Halo Reach is launched!

A major new video game, Halo: Reach, was launched on Tuesday, 14 Sep. It was one of the biggest launches, and will be one of the biggest games, in the history of interactive entertainment! Gaming is big business these days -- it's bigger and makes more money than the movie industry. The fact that Reach is the fruit of another joint project between Bungie and Microsoft Game Studios makes it all the more exciting.

Make no mistake, this game will be huge. It will be a phenomenon. On the day it was launched, it had already broken Halo 3's record for the highest number of players online.

My review of the game

Halo: Reach is a true masterpiece; an inspired work of genius, a work-of-art in its own right! I do not say such things lightly. Reach will influence the future course of the industry. So highly-charged with innovation and creativity is this game, that it will literally inspire new works of art, like Halo 3 did, e.g. beautiful raw screenshots and videos (seriously, check out these landscapes) and ingenious Forge fan-art.

I played the campaign for the first time yesterday, on launch day. Wow! What a game, and what an engrossing story. I'm really enjoying this game, and very much look forward to getting stuck into multiplayer. I participated in the Reach beta, as blogged at the time, and it's immediately apparent that the game is now more polished and perfected. Visually, this game is stunning. It's an epic experience, and one that feels completely original and new, from the spectacular scenery of planet Reach to the improved HD graphics. And yet, the game is unmistakably Halo, it still has that characteristic look and feel, from details like scenery, sounds, and occasional evocative Gregorian Chant type choral music, to the overall style of the universe generated by the upgraded unique game-engine.

I reccomend playing Reach on Legendary difficulty to get the most out of the campaign, and unleash the full power of the AI in Reach, which I believe to be the best in the industry. There's potential for some terrific "this is impossible" dead-end feelings that remind me more of Halo 1 and 2 on Legendary more than Halo 3. The game overall seems simple, without all the hidden skulls, elusive fanatical achievements, and prominent hidden layers, that we had in Halo 3. The achievements are all very much easier than those infamous Halo 3 challenges -- it was often said to be "almost impossible" to acquire all of those achievements, and for good reason. (I've aquired all achievements in Halo 3 and ODST, and believe me no other game has had so many achievements/trophies that were so profoundly challanging to earn!). Armour abilities work beauifully, like a kind of "class" system, and adds a whole new dimension and innumerable more game-play options to the game -- both single-player and multi-player.

Halo has always had the best website and the best stats available on any game on any console, and Reach builds on this proud tradition. (Check out my own service record on Bungie.net!) Where Bungie leads, others follow. (E.g. It was recently announced that Black Ops, which is the next (sixth) iteration in the Call of Duty series, will have an in-game video capture feature (theater mode) and split-screen mode -- features pioneered by the Halo series.)

Admittedly, I'm a Halo fanboy, but justifiably so. Thus, I could not help myself... I preordered my Legendary Edition copy of Reach on the first day when it was possible to do so, and have my pre-order and Legendary armour enabled. ;)

I'll add to this review when I've played more, so watch this space...

Halo Reach premiere

I was at the Halo Reach launch event on 9 Sep! Watch this space and follow me on Twitter for more info and exclusive content. You may have noticed me mention this already on Twitter, and it was previously announced by others including nikthakkar and BazSingh. My Xbox gamertag and Bungie.net username is: cbjoe.

Exclusive: videos I uploaded from the Halo Reach launch event, including never before seen multiplayer maps and gameplay footage!

Exclusive photos I uploaded from the Reach premiere!

Tim Acheson posing with Sniper Rifle (Gamertag: cbjoe)

This awesome photo of me posing with the infamous Sniper Rifle from Halo is inspired by a screenshot of me in-game, which is my trophy shot as featured on my Halo 3 Service Record on Bungie.net profile.

The Reach premiere in London was a truly epic event! For updates online, follow me or check out the Xbox UK's Facebook page. See also the Facebook page for the event. listing some of the highlights, including a "celebrities vs gamers" tournament. I can't help but be impressed by the graphic design my ticket for the Reach Premiere blue carpet event in London. There's a video on Xbox UK's Facebook page showing some highlights -- PIxie Lott is on there, what more do you want??

