Halo

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Posted by r2d2 03/20/2009 @ 09:12

Tags : halo, video games, entertainment

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Halo Wars has received a title update which adds a few new features and tweaks to the game. Nothing really affects the co-op campaign, unless you include the ability to use your flaming Warthog in it an addition. You can find the full details of the...
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Veevart has worked with Microsoft Games for over eight years and was most recently executive producer on a little game called Halo 3 in addition to overseeing relations with Bungie Studios, as well as Epic Games and Gears of War for the big M. Cohen on...
Bungie Betas Render-To-Video Feature For Halo 3 - Kotaku.com
Frustrated by the fact that you can't share your in-game Halo 3 movies without a video capture setup? Bungie is beta-testing a service that will set your clips free, for a price. When you record a video in Halo 3, it doesn't take up much hard drive...
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In spite of the rather glum tone of the Bank of England's quarterly inflation report yesterday, the Pound had a surprisingly good day. It had to overcome the view from the BOE that UK inflation will stay below 2% through to the end of 2010 and the...
28 Weeks Later retold in Halo 3 machi... - PWN or DIE
by nicksmith If you are a fan of Halo 3, horror films, or machinima then we have the perfect video for you. We have seen our fair share of movie scenes acted out by Master Chief but few done as well as this retelling of the post-apocalyptic thriller 28...
Fiesta Offers Samples Of Many Asian Cultures - Washington Post
Participants can sample such foods as fresh sugar cane juice, bulgogi and halo-halo and Asian beers. Workshops include Bollywood dancing and textile weaving. A parade featuring lion dances and regional cultural organizations is scheduled at 2 pm The...
Why first-party video games matter - CNET News
Perhaps they're Halo fans. Or maybe they love Mario. Whichever platform has top-notch exclusive titles--which in today's environment are increasingly becoming only first-party games--will have a better chance of winning the customer's business....
halo [For Men] - Time Out Chicago
The movie Gone in 60 Seconds blaring on a big screen TV isn't exactly the most soothing thing to encounter on a Saturday morning before a spa service, but hey, this place is strictly for the guys and loud action movies seem to be part of the deal....
'Halo Wars' (X360) Rolls Out Title Update - WorthPlaying.com
Halo Wars is a strategy game based on the legendary Halo universe. Players will command armies of familiar and new UNSC units in its initial encounters against the Covenant, an alien coalition threatening to obliterate mankind. Halo Wars will immerse...
Does Bungie Have Concerns Over Halo 3 ODST? - Kombo.com
All Halo 3 fans have probably head about Halo 3 ODST by now; after all, it's a big departure for the studio that made the series a household name. This is because -- as you probably already know -- the game will not be featuring the Master Chief as a...

HaLo

HaLo (Ayako Hirakata) is a Japanese J-Pop musician. Hirakata can be heard on Lori Carson's The Finest Thing. Hirakata has also worked with Kate St John and Sid Griffin, and has a separate recording career in Japan.

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Halo 3

A Halo 3 launch event was held at the NASDAQ building in New York City on September 25.

Halo 3 is a first-person shooter video game developed by Bungie exclusively for the Xbox 360. The game is the third title in the Halo series and concludes the story arc that began in Halo: Combat Evolved and continued in Halo 2. The game was released on September 25, 2007 in Australia, Brazil, India, New Zealand, North America, and Singapore; September 26, 2007 in Europe; and September 27, 2007 in Japan. On the day before its official release, 4.2 million units of Halo 3 were in retail outlets.

Halo 3's story centers on the interstellar war between 26th century humanity, led by the United Nations Space Command, and a collection of alien races known as the Covenant. The player assumes the role of the Master Chief, a cybernetically enhanced supersoldier, as he wages war in defense of humanity, assisted by human Marines as well as an allied alien race called Elites, which is led by the Arbiter. The game features vehicles, weapons, and gameplay not present in previous titles of the series, as well as the addition of saved gameplay films, file sharing, and the Forge map editor; a utility which allows the player to perform modifications to multiplayer levels.

