Halo 5 will support true 4k resolution on Xbox One X, developer 343 Industries has announced.
Does Microsoft's low budget, live action web series work as a standalone DVD release?
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Amid the seemingly relentless shutdown of fan projects by big publishers, here's one game that's not just thriving but has the blessing of its IP-owning overlord.
In 2013 a Mega Bloks Halo game was in development for Xbox 360 but would never see the light of day.
The prototype, codenamed Haggar, was found and shared by PtoPOnline. Video footage shows a colourful, cute and humorous interpretation of Halo inspired by the Mega Bloks line of Halo toys.
Mega Bloks is an alternative to Lego, in case you didn't know, and the Mega Bloks Halo game looks and works a lot like a Lego Halo game would. Third-person, breezy action, with lots of collection, customisation and places to build things. Split-screen was part of the mix, and there were puzzles, side-on platforming and even a Besieged mode where you could fortify a fortress and defend against waves of enemies.
Christopher Schlerf, former lead writer of Halo 4, has joined Destiny developer Bungie.
Passing out isn't something people are meant to do very often - or at all, in fact - not that you'd know it from video games. Game protagonists, seemingly, like nothing more than sparking out for a while and then coming to later. I've been rendered unconscious twice in my life and I can't say either was a particularly fun experience, but that's certainly not stopping the games industry - Metal Gear Solid 5 made the latest contribution to the proud tradition just this week, in fact.
I think it's fair to say that Bungie has had an interesting time of late. First, there came the controversy over the Taken King Collector's Edition making certain content unavailable to existing players without purchasing the game a second time. Then came a cross-promotion with Red Bull, asking players to purchase special promotional cans of the energy drink to access an extra mission in The Taken King expansion.
One of the first things Microsoft announced about its upcoming Halo: Nightfall mini-series was that it would somehow include the involvement of director Ridley Scott.
Microsoft will release Halo: The Master Chief collection for Xbox One later this year, according to a new report.
UPDATE 17/03 4.30PM GMT: The Epoch: Return Kickstarter campaign has been cancelled. It failed to gather enough fundraising momentum, making only $26,158 of its $150,000 goal.
Halo developer 343 Industries had undergone a shake-up at the top - and released a piece of concept art that may offer our first glimpse at Halo for Xbox One.
Microsoft is developing its own virtual assistant for Windows Phone, PC and Xbox which will rival Apple's iOS butler Siri, new reports suggest.
Halo 4 lead designer Scott Warner has joined Dead Space developer Visceral Games.
Sci-fi author and former writer and story consultant for Microsoft Game Studios, Eric Nylund, has joined up with Amazon Game Studios as its new director of narrative design.
The creators of a free fan-made Halo game for PC reckon they're safe from a shut down by Microsoft's lawyers.
Microsoft has released Halo: Spartan Assault, the top-down shooter spin-off.
Two new maps, a new game type and a suitcase full of fresh armour are headed to Halo 4 via Microsoft's upcoming Champions Bundle pack.
343 Industries has announced the Halo 4 Global Championship - and slapped $500,000 down as prize money.
It's a summer-long tournament with a grand prize of $200,000, and begins at the Rooster Teeth Expo in Austin, Texas, on 5th July and, on Xbox Live on 15th July.
Qualifying rounds will be held before a two-day Finals competition in Seattle from 31st August to 1st September.
Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer has personally toured a series of Hollywood executives to present Xbox One and call on studios to create new and exclusive TV content for the platform.
Microsoft has registered domains for something called Halo: Spartan Assault.
A mysterious Halo-related project entitled Bootcamp has surfaced on the Korean Rating Board.
One of the biggest surprises - if not the only surprise - of Microsoft's Xbox One announcement was the revelation that Halo is being adapted into a TV show by none other than Steven Spielberg. As big name endorsements go, they don't come much bigger - even if any excitement must be tempered by the fact that Spielberg's sci-fi TV ventures tend to be a lot less illustrious than his movies. Falling Skies is a hit, but did anyone stick around to see how his critically panned Terra Nova series ended? And does anyone even remember his UFO saga, Taken?
Still, even the least games-savvy consumer recognises the Spielberg name, and that's what matters. The games industry, if you hadn't noticed, has a crippling inferiority complex when it comes to film and TV. Despite every video game adaptation being mostly terrible, there's still a deep-seated belief that rendering your characters in live action rather than rendering them with pixels lends them a validity that games can't manage on their own.
