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Halo 4 started selling tonight around the world, and everybody went bananas. OK, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. At least these people in this video (at the bottom of the post) from Microsoft went crazy about the game in London. As sales reports come in, we’ll see whether people are really going bananas for this game.
In the picture above, you can see the Master Chief character with a weird floating disk behind him. It’s part of a video that shows the flying glyph symbol from the Didact, the bad guy in Halo 4, making its way over the Thames River, where everyone in London could see it. Now that’s a way to make an impression when you’re trying to expand sales of a video game franchise that has sold more than $3 billion and 46 million units over the past decade.
Major Nelson, also known as Larry Hyrb, is posting video of various events, including the one in the U.K. Microsoft’s hometown celebration was held at the Microsoft Store at University Village in Seattle, where fans got to square off in multiplayer matches against the game’s developers from 343 Industries, the Microsoft studio that made the game. I didn’t make it out to a launch event myself, but I did watch all five episodes of the live-action companion video, Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn. I actually thought it was very well done, though it seemed low-budget in terms of its special effects. And it set up a nice, emotional story in the context of the larger war for humanity’s future. I’ve also played the entire game and have written my impressions of it in my most recent DeanBeat column, which includes a video interview with the creative director.
Reports are coming in from other locations like India. More than 10,000 stores opened at midnight around the world for the game launch. The game has received an average rating of 87 out of 100 on Metacritic, a review score aggregator. That’s based on 63 critics. As of this writing, only 10 players have offered ratings of the full game. Clearly, they’re not done playing it yet. The biggest outlier review is by Quarter To Three, which gave the game 20 out of 100. I’d say an accurate review rating is much closer to 90. I also just finished my first multiplayer session, and I’m happy to report there were no glitches on opening night matchmaking.
AKQA, the digital media agency, led the creation of the London “glyph experiential event.” The agency worked with Cinimod as the lighting art performance partner, Helirig as the helicopter operator, Archer’s Mark as the production partner. Twofifteenmccan led the campaign strategy and creative platform, and AKQA partnered with multiple agencies, including Wunderman (CRM), Roundhouse (Social) and SMG (Media) to create the digital experience.
Here are some links to our own reviews and preview stories, and below those, you can see the video of the Halo 4 launch in the United Kingdom.
GamesBeat writer Rus McLauglin’s review of Halo 4.
Our interview with Josh Holmes, the creative director at 343 Industries, on the game’s narrative story.
Our interview with David Berger, the technical director at 343 Industries, on the graphics and physics.