Halo 3 grossed US$300 million in its first week. More than one million people played Halo 3 on Xbox Live in the first twenty hours. As of January 3, 2008, Halo 3 has sold 8.1 million copies, and was the best-selling video game of 2007 in the U.S. Overall, the game was very well-received by critics, with the Forge and multiplayer offerings singled out as strong features. By March 2009 more than 1 billion online matches had been played online. A prequel to the game, Halo 3: ODST, is currently under development.

The gameplay of Halo 3 builds upon the previous iterations of the franchise; it is a first-person shooter which takes place on foot, but also includes segments focused on vehicular combat. The balance of weapons and objects in the game was adjusted to better adhere to what Bungie Studios Multiplayer Designer Lars Bakken describes as the "Golden Triangle of Halo". These are "weapons, grenades, and melee", which are available to a player in most situations. Halo 3 contains the ability to dual-wield, where a player forgoes grenades and melee attacks in favor of the combined firepower of two weapons simultaneously. Most weapons available in previous installments of the series return with minor cosmetic and power alterations. Unlike previous instalments, the player's secondary weapon is visible on their player model, holstered or slung across the player's back. Halo 3 introduces "support weapons", which are exceptionally large, powerful, and cumbersome two-handed weapons which drastically limit the player's normal combat options and slow them significantly, but offer greatly increased firepower in return. In addition to weapons, the game contains a new class of usable items called Equipment; these items are found in the game world and have various effects and functions, ranging from defensive screens to shield regeneration and flares. Only one piece of equipment can be carried at a time. The game's vehicular component has been expanded with new drivable and A.I.-only vehicles.

Halo 3 also adds new features not directly related to gameplay. One such feature, known as Forge, is a map-editing tool that enables players to insert and remove game objects, such as weapons and crates, into existing multiplayer maps. Almost all weapons, vehicles, and interactive objects can be placed and moved on maps with Forge. Players can enter Forge games and edit and manipulate objects in real time. A budget limits the amount of objects that can be placed. Another new feature are 'Saved films', which allows players to save up to 100 films of gameplay to their Xbox 360's hard drive, viewing the action from any angle and at different speeds. The Saved Films are only game data (not an actual video) and this allows the file sizes to be smaller than a true recording. All games are recreated in real-time on the Xbox 360 using the Halo 3 engine. Halo 3 offers a form of file sharing, where items such as saved films, screenshots, and custom variants can all be uploaded to the 'File Share'. Anyone can browse user created content that has been uploaded to Bungie's website on a personal computer and tag it to automatically download to their console next time they sign into Xbox Live on Halo 3.

Halo 3's campaign contains nine levels, which complete the storyline of the Halo trilogy. The campaign can be played through alone, with two-players on one Xbox 360, or played cooperatively with up to three other players via Xbox Live or System Link. Instead of having each player be an identical Spartan as in previous Halo games, the first player plays as Master Chief, the second player plays as the Arbiter and the other two players control two other Elites; N'tho 'Sraom and Usze 'Taham, each with their own backstories. No matter which character is played, each player has identical abilities. A.I. behavior was enhanced and improved; the behavior of enemy Brutes the player faces was modified, giving them a "pack mentality" that causes the aliens to perform similar actions at the same time and altering gameplay. There are various Forerunner computer terminals hidden throughout the campaign which can be accessed and provide background storyline information.

Halo 3's campaign features a scoring method called the "meta-game", which can introduce a competitive aspect to cooperative play. Players are awarded points for defeating enemies while completing a level in the campaign. Extra points are awarded for certain actions (such as performing headshots or defeating multiple enemies in rapid succession), and are lost if the player dies or kills a teammate. Hidden skulls (based on the Easter egg skulls in Halo 2) can be found on each level and then subsequently activated before future missions to cause changes in the gameplay; such as giving the enemies extra health, changing in-game dialogue, or modifying a specific A.I. behavior. These skulls, as well as the difficulty level and the speed at which the level is completed, provide multipliers to the total score. Players are awarded gamerscore points for successfully reaching a certain score in each level, and medals are awarded for specific accomplishments.

