So this week has been the E3 Electronic Entertainment Expo where developers and hardware manufacturers announce what they are releasing in the coming months and beyond. The last few years have been about Microsoft and Sony, XBox and Playstation and this year was really no different. I was only interested in one thing though; Spartan-117 aka Master Chief. Last year Microsoft announced that Halo was coming to the XBox One (despite 3 years ago saying that a new Halo trilogy would be coming to the 360 when they announced Halo 4) and there had been leaks about not only a Halo 2 anniversary edition coming, but all 4 Master Chief Halo games coming to the XBox One. Microsoft did not disappoint.
I am so excited about this, I have booked the week off work just to play this (much to the amusement of Sarah and my boss). I bought the first XBox because of the 1st Halo, I cued up outside Game in Cheltenham at 11pm in November for Halo 2, I bought an XBox 360 because of the 3rd Halo, and I planned to buy an XBox One once Halo 5:Guardians came out. This has accelerated that. It’s no secret that Microsoft is trailing Sony in the next-gen console sales, and some commentators don’t think this will help boost XBox One sales. I disagree. As I said, it’s why I’m buying an XBox One and looking at a couple of forums, there’s a lot of people saying that they will now buy one. Halo is the biggest game on the XBox, it’s protagonist Master Chief is arguably one of the most iconic characters around. There are books, figurines; everything you’d expect from a franchise. Microsoft know this, but they also know that the Halo 4 multi-player was not widely received by the Halo fan-base. I loved Halo 4, especially the campaign. The graphics were mind blowing, the story was up there with the best and the ending……I think I may have shed a tear. I’ve never been too fussed about multi-player, but Halo 4 got me back into it, and got me back into getting achievements. Not everyone feels this way and Halo 4 has less people playing online now than any of the other games at the same stage of the product cycle. This does not go un-noticed. The Halo fan-base is quite a passionate one, most seem to be, and Halo 2 seems to be regarded as the best of the series and so giving them what they want (Halo 2 with all the maps) is a smart move. Add in the 3 other games, beta access to Halo 5: Guardians and access to the new digital services, and it’s an almost irresistible package.
The excitement is because it’s Halo though. Master Chief is coming to the next-gen world, a new chapter in the 117 story is coming. All his adventures on one disk, all running at 1080p, 60 fps with dedicated servers and a teaser for his next one. If this doesn’t boost console sales for Microsoft, nothing will; and I suspect they know it.