How else to explain Forward Unto Dawn, Halo's most recent live action incarnation, which started as a series of 15-minute "webisodes" and has now been compiled into an 80-minute movie for DVD and Blu-ray release. Does it give us a tantalising taster of what a full Halo TV show might offer, or does it better serve as yet another warning of what happens when game and film mix?
Legendary director Steven Spielberg will act as executive producer of a "premium TV series" based on the Halo franchise.
District 9 director Neill Blomkamp is still keen on making a movie based on Halo - but only if given control over it.
The Halo 4 approach to multiplayer add-ons has been low-key compared to the bombast of its more earthbound shooter peers. Call of Duty and Battlefield have offered up themed packages, zombies, co-operative bonuses and whatever else might entice players into picking up that all-important season pass.
With Halo 4, DLC studio Certain Affinity and main game developer 343 Studios have simply delivered maps, three at a time. It almost seems quaint, but it's an approach that has paid dividends. After a clunky start with the Crimson map pack, the game has benefited from maps that are classic in design but modern in pace, accommodating Halo's increasingly lengthy list of game modes and livening up the playlists with solid craftsmanship and some beautiful locations. That's a trend that continues in this, the last of the three DLC packs, and another victory of both substance and style.
Let's start with the best of the bunch, and indeed for my money one of the best Halo maps since the heyday of Halo 2. Daybreak is another in a long line of visually stunning Halo 4 maps, this one with an autumnal outdoors theme. Imagine if those Visit Scotland TV ads were populated by aggressive armoured Spartans shooting each other's faces off rather than ruddy-faced English tourists in chunky cardigans drinking malt whisky, and you're on the right track.
UPDATE #2: Microsoft has contacted users who voted in the Xbox Entertainment Awards to inform them of the "technical error" which resulted in personal data being exposed.
Microsoft has poured cold water on reports that suggested Halo 3 will be released on PC.
Halo 4's third multiplayer expansion, the Castle Map Pack, is slated for release on 8th April for 800 MS Points, Microsoft has announced. Access to the add-on is included with the Halo 4 War Games Map Pass.
343 got so much right when making Halo 4. Its campaign was muscular, restoring some of the intergalactic spectacle that had been lost in Bungie's more terrestrial final pair of games, while its multiplayer was smart enough to revise the well-worn template and even wiser to leave large parts of it well alone. What made Halo 4 something of a series highlight, though, was how this newborn collective of veteran developers had rekindled Halo's spark.
Not everything's been perfect, though. While Halo 4's Spartan Ops mode has hardly been a failure, it's certainly seen an otherwise safe pair of hands fumble what was once an exciting prospect. The first season of this episodic co-op campaign, split into halves of noticeably differing quality, has suffered from a friction between story and gameplay that's burnt through so much of its potential.
Set after the events of Halo 4's campaign, Spartan Ops follows the UNSC ship Infinity as it returns to the forerunner planet Requiem. The story is set up in the most spectacular - and presumably horrendously expensive - fashion, with exquisite CGI cut-scenes bookending the five playable chapters that make up each of the 10 episodes.
Reviewing a map pack is weird. It's like the old adage that says writing about music is like dancing about architecture. The mechanics, the gameplay, everything that we'd normally sink our teeth into is a known quantity. What we're really doing is reviewing a space and how people move through it - an abstract thing to pin down at the best of times. It's like town planning with heavy ordnance.
That being the case, the Crimson Map Pack, Halo 4's first selection of additional arenas, was a lot like a bland new town from the 1970s. Functional but devoid of personality, and probably full of roundabouts and shopping arcades. To stretch this dubious metaphor beyond breaking point, the Majestic Map Pack offers vibrant and lively old-fashioned villages with everything you need right on your doorstep. Which is another way of saying that these three maps offer the sort of compact and punchy close-quarters locations that made Halo such a multiplayer mainstay in the first place.
Let's start with Skyline, a tight, two-storey structure set at the base of a space tether construction site. It's downright tiny by current Halo 4 map standards, a jumble of ramps, stairs, short corridors and balconies all piled on top of each other. There's an elevator for rapid transit to the upper level, but you'll rarely need it. Those with the jetpack armour ability will be able to hop freely from one to the other in seconds, while agile players with an eye for parkour-style routes will quickly work out the scenery items that can act as stepping stones. Failing that, wherever you turn, there's always a way up or down.
Update: In addition to the daily deals there are a collection of week-long deals. They've been dug up by the handsome people of NeoGAF.