On a single console, up to two players can play campaign and up to four can participate in a versus multiplayer match through use of split screen. Through use of LAN or Xbox Live, up to four players can play together in campaign, up to eight can customize a map in Forge mode, and up to sixteen can participate in versus multiplayer matches. (Each console must retain their respective split screen limitations.) A public beta test of the game's online multiplayer features, as well as saved films and file share, took place four months before the full release. Statistics from all games that are completed by players while connected to Xbox Live are also uploaded to the respective player's "service record" on Bungie.net.

Players must actively seek out other players through their Xbox Live Friends list, using the party invite system, or the LAN search feature to play multiplayer matches with their own custom rules and customized maps. If they are connected to Xbox Live however, a player can choose to have the game decide for them the exact rules and map to play on, as well as finding additional people to play against or with, using the "Matchmaking" system (the automated grouping of players of similar skill). A player will decide from a selection of developer designed "playlists" which each contain a certain way to experience the game. The games contained within a playlist can range from 1 vs 1 free for all, to 8 vs 8 team play, often focusing on either deathmatch games (known as "Slayer" in Halo), objective games (e.g. Capture the Flag) or a combination of the two. The playlists are regularly updated; either to remove unpopular types of games or map variants, fix ones that do not work well, or to introduce entirely new gametypes or whole playlists.

Like other multiplayer Xbox 360 titles, Halo 3 uses a customized version of TrueSkill ranking system for its matchmaking on a per-playlist basis (i.e. a player's performance in one playlist will not affect who they are matched against in another playlist). On top of this, a linear measure of a player's experience with the matchmade portion of the game and each particular playlist (as of TU2) is also tracked (denoted as XP). Rank insignia are unlocked and displayed by a player's Gamertag as they attain certain totals of XP (and/or skill level). To help players have an enjoyable time online, several peace-of-mind features are implemented within easy reach, such as avoid/feedback options on a player's service record, as well as voice chat mute straight from the in-game scoreboard. Like Halo 2, Halo 3 supports downloadable content and updates.

Halo 3, like its predecessors, is set in the fictional Halo universe, taking place during the year 2553. According to the backstory, humans developed faster-than-light travel (using a Shaw-Fujikawa engine attached to a regular space shuttle) and colonized hundreds of planets before encountering the alien Covenant in 2525. The Covenant declares humanity an affront to their gods and began destroying human colonies by "glassing"—bombarding the planet with a barrage of plasma, turning its surface into glass. Despite efforts to keep the Covenant from finding Earth, a Covenant fleet discovers humanity's homeworld during Halo 2. By the beginning of Halo 3, the Covenant have arrived in full force on Earth, with most human resistance crushed.

The titular 'Halo' refers to massive ringworlds several hundred kilometers in diameter that are scattered across the galaxy. These rings were constructed thousands of years ago by an enigmatic race known as the Forerunners as a weapon of last resort against the parasitic alien species known as the Flood. When activated, the seven Halos would destroy all sentient life in the galaxy, thereby depriving the Flood of its food. The ringworlds were activated once in the distant past, and the Forerunners are believed to have perished. In Halo: Combat Evolved, a small human ship fleeing the Covenant stumbled upon one of these ringworlds, Installation 04. The humans manage to destroy the ring, stopping the Flood once again; the Covenant, unaware of the destructive nature of the rings, attempt to fire another ring during Halo 2 in order to fulfill their religious prophecy. One race in the Covenant, the Elites, learn the truth about the rings, and join forces with their onetime enemies, humanity, in order to stop the firing of the ring. Though they are successful, the unexpected shutdown of the installation triggers a failsafe protocol—all the rings are ready to fire from one single location, referred to as the Ark. Still oblivious to the true nature of the rings, the Covenant High Prophet of Truth and the remaining loyalist Covenant proceed to head to Earth, where they believe the Ark is buried.

