many of your favourites from the past". Two of these weapons were demonstrated at E3 earlier in the month - the Forerunner Light Rifle and the Scattershot close range shotgun. The site also mentions the new bad guys - the Prometheans - and talks of an "ancient evil" that will become Master Chief's "greatest enemy".
For multiplayer, it confirms there will be ten maps to start with, and suggests deeper community features, with "improved support to create, organise and track groups".
The site offers details on Spartan Ops, the game's ambitious DLC programme which will offer "seasons" of bonus content, with five new missions every week for a total of ten weeks per season. That's fifty extra missions, totalling an additional 12 hours of gameplay for single player and co-op, and, even better, Season 1 of this bonus bonanza will be free to everyone buying the game new. "It's like getting two campaigns with one game!" gushes the website, and with good reason.
Halo 4 lands on Xbox 360 on November 6th this year.
It's been 11 years since the Halo first-person shooter series exploded on the original Xbox console with sternum-shuddering impact. With its dark and deadly galaxy, apocalyptic alien technology, and utterly awesome multiplayer battles, it's become the most revered and successful franchise in Microsoft's gaming history - especially for online play. No surprises then that this is one of the most anticipated games of the year.
Halo 4, despite the title, is actually the eighth instalment in the series. It's also intended as the beginning of a brand new trilogy of games from the Halo universe, and the first to be developed by Microsoft's talented new studio 343 Industries, with original developer Bungie having gone their own way. Not that that should worry ardent Halo gamers unduly; this still looks the business, with plenty of surprises and great gameplay in store.
Wake Up John, We Need You...
Story-wise, it's certainly more plot-driven than anything that has come before. Marking the return of iconic super soldier Master Chief, Halo 4 revolves around a 'holy' planet, called Requiem, which was constructed by the ancient Forerunner race some 100,000 years ago, who designed it to protect themselves against parasitic Flood life forms and the unleashing of the Halo weapon. It appears their idea worked, because as your ship of human military forces land onto its hostile surface, you're confronted by hordes of 100,000-year-old alien 'Promethean' soldiers that you thought were extinct. They only have one thing on their minds, too - toasting you alive!
The hands-on-time at E3 showcased a new level from its episodic co-operative campaign, simply known as The Cauldron, where up to four human soldiers (Spartans) take on familiar alien enemies known as The Covenant. You're drop-shipped onto the planet, which exists inside a silver sphere and is given its light by an artificial sun. In turn, this delivers the game a beautiful sunburst new look, as enemies glow bright orange beneath glossy black armour. But don't be fooled by their pretty looks - these creatures kill...
Combat Evolved - Again!
Despite many gamers being concerned that Halo 4 would feature scripted sequences and its glorious free-form combat suffer - as was implied by its E3 presentation - the game, thankfully, appears to offer a similar level of freedom as its predecessors. You can attack in almost any way you see fit, impulsively employing different tactics as you work out how best to deal with the Covenant threat, who likewise, respond intelligently to your own attacks.
When we played it, our grenades bounced harmlessly wide and our bullets ricocheted off enemy shields. Clearly we needed to devise new ways of thwarting our intelligent, high-tech adversaries, who also possess the ability to dematerialise and appear in different places. This isn't about your chasing your aggressors, but predicting where they'll turn up next. And then also working out how to defeat the scary four-legged panther-like creatures that they seemed keen to unleash on you.
The demo hinted at plenty of other exciting things, including new weapons and armour abilities, such as X-ray vision. But ultimately, despite having a new developer behind it, this still feels and plays like the classic Halo we know and love, as well as also promising something excitingly new. Simply put, Halo 4 is shaping up to surpass even the series' finest outings. And that should be enough to grab anyone's attention.
While development of Halo 4 has passed to 343 Industries, The Forge will now be handled by Certain Affinity, a US studio with a prestigious history with the Halo series, as well as multiplayer FPS games in general. Founded by ex-Bungie staff, Certain Affinity worked on multiplayer maps for the series as far back as Halo 2, and has also contributed to such online classics as Call of Duty and Left 4 Dead.
Tweets from the company this week confirmed their involvement, while gaming site Polygon reported from the Rooster Teeth online gaming expo where a Forge presentation took place. New features include the Player Trait Zone, which allows the community to tinker with the running speed, jump height and damage thresholds for players.
Gravity can also be altered in specific points on the maps, while a general overhaul to the editing functions means you'll be able to combine, duplicate and move objects far more easily. It's all great news for those who take their Halo matches super-seriously, and should keep the hardcore playing for months.
Halo 4 charges into battle on November 6th. It's an Xbox 360 exclusive, of course.
Priced at �69.99, the console comes with a translucent Halo-themed outer casing. In keeping with the new colour scheme, the power light glows blue rather than green. The console also comes with a 320Gb hard drive, a wired headset and two Halo 4 controllers, which share the slick design and blue light of the console itself. Press reports suggest the console will also feature Halo system noises - much as the Star Wars Xbox console beeped and blurped like R2-D2 - but Microsoft has yet to confirm this detail.
Also included in the price is a copy of Halo 4, naturally, along with a code to download avatar props and in-game content. For those who don't want to fork out for a completely new console, Microsoft will also be launching a limited edition Halo 4 wireless controller, which boasts a silver UNSC design that is different to the ones packed in with the console.
The limited edition console will be available alongside Halo 4 when it is released on November 6th.
As one of the first truly successful console multiplayer shooters, Halo has always enjoyed a dedicated player base. Those fans will be rewarded in the upcoming Halo 4 with eight online specialisms that will tweak the skillset of high ranking players.
You'll need to hit level 50 before a specialism can be chosen, and once you've made your decision you'll need to rank up if you want to change class again.
Wetwork offers fast and quiet movement for those who want to play stealthily. Pioneers use a Fast Track armour mod to gain more XP and level up faster. Engineers have Drop Recon armour mod that will tip you off about the timing and location of supply drops. Tracker's favour long distance targets, and can return ordnance drops in exchange for better kit.
