HALO: Reach, the much-anticipated XBox 360 game which is officially released on Tuesday, 14th September, has been pre-ordering massively on hmv.com and via the entertainment retailer’s stores.
So HMV is opening up to 70 of its larger stores around the country, including its London flagship at 150 Oxford Street, on Monday night, 13 September at midnight for Tues 14 Sep 00.01am sale to give fans the earliest possible opportunity to buy, play and own this exciting new title published by Microsoft.
HMV head of Games, Tim Ellis, comments: “There are some massive games titles due out over the next few weeks and months, and this great Christmas line up very definitely kicks off with Halo: Reach, which is hugely-anticipated by gamers, and has been one of our most-ever pre-ordered games titles on hmv.com.
“So, we want to give the army of Halo-Reach fans the earliest possible opportunity to get their hands on it by opening many of our larger stores around the country at midnight on Monday – as soon as we’re officially able to sell the game.”
Notes to Editor (source: Wikipedia)
Halo: Reach is an upcoming first-person shooter video game, developed by Bungie and published by Microsoft Game Studios for the Xbox 360 console. Reach will be released on September 14, 2010.
The game takes place in the year 2552, where humanity is locked in a war with the alien Covenant. Players control Noble 6, a member of an elite supersoldier squad, during a battle for the world of Reach.
Originally unveiled at E3 2009, Reach was preceded by a multiplayer beta available to those who purchased Halo 3: ODST, in order to gain player feedback for fixing bugs and making gameplay tweaks.
Halo: Reach is a first person shooter. Players assume the role of a supersoldier, Noble 6, engaged in combat with an alien collective known as the Covenant.
In Halo 3, players could wield one-use equipment power-ups that offer temporary offensive or defensive advantages.
This system of single-use equipment is replaced in Reach by reusable and persistent armor abilities which remain with a player until they are replaced. Like Halo 3: ODST, the ability to wield two handheld firearms (dual wielding) has also been removed.
Among the abilities are a hologram, where the player spawns a ‘dummy”‘ twin, jetpack, active camo, sprint, and ‘armor lock’, which makes the player invincible in exchange for the loss of mobility. In addition to tweaks and changes to existing weapons from the Halo series, Reach features new weapons fulfilling various combat roles.
Forge, a level editor that first appeared with Halo 3, is updated for Reach, set in a large map known as Forge World as well as all the other maps. Forge World itself is home to several Bungie-created Forge maps that will ship on-disc. Forge tools have also been improved; objects can now be phased into other objects, and can also be snapped to specific orientations.
Reach will feature multiplayer support via Xbox Live, System Link, and split screen. Reach features ‘Loadouts’, a feature that allows players to pick a predefined choice of weaponry at spawn. The veto system has been improved, allowing players to vote for their preferred map and game mode out of a few choices. In order to give multiplayer a longer lasting appeal, players are now rewarded with ‘credits’, which players can spend on aesthetic armor customizations. Players can also choose the gender of their Spartan; virtually all armor settings and investments translate across Reach’s game modes.
Among standard multiplayer modes such as Slayer and King of the Hill, Reach includes gametypes new to the franchise. In ‘Headhunter’, players drop skulls upon death, which other players can pick up and deposit at special zones for points.
When a player dies all their accumulated skulls are dropped as well.
‘Stockpile’ has teams race to collect neutral flags, holding them at capture points every minute for points. ‘Generator Defense’ pits three Spartans against three Elites (A type of Covenant soldier).
The Elites’ objective is to destroy three generators, while Spartans defend the installation. After every round the players switch roles.
‘Invasion’ is a six versus six mode with three squads of two on each team. The gametype pits Spartans against Elites; Elites vie for control of territories to disable a shield guarding a navigation core; once the shield is disabled, they must transfer the core to a dropship-the Spartans must prevent this from happening.
As the game progresses, new loadouts, vehicles, and areas of the map become open. ‘Invasion’ also offers a Slayer variant where both teams goal is to reach a certain number of kills in the allotted time. Vehicles and weapons are unlocked by controlling a moving territory.
Alongside other multiplayer options is “Firefight”, a version of which appeared in Halo 3: ODST. In Firefight players take on increasingly difficult waves of foes in a game of survival. Players can customize Firefight options, including the number and types of enemies. It has also been announced that a firefight versus is playable in which there is an elite team trying to keep the spartan team from scoring points. Some game modes such as Generator Defense are playable in Firefight.
Also new to Halo: Reach are nameplates which appear next to a players gamertag and can be earned by completing different requirements and activating the nameplate via Bungie.net.