Halo 3's protagonist is the Master Chief, a surgically enhanced supersoldier who is one of the last surviving members of the SPARTAN Project, and one of humanity's greatest warriors. The Chief fights alongside the Arbiter, an Elite and disgraced commander whose race breaks free from the Covenant. Two new Elite characters, N’tho ‘Sraom and Usze ‘Taham, appear as the third and fourth players in co-op play. Supporting characters that were introduced in previous games return; these includes Sergeant Major Avery Johnson, a veteran human commander, as well as Commander Miranda Keyes, who prevents the firing of Installation 05 in Halo 2. The Forerunner Monitor 343 Guilty Spark, who tries and fails to stop the Master Chief from destroying its ringworld in Halo: Combat Evolved, also makes an appearance. Filling an alternating antagonistic/helpful role to the player is the large Flood entity known as "Gravemind"; encountered during Halo 2, the leader of the Flood escapes from confinement on Halo by invading the Covenant mobile city of High Charity and capturing Cortana, a human-created A.I., in the process.

Taking place shortly after the events of the comic mini-series, Halo: Uprising, Halo 3 begins with the Master Chief entering Earth's atmosphere and crashing to the ground in eastern Africa, where he is found by Sgt. Major Johnson and the Arbiter. The Chief, Johnson, and company fight their way out of the jungle and arrive at a UNSC outpost. Here, Commander Keyes and Lord Hood plan a last-ditch effort to stop the Covenant leader, the High Prophet of Truth, from activating a Forerunner artifact uncovered outside the ruins of the city of New Mombasa. The Chief is ordered to clear a way into the city of Voi and to destroy all anti-air Covenant defenses so Hood can lead the last of Earth's ships against the Prophet. Using the opening caused by the ground attack, Hood mounts an offensive against Truth's ship, but the Prophet activates the buried artifact which creates an enormous slipspace portal. As the human ships recover from the shock wave, Truth and his followers enter the portal, while a ship controlled by the Flood crash-lands nearby. Elite forces, allied with humanity, arrive and vitrify Flood-infected areas of Earth, neutralizing the parasitic threat. Following the cryptic message from the human artificial intelligence Cortana left aboard the Flood cruiser, the Chief, Arbiter, Elites, Johnson, Keyes and a handful of Marines follow Truth through the portal. Joining them is the Forerunner construct 343 Guilty Spark, who aids the Chief as he no longer has any function to fulfill after the destruction of his Halo installation in Halo: Combat Evolved.

Traveling through the portal, the humans and Elites discover an immense artificial structure —the Ark— which is far beyond the edges of the Milky Way galaxy. Here Truth can activate all the Halos. The Chief and company activate the installation's map room to find Truth at the Ark's control room. During their journey, the Flood arrive en masse on the former Covenant Holy City High Charity, and begin infesting the installation. While attempting to gain access to The Ark' Control Room, Johnson is captured by Truth; the prophet needs a human to utilize the Forerunner technology. Attempting to rescue Johnson, Keyes is killed by the prophet, and Johnson is forced to activate the rings. The Flood leader Gravemind forges a temporary truce with the Chief and Arbiter in an effort to stop Truth. The Arbiter, Master Chief, and Flood forces arrive and overwhelm Truth's guards, rescuing Johnson and halting the installations' firing. After the Arbiter kills Truth, Gravemind turns on the Chief and Arbiter, who escape the Flood's grasp.

The Chief, Arbiter and Guilty Spark discover that the Ark is creating a new ringworld to replace the one previously destroyed. The Chief decides to activate only this new ring to eliminate the local Flood while sparing the galaxy at large. Before he can activate the ring, however, he needs an Activation Index. Knowing that Cortana acquired a copy of one on the first Halo, he rescues the AI from High Charity and creates a chain reaction to destroy the infested city and severely damage the Gravemind.

Arriving on the new Halo, Cortana warns that the Gravemind is trying to rebuild itself on the ring. The Chief, the Arbiter, and Johnson make their way to the control room, where they will activate Halo's weapon. Guilty Spark explains that because the ring is not yet complete, a premature activation will destroy it and the Ark. When Johnson ignores his warning, Guilty Spark kills him to protect "his" ring. The Chief destroys Guilty Spark, activates the ring, and escapes the ring's blast on a frigate, Forward Unto Dawn.