The Halo 4 Majestic Map pack releases on 25th February, Microsoft has announced.
The map pack was developed in collaboration with external developer Certain Affinity, which has a long history of working on Halo content for Microsoft.
Majestic includes three new small-to-medium sized maps designed for close-quarters gameplay, specifically small-team and free-for-all modes. The maps are Landfall, Monolith and Skyline.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 were more popular on Xbox Live in 2012 than Halo 4.
Microsoft will switch off Halo 2 PC multiplayer next month.
Microsoft has made it very clear: it sees the future of Xbox not with discs sold in shops over the counter by a sales assistant but with what it calls "connected entertainment services" powered by the cloud.
There were "a tonne" of elements 343 Industries wished had been improved while making Halo 4, Frank O'Connor has said - and he's pledged to "do better next time".
Remember Microsoft's patented idea of projecting the bits of a gaming you don't see on your TV - the periphery - onto the walls and furniture of your living room?
For ten years Halo has been my favourite console game. I played the first one at university with my friends, as I imagine a lot of you did. After university I moved into my mum's new flat in Streatham, South London and bullied her, really, into not only getting the internet, but letting me run a ten-metre-long ethernet cable from my Xbox, along my bedroom floor, down the stairs and into the router by the kitchen, just so I could sign up to Xbox Live and play Halo 2 online.
The tempo has changed in the battle of the blockbuster shooters. Those big launch weekends still matter, of course - if only for the large, context-free figures they generate which can in turn be fed into the PR machine to generate yet more sales from gamers unwilling to miss out.
With retail sales drooping and digital on the rise, most are playing the long game, however. It's no longer simply about the number of players, it's about how long you can keep them playing - hence the steady evolution of downloadable add-ons from optional extra to ongoing service, with seasons of additional content you can sign up for in advance.
Halo 4 was clearly designed from the ground up to accommodate this trend. Despite being released just over one month ago, the game has already received five Spartan Ops co-operative episodes, and here's the first multiplayer map pack. Don't stop playing, pleads Microsoft. Never stop playing.
Update: The Halo Waypoint Twitter feed updated, informing season pass owners that they should "Reboot your console, load Halo 4, press Start, and select Xbox LIVE Marketplace to see if it's available for you."
Halo 4's episodic Spartan Ops co-op campaign will continue in January, as was revealed in a new trailer at the VGAs.
The Wii U sold 425,000 units during its US launch week, Nintendo has revealed. That's just 5000 less than the Wii recorded six years ago.
November US figures revealed that Nintendo shifted 420,000 units of its ageing Wii over the whole month (down 51 per cent on last year).
But it was Microsoft who claimed the sales crown. The Xbox 360 sold 1.26 million units, a 25 per cent dip from 2011's sales but more than the Wii and Wii U combined (although, to be fair, the Wii U was only out for one week).
The first map pack for Halo 4, Crimson, launches on 10th December for 800 Microsoft Points, Microsoft has announced.
Some Halo 4 players have been unable to connect to the game's servers for the last three days.
Update: Microsoft has confirmed the months to be accurate, if not the exact days. Here is its official response:
"Halo 4 War Games Map Packs will become available in December, February and April. The exact release dates are pending the production schedule for each map pack, but we look forward to sharing more details in due time."
Original Story: Last month Microsoft revealed that Halo 4 would feature a War Games Pass that would grant access to three DLC packs, each containing three new multiplayer maps. It did not however say when these would be released.
For as long as most folk remember, games have launched on Fridays in the UK and on Tuesday in the US. That's the way of things. Sometimes they converge for a glitzy worldwide launch but mostly they don't - they stick to the norm, and Europeans wait.
Microsoft Studios is now multiformat, according to Phil Harrison, the vice president of Interactive Entertainment at the company.
In the UK Halo 4 failed to beat Halo: Reach or Halo 3 in terms of launch week sales, but what about on a global basis?
UK video game shop chain GAME has claimed it's in good shape despite the collapse of Comet, also owned by OpCapita.
Xbox 360-exclusive Halo 4 is the new UK all-format chart number one, albeit with lower launch week sales than Halo 3 and Halo: Reach.
It did beat the launch week figures of last week's sales winner Assassin's Creed 3 - making it the UK's 18th biggest game launch ever.
It's worth remembering that Halo 4 launched last Tuesday, and thus benefited from an extra three days on sale.
