Concurrent with the launch of the Halo 3
public beta, Microsoft has announced a September 25th release date for the full retail version of the game - likely to be one of the Xbox 360's most important exclusive so far - as well as a new Halo
themed Zune media player.
will be released in North America on Tuesday September 25th, with a European release on Wednesday September 26th (new games are generally released in Europe on a Friday). Microsoft is expecting the game to break day one entertainment sales records, with pre-orders for the game already reported to be extremely high.
The launch of Halo 2
in 2004 was famously hailed by Microsoft as generating $125 million in first day revenues - which were compared to the then current success of Spider-Man 2 at the movie box office.
The 2004 release also mirrors the current situation in that Halo 3
's main rival for video game sales will be the latest iteration in the Grand Theft Auto
franchise, although in this instance the game will be released simultaneously on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 - rather than being a timed Sony exclusive.
Although Halo 3
has been billed as the final part in the initial trilogy of titles, it has been strongly hinted that the series will continue, albeit with a new story focus. Spin-off title Halo Wars
from Age of Empires
developers Ensemble Studios has already been announced, with a currently untitled "media experience" set in the Halo
universe to come from The Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson.
As previously reported, Halo 3
will be released in three editions
, including the expensive Legendary Edition, which includes a replica Master Chief helmet. Announced new today is a special edition Zune digital media player which will be released in North America on June 15th and will come pre-loaded with artwork, trailers and Halo
soundtrack music, as well as an exclusive episode of machinima Red vs. Blue
. The special edition device will retail for $249 exclusively at GameStop.
is much more than a video game release; it's the biggest entertainment event of the year," said Peter Moore, corporate vice president of Microsoft's interactive entertainment business. "On Sept. 25, we intend to deliver a finale that will go down in entertainment history and leave people around the world with an experience that will be shared and enjoyed for years to come."