Only the front half of Forward Unto Dawn, carrying the Arbiter, makes it through the portal. Believing the Chief and Cortana to have perished, a memorial service is held for the fallen heroes of the human and Covenant war. After the memorial service, the Arbiter departs for his home planet, where the Elites are finally free of the Prophets' hegemony. Meanwhile, the rear half of Forward Unto Dawn floats in unknown space. Cortana drops a beacon, but realizes it may be years before they are rescued. The Chief enters cryonic sleep, telling Cortana to "wake me, when you need me." If the game is completed at the highest difficulty level, the scene continues to show the piece of Forward Unto Dawn drifting towards a mysterious planet.

Initial conception for Halo 3 was done before the game's predecessor, Halo 2 was released in 2004. For a period after this, much of the staff were still preoccupied in making extra content for Halo 2, while others continued with the groundwork for the development of Halo 3. Bungie remained almost completely silent as to what their new project was for the next year and half, occasionally leaving comments in their weekly update alluding to a "new project." Due to the cliff-hanger ending of Halo 2, many observers correctly speculated that Bungie's new project was Halo 3.

The game was officially announced with a real-time cinematic trailer at E3 2006. Similarly to the development of Halo 2, Bungie kept the public informed on game development via "Bungie Weekly Updates". During development, the game was divided into single player and multiplayer builds; this made debugging and testing the much smaller multiplayer files quicker. While details of Halo 3's multiplayer were widely disseminated in the sixteen months leading up to the release, the single-player aspect of the storyline was kept relatively secret throughout much of the development to build up interest. The first campaign screenshots did not appear until a year after the announcement trailer, on July 5, 2007, as a "tease" for the planned pace of marketing.

Halo 3 utilizes a proprietary, in-house graphics engine, often referred to as the "Halo 3 Engine". As detailed on the Bungie Studios website, it employs advanced graphics technologies such as High Dynamic Range, global lighting and depth of field effects within cutscenes. Motion blurring was absent from the beta, but was added to the final game. Most of the dynamic objects in the game cast real-time shadows on themselves and the environment around them, including the game's plant life. Halo 3 uses normal, bump, and parallax mapping to give surfaces more detail without dramatically increasing the number of polygons. Players can see distances of up to ten miles (16 km) away, all fully three-dimensional. Real time reflections were written into the engine; however, they are often unused as Bungie considered it a waste of resources.

Halo 3 does not natively render at true HD resolution (at least 720 lines of vertical resolution). In a Bungie Weekly Update, it was confirmed that the game renders at 1152×640 resolution instead of the usual 1280×720 (HD) resolution that most Xbox 360 games use. This is because Halo 3 uses two frame buffers instead of the usual one, so the lower resolution allowed Bungie to preserve as much of the dynamic range as possible for the game's lighting without adversely affecting the frame rate. The image can be upscaled to 1080p by the Xbox 360.

As with all titles on the Xbox 360, Halo 3 fully supports 5.1 surround sound audio. In the game, there are over 50,000 pieces of audio, with nearly 40,000 of those being NPC dialogue. This is far more than in either of the preceding Halo titles; Halo 2 had over 15,000 pieces of dialogue. The AI controlling this dialogue is designed to ensure the exchanges flow naturally and convincingly. Separate recordings were made for nearby and distant gunfire to make for a more believable sound experience in the public beta, and the finished game uses Waves Audio plugins to modify dialog and other audio in-game depending on conditions. Distant gunfire sounds, which may first seem like prerecorded ambient sound, may often be the result of an actual firefight happening elsewhere in the game.

Marty O'Donnell again composed the original score for the game. Some pieces of the game's music are produced with a much larger real orchestra than any pieces in the prior two games. For example, the music for the announcement trailer was recorded with a 60-piece orchestra and a 24-piece choir. Halo 3 is the first game in the series to feature custom soundtracks, allowing players to replace in-game music with their own choices. The Halo 3 Original Soundtrack was released on November 20, 2007. Included on the soundtrack is an original composition submitted by fans and judged by Nile Rodgers, Michael Ostin, and Marty O'Donnell.