Video: "The Battle Begins" (Halo Reach campaign trailer)

A new trailer, "The Battle Begins", has started featuring on TV and in cinemas over the past few days.

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Video: "Deliver Hope" (Halo Reach live action trailer)

The live action trailer, inspired by the multiplayer experience is superb.

More trailers/videos.

I recently wrote a blog post anticipating Reach and participated in the Beta.

Watch this space for more info when the game launches...

Enjoy!

14 September 2010

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Tim Acheson (09 Sep 10, 13:35)

Twitter hashtag for the Reach launch event: #HaloReachBlueCarpet

Tim Acheson (10 Sep 10, 16:35)

FYI -- Microsoft has just announced plans for a huge, spectacular, midnight Halo Reach launch in London on Monday night, the eve of the public release.

Tim Acheson (10 Sep 10, 22:18)

Halo Reach API

Wow! With the launch of Halo Reach the game studio, Bungie, are opening a public API for Halo game data!

UPDATE: I've blogged an article with everything you need to know about the Reach API, along with a working demo!

At the time when this comment was posted, the API is not yet been announced, but the signs are already there on the website if you know where to look. Insiders have replied to forum posts about it with examples of working demos e.g. using JSON.

Ben Acheson (11 Sep 10, 09:49)

Wow, that weapon is almost as big as your silenced Mossberg 500 pump action shotgun. (Got a screenshot or vid clip you could link to?)

Tim Acheson (11 Sep 10, 20:04)

Fair point, my shotgun fitted with a silencer is slightly longer than the fictional Halo Reach sniper's rifle. (I hadn't looked at that old video of MW with my silenced shotgun for a while, it's had over 1,6 million views and counting, haha, it's one of the most watched videos I've posted on YouTube!)

Tim Acheson (12 Sep 10, 15:22)

Reporting the Reach premiere -- a few examples of independent articles about the launch event.

Tim Acheson (13 Sep 10, 10:34)

Jet-pack Spartan flying in London

A Halo: Reach soldier wearing full Spartan armour and a jet-pack flew over Trafalgar Square in London this morning! Extremely cool PR stunt. Extremely dangerous!

YouTube: Video. Extended video.

Facebook: Video. Extended video. Photos.

Tim Acheson (15 Sep 10, 12:04)

The official launch of Halo: Reach generated a lot of media interest, and rightly so, because this is an historic and defining event in the gaming industry. Here in London in the UK, there was a good article in the Metro this morning about the midnight launch event in London -- people had been queueing for two days!There have been numerous good articles on Reach in the Metro and elsewhere.

Tim Acheson (16 Sep 10, 09:45)

Halo: Reach made $200 million in the first 24 hours!

Exactly as I predicted on the eve of the launch! ;)

This is an extremely impressive figure, and a tremendous commercial success! To put this in perspective, this makes Reach by far the biggest and most successful entertainment launch of any kind this year! (Avatar, the last huge blockbuster movie, made about $41 million on opening day.)

My accurate prediction was based on an extrapolation of sales stats for the previous titles in the Halo series, in light of sales figurers for other games, and my high expectation was also bolstered by my experience of the game during the beta and at the premiere last week -- it's an amazing product.

Tim Acheson (21 Sep 10, 11:50)

2,000 YEARS worth of man-hours spent playing Reach so far!

Wow! I felt this story was worthy of a comment, it's impressive, perhaps even troubling. Reach in numbers...

Bungie reveals Halo: Reach usage stats so far -- truly astonishing!!!!

Imagine what humanity could have achieved with 2,000 YEARS spent on something productive, rather than playing a computer game! Wouldn't have been as fun as Halo, though. ;)

Tim Acheson (05 Nov 10, 14:59)

An interesting article offering an insightful perspective:

The social future of Xbox Live and Halo (Mashable, 1 Nov 10).

Tim Acheson (26 Sep 12, 10:38)

HALO RELOADED: Looking forward to being among the first in the world to play Halo 4, in London today with folks from Official Xbox Mag, 343i, and Xbox (@aceybongos, @cowfishdreams).

Couldn't resist boasting on Twitter.)

Recap from the Reach launch event: Halo: Reach - Blue Carpet Launch Event, London 2010 (Xbox UK, Facebook)

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