Reach takes place in a futuristic science fiction setting during the year 2552, shortly before the events of the 2001 video game Halo: Combat Evolved. Humans, under the auspices of the United Nations Space Command (UNSC), have been waging a long war against a collective of alien races known as the Covenant. By the events of Reach, almost all of humanity’s interstellar colonies have fallen. Reach itself is an Earthlike colony that serves as the UNSC’s main military hub. In addition to the military presence, the colony is home to over 700 million civilians.
The game follows the actions of Noble Team, a UNSC special operations unit composed of elite supersoldiers known as Spartans. Players assume the role of an unnamed new addition to the team, identified by the call sign Noble 6. Noble Team’s leader is Carter-A259, a no-nonsense soldier. His second-in-command, Kat-B320, has a bionic arm; together, Carter and Kat are the only two remaining original members of Noble Team. The other members include heavy weapons specialist Jorge-052, Emile-A239, and marksman Jun-A266.
After the development of Halo 3, developer Bungie broke into teams; one group began working on an expansion, Halo 3: ODST, while another group, headed by creative director, Marcus Lehto, began work on what would become Reach. In brainstorming, the team kept returning to the idea of a prequel set before the first Halo game.
“And Reach, as a fictional planet, was just a great candidate [to] play around with. It’s such a rich world, with such a great fiction surrounding it,” said Lehto. “We were like: ‘Okay, that’s it. We’ve just got a lot of things we can do there so we can build an immense story with it.'”
As Reach ends with the destruction of the titular planet, Bungie focused on making sure that players still felt a sense of accomplishment and success. “It is a challenge overall to ensure the player feels they’re doing the right thing all the way to the end,” said Lehto.
Bungie made it a goal to capitalize on the Xbox 360 hardware to make every part of Reach look better than Halo 3. Originally, the plan for Reach was to port existing Halo 3 assets and update them, but as 3D art lead, Scott Shepard, noted: “The more we started looking into this, the more we found that realistically we could rebuild each asset from scratch with a huge increase in quality without significantly investing more time.”
Texture resolution and polygon counts for models were increased; the Reach assault rifle is constructed of more polygons than an entire Marine character from Halo 3. The prequel concept also gave the art team an opportunity to redesign key enemies, weapons and elements of the series, though Scott stressed that they remained true to the spirit, if not the letter, of the original designs.
Artists found inspiration in the original concept art for Halo: Combat Evolved; the shape for the redesigned Covenant Grunts came from a sketch by Shi Kai Wang done ten years earlier. Much of the engine was redesigned.
To increase replay value, the developers focused on improving the artificial intelligence. Rather than scripting enemy encounters, the developers focused on a more open world or sandbox approach to battles.
Martin O’Donnell returns to score Reach. With the game’s music, O’Donnell wrote more “somber, more visceral” music because the plot is character-driven and focuses on a planet that is already known in the universe to have fallen. The music piece shown in the world premiere of Halo: Reach, was the first music he wrote for the game, which he hoped he could use as a starting point for developing further themes. Heroes actor, Greg Grunberg, will voice a character in the game.
Halo: Reach was announced on June 1, 2009 with a trailer at the Microsoft E3 2009 press conference. An accompanying press release announced that an invitation to the open multiplayer beta of the game would appear in spring 2010, a date later refined to May 3, 2010. Reach will be the last Halo game developed by original Halo developer Bungie. Future Halo games will be overseen by Microsoft subsidiary 343 Industries.
At E3 2010, Bungie revealed parts of the game’s campaign, as well as Firefight. On June 23 2010 Bungie reached the ‘Zero Bug Release’ milestone. This means that for the most part, the team is focused on crushing all of the game’s bugs and no major content will be added from this point forward. This also means that any ‘bugged’ AI will be removed rather than be fixed, as there is simply no time to repair the coding. On July 30, 2010, Bungie released the complete list of achievements for Halo: Reach including the titles, symbols, and descriptions/requirements. The full list can be seen here.
According to a survey by Gamesindustry.biz, Reach was chosen by industry professionals as their pick for the top-selling game of 2010.
Reach will be released in three retail editions. The standard edition contains the game and the manual. The limited edition features an artifact bag with story information, different packaging, and an exclusive set of in-game Elite armor. The Legendary Edition contains all the materials from the limited edition, a different packaging, two hours of developer commentary on the in game cutscenes, in-game Spartan armor effect and a ten-pound (4.5 kg) statue created by McFarlane Toys. North American players who buy the game in-store on launch day or pre-order the game will receive an in-game Spartan ‘Recon’ helmet customization; the same incentive is offered to other regions, but only if it is pre-ordered. In addition to the retail editions, Reach comes bundled with a limited edition Xbox 360 Slim that sports Halo-themed sounds and finish and two controllers.
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