Voice actors returning to reprise their roles in Halo 3 include Jen Taylor as Cortana, David Scully as Sergeant Johnson and the Elites, Keith David as the Arbiter, Tim Dadabo as 343 Guilty Spark, Ron Perlman as Lord Hood, Robert Davi as Rtas 'Vadum, and Steve Downes as the voice of Master Chief. The game also features new voices, with Terence Stamp and Justis Bolding replacing Halo 2 voice actors Michael Wincott and Julie Benz as the Prophet of Truth and Miranda Keyes respectively. Additional voices include celebrity presenter Jonathan Ross, Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, Alan Tudyk, Katee Sackhoff, and John DiMaggio. Members of the Halo machinima Red vs. Blue (Burnie Burns, Gus Sorola, Matt Hullum, Jason Saldaña, Geoff Ramsey, and Joel Heyman) have a cameo role.

Various marketing techniques were employed in promoting the release of Halo 3; these included various trailers of the game, real-time cinematics, recorded gameplay sequences, pre-rendered CGI, and live action film. Throughout the course of development Bungie released four "developer documentaries" which explain the processes behind creating parts of the game. A large scale multiplayer beta test was played on Xbox Live with more than 800 000 members of the public being able to take part and experience the game for themselves. Beginning in June 2007, Iris, an alternate reality game, began on the internet, designed to create hype for the game while involving players in slowly revealing background information for the game. The actual release was met with worldwide launch parties.

Numerous interviews with Bungie staff were conducted by gaming press establishments, covering a vast range of subjects dealing with the game. Magazines and journals also occasionally ran stories revealing new information. Pepsi-Cola announced a new line of soft drink, a variant of Mountain Dew named Game Fuel, branded with the Halo 3 logo and the Master Chief. Much of the advertising focused on appealing to the general public, rather than just hardcore fans of the game; for example, some 7-Eleven stores advertised Halo 3 and sold specialty cups and copies of the game. On September 12, 2007 the "Believe" Halo 3 ad campaign, focused on the epic nature of the story and heroism told through dioramas and third party accounts of Master Chief's service, began with the video "Museum" and continued on past the game's release.

Months before the release of Halo 3, the game's final testing copy before its gold release (codenamed Epsilon and confirmed by Bungie to be 99.9% complete), was leaked to the Internet. Microsoft reacted to this leak by having the Xbox Live accounts of gamers caught playing the Epsilon copy banned until the year 9999. Two weeks before Halo 3 was due to be released, full retail copies of the game complete with photographs of the open game box started to appear on the internet auction site eBay. A week before Halo 3 was due for release, major UK catalog retailer Argos accidentally released some of their final retail copies of Halo 3. Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices division were quoted as being "disappointed that it happened" but that "it was just an honest mistake" and that Microsoft had no intention of punishing Argos for the error.

Halo 3's final retail copy was leaked online over a week before its official release. The 6.14 gigabyte file of the game was ripped and downloaded by "thousands" of people within 24 hours of the leak. Videos of the ending of Halo 3, obtained from the leaked copy, were captured and posted on video sharing sites.

Halo 3 was released in three separate versions. The Standard Edition contains the game disc, manual, and a small poster with the game's control-map and artwork.

The Limited Edition, contained in a metal case, contains the game disc, manual, poster, interactive Xbox 360 bonus disc with several featurettes, and a hard cover bound "Bestiarum", which is a collection of information and art covering the species, cultures, and civilizations of Halo 3.

The final version was marketed as the "Legendary Edition", which contains the game disc, manual, poster, interactive bonus disc, Bestiarum (on one of the DVD discs), Legendary DVD containing special content exclusive to the Legendary Edition, and a scale replica of the Master Chief's helmet as a case for the three discs. The slip-cover packaging unfolds into a large heavy-stock poster of Master Chief. Gamestation stores in the UK also offered a limited edition Master Chief figurine only available to the first 1000 pre-orders.

Upon release, some of the Limited Edition versions of Halo 3 were found to have a defect in the hub that kept the discs in place, which could lead to scratched discs. Microsoft confirmed the problem and offered to replace scratched Halo 3 Limited Edition discs free of charge until the end of January 2008. This was not a problem in either the Legendary Edition or the Standard Edition.

