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For a good chunk of people, the big event happening on November 6 wasn't America deciding who would be chosen as the next President. Instead, a legion of gamers were awaiting the release of Halo 4, Microsoft's biggest release for the holiday 2012 window as well as what's expected to be the first in a new gaming trilogy.
Halo 4 is different from the last chapter featuring the game's central character, the Master Chief. For starters, Halo 4 is the first Halo game to be developed by 343 Industries and not Bungie, the game developer that originally devised the Halo universe. Bungie's final swan song with Microsoft was Halo Reach, released two years ago and which skipped developing the story of the Chief in favor of zooming events back to before the action in the original Halo game.
The other major difference between Halo 4 and the other games in the Halo franchise is that it kicks off what Microsoft is calling the start of the "Reclaimer Trilogy". Halo 4 begins five years after Master Chief and his AI companion Cortana headed off into deep space after helping humanity defeat the alien Covenant armies and their march towards Earth. When the Chief is woken from cold sleep by Cortana he finds himself in orbit around Requiem, a world once inhabited by the ancient Forerunner race who were the makers of the Halos. A new alien adversary race called the Promethians are introduced for the Chief to battle with along with the familiar faces of the Covenant who are now seeking a new god to worship.
The game's developers have stated that Halo 4 will take the story of Master Chief and Cortana to more personal corners. Already Halo 5 has been promised to be even darker than what we'll experience in the fourth game, with Halo 6 set to climax the Reclaimer storyline and bring the war with the Promethians to its final conclusion.
Early reviews have indicated 343 Industries hasn't dropped the ball, with many critics noting that the stakes for Master Chief and Cortana have been upped and that the same intense first-person shooter gameplay that the Halo franchise is known for is intact within Halo 4. Microsoft said that 10,000 locations held special midnight openings to sell late night gamers their copies of Halo 4, getting them going before the sun rose. Sales estimates for Halo 4 haven't been announced by Microsoft yet but it's expected that the title will easily sell over $100,000,000 in retail within its first week of release.
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