What makes a blockbuster game series tick? Sifting through the jaw-dropping vistas of Halo 4, its glorious skyboxes peppered with ceaseless plasma fire, you might think that it's money, and an awful lot of it. The Master Chief's always fancied himself as the centrepiece of a spectacle that's the self-styled 21st century pop-culture alternative to Star Wars. It's only now, though, that the series properly evokes that true blockbuster sensation of subconsciously counting the thousands of pennies thrown at each explosion.
In the run up to the release of Halo 4, Microsoft's blockbuster Xbox 360 exclusive that launched this week, the question every Halo fan wanted to know was this: how good a job had 343 Industries, the studio set up by Microsoft to take on the beloved franchise after Bungie waved it goodbye with the release of Halo: Reach in 2010, done?
Microsoft has announced its Halo 4 Combat Tour promotion that rewards players real money just for playing Halo 4. It sounds exciting until you realise that you need to play the game for 140 hours in the remainder of November - that's over six hours a day - to receive 600 MS Points i.e. £5.10.
Ever wondered what would happen if Microsoft spent an absolute fortune in setting up its own elite internal studio and then made the best game it possibly could - where money is literally no object? Imagine if the Xbox platform holder set-up its own equivalent to Sony Santa Monica or Naughty Dog, an elite team with an unparalleled level of knowledge about the host console platform and the talent to get the most out of it. And what if this super-team was tasked with creating a new trilogy of games based on the most successful Xbox franchise of all-time?
Microsoft has announced the Xbox 360 will launch in Israel seven years after it released in the US.
The console launches in Israel on 21st November, Microsoft announced at its Discovery conference in Tel Aviv yesterday. It comes complete with the Hebrew language, support for local currency, Xbox Live and Kinect.
The announcement was accompanied by a bizarre on-stage appearance by Halo 4 star Master Chief, videoed by attendees and slapped on YouTube.
Master Chief enters one of Halo 4's most impressive combat zones and commandeers a vehicle...
An impressive improvement over Halo Reach by virtually every measurable criteria.
Straight out blasting action across a range of environments in 343's first Halo epic.
292 GAME stores up and down the land open at midnight tonight to sell Halo 4.
The flagship launch is at GAME Stratford (GAME Oxford Street is no more).
For midnight launches GAME stores open their doors around 11.45pm, but some may open earlier to help with trade-ins. Tills will be open from midnight, though. Stores will generally close around an hour later, but this all depends on customer demand.
It's the end of Halo 3 and the world has ended with a bang, not a whimper. More specifically, it's ended with our protagonist Master Chief riding a jeep off a flaming planet into the bay of a derelict escape ship: a catastrophic boom, not a whimper, perhaps. The aliens retreat, the flames turn to ember, the hoarse choir sets down its sheet music and space is, finally, still. Microsoft's flagship trilogy ostensibly drifts into history while developer Bungie, after working out its contractual obligations, wanders off to work on something new - something to prove to itself that Halo, the console shooter that changed everything, isn't the end of its story.
Master Chief, though, has nowhere to go. He has no home for Christmas, no lonely wife to reacquaint with, no overgrown garden to tend to, no son to teach how to throw a plasma ball. Beneath the rank and uniform he may be named John, but that ever-present helmet snuffed out the pilot light of his humanity long ago. He is a voiceless weapon, drawn in times of intergalactic crisis, sheathed when calamity has passed. So he's left in stasis, a dreamless sleep in a forgotten ship watched over by his only friend and companion, an AI girl called Cortana.
Five years pass - an age in video games - and in this time Activision's Modern Warfare series rises to prominence, knocking Halo down the most-played charts. A time of crisis; a time for an old hero to take back old ground. It's the start of Halo 4, and Cortana unsheathes Master Chief.
More than 46 million Halo games have been sold worldwide, Microsoft has revealed.
Outside of private matches, Xbox Live multiplayer can be a hostile and abusive place. And when your brand is as intrinsic to Xbox Live multiplayer as Halo, there's a strong chance it will be Halo negatively associated with it.
Halo 4 developer 343 Industries and Microsoft just announced the Halo 4 War Games Pass, a season pass that saves players 15 per cent on future DLC.
The London Philharmonic Orchestra has again blown its trumpet at music from some of the biggest games ever.
Microsoft has released the Halo 4 launch trailer, from Fight Club director David Fincher.
Scanned, as the three minute TV spot is called, is a moody blend of live action and CGI that touches on Master Chief's tough upbringing as an enhanced super soldier in training, and ends with a dash of action.