According to Microsoft, first-day sales of Halo 3 reached $170 million in the U.S., setting a record for highest gross of an entertainment product within 24 hours of its release, which was later surpassed by Grand Theft Auto IV. The performance beat the previous record setter, predecessor Halo 2, which earned $125 million within 24 hours after its launch. Halo 3 has beaten other records as well; at least four million copies of Halo 3 were pre-ordered globally, making it the fastest pre-selling game to date. Worldwide more than US$300 million worth were sold in the first week, helping to more than double the sales of the Xbox 360 when compared with the weekly average before the Halo 3 launch. In the U.S., Halo 3 sold 3.3 million copies in its first 12 days on sale, increasing to 3.7 million copies by November 15, 2007. On October 4, 2007, Reuters UK estimated that Halo 3 may have sold up to 5.2 million copies worldwide in the first two weeks after launch. By November 30, 2007, Halo 3 had sold 5 million copies worldwide, and as of that point, was the best-selling video game of 2007 in the U.S., even though the game is only available on one console. On January 3, 2008, Microsoft announced that Halo 3 has sold 8.1 million copies. The game drew over a million Xbox Live members to play online in the first 20 hours, making it the biggest day for Xbox Live gaming in history.

On October 15, 2007, Advertising Age reported that movie studio executives were convinced the release of Halo 3 harmed box office receipts; the week's take was 27% less than the previous year's yield. While some executives decided the disparity in estimated and actual gross for films like The Heartbreak Kid was due more to the film's poor reception, other analysts believed that "the audience on is the 18-to-34 demographic, similar to what you'd see in cinemas" and that this led to a decrease in receipts. Later research suggested that the Halo 3 players still watched the same amount of television and movies, regardless of the time they spent playing the game.

Halo 3 supports multiplayer map downloadable content as well as game updates via Xbox Live. The first three post-release multiplayer maps, "Standoff", "Rat's Nest", and "Foundry", were released as a pack on December 11, 2007, collectively known as the "Heroic Map Pack". "Foundry" in particular expanded the map-creation abilities available through Forge with a greater range of relatively primitive objects, and a clear open design.

The second three maps were released in the "Legendary Map Pack", on April 15, 2008. These were three new maps entitled "Ghost Town", "Avalanche", and "Blackout"; the latter two maps are remakes of the Halo: Combat Evolved map "Sidewinder" and the Halo 2 map "Lockout" respectively. These maps introduced visual filters to the Forge pallet, which change the way the maps look. A remake of the Halo: Combat Evolved map "Chill Out", titled "Cold Storage", was released as a free download on "Bungie Day", July 7, 2008.

The third multiplayer map pack, titled the "Mythic Map Pack" and consisting of the maps "Orbital", "Assembly", and "Sandbox", is scheduled for release on the Xbox Live Marketplace, will be included with Halo 3: ODST, and is included with the Limited Collectors Edition of Halo Wars; the Xbox Live release has been set as early 2009. Like "Foundry", "Sandbox" also expands upon Forge map-creation with several cleared areas.

The first version update for Halo 3 was released on February 19, 2008, and addressed various bugs such as melee contest resolution and saved-film theater errors. The next update (called a Title Update) was released September 23, 2008, and includes new Achievements, a new XP ranking system, and various new ways to detect and stop cheating in the game. There are no further updates planned for Halo 3.

Halo 3 was given favorable reviews from game critics. On the review aggregator Game Rankings, the game has an average score of 93%, based on 89 reviews, making it the eighth best reviewed Xbox 360 game to date. On Metacritic, the game has an average score of 94 out of 100, based on 74 reviews.

Pro-G assured readers in its review that Halo 3 lived up to the hype, saying that the game "is everything we hoped it would be, and much, much, more". Many publications, including Eurogamer and Games Radar stated that the "winning formula" of Halo and Halo 2 was unchanged, but the addition of new features and weapons prevented stagnation. Most publications agreed that multiplayer was by far one of the best features; IGN said that the multiplayer map lineup was the strongest of the series, and Gamespy added that the multiplayer offering will make "Halo weep big sloppy sobs of joy". The Forge level editor and saved films features were singled out as particularly strong features, in addition to superb voice acting and Martin O'Donnell's rich score.

