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The Master Chief is back. Poised to become the biggest entertainment launch of the year so far, “Halo 4” is the first chapter of a brand-new saga in the genre-defining, $3 billion franchise that has shaped entertainment history and sold a staggering 46 million games worldwide. Hailed by NBC News as “breathtaking, heart-breaking and awe-inspiring,” “Halo 4” has garnered universal acclaim as one of the top-rated video games of 2012, according to Metacritic. In a year jam-packed with record-breaking Hollywood movies and games, “Halo 4” is expected to break all previous day-one entertainment sales records in 2012, cementing its status as the must-have blockbuster of the year.
Excitement for the return of the Master Chief has swept the globe. In London, a massive illuminated glyph soared over the River Thames, a symbol of the new threat that has awakened in “Halo 4.” The glyph, which measures 50 feet in diameter and weighs 3.2 tons, was illuminated by 113,096 LED lights and represents one of the largest objects ever to be flown by helicopter as a lighting art performance. On Oct. 30, the European country of Liechtenstein was re-imagined into a real-life replica of the “Halo” universe, marking the first time a brand has taken over an entire country for an entertainment launch. For one day only, Xbox 360 transformed some of the country’s most iconic landmarks, including a 13th-century castle and a working mine, to create a mysterious alternate universe in the heart of Europe — all inspired by “Halo.”
Around the world, midnight madness swept more than 10,000 stores in more than 40 countries, as hundreds of thousands of fans lined up around city blocks to count down to the game’s release. At marquee launch events in Seattle, Paris, London, Berlin, Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai, Sydney and other major cities, throngs of fans, celebrities and athletes flocked to be among the first to play “Halo 4” and participate in other launch activities, such as meeting the creators of the game, viewing private screenings of the live-action digital series “Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn,” and taking photos with the Master Chief.
“‘Halo 4’ marks a rebirth and a new beginning for one of the most beloved and iconic franchises in the modern history of entertainment,” said Phil Spencer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Studios. “Over the past decade, the ‘Halo’ franchise has become a bona fide pop culture phenomenon, and ‘Halo 4’ promises to take the franchise to a new level and set the stage for the next decade of ‘Halo.’”
With the launch of “Halo 4” coinciding with Election Day, Microsoft Corp. is amplifying its get-out-the-vote campaign, which kicked off earlier this year in collaboration with Rock the Vote, to encourage “Halo” and Xbox LIVE fans to exercise their civic duty before jumping into “Halo 4.” The campaign began with voter recruitment efforts at major consumer events as well as a voter registration program on Xbox LIVE and expanded to major launch events and more than 100 college campuses nationwide yesterday.
Developed by Microsoft Studios’ 343 Industries exclusively for the Xbox 360, “Halo 4” is set nearly five years after the events of “Halo 3” and follows the Master Chief and his faithful artificial intelligence (AI) companion Cortana as they venture into a mysterious new world and discover an overpowering ancient evil that threatens to annihilate mankind. “Halo 4” takes the series in a bold new direction by delivering its most epic and explorative campaign yet, alongside a groundbreaking multiplayer offering unlike anything before it, known as Spartan Ops. This story-driven, episodic, cooperative adventure blends immersive storytelling, stunning cinematics and action-packed gameplay to deliver an unprecedented serialized experience. Through a weekly series of cinematic episodes, Spartan Ops continues the story beyond the main campaign by introducing new characters, storylines and gameplay missions over a 10-week season, akin to a high-quality, interactive TV show.
Coupled with breathtaking visuals, heart-pounding audio, emotionally cinematic performances and a sweeping musical score by acclaimed composer Neil Davidge of Massive Attack fame, “Halo 4” delivers a riveting experience that resonates as powerfully as an epic Hollywood blockbuster. Some of entertainment’s best and brightest have joined the effort to make the launch of “Halo 4” a landmark pop culture moment, including legendary Hollywood director David Fincher (“Fight Club,” “The Social Network,” “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”) and acclaimed visual effects lead Tim Miller (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World”), who produced and directed the live-action launch trailer for the game, respectively.
The Standard Edition of “Halo 4” is available for $59.99, and the Limited Edition, which includes an extended 90-minute version of the live-action digital series “Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn” and additional bonus content, is available for $99.99. Fans can also pick up the Xbox 360 Limited Edition “Halo 4” Console Bundle for $399.99 and a standalone Xbox 360 Limited Edition “Halo 4” Wireless Controller for $59.99. In addition, the “Halo 4” Original Soundtrack, which broke the record for the highest-charting video game soundtrack ever on the Billboard 200 chart the week of Oct. 29, is available for purchase for $13.98. A special limited edition and individually numbered three-disc box set, which includes the original soundtrack, a remix album featuring remixes from 14 of the world’s most renowned electronica producers, a 70-minute DVD called “Composing a Universe” and additional exclusive content, is available for purchase for $74.99 starting today at http://www.halo4soundtrack.com.