Armed to the teeth with energy drinks, HD projectors and countless copies of the new video game “Halo 4,” the Tournaments and Games Committee will host a night of blood-splattering fun Wednesday. Students who attend the Halo 4 Extended Play tournament the night after the release will have the chance to explore various aspects of the campaign, multiplayer and cooperative modes while dishing out bullets and inane trash talk.
Although the title of the game belies its significance, the release of “Halo 4” marks a very distinct departure from previous iterations in the series. Bungie Studios, the former developer for the Halo trilogy and several offshoots, forfeited intellectual property rights to Microsoft in 2007 so that it could become an independent company.
After creating two of the highest-selling video games of all time, “Halo 2” and “Halo 3,” Bungie has set the bar extremely high for future versions of the game.
Despite being made exclusively for the Xbox 360 console, Halo is often acclaimed for its immersive multiplayer experience, which has accrued more than 3.3 billion hours of Xbox Live gameplay, said Anna Anderson, a PR spokesperson for Microsoft. 343 Industries, the new development team at Microsoft, has made a point of redesigning the credit system in multiplayer so that ranking up is more efficient, armor is more customizable and players are more invested in working together rather than betraying teammates and trolling. From kill assists to flag captures, points are now awarded more frequently than before so that slayer and other objective gametypes run smoothly.
While the figures have yet to be released, “Halo 4” is expected to the most expensive gaming title to date for Microsoft in terms of marketing and game development. In its decade-long lifetime, the Halo franchise has made over $3 billion dollars and sold 43 million game copies, said Anderson.
When the game is released Tuesday, fans will have to pay $60 for the standard edition game. Those possessing an even deeper wallet might consider spending an extra $40 on the limited edition, partly for the added bells and whistles, but mostly for bragging rights.
Over the last couple of days, the most scrutinizing game critics have reviewed the final product. Outliers aside, “Halo 4” has earned top marks from IGN, Gamespot, Game Informer and many other gaming websites, with an aggregate score of 87 out of 100. Although this falls short of “Halo 3”’s score of 94, by no means should it dissuade fans.
Troy, an employee at Dobie Mall’s Resurrected Games, explained that despite the price, pre-orders are already through the roof.
“This one should blow the other games out of the water,” Troy said. “And so far it’s got really great reviews, but we won’t know until Tuesday what the true fans think.
There’s even a “Halo 4” game system edition which comes with a spruced up Xbox and controller.”
Biomedical engineering freshman Jey Thirumavalavan, a diehard fan of the Halo series, plans to attend the Tournaments and Games Committee event so that he can see the game in action before he makes a purchase.
“Generally, I like to wait before deciding to buy a game, that way I can borrow it from friends and see for myself if it’s worth the money. If it’s really good, then I’ll get my own copy,” Thirumavalavan said.
The Halo 4 Extended Play event is free for all UT students with a UT ID. Fans hoping to score a copy of the game without throwing down $60 can enter the raffle for the opportunity to win “Halo 4.”
Printed on Tuesday, November 6, 2012 as: 'Halo 4' release aims to please fans