Fincher, who directed 2010's The Social Network, produced the clip. Special effects maestro Tim Miller directed. Throughout the pair threaten to show Master Chief's face, but as Halo franchise boss Frank O'Connor told Eurogamer last month, developer 343 Industries isn't ready to do that.
UPDATE: Microsoft has issued Eurogamer the following statement on the Halo 4 Xbox Live bans.
Microsoft is battling Halo 4 spoiler videos after the game was leaked nearly a month before release.
UPDATE: Microsoft-owned Halo developer 343 Industries has responded to the company's newly-published content creation rules, stating that user rights remain largely unchanged from past policy.
The Ohio State University Marching Band delivered a stunning 10-minute tribute to video games during a half-time performance at the American football match between Ohio and Nebraska at the weekend.
343 Industries, the developer charged with continuing the Halo franchise now Bungie has left it behind, isn't ready to show the world Master Chief's face.
Greetings Eurogamer, Mike from Outside Xbox here. Hope you're having an excellent Saturday. Finest of all the days, Saturday. The weekend still full of promise - none of the Sunday malaise that comes from terrible television, nothing being open and the looming prospect of an early night in anticipation of Monday morning.
Microsoft's never made any secret of its desire to turn Halo from a huge game series into a multimedia entertainment juggernaut. But ever since its famously overreaching attempt to strong-arm Hollywood into a film deal was batted away by movie execs - denying us the mouthwatering prospect of seeing Halo's universe realised by District 9 director Neill Blomkamp - the software giant has been relegated to meddling in the murky margins of promotional video.
In case one doesn't care about their country's future, they just might care about exclusive Xbox avatars. At least that's what going on in the US where Microsoft is offering a Halo 4 warrior avatar to anyone who watches at least three out of four presidential debates on Xbox Live's Election 2012 channel.
Microsoft has released a new Halo 4 video showcasing a new multiplayer map and a new vehicle.
Halo chief Frank O'Connor has explained the quick-time events some Halo fans have expressed concern about in Halo 4.
It's Halo. I don't know why I was so surprised by that, but Halo 4 feels very much like another Halo game. There's the spongy movement, that wonderful combat loop and a sense of pomp and scale so grand you can't help but be carried away in its ridiculous sweep. There are shrill aliens, both squat and tall, and gunfire that sends multi-coloured traces across strange landscapes.
At the end of Halo 3 the Covenant, Halo's long-running alien bad guys, were thought disbanded and destroyed, with the Elites not exactly on the side of the human race, but not exactly against them.
343 Industries is set to keep faith with the existing Halo engine for future Halo games.
Halo 4 developer 343 Industries has unleashed a dazzling array of images from the game's campaign mode. Visually at least, it looks like the game won't disappoint.
Master Chief and Cortana are present in the new gallery, as is their ship, the UNSC Forward Unto Dawn. A number of Forerunners and other returning enemies such as Jackals.
The Chief appears to be armed with a new beam rifle, infused with Forerunner technology.
Right. Can't remember if we've mentioned this, but we're doing a show at Earls Court in London next week. It's called the Eurogamer Expo. (Bit pretentious?) Anyway, we hope some of you will come. To help make it more interesting, we've asked Microsoft to bring everything they have in development for Xbox 360 for you to play. They said yes.
So, if you come along you'll be able to sample Halo 4 Infinity Multiplayer, Forza Horizon, Fable: The Journey for Kinect, Gears of War: Judgment's OverRun multiplayer mode, and Dance Central 3, plus various Xbox Live games.
We're also told that "the Mountain Dew crew" will be distributing drinks to people throughout the show. Presumably they'll be distributing Mountain Dew, unless that label is just a massive coincidence.
If you want all of Halo 4's UK pre-order extras, you'll need to buy the game from eight separate shops.
Microsoft has invited "celebrity fans" to play Halo 4 at a swanky event, in Manchester.
Spoilers for Halo 4 and tie-in book The Thursday War lie below.
Halo 4 will have community-created mod Grifball as one of its main multiplayer modes, 343 announced at a panel at PAX Prime moments ago.
The Halo 4 Spartan Ops series of episodic content is longer than Halo 3: ODST, 343 Industries has revealed.
Update: A little later than originally planned, check out Outside Xbox's Show of the Week to see Jane, Andy and Mike reveal the news, among other things.
Halo 4 developer 343 Industries has outed the game's list of Achievements, which offer up a meagre few clues as to the shooter's contents.
