Fans gear up for Halo Reach launch

Microsoft and game studio Bungie are on the edges of their seats—and they hope fans are too—for the latest installment in their Halo video game franchise: Halo Reach is scheduled to go on sale at selected retailers tonight at midnight, with special events planned for Stockholm, Oslo, London, New York, and Seattle.

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“When it comes to the size and scope of a franchise and especially the dedication of the fans, no game is bigger than ‘Halo,'” said Microsoft Game Studios corporate VP Phil Spencer, in a statement. “With Halo: Reach, we’re delivering on our promise to redefine blockbuster entertainment experiences and ultimately help make this year the biggest ever in Xbox history.”

For London, Microsoft is promising a life Sparton soldier will touch down at the launch event via jetpack; the New York event will be at the best Buy Theater in Times Square and feature a performance by hip-hop artist Kid Cudi; the event will also be broadcast live on Spike TV.

As is typical for a major Halo launch, Microsoft is milking the release to the hilt: the game (available exclusively for the Xbox 360) will available in Standard, Limited, and Legendary Editions, and the company will be marketing Halo-themed consoles and accessories. Fans who buy a game at North American retail stores on launch day will also get a token to get an exclusive in-game Spartan Recon Helmet, thus identifying themselves in-game as customers who bought the game right out of the gate.

fans gear up for halo reach launch

Pre-sale data for Halo Reach indicates the title should be another cash cow for Bungie and Microsoft: the games’ three editions already have the top three slots of Amazon’s top-selling game titles nailed down. The fourth position on that list is Microsoft’s Xbox 360 Halo Reach bundle.

Halo Reach is a prequel to the original Halo game, and focuses on a group of futuristic Spartan soldiers—Noble Team—as they make their last stand on the planet Reach.