Rogue offers steady aiming, while Stalker comes equipped with Nemesis armour that marks every enemy who has attacked or killed you on your map. Pathfinder is the one for those who prefer heavy weaponry - your turret will cool down faster and you'll be able to move quicker when carrying a detached turret weapon. Finally, the Wheelman armour mod automatically makes any vehicle you ride in tougher.
Of the eight specialisms, only Wetwork and Pioneer will be available out of the box for all players. To get access to the others at launch, you need to pick up the Limited Edition or pre-order the game from Gamestation.
The list of Achievements for Halo 4 has been officially released, over two months before the game drops. The big surprise is that there are no Achievements for traditional competitive multiplayer, only for completing the game's campaign missions - both solo and with friends - and the standalone Spartan Ops missions.
"Our primary goal when creating Halo 4's achievements was to reward milestones and increase replay value while balancing both difficulty and the breadth of game modes," said community manager Jessica Shea, posting the list on the official Halo Waypoint website. "Our secondary goal was to live up to Halo tradition with weird ass names for some of them (hello, The Dongblainer!). While you will only be able to speculate on the exact nature of some of these achievements, here's a peek at their very basic in-game descriptions."
The list reveals that there are eight levels in the story campaign, and each has a level-specific Achievement to earn. In the opening stage, for example, finding Master Chief's records will earn you a quick 20G. There are also smaller Achievements for customising your Spartan ID and for creating and sharing maps, screenshots and film clips.
Halo 4 marks the start of an all-new Halo trilogy, with Master Chief returning to the front line after sitting out Halo ODST and Halo Reach. It's out for Xbox 360 on November 6th, but you've already got that marked on your calendar, haven't you?
One of Halo 4's many multiplayer modes will be based on the fan-favourite mod Grifball, developer 343 Industries announced at the PAX Prime game expo.
The mode is basically rugby with a Halo twist. Players can grab the ball and throw it like a grenade. Other players can catch it, and the aim is to get it through the other team's goal. Obvious, really. Spicing things up is the inclusion of hammers and swords, which should make tackles more interesting. The hammer kills players instantly, but sends the ball flying through the air. Get up close for a sword kill, and you can automatically grab the ball yourself.
343 also revealed that the ability to throw and catch will be implemented in the popular Oddball mode, while venerable old favourite Capture the Flag is also getting tweaked. Flag carriers will no longer be as defenceless as in past games. They'll now carry the flag in one hand and a "flagnum" pistol in the other, and will even be able to use the flag itself as a melee weapon.
These are just some of the treats lined up in Halo 4, alongside Spartan Ops, a series of downloadable co-op missions that will served up five at a time, every week, for ten weeks after launch.
When Master Chief returns to the fray later this year, he'll be embarking on an all-new trilogy of games that promise to dig deeper into the mythology of the Halo universe than ever before. Now 343 Industries, the developer which has taken over the sage with Bungie's blessing, has revealed details of how that history will manifest itself.
That would be the Prometheans, a strange reanimated robot race that once served the Forerunners, the ancient civilization that built the Halo rings thousands of years before mankind arrived on the scene. In a feature in the latest issue of US games mag Game Informer, the beans are comprehensively spilled on what's in store, so spoiler-phobes should look away now.
Marking the first entirely new character class added to the Halo series in a decade, the Prometheans sound like they'll give Master Chief a run for his money. Promethean Knights, for example, come in a variety of forms. Knight Lancers are skilled snipers, and use their special vision to locate enemies. Knight Commanders carry incineration cannons and deploy auto-sentry turrets. Worst of the bunch is the Knight Battlewagon, a hulking battle frame with heavy shielding and the powerful Scattershot weapon for up-close damage.
The Knights are backed up by Crawlers, smaller and faster Prometheans that strike in organised packs. The Crawler Snipe tackles long range attacks while the Alpha Crawler directs his forces against you and uses suppression techniques. Finally, there are Watchers. These support-level foes can summon Crawlers and will not only protect Knights but can resurrect them after death.
And as if that doesn't sound tricky enough, the feature teases that while the game will find you battling Covenant and Promethean forces at different times, at some point the two will combine their efforts and unleash a whole new kind of hell on Master Chief.
Halo 4 hits Xbox 360 on November 6th. Are you ready?
Frank O'Connor, the man who oversees the Halo franchise for Microsoft, has explained how the team at 343 Studios have been able to squeeze even more performance out of the existing game engine for the upcoming Halo 4.
The secret, he told Eurogamer, is keeping the bits that give that unique Halo feel, while upgrading and improving the way it handles speed and graphics. It also helps that Microsoft was apparently in no rush to get Master Chief back in action. "A significant amount of time has passed between Halo 3 and this, even Halo: Reach and this game," O'Connor said. "We also had a luxury that some teams don't get, which is we had some time to prototype, pull the engine apart and look at what made it tick and see where we could make improvements, because we weren't on this grind to build the very next sequel."
As for the Xbox 360 itself, even though rumours persist about a new console announcement in the near future, O'Connor doesn't see the existing machine dropping off the radar any time soon.
"The console is seven years old but we keep finding new tricks and new abilities to wring performance out of it," he said. "There's still life in the old girl yet. This is already one of the longest generations we've had. And just in terms of being an element of your home entertainment, the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 are essential. You have to keep it under your TV. I cannot get rid of my Xbox. The machine has so much utility it ends up being a hub for all these experiences and can still put out triple-A quality entertainment experiences as games. I love that. I get so much value out of that box in my house that I literally can't understand any reason why I would want to take it out from under my TV even if it gets replaced by better hardware in the future."
O'Connor is in the UK to present Halo 4 at the Eurogamer Expo in London. The game launches in just over a month, on November 6th.
There are lots and lots of great games heading your way in the next few months, and here at GAME HQ we're as excited as you lot are to give them a go.
So, we went round the digital team with a prodding stick to find out just what games the team here are really itching to play...
Ali - Queen of the Internet
I am looking forward to LEGO Batman 2. My brother and I worked our way through the original LEGO Batman with a considered method of "shoot everything in the room first, think about the situation later" and it was amazing. It's also the only game where if you die you can still enjoy seeing Robin explode which I did on many occasions as Player 2. I can't wait to see what LEGO Batman 2 has in store!
Louis - Merchandising Meddler
Definitely, without a shadow of a doubt, Max Payne 3.
After playing through 1 and 2 - which gripped me to the very end - I cannot honestly wait for 3.
Max Payne's method of storytelling is awesome. The comic book cut scenes are stylish and effective, and are not afraid to poke fun at other, outrageous works of fiction (as well as itself). The noir style and twists and turns throughout provide a flourish of love which even the most dedicated of storytellers fail to keep up with. The ingredients are simple, but it's a recipe which works.
The gameplay might not necessarily be innovative, but it will be intuitive. It might not change the way we think about games, but I know it's going to be a game through and through; fun, accessible and welcoming to noobs and veterans alike. Max Payne 3 is going to rock. Add online multiplayer to the mix, and I can safely say that I'm looking forward to blasting my way into June!
(My second choice would be Aliens: Colonial Marines, but that's almost too far away to get excited about yet!)
Kate - Affiliate Assassin
Bioshock Infinite - Because of the amazing animation and design of the game. Oh, and Limbo 2 - if/when it comes!
Jamie - Builder of Digital Dreamscapes
I am looking forward to...
Grand Theft Auto V: Obviously no one really knows exactly when this game is coming out but I cant wait! Seriously excited about a new GTA! Although I hope it is all of San Andreas and not just Los Santos.
Madden 13: I always get Madden, and it was pretty much the game that made me buy my first proper games console (the SEGA Mega Drive). I'm particularly looking forward to this year's one as I'm hoping they have taken more of the good stuff out of NCAA12.
Retro City Rampage: This is an indie game that just looks AMAZING! Kind of like a funny GTA but all totally 80s styled. It's gonna be on Xbox LIVE and PSN and I like the fact it looks like you might be able to get this digitally to play on your PS Vita too; it seems like the kind of game you could just lose hours in messing about!
Carl - Design Doodler
Halo 4. Why? Because it's the best freaking game there is! I'm a massive Halo fan and I'm really looking forward to the next instalment. And really looking forward to seeing Master Chief again. And now we know the release date I know what week to book off work!
Aaron - Social Butterfly
I almost squealed for joy when Luigi's Mansion 2 was announced (Okay, I actually did squeal...). The original Luigi's Mansion was the first game I got on launch day with my Gamecube. It was ALL about Luigi, sucking up ghosts with his Poltergust 3000. The sequel has me itching to play, it will have multiple mansions, a new Poltergust, new ghosts, new story AND it will all be in beautiful 3D. The Nintendo savvy amongst us will know that Nintendo originally planned to release Luigi's Mansion in 3D on the Gamecube but decided the 3D panel was ahead of its time!
Who ya gonna call? Ghostb-- No, no wait, let's just get the Green hat-wearing Italian plumber from the Mushroom Kingdom instead. No danger of crossing the streams.
Damien - Good Word Writing Man
I'm actually really looking forward to Lollipop Chainsaw. I'm a big Buffy fan, so the concept of a blonde cheerleader fighting supernatural beasties is one that very much appeals to me. It just looks like it's gonna be oodles of OTT fun. Plus, y'know, the boyfriend's head just kicking around. What's not to like?
As a stark contrast, I'm also a bit excited by Spec Ops: The Line. I don't usually get on with shooters, but having seen the trailer with the bodies-on-poles imagery, plus the obvious Heart of Darkness influence and the sense of "killing people may actually affect you", I really want to try this one out. I mean, who isn't at least intrigued by what appears to be an anti-war third-person shooter?
James - Captain Category
Because I've been waiting twelve years for it!
So there we have it. These are the games we want to play - what about you? What forthcoming titles have got you so pant-wettingly excited to pre-order and play?
New Year Revolutions: The games of 2012 that we want to play now
Towards the end of last year, we saw veritable avalanche of amazing games roll over us, leaving us swamped but happy with top-notch titles such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Batman: Arkham City, Skyrim, Super Mario Land 3D, Assassin's Creed Revelations, Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Saints Row The Third and, oh, you get the idea.
Surely that's more than enough new games to leave even the greediest gamer feeling stuffed and satisfied? Well, yes, but don't pretend you can't hear that little voice whispering in the back of your mind. What's next? it says.
Here's the answer: our guide to the big games of 2012 that we can't wait to play.
The genre-busting open-world crime caper makes its long-awaited return, with an all-new tale set in the pseudo-L.A. of Los Santos. Details are limited to one cryptic trailer, but where Rockstar is concerned it's safe to set expectations high.
Mass Effect 3 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
Bioware brings its grand space opera to a cataclysmic finale, as the world-devouring Reapers declare open war on Earth. The game adds optional multiplayer modes, as well as Kinect voice features for Xbox 360.
Halo 4 (Xbox 360)
Who seriously thought that Halo 3 would be the last we saw of Master Chief? He's back for the start of a brand new trilogy, which will find the Spartan super soldier confronting his own destiny as well as an ancient evil poised to destroy the universe. No pressure then.
Bioshock Infinite (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
Swapping the bottom of the ocean for the top of the world, this continuation of the smartest sci-fi shooter in recent memory casts you as a Pinkerton agent in 1912, trying to escape a dystopian city in the clouds. Expect gorgeous views and gruelling terror in equal measure.
Borderlands 2 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
Return to Pandora for another round of co-operative role-playing mayhem. The game promises more dynamic quests which will alter the path of the story, as well as smarter enemies and more independent non-player characters. Bring it.
Hitman: Absolution (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
It's been five years since Agent 47 last graced our joypads in Blood Money, and his latest adventure will take full advantage of the updates in technology since. Expect to be able to set up more elaborate assassinations, as well some form of multiplayer.
Max Payne 3 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
Rockstar's other big game for 2012 finds the dual-wielding anti-hero cop disgraced and working as a bodyguard in Brazil. Of course, it all kicks off when the family he's guarding are targeted by gangsters, and slow-motion shooty-diving is the only way to settle the score.
Tomb Raider (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
After drifting out of the spotlight, the first lady of gaming returns with this series reboot which follows a more vulnerable teenage Lara Croft, as she grows into the confident adventurer we all know and love.
Sony's incredibly powerful handheld drops in February, bringing next-gen muscle to the portable gaming market. With 3G and Wifi-enabled models available - and boasting exclusive Uncharted, Wipeout and Call of Duty games - it's the console to watch in 2012.
Fans who literally can't wait any longer for fresh Halo 4 goodness have reason to be cheerful today. Forward Unto Dawn, the live action web series that leads into the plot of Halo 4, has gone live over on the official Halo Waypoint website.
It tells the story of a group of young recruits at the UNSC training facility, all of whom are struggling to live up to their senior officer parents. There's a bull-headed jock, a love interest and our hero, Lasky, whose hot-headed ways suggest that at least one DVD copy of Top Gun has somehow survived the Covenant assault on Earth.
This first episode isn't particularly action packed, serving more as an introduction to the characters, but there is a real working Warthog vehicle to coo over, and the promise of Master Chief himself putting in an appearance in the future. The video runs twenty minutes, and is the first of five. Splice them all together and you'll have that Halo movie you're still dreaming of.
It also marks the official start of the countdown to Halo 4's launch. The four remaining weekly instalments will take us right up to November 6th, when Halo 4 finally hits the shops.
343 Industries, the Microsoft studio which has inherited the Halo series from creator Bungie, has revealed it won't be making iconic hero Master Chief remove his helmet any time soon. Despite being the figurehead of the most popular Xbox franchise, the legendary Spartan soldier has never shown his face - and probably never will.
He's come close a few times though. In the very first game, Halo: Combat Evolved, the camera pans away coyly as Master Chief removes his helmet. In Fall of Reach, the spin-off prequel novel, we learn that he's almost albino white, with pale blue eyes and reddish hair.
"It's funny we don't then show his face," Halo franchise boss Frank O'Connor explained to Eurogamer when quizzed about a possible reveal for Master Chief's mug in Halo 4. "But that's a device to keep the player invested in the character and keep the player from constantly being reminded that they're not a hero or that they have to be a boy or they have to be a girl, or whatever that is."
While they won't show his face, it sounds like there's a chance that 343 might kill Master Chief, with O'Connor saying the long-term future of the character is "a conversation I can't get into". He goes on to suggest that previous games were "scared" to take Halo's story into difficult areas, but that with Microsoft's blessing, the developers have been freed up to tell stories "that are not comfortable and that are meaningful and that are permanent".
What can it all mean? We'll find out on November 6th when Halo 4 strides into action for Xbox 360.
Microsoft clearly isn't pinching the pennies when it comes to promoting the return of Master Chief in Halo 4 next month. It's hired critically acclaimed Hollywood director David Fincher, best known for Fight Club and most recently Oscar-nominated for the Facebook flick The Social Network, to produce a live action and CGI hybrid trailer for the game.
Fincher will oversee the production, handing directorial duties over to Tim Miller, a special effects man with experience on the X-Men series amongst others. The pair have prior form together, as Miller created the remarkable opening credits for Fincher's remake of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo last year.
The trailer goes by the title Scanned, and was filmed in Prague. It sheds light on Master Chief's history and reveals more about the Forerunners, the ancient aliens whose technology drives the Halo franchise. The two-minute film is set to debut on US television on October 18th during Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
"Halo is one of the most iconic sci-fi universes, with a depth that allows for amazingly cinematic and emotionally riveting stories," Miller has said. "The chance to tell a story that explores never-before-seen facets of Master Chief's journey is an honour. Our goal is to deliver a blockbuster, Hollywood-quality trailer that raises the bar for the award-winning legacy of live-action 'Halo' storytelling and gets fans stoked for the return of Master Chief."
Halo 4 is released worldwide on November 6th, exclusively for Xbox 360.
The last time a numbered entry in the Halo series was released, the whole world stopped. Well, certain parts of it did, anyway - New York's Times Square was taken over for a Microsoft-funded celebration, and in London Pharrel Williams headed up a party at BFI's IMAX cinema. When a new Halo launches, it's a big event.
The launch of Halo 4 this November is likely to be similar, although it's going to be a very different proposition. Bungie, the developer that created the series and made every mainline entry since 2001, has left Halo behind, leaving the Master Chief in the hands of the newly formed studio 343 Industries. Will this be a very different Halo, then?
Well, perhaps not - but that's not exactly a bad thing. 343's formed of veterans who are as in love with Halo's well-established formula as the millions of players on Xbox LIVE who've danced the Spartan's merry dance for countless hours. This is Halo as you likely know it - there's the same spongy movement and the same collection of weapons, both muscular and bizarre.
Wake Me... When You Need Me
It's the same, then, but it's oh-so-slightly different. The return of the hero Master Chief (ODST and Reach, the two games that preceded Halo 4, moved the spotlight to other, less iconic characters) is a momentous occasion in itself, and 343's seen fit to celebrate the moment with the finest looking Halo game yet. Indeed, it's probably the best looking game on the Xbox 360 to date, and given how the console's days are slowly ticking down it may be the best to ever grace it.
The opening level - a homage of sorts to the beginning of the very first Halo game, if you can remember that far back - sees the Chief rudely awaken from the hyper-sleep he entered at the end of Halo 3, working his way through the destroyed innards of the hulking spaceship Forward Unto Dawn.
Cool blue light rushes through the steel halls, occasionally lit by the most spectacular of explosions. Halo 4 feels more cinematic than its predecessors, and there's the creeping influence of Call of Duty in some of the first-person moments where control's wrestled away from you in a dimly interactive cut-scene.