Congratulations, you have passed the test. You have clicked on a headline referencing a George Michael song for no obvious reason, which means that you are probably sufficiently engaged with Eurogamer to be interested in some of the other stuff going on in our house.
Behold, a beautifully produced look behind the scenes at 343 Industries, maker of Halo 4, and all it took to make the new game.
Master of many, many arts.
Halo 4's multiplayer Specilisations have been detailed by Microsoft and developer 343 Studios.
Microsoft has put out a new Halo 4 trailer showcasing the UNSC weapons.
Weapons old and new are shown off in brief gameplay clips, but you get a decent sense of what they're all about.
Returning weapons include the Assault Rifle, the Magnum, the Battle Rifle, the DMR, the Rocket Launcher, the Shotgun, the Sniper Rifle and the Spartan Laser, and these all work as expected.
Hate turns to lust as the most faithful pictures of the translucent-cased Limited Edition Halo 4 Xbox 360 appear.
Looking better every time we see it.
The Limited Edition Halo 4 Xbox 360 has now been officially unveiled, and isn't as ugly as Shane Macgowan.
Update: Microsoft's responded to Eurogamer, but isn't ready to talk about Halo 4 console yet. "Following the trailer reveal of Forward Unto Dawn at San Diego Comic Con this week, we will have more Halo 4 news to share over the coming days," an MS PR rep told us.
Microsoft will include support for its new Surface tablet within Xbox 360 shooter Halo 4.
The mapmaking Forge mode of Halo 4 will be developed by Creative Affinity - the studio that collaborated on the recent remake of Halo 1, as well as made extra maps for Halo: Reach.
A new Halo 4 trailer has popped up on Halo Waypoint, offering a few fresh seconds of multiplayer footage.
On show are the game's Regicide and Infinity Slayer modes, which were recently demoed to MLG players.
Multiplayer maps Haven, Adrift and Longbow are also showcased, which offer a mix of gameplay in both close-up and wide environments.
Halo 4's eye-catching multiplayer requires at least an 8GB USB flash drive or an Xbox 360 hard drive, Microsoft has confirmed.
New Halo 4 information has been revealed by a retailer quiz.
Microsoft will open a shop in London, according to a new report.
It is, undoubtedly, the biggest tech story of the week: Microsoft's announcement of its iPad killer: Surface.
Microsoft has rejected Motorola's offer to settle over the patent row that threatens to halt the sale of the Xbox 360 in the US.
After a few years of offering only the smallest hints at what it's been working on, 343 Industries finally came clean at this year's E3. No more CG trailers, no more offline rendered "in-engine" cinematics - instead, actual Halo 4 gameplay was revealed, and with it our first chance to get a look at the new tech operating in real-time on standard Xbox 360 hardware.
24 hours on and both media and fans have had plenty of time to chew over Microsoft's 2012 E3 press conference, and it's fair to say that not all of the commentary has been entirely positive.
With that in mind, Eurogamer sat down with Chris Lewis, vice president of interactive entertainment for Xbox Europe, to find out how Microsoft itself views its performance and the ensuing public reaction.
"I think [the response has been] largely very positive," he said.
Take part in War Games and Spartan Ops during your Spartan career aboard the UNSC Infinity.
That's Microsoft and Sony out of the way, then, and in immediate hindsight it's tempting to say that they opted for the same approach overall. Both conferences were relatively conservative affairs compared to the pageantry and showboating of previous years (apparently you don't know what you've got with a space poncho until it's gone), as both companies presumably played the strongest hand they could muster while keeping a lot in reserve for the inevitable unveiling of next-generation consoles in 2013. However, upon closer inspection there were a number of stark contrasts.
Microsoft kicked off its E3 conference with a first look proper at Halo 4's campaign, revealing the Forerunners as a new enemy as well as the introduction of new weaponry into the game.
A real-time demo was prefaced by an impressive and very expensive looking live action video that laid the foundations for the first game in 343's Reclaimer trilogy, seeing the ship UNSC Infinity being sent out to explore new worlds.
Things soon go awry, with the ship being sent plummeting to the surface of a new and lush looking alien planet, and Master Chief's there to pick up the pieces.
There have been 67 million Xbox 360s sold around the world, and 19 million Kinects, Microsoft has revealed.
PlayStation 3 has sold 63.9 million units worldwide.
Microsoft's chief Xbox marketing officer Yusuf Mehdi revealed the numbers in a company blog post.
