Halo 4 to be released November 6
Wed, 18 Apr 2012 9:04a.m.
Master Chief returns to New Zealand consoles this November in one of the year’s most anticipated games, Halo 4.
The seventh game in the popular sci-fi franchise is scheduled for a worldwide release of November 6, exclusively on Xbox 360. Set four years after the events of Halo 3, the shoot-'em-up sequel will focus on Master Chief Petty Officer John-117 and sidekick Cortana battling an ancient enemy.
Halo 4 marks the return of Master Chief as protagonist, who has been absent from the series since drifting into space in cryogenic slumber at the end of 2007's Halo 3. 2009's Halo 3: ODST and 2010's Halo: Reach focused on other characters in the Halo universe.
It will also be the first Halo shooter installment not created by Bungie Studios. Developed by 343 Industries, Halo 4 marks a new beginning for the entertainment franchise that has sold more than 40 million games worldwide and inspired multiple New York Times best-selling novels, live-action shorts, comic books, action figures and apparel.
“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,” says Phil Spencer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Studios.
“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.”
After Bungie Studios broke off from Microsoft in 2007, Microsoft established 343 Industries to push the Halo universe into the future. For Master Chief's latest intergalactic adventure, 343 Industries is giving him a minor makeover, tweaking both the supersoldier's iconic suit of armour, as well as his usually silent, oh-so-stoic attitude.
"One of the things we wanted to do was put Chief up against new challenges and have him face obstacles unlike anything he's faced before - some of those are external and some of those are internal," says Halo 4 creative director Josh Holmes.
"Throughout the course of the story, we wanted him to undergo some kind of meaningful change as a character."
Holmes said one of the most noticeable changes in Master Chief's armour is the bodysuit that he wears underneath the outer shell. It's slicker and more prominent than in previous Halo editions. The bodysuit regulates Master Chief's physical functions, and Holmes joked that it's the reason "he doesn't need to go to the bathroom in the middle of battle."
"There's definitely some really clear changes in the shape and placement of the armor," adds executive producer Kiki Wolfkill.
"For us, Chief is such an athletic and agile warrior. It was necessary that his core armor design reflect that. As he is fighting his way through the environments in this game, he needs a freedom of movement that feels believable."
Wolfkill noted the physical changes aren't merely cosmetic. She said Halo 4 art director Kenneth Scott redesigned the suit to prepare Master Chief for a new trilogy. Unveiled at last year's Electronic Entertainment Expo, Halo 4 is the first of three new Halo games planned by Microsoft. 343 Industries has dubbed the new games the "reclaimer trilogy”.
"Kenneth's intention was to make sure that the things we needed Chief to do were supported but to also look at the things we need Chief to be able to do over the next decade, building in a visual vocabulary around attach points and different functionality on the armour that we may not be using now but hopefully will be utilizing in the future," said Wolfkill.
Last year Microsoft released Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, a high-definition version of the original 2001 game. When Halo 3 was released in 2007, it generated US$170 million in 24 hours in the US alone – the biggest consumer product launch ever recorded at that time.
AP / 3 News
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