Starting The Fight All Over Again
That's not to say that the free-form combat that's defined Halo - and that's made it such an incredible success - isn't there. It returns for Halo 4, and it returns in some style. The Covenant, Master Chief's arch-rivals with which an uneasy truce was made in the last game proper, make a mysterious return, but it's the introduction of some new enemies that really steals the show.
Prometheans are a new part of Halo's make-up, and they promise to be the trickiest, most challenging foes yet. They come in various shapes and sizes: there are Crawlers, small canine units that are easily disposed of. More troublesome are the Knights, the Promethean's answer to the Covenant Elites who possess the rather irritating ability to teleport across the stage. Knights are often flanked by Watchers, airborne units that can generate shields for their allies, and it's advisable to dispose of the Watchers first before clearing out the rest of the battlefield.
Returning To The Ring
It all makes for combat that's got a very different pace to earlier Halo games, and it results in a very different experience. Also helping distinguish Halo 4 is the new weaponry lent by the Prometheans - it's typically inventive, setting Halo further apart from more terrestrial shooters such as Call of Duty. Why spend your time online with a mere AK-47 when there's the option of using a plasma-spitting Promethean rifle?
Five years on from Halo 3's release, though, and it's going to have its work cut out to oust the likes of Modern Warfare and Black Ops from the hearts and minds of the shooter faithful. Halo 4 looks like it's got what it takes to do just that - and come November 6, it looks like the world will stop once more for the Master Chief.
As you'd expect for such an eagerly anticipated shooter with a long and illustrious multiplayer history, the upcoming Halo 4 will be beefed up well into 2013 with additional maps for online play.
Three expansions are planned, bringing a total of nine new maps to the game. December will bring the Crimson Map Pack, containing maps called Wreckage, Harvest, and Shatter. The winter doldrums will be blasted away in February thanks to the Majestic Map Pack, which will add Landfall, Monolith, and Skyline to the roster. Finally the Castle Map Pack will hit way off in April 2013, with the Daybreak, Outcast, and Perdition maps.
Signing up for the War Games Pass not only guarantees immediate access to these maps as soon as they launch, but at 2000 MS Points you'll save 15% on the individual price tags. You'll also get Scanner and Strider helmets for multiplayer customisation, and an exclusive Falcon emblem.
Alternatively, you could pick up the limited edition Halo 4 Xbox 360 console bundle - that comes with the War Games Pass as standard.
Halo 4 is out for Xbox 360 in just a few weeks, on November 6th.
It's not unusual for major game releases to have hefty budgets, but it seems that Halo 4 might be about to break a few records in that area.
Interviewed by Polygon, Microsoft Studios boss Phil Spencer described Halo as a "three billion dollar" brand. More than that, when asked if that made Halo 4 the most expensive title the publisher has produced, Spencer replied: "Absolutely. Nothing's even close."
Halo 3 reportedly cost $60 million back in 2007, and that was one of the priciest games ever made. If Halo 4 has topped that figure, it'll be up there with the average Hollywood blockbuster in terms of budget. Not that Microsoft will be that worried about making a profit - Halo 3 comfortably made $300 million, and anticipation for Halo 4 is even higher.
Halo 4 marks the debut of developer 343 Studios on the main Halo franchise - it also developed the Halo Anniversary Edition - and expectations are high. Thankfully, the early word from the gaming press is that it lives up to the hype.
Halo 4 is out exclusively for Xbox 360 on November 6th.
Jen Taylor, the actor who voices Cortana in the Halo games, has revealed that for Halo 4 the game's production methods differed from before - and that the story will benefit as a result. Speaking to NBC News in the US, she explained that for the first time her dialogue with Steve Downes, the voice of Master Chief, were recorded with both actors together in the studio, rather than separately.
"It feels more authentic to work off of somebody," Taylor said, "Even the happy-go-lucky scenes and the wry scenes are more fun. Steve and I get along incredibly well. So it made it more emotional, more intense. Everything is more heightened because you are experiencing the journey with someone else."
Halo 4's story also gave Taylor the chance to do some new things with Cortana, though it seems we'll have to play the game to find out exactly what she's referring to. "I was given very different work to do this time," she said. "The character is going through some big changes. She has quite a different journey in this game from what she's ever had."
Intriguing, no? Halo 4 brings Master Chief back to the franchise for the first time in five years, after he ended Halo 3 by going into cryosleep and drifting off into space. Will his big comeback be worth the wait? We'll find out on November 6th when Halo 4 launches exclusively for Xbox 360.
Microsoft studio 343 Industries is taking a stand against sexist abuse in multiplayer gaming, with two of its senior female staff speaking out about the problem ahead of Halo 4's launch.
"There are always going to be jerks out there," said the fantastically named Kiki Wolfkill, executive producer of the Halo 4, in an interview with Gamespot Australia. "If you give them a way to express that side of their personality without being seen, you're going to see this type of behaviour manifest itself."
"I'd like to think most of our Xbox LIVE players don't support this kind of behaviour," added studio head Bonnie Ross. "Most people look at a franchise like Halo, and automatically assume it's run by a guy. People are surprised to learn that it's a woman who's running the Halo 4 show."
"With Halo 4, we were very deliberate in thinking about who should be female and who should be male in the game," added Ross, "and if we came off stereotypical, we went back to question what we were doing and why."
Halo 4 hits on November 6th, exclusively for Xbox 360.
The long awaited return of Master Chief to the Xbox 360 is now less than a week away, and the first reviews are starting to come in. The good news is that the critical response has been overwhelmingly positive, with plenty of praise for the way 343 Studios has picked up the reins from series creator, Bungie.
"Halo 4 is a masterstroke everyone can and should celebrate," reckons IGN, handing out a stonking 9.8/10 score. "Halo has been rebuilt," continues the review. "It has been redefined. And it has been reinvigorated. The Xbox's original king has returned to his rightful place on the throne."
A full five stars have been awarded by Joystiq, with a review that highlights increased difficulty and greater variety as evidence that 343 has done more than just follow in Bungie's footsteps. "The game strives for more than competence, giving it a forceful march and a decadent show of strength," says the review. "Our doubt and questioning of Halo's continued existence has, in some small way, helped deliver one of the best games in the series and one of the finest shooters in years."
Even the more serious end of the gaming press has come away impressed, with US website Polygon dishing out a 9.5 score and commenting on how the game uses new enemies, locations and gameplay ideas to bring back the element of surprise. "Halo 4 is most like the original Halo, where the novelty and wonder of exploring something really alien and different is a key factor," says the review. "That sense of awe, of discovery, has been light since the first game, and I didn't realize how much I missed it until I played Halo 4."
Halo 4 is out on November 6th exclusively for Xbox 360.
Five games ideal for escaping the Christmas madness
As you'll no doubt be aware if you've walked down the high street recently, Christmas is coming. The season of hearty cheer, peace and goodwill to all. Except it never really works out like that, does it? Christmas can also be a hellish scrum of last-minute present shopping, fraught family get-togethers and children driven to insanity by toxic levels of sugar and chocolate.
But don't fret! As gamers we have the perfect escape route at our fingertips. Fire up your console or computer, wedge a chair under the door handle and lose yourself in a game immersive enough to blot out the Yuletide yahoos outside. Thankfully, this season's blockbuster crop offers plenty of games with the sort of long term gameplay and enduring appeal needed to keep you sane until January kicks the door in. Here's our pick of the top five festive gaming getaways.
Formats: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii U
Out: Now (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360), November 24th (PC), November 30th (Wii U)
It's hard to believe the Assassin's Creed series has only been around for five years but it's quickly grown into a gaming giant, in gameplay as well as sales. This year's trilogy-capping epic promises to the be the biggest yet, an open-world romp through the American War of Independence that also brings to a close the modern day story of history-hopping hero Desmond Miles and his battle to escape the clutches of the Templars. With a vibrant rural community to build and upgrade, not to mention the prospect of commanding your own frigate in naval battles, this is a game with far more to do than just hiding in haystacks and stabbing people. And once you polish off the single-player story, there's the fantastic multiplayer modes - now so large they demand their own disc. Whether you want to roam the forests or battle online, this is a game that will keep you busy well into 2013.
Formats: PC, Mac
Sports Interactive's evergreen soccer simulation has long been the gaming getaway of choice for footy fans everywhere. With its deep, intricate systems and canny knack for capturing the highs and lows, ebbs and flows of the beautiful game, it not only offers months of brilliant gameplay but also creates a compelling alternate reality where your sofa-bound frustration at real-world performance can be transformed into a vindicating "this is how you should do it!" sandbox, as you kick out the manager whose decisions cause you so much anguish and see if you can do a better job. This year's edition is even more detailed, but also comes with the much-praised Classic Mode, stripping the game down to the absolute basics and letting you power through a season in a few days. Perfect for some special alone-time while you wait for that turkey to digest.
Format: Xbox 360
Out: November 6th
We haven't been starved of Halo games, what with Halo: Reach in 2010 and the remastered Halo: Anniversary Edition last year, but the encroaching dark winter nights just haven't been the same without Master Chief, last seen drifting off into deep space at the end of Halo 3 in 2007. Well, he's back, and bigger and better than ever. Halo 4 marks the start of a new story arc - the Reclaimer Trilogy - and it offers multiple ways to spend those awkward hours between opening presents and trudging to bed full of pudding and sweets. A robust single-player campaign is also playable in four-player co-op, and the new Spartan Ops offers even more co-operative goodness, offering regular downloadable spin-off missions in a TV box-set style. And, of course, there's the multiplayer - one of the most rewarding and balanced online games around, now perfected and polished to keep pace with modern multiplayer expectations. This won't just keep you playing over Christmas, it'll keep you playing until Halo 5.
Format: Wii U
Out: November 30th
There's something grimly ironic about the fact that Nintendo's latest console is launching with a gruelling survival horror game alongside the expected cheery and colourful fare. After so many years of the Wii being the default family gaming system, fiendish souls looking to clear the lounge will certainly appreciate the ominous tone and brutal violence that ZombiU offers. Set in London after an undead apocalypse, the game uses the Wii U's tablet controller as a handheld inventory and survival kit, your only lifeline against the shambling, flesh-eating horde. The sight of brain-chomping British bobbies outside Buckingham Palace will scare grandparents away nice and quickly, but gory-minded youngsters may prove harder to shake off. The game's unforgiving difficulty - which includes permanent character death and the need to return to the scene of your demise and battle your zombified body to retrieve your backpack - should send them scurrying for something less taxing, leaving you free to endure the end of the world in blissful peace and quiet.
Formats: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Wii U
Out: November 13th (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC), November 30th (Wii U)
November is Call of Duty month in the gaming calendar, and this year's offering isn't short of new ideas. The single-player campaign is split between flashback missions set in the 1980s, and stages set in the technologically advanced combat zones of 2025. In these futuristic sections, you'll undertake Strike Force missions which will impact the direction of the story. The horrific co-operative Zombies mode now has its own campaign and supports eight players rather than four. It's in multiplayer where COD has earned its stripes, however, and Black Ops II promises to shake up the enormously popular formula more than any previous game in the series. In come multi-team matches, pitting three or four forces against each other rather than the traditional two-sided battles. Combat classes have been made more fluid, allowing you to pick and choose the abilities and loadouts that suit your play style, while the scoring system has been tweaked to encourage more teamwork and objective-based success, rather than lone wolf soldiers and constant headshots. It's shaping up to be the pinnacle of an already enormously successful series, and if you're planning on sneaking away for a few hours of digital carnage on Christmas Day, you certainly won't be alone.
As if you needed any more reason to dive into Halo 4 this week, Microsoft has unveiled a scheme which rewards players with free Microsoft Points.
Those wishing to take advantage of the offer must first enrol in the Xbox LIVE Rewards scheme. Once your Xbox LIVE account in signed up, just start playing Halo 4's multiplayer modes. Spend 35 hours online in the game and you'll get 100 MS Points. 70 hours earns you 300 points, while a whopping 140 hours will grant you 600 points. The offer runs to the end of November, and if you were planning to spend hours online anyway, you might as well get paid for it!
You can also earn bonus points whenever you buy Halo themed content from the Xbox Marketplace. Spending 1500 MS Points on Halo goodies will earn you a 100 point refund, while spending 3000 MS Points will get you 200 points. Spend over 3000 points and clock up over 35 hours in the multiplayer and you'll get a generous 800 point rebate.
Halo 4 is out now, exclusive to Xbox 360. If you haven't picked up your copy yet, what are you waiting for?
After a four-year hiatus, Microsoft's flagship series returns to our screens with Halo 4, the first entry to a new Halo trilogy, this time developed by newcomers 343 Industries. Despite Halo 3's thin claim to have 'finished the fight', Master Chief, our super-soldiering, world-savioring, helmet-wearing protagonist is once again called out of his stasis sleep to battle an alien threat, this time in the form of the Prometheans, a race of arcane insectoids and robot dogs.
Master Chief - or John as he's known to his mum - may not have gained any weight while in cryogenic sleep, but he has undergone a number of changes that long-time fans of the series will immediately perceive. For one, he's a little heavier on his feet, 343 having added significant weight to his movement. You'll still be leaping over enemies' heads in long, arcing jumps, but this hero has never felt more like a marine when racing at full pelt into the battle's throng.
At the start of the game Master Chief crash lands on the planet Requiem, a beautiful world of lush, green swamps, bronzed mountains and futuristic looking underground lava pits. As soon as he's gained his composure he's joined by a friendly ship, filled with marines also crash-landing on the planet who, over the course of the 8-hour campaign, go on to fight alongside him. While you're tasked with protecting these soldiers, saving these comrades isn't your only task.
Cortana, Master Chief's ever-present AI companion is also dying - succumbing to a form of computer disease known as Rampancy, which effects all AIs after seven years of service. It's this task that proves the strongest motivation to continue the fight as you race through the world in search of a way to save Cortana, the human voice that has guided your footsteps for all these years.
343 has played it safe by basing many of its new levels on familiar stages from past games, and the routine tasks can be somewhat tiresome - especially when you're tasked with destroying three generators for the fourth time in a row. But the diversity of environments makes up for the lack of invention in the mission tasks, pulling you along when the story fails to.
Playing To Spec
Indeed, Halo 4 is a beautiful game, perhaps the best looking on Xbox 360, 343 Industries squeezing every last drop of potential from the system's aging silicon. But it's in the hands that the game dazzles, even if its basic systems are familiar from previous games, gently tweaked and adjusted, but never fully overhauled. As ever you have just two weapons to choose from at any one time. Come across a new sidearm and you'll need to discard one of your current pieces. This forces tactical decisions as you choose what to take and what to leave behind. A huge array of weapons makes these choices particularly difficult, the Prometheans' new, exciting weapons joining the cast of familiar battle rifles, shotguns, Needlers and rocket launchers to provide a range of tactical options.
Outside of the main campaign - which can be played with up to three other friends - 343 has created a number of Spartan Ops missions, 15 minute-long co-op tasks for four players to complete together. These expand the story of the Halo universe and, while there are only five of these included at launch, each week new missions will be made available for players to download for free.
Friends In High Places
Once the single-player content has been exhausted it falls to Halo's famous multiplayer battles to provide longevity. A smaller number of game types is made up for by a greater flexibility in your load-outs (your choice of guns, perks and armour options). A somewhat awkward leveling system awards you with currency with which to purchase new guns and load-out options - and this imbalances the game in the early stages (as those who have played for the longest generally have the best gear). But at the upper end of the spectrum everything is finely-balanced, as Microsoft hopes Halo 4 can become a serious e-Sports title.
Halo 4 is a familiar game. It has next to no invention in its pixels, merely improvements and upgrades to existing ideas. But as these ideas have been proven time and time again, what remains is a robust, enjoyable playpen for shooting aliens, one built upon solid foundations, and proving that 343 has the chops to carry Master Chief forward into the future.
- Focused, balanced multiplayer
- Sumptuous visuals
- Master Chief's improved 'feel'
- Level editor can be difficult to get into
- Story takes a while to gather momentum
- Dearth of secrets
You might have thought that Halo 4 was a fairly generous package, what with its blockbuster solo or co-op campaign, varied competitive modes, Forge map editor and ongoing Spartan Ops side missions. Well, developer 343 Studios clearly feels it hasn't been generous enough, as it's adding some new modes to the multiplayer suite.
Nestled under the umbrella of a Free-For-All Throwback playlist, the new modes offer solo versions of Oddball and King of the Hill matches. Designed for team play, these modes have been tweaked to test the skills of players who think they can win by themselves.
The maps used for Throwback are Haven, Abandon, Adrift, Complex and Solace. Each match will last for 12 minutes, with room for eight players. You'll need to score 100 points to win Oddball and 50 to claim victory in King of the Hill.
Jessica Shea, overseer of the Halo Waypoint service, threw down the gauntlet on the official blog. "If you've been dominating these modes with teammates," she said, "see how the game changes when it's every Spartan for themselves."
Halo 4 is out now for Xbox 360.
And so another year gallops to a close, thundering through the ribbon into January on a wave of good cheer and over-eating. And what a cracker of a year it's been for gaming, with all the major platforms delivering some absolutely stonking exclusives along with some truly spectacular blockbusters spread across all formats, like warm butter on the crumpet you're hopefully eating right now to ward off the December chills.
For Xbox 360 owners, it's been the year in which Master Chief finally returned to the gaming stage. Absent for five years - an eternity in games terms - his triumphant return in Halo 4 not only kickstarted the new Reclaimer Trilogy, but also introduced new developer 343 Studios to the series. 343 immediately put its stamp on Bungie's universe, crafting a game with sumptuous visuals and a distinctly personal spin on storytelling, as Chief battles not just to save the galaxy, but his AI companion Cortana, whose code is deteriorating. Add in an exhaustive suite of multiplayer modes, a full co-op campaign, and the ongoing Spartan Ops bonus missions and you've got one of the best games of the series, and of this year.
Halo wasn't the only Microsoft legend getting a makeover in 2012. Forza Horizon took the imposing racing simulation and gave it a funky mainstream twist, combining developer Turn 10's impeccable vehicle physics with an open world underground racing vibe. Everything from drift racing to hardcore rallying is covered as you roar around a virtual Colorado racing festival, looking for events and opportunities to show off your talent behind the wheel.
The wonderful land of Albion also showed off a new perspective in Fable: The Journey. This Kinect-fuelled spin-off from the superb RPG series puts you right into the action as a young boy, separated from his tribe and forced to travel across this magical land alone as dark forces gather against him. Using precision motion control, you steer your wagon, fire off spells and even look after your loyal horse. It's an unusual game, offering an experience far removed from the other Fable titles, yet it's also one of the best Kinect games. Immersive and packed with genuine challenge, it's a good sign that motion gaming doesn't have to just mean simple mini-games for little kids.
Definitely not suitable for little kids was The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. Previously a well-deserved smash hit on the PC, the game crossed over to consoles exclusively for Xbox 360. This was no mere half-hearted port either. Czech developer CD Projekt went out of its way to recreate the game specifically for a console audience, adding four hours of fresh questing content, as well as new cinematics. The result was one of the best role-playing games, not just of 2012, but of all time. A thorny, challenging adventure set in a bawdy, complex world torn apart by racism, political strife and class war.
On the digital frontline, the Xbox continued to thrill. World conquering epic Minecraft came to consoles just for the 360, allowing a whole new audience to experience the genius of Mojang's communal block bashing and building. No surprise that it quickly became one of the most popular online games, challenging even the heavyweight shooters. Indie hit Fez got critics hot under the collar too with its mind-bending puzzle platforming action, and knockabout motocross romp Trials Evolution offered gamers the chance to punish their ragdoll rider in the year's biggest highs and most hilarious fails.
Xbox owners weren't left out when it came to multi-format releases either. The brilliant Borderlands 2, with its lunatic mix of co-op action and loot-swapping mayhem, is what your Xbox LIVE Friends List was invented for, while the online action of hits such as FIFA 13 and Need for Speed: Most Wanted made the most of Microsoft's ever-evolving digital community. Even the biggest game of the year had something extra special for Xbox players, as Activision announced that all the DLC maps for Call of Duty: Black Ops II will be exclusive to Xbox 360 for a limited time.
And that's just this year. Where will Xbox be in another twelve months? Will there be a new console to save up for? How long will we have to wait for Halo 5? And what will developers do next with the controller-free Kinect? One thing's for sure, it's going to be an amazing ride finding out.
Halo 4 only came out just before Christmas, to the delight of fans and critics everywhere, but Frank O'Connor, the Microsoft man in charge of the franchise, is already talking up the next game in the series - and promising that it will be even better.
"Halo 4 is the best and fastest-selling Halo game in the series," he posted on Halo Waypoint. "It won critical acclaim. It won awards, from Best Graphics at the VGAs to Game of the Year at the Inside Gaming Awards. We altered the engine. We expanded the universe. We innovated in storytelling, technology, and even marketing. It wasn't flawless by any stretch of the imagination, but by most objective criteria, it was a resounding success. So we know we have a lot to do. And we know we have a lot to learn. But we also know that we now have the capacity, the teamwork, the technology and the experience to do much better next time."
In talking about 343 Studios, the developer which inherited Master Chief from his creators at Bungie, O'Connor even let slip the strongest hint yet that Halo will be appearing on the next Xbox, describing the Halo development team as "a collection of talent and souls that can do something genuinely amazing on this and next-generation hardware".
Halo 4 is out now for Xbox 360.
Board game company USAopoly has reached out across the digital divide and will be bringing some of our fave video game properties to the world of dice and plastic pieces.
Among the upcoming titles are Trivial Pursuit: World of Warcraft, Monopoly: Skylanders and Risk: Plants vs Zombies. The most promising of the bunch would seem to be a "Galaxy at War Edition." of Risk: Mass Effect. For old school retroheads, there'll also be Yahtzee: Pac-Man and Jenga Space Invaders.
This isn't the first time USAopoly has dipped into the digital realm for variations on beloved games. You can already get Risk: Halo and Risk: Starcraft, not to mention Monopoly: Sonic the Hedgehog. The new games will be launched in America later this year before hopefully making their way around the world.
What do you think? Would you switch off your console to play Mass Effect around the kitchen table?
Hollywood has been trying to make a Halo movie for the best part of a decade, but the most recent effort - with Peter Jackson producing and District 9 director Neil Blomkamp at the helm - fell apart in 2007.
At the time, Blomkamp ruled out a return to the project if it got off the ground. "I worked on it for five months... I put a lot of sort of sweat and blood into Halo," he told Slashfilm. "Creatively, its very compelling. I love it. But, when you work that long on something and you have it bottom out and collapse...I love the world of Halo. I dont think I would go back there."
It seems the passage of years may have changed his mind, however. "I still really love the world and the universe and the mythology of Halo," Blomkamp has told IGN. "If I was given control, I would really like to do that film."
He's clearly not kidding about his love for the franchise. As well as directing live action promotional films for Halo 3 back in 2007, his new movie - the Matt Damon-starring sci-fi adventure Elysium - takes place on a giant space ring that looks very familiar.
Will a Halo movie ever get in front of cameras? Microsoft certainly wants it to happen, and the project is not without high profile supporters. Steven Spielberg, no less, has expressed interest in helping to make it a reality.For now, we've always got the games. Halo 4, was released last year for Xbox 360, recently received its third and final multiplayer DLC update in the shape of the Castle Map Pack. It's really very good.
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