UPDATE: The BBC has responded to its broadcast of a Halo logo during Thursday's News at One, admitting its mistake and apologising to viewers.
As video game leaks go, it's one of the strangest we've ever seen.
The below video, posted to YouTube by one Skid Kid, shows plenty of Halo 4 multiplayer gameplay. The only problem is, Skid Kid filmed off of what looks like a 20-year-old standard definition telly, playing a VHS, in a barn. Really.
Also, the music isn't safe for work, or your ears. We advise you turn your speakers down, or, preferably, off.
Fresh detail on how Halo 4 multiplayer works has made it's way out of Microsoft HQ.
As revealed by the publisher earlier today, the UNSC Infinity will serve as the game's multiplayer hub. You'll customise your character and manage your progress through the game's various different modes from the giant ship.
Among the modes on offer is the recently announced Spartan Ops co-op campaign. That will focus on various Infinity crew members and a new team of Spartans called Majestic Squad. New missions will be delivered on a weekly basis, along with regular cinematics offering some background narrative.
It has explosions, it has alien technology, it has Master Chief in his snazzy new suit.
A live action Halo web series will launch this autumn ahead of the release of Halo 4 on Xbox 360.
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn will play exclusively on Machinima and Microsoft's Halo Waypoint in the run up to the 6th November launch of the 343 Industries-developed sci-fi shooter.
It's the largest investment Microsoft has made into live action to date, according to Variety. Larger, even, than the Neill Blomkamp shorts that almost spawned the Halo movie seven years ago.
UPDATE: Microsoft has confirmed that Halo 4 launches worldwide on 6th November.
"We are beginning a new saga with Halo 4 and embarking on a journey that will encompass the next decade of Halo games and experiences," commented Microsoft Studios VP Phil Spencer.
"Millions of fans worldwide have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to step back into the boots of Master Chief, and, with Halo 4 leading the charge, we're confident 2012 will be the most successful year in Xbox history."
Massive Attack producer takes over Abbey Road.
Long-time Massive Attack producer Neil Davidge is composing the score for Halo 4, developer 343 Industries has announced.
343 Industries has changed the way Halo's much-loved multiplayer works for Halo 4, and implemented a new mode called Spartan Ops.
Spartan Ops, according to the latest issue of Game Informer (via NeoGaf), replaces Firefight, which is no more. It works similarly to Call of Duty's Spec Ops mode, but with an episodic storyline played out over several months' worth of TV show season-style DLC. It will compare in scope and size to the single-player campaign, which is, like in previous Halo games, playable co-operatively with up to four players.
Spartan Points are used to buy armour, armour abilities and Spartan Ops missions. One new armour ability is Forerunner Vision, which allows you to see through walls and thus discourage camping. Returning armour abilities include the hologram, the jetpack, and active camo. Sprint is a default ability all players have access to at all times.
Assassin's Creed 3 and Halo 4 are the most keenly anticipated games of 2012 according to a new Nielsen poll.
"We have aspirations to become the best games studio in the world."
Halo 4 runs at a native 720p resolution, developer 343 Industries has confirmed.
Halo franchise development director Frank O'Connor took to forum NeoGAF to answer questions about the upcoming Xbox 360 exclusive.
The Halo series has, since Halo 3 on Xbox 360, come in for a certain amount of stick for outputting in below-HD resolutions.
Hello! Someone's smacked the industry with a stick and a bevvy of games have come flooding forth. There's a third game in a series that's actually the fifth, a fourth that's really the sixth and one that pretends that it's not a sequel at all (it's in fact the fifth). Games!
It's Halo. Which says a lot and yet says very little at the same time. There are the same springy jumps, the same man-cannons and the maps with the same perfectly crafted symmetry. There are Spartans, there's a battle rifle and there's a grand, extra-terrestrial backdrop, the architecture as ever seemingly a result of Frank Lloyd Wright being kidnapped by some alien race and forced to design the flat steel that twists beneath beautiful skyboxes.
It's Halo, and the fourth mainline game is in essence the same we've all been playing since Combat Evolved in 2001. And that suggests, in one regard, that 343 hasn't dropped the ball for its first serious attempt at the series since Bungie departed.
A Halo without Bungie at one time seemed as inconceivable as a Mario without Nintendo - but 343's definition of the Halo experience, it turns out, isn't so very different from Bungie's after all. "Jamie Griesemer of Bungie once defined it as this golden triangle," franchise director Frank O'Connor tells us. "And while I'm not a game designer, I have my own personal definition of it.
Microsoft's 343 Industries reveals Master Chief's next adventure.
The first in-game Halo 4 screenshots have leaked online ahead of a Microsoft-planned announcement later today.
Halo 4's newly unveiled multiplayer perks - which, for the first time in a Halo game will have an impact on the gameplay - aren't a result of 343 Industries chasing Call of Duty and Battlefield, the studio has said.
Bungie co-founder Alex Seropian is convinced Halo 4 is in good hands.
Halo series badass Master Chief is getting a new set of togs for this year's Halo 4.
Microsoft has moved to seize the Halo 4 beta website it warned fans was a fake.
Microsoft has filed a complaint with the National Arbitration Forum against Halo4beta.net, which 343 Industries' David Ellis said on his Twitter page was a fake.
The website is now offline, but, as Fusible points out, that won't stop the NAF transferring the name over to Microsoft.
Xbox 360-exclusive games need to have "quality and impact", Microsoft Studios exec Phil Spencer has insisted.
Creating Xbox 360-only games and IP is about more than the "number of releases in a year", Spencer continued, explaining Microsoft's strategy on securing exclusives for the platform.
"Creating core IP, as many first-and third-parties have seen over the years, isn't an easy thing," Spencer told GameInformer (via GamesIndustry.biz). "I went through the process of creating Gears with Epic and I know the sweat, time, and effort that went into it."
UPDATE: Microsoft has denied a Halo movie is in development.
Turn 10 has explained why you can look at but not drive the Warthog from Halo 4 in upcoming Xbox 360 exclusive racing game Forza 4.
343 industries throws a party.
Halo 4 creative director Ryan Payton has left developer 343 Industries, stating work on the game had become a "crazy endeavour".
343's latest suit design revealed.
Clarkson gives the Forza 4 rundown.
343 Industries take the stage.
Master Chief's next chapter revealed.
343 Industries has revealed the first details on Halo 4, due out in 2012 on the Xbox 360.
The Warthog vehicle design to be used in Halo 4 is buried deep within upcoming Xbox 360 exclusive racing game Forza 4.
Bungie has urged Halo fans to give Microsoft "creative flexibility" with the franchise as it formally hands over the reins to new custodian 343 Industries.
It's a big year for Bungie. Not only does it celebrate its 20th birthday but, with the impending release of Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, it's also formally signing off custodianship of Master Chief to 343 Industries.
The fate of the Xbox 360 runs parallel to that of the Halo franchise, so says Microsoft Game Studios boss Phil Spencer.
The Xbox Live Enforcement team is "moving into a realm where we're applying more automation to the process" of policing gamers.
Microsoft's 343 Industries has been working on Halo 4 for two years.
Microsoft has admitted losing its way with Halo following the release of Halo 3 in September 2007.
Bungie has bid an emotional farewell to the Halo universe it created ten years ago.
Halo's Covenant-beating hero will appear "changed" in 343 Industries' upcoming Halo 4.
There used to be breathing space between Halo games (Halo 1 2001, Halo 2 2004, Halo 3 2007), but in recent years Microsoft has been flinging the IP at us: Halo Wars 2009, Halo 3: ODST 2009 and Halo: Reach 2010.
In which, as you'll know if you read yesterday's roundup, Eurogamer's UK team picks their favourite E3 trailers of the last 24 hours. So who are today's winners and losers?
(NB: Anyone sitting at home watching Starhawk videos instead of standing in an L.A. bar having cocktails three feet away from Reggie Fils-Aime already knows the answer to this question.)
Top of the Pops
It's only day two of E3 and already the internet is awash with trailers. In fact, you'd have a job to watch the whole lot of them before Gamescom kicks off.
So to save you a bit of time, Eurogamer's top analysts (i.e. anyone too pregnant or knowledgeable about how the website actually works to go to E3) have picked the best trailers released in the last 24 hours. And the worst, just for good measure. So what do you reckon to our choices?
Top of the Pops
First screenshots of Master Chief's return.
It's official: a new instalment in the Halo series is on the way.
The announcement was made at the climax of Microsoft's E3 2011 press conference. Bossman Don Mattrick took to the stage right at the end to round up what had been seen so far and to introduce a teaser trailer.
It showed a red cloud floating in space and a bit of fiery smoke. Then Master Chief was revealed, blasting his way around a space station in zero gravity. There was just time to see him drifting towards some kind of giant circle of light before it was all over.