Reception of the single-player aspect varied greatly. Pro-G said that while the cliffhanger ending of Halo 2 was disappointing, the campaign of Halo 3 "is anything but"; GameSpot and GameSpy, meanwhile, said that the campaign was too short, especially on easier difficulty levels. IGN was highly critical of the eighth level, stating "the penultimate chapter is so bad, just thinking about it puts a rotten taste in my mouth." The New York Times said the game had a "throwaway" plot and Total Video Games judged the single-player aspect ultimately disappointing.

Other complaints focused on the artificial intelligence; critics praised the enemy AI but complained that the intelligence of the player's allies was far poorer. Bryan Vore of Game Informer said that human faces and some textures were just "embarrassing". Game Informer criticized the occasional repeated environments and poor final boss battle, and both IGN and CinemaBlend.com said that they thought a part of the story was lost by not having the Arbiter featuring as prominently as the character was in Halo 2.

Halo 3 was nominated for seven awards from the Spike TV Awards, of which it won "Best Multiplayer Game" and "Most Addictive Video Game Fueled by Dew". It won TIME magazine's "Game of the Year" and IGN chose it as the Best Xbox 360 Online Multiplayer Game and Innovative Design of 2007. Halo 3 won "Multiplayer Game of the Year" and "Geezer Game of the Year" as awarded by Geezer Gamers as well as runner-up for "Best Shooter". The Visual Effects Society awarded Bungie the "Best Real Time Visuals in a Video Game" for Halo 3. Halo 3 took the Calvin Award for "Best Videogame" as selected by Box Office Prophets. Halo 3 also took the award for Xbox 360 Game of the Year 2007 from Gametrailers.com, and was voted by fans as Game of the Year on G-Phoria. Halo 3 won the Edge Award For Interactive Innovation in August 2008.

Bungie announced on October 9, 2008, that a standalone expansion of Halo 3 entitled Halo 3: Recon. This was later changed to Halo 3: ODST. It is scheduled for release in the third quarter of 2009. In the game, the players assume the role of a UNSC Orbital Drop Shock Trooper (ODST), instead of the Master Chief. The events of the game are a prequel to Halo 3.

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Halo (series)

The covers of Halo: Combat Evolved, the Halo 2 Limited Edition and the Halo 3 Legendary Edition

Halo is a science fiction video game franchise, created by Bungie and owned and published by Microsoft Game Studios. The main trilogy of games center on the experiences of the Master Chief, a cybernetically-enhanced human super-soldier, and his artificial intelligence (AI) companion, Cortana. The Master Chief aids future humanity in battling the Covenant, a theocratic alliance of alien races. In this science fiction setting, the term "Halo" refers to Halo megastructures: large, habitable ringed structures, similar to Larry Niven's ringworlds.

The trilogy of video games have been praised as being among the best first-person shooters on a video game console, and are considered the Microsoft Xbox's "killer app". This has led to the term "Halo killer" being used to describe console games that aspire, or are considered, to be better than Halo. Fuelled by the success of Halo: Combat Evolved, and immense marketing campaigns from publisher Microsoft, both sequels went on to break various sales records. Halo 3 sold more than US $170 million worth of copies in the first twenty-four hours of release, breaking the record set by Halo 2 three years prior. The trilogy of games have sold over 24.8 million copies worldwide.

Strong sales of the games has led to the franchise's expansion to other mediums; there are five bestselling novels, two graphic novels, and other licensed products. Beyond the original trilogy, other "Halo" games have branched off into other genres of play, with different developers; including Halo Wars, an upcoming real-time strategy game, Halo: Chronicles, which is being developed by Peter Jackson, and Halo 3: ODST, a prequel to Halo 3. The series' award-winning music was composed by Bungie's own in-house musician Martin O'Donnell, and soundtracks have been released for the entire trilogy. The cultural impact of the Halo series has been compared by writer Brian Bendis to that of Star Wars. The collective group of fans of the series is referred to as the "Halo Nation".

Halo is set several centuries in the future. After the development of the "Shaw-Fujikawa Translight Engine", the United Nations Space Command (UNSC) begins a program of interstellar travel and planetary colonization. Over 800 planets are colonized in 200 years, categorized as "Inner Colonies" and "Outer Colonies". The Inner Colonies, being closer to Earth, are more developed and politically stable. Due to the older planets' