With Halo 3 just weeks away from release, Microsoft has launched its huge marketing campaign for the game. To celebrate the release on September 25, over 10,000 retails across USA will be selling the game at 12.01am and will be hosting launch night events in New York, Miami, Los Angeles and Seattle.
Most awesome of all, the first three days of Halo 3’s availability – September 25 through 27 – will see all Xbox Live users upgraded to Gold accounts, letting them duke it out online. This is being sponsored by Best Buy.
In more Halo 3 activities, gamers will be able to play against celebrities and Bungie in online multiplayer matches; Halo 3 content on Xbox Live Marketplace; Play & Win content from Best Buy and even more.
Europeans looking forward to getting their fix of Halo 3 can look forward to accessories inspired by the game. Microsoft will release limited edition Xbox 360 Halo 3-themed wireless controllers in the region starting September 26.
The controllers have been designed by Todd McFarlane, creator of Spawn, which features both the Covenant Brute and Master Chief themes. Both are fade and scratch-resistance and come with a figurine of Master Chief designed by McFarlane himself. It will retail for £34.99. The other accessory is a Spartan green and gold wireless headset that will go for the same price.
Fingers twitching to chat? The Xbox 360 Messenger kit will also be available in the region starting September 7. This add-on for the controller enables users to text message quickly and efficiently with friends and family. It will retail for £24.99.
Through a short note it was let out that the highly anticipated Halo 3 has gone gold and has been released to manufacturing. Three years in the making at Bungie Studios, the game will hit stores worldwide on September 25.
“This is a huge milestone for us and a big cause for celebration at Bungie and Microsoft Game Studios,” said Harold Ryan, Studio Head at Bungie Studios. “This is the game we’ve always wanted to make and certainly the best game our studio has developed. We can’t wait for gamers to get their hands on it on Sept. 25.”
Halo 3 is already set to smash its predecessor’s success with over one million pre-orders in North America alone. It is expected to shatter the day-one sales records when it is released.
Microsoft today announced pricing details and availability for the Xbox 360 Halo 3 Special Edition console. Sporting an authentic Spartan green and gold finish, the console will be available starting September 26 for £279.99. It will come with a matching controller, wired headset, gamer pics and theme, HDMI port, play & charge kit, and one month Xbox Live Gold membership, among other things.
The latest Bungie update offers word that development work on Halo 3 is winding down and that the highly anticipated game is roughly 99.9% complete. They are currently doing testing and bug fixing, which is the very important .1% bit, through the Epsilon program. It’s a closed, final phase testing for the game, including a lone single-player mission and three multiplayer maps.
The rest of the update talks about playing the game on a huge IMAX screen, their server-side stuff for the game that offers the option for uploading game movies and screenshots (among other things) and storing them online for public viewing, and a sneak peek at a new multiplayer map called Narrows. They have released a couple of screenshots from the map, one of which I have included in this post.
Yes, it has been confirmed: Halo 3 will include not two, not three, but four-player co-op. In this post on Bungie’s site, the company confirms the inclusion of co-op and details the challenges in making it happen. The mode will be available for up to four players via Xbox Live, as well as System Link with two players on each console.
Apparently, the mode seems to be quite complete as they have been playing it for “quite some time” and having some of their “greatest ever” experiences. Here’s a bit on the gameplay that will be found in co-op mode:
Acting as a team is a fantastic new twist to the Campaign gameplay – something that works as well on foot, in close confines as it does on the battlefield, with large scale vehicle mayhem. Scared of Jackal snipers? Send out a scout to see what dangers lie ahead. Terrified of an open field? Flank your enemies and swipe their rides. The combinations and scenarios are endless – and you’ll be able to enjoy them time and time again in Saved Films of your co-op exploits.
Like every other aspect of Halo 3, this mode is chosen from a Lobby. Simply select Campaign, choose your network (Xbox Live or System Link) and invite your friends to join you, or they can simply join your session once it’s set up and in a lobby (but they cannot join a game once it’s in-progress). They will pop into your lobby instantly, and when you have all the players you need (anywhere from one to four) you can begin the game from the beginning – or from any of your saved checkpoints.
Split-screen co-op is as ever, limited to two players per screen – but they can if they wish join two other friends online or via System Link.
Thankfully, they have decided to add new characters instead of having four Master Chiefs running about. Player one will control Chief himself, with player two joining in as Arbiter. The other two players will don the role of brand new Elite characters, whose biographies have been posted on the site. Interestingly, all characters will have identical abilities, with only their appearance and weapon starts being different.
They’ve also released a nice group screenshots, showing off the four characters posing together. Enjoy:
Microsoft has officially announced that specially marked boxes of Crackdown will include an invite to the Halo 3 multiplayer beta when it launches this Spring. Those who purchase the game will simply use the disc as a key to download the beta from Xbox Live Marketplace and join the action. Crackdown is released in the US on February 20, Europe on February 23 and Asia on February 22.
The company also announced another way to get in the beta: play Halo 2! Beginning February 1, 12.01 am PST, all gamers who participate in at least three hours of Halo 2 multiplayer via Xbox Live till February 3, 11.59 pm EST, and be among the first 13,333 to register at the Halo 3 website will get into the beta. This “Rule of Three” program is open to gamers across all regions.
For those waiting to sign up for the Halo 3 multiplayer beta, Microsoft has announced that it will open up registration on Halo3.com starting December 4. However, they didn’t give any indication to the criteria that will be used to determine who gets in.
In related news, both Microsoft and Bungie sent word to remind people that a Halo 3 CG advertisement will be shown on ESPN on December 4, between 5:50pm and 6:20pm Pacific Time. Those in the UK will get to view it on TV, when it airs on Channel 4 on December 15 at 22:45. The 60 second ad will also be broadcast simultaneously on Xbox.com and be available for download via Xbox Live Marketplace.
Created by advertising agency McCann Erickson, the highly anticipated ad will provide gamers with a “unique and compelling” look at Master Chief and the world of Halo 3. Attached to this post is a still (full 1920×1080 resolution) still from the advert.
The first official Halo 3 news comes in the form of a public beta announcement: gamers will be able to get an exclusive hands-on experience of the highly anticipated second sequel through the Xbox Live multiplayer public beta. The pre-release version of the multiplayer experience of Halo 3 is scheduled for availability in Spring 2007.
That wasn’t the only piece of news Bungie had for us. A 60-second Halo 3 teaser ad will be aired on December 4 in North America; those in the UK will see the ad on December 15 on Channel 4. Created by advertising agency McCann Erickson, the ad will provide viewers with a look at Master Chief and the world of Halo 3. The ad will be available for download via Xbox Live Marketplace and viewable on Xbox.com.
In addition, new maps for Halo 2 will also be available for download through Xbox Live Marketplace. No details were revealed.