Microsoft’s much vaunted Halo series is back with the release of Halo 4 today. The latest version of Halo is set to compete against another blockbuster from Activision Blizzard, the Call of Duty series.
Master Chief, the main protagonist, has generated over $3 billion since it was released in 2001. The green-armored soldier came back to life after a five-year absence. The Halo title has garnered millions of fans around the world in more than 40 countries.
Made by Microsoft Studios, the Halo franchise was the first successful game of the developer as it began to tread the waters of the gaming industry back in 2001. the original Halo game was released together with the first Xbox. Microsoft Studios has sold over 46 million copies of the game until now, which also helped propel the popularity of Xbox console around the world, bypassing its rivals PlayStation and Wii.
It is yet unclear if the new Halo installment can beat the upcoming “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2”, which will launch next week. Halo series is the now the biggest title on the Xbox platform.
On the other hand, Nintendo is also releasing a new Wii U platform that will come with a paired tablet controller these coming holidays. Top game maker Activision is also set to release a special edition Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 title for Wii U on November 18.
The 5-year hiatus of main Halo character Master Chief seems to be working for the new game according to Ryan McCaffrey, the editor of Xbox section in videogame site IGN.com.
“Call of Duty has taken over as the most popular game on the Xbox, so I think it will be very close,” McCaffrey added.
The Halo 4 story revolves around Master Chief’s rampage in killing enemy aliens while trying to save his dear friend and artificial intelligence buddy named Cortana.
Microsoft has high goals for Halo 4. Halo: Reach, the previous installment without Master Chief, launched in September 2010 and bagged $200 million in sales around the world during the release date.
The software giant will be hosting promotional events in cities like London, Berlin, and Seattle during the release date.
Microsoft also upped the ante in promoting the game in Europe by transforming the small country of Liechtenstein into a futuristic Halo-like universe. The country’s historic landmarks and countryside were overhauled and reporters were allowed to test the game.
The largest United States retail chain, GameStop Corp, will also be hosting its own midnight events for the game.
Fans had been lining GameStop stores in anticipation of the game, as early as 12 hours before the title launch. Some of them were dressed in Halo Costumes.
GameStop spokeswoman Wendy Dominguez said: “They’ve either pre-ordered Halo or they’re waiting to get their hands on a copy and they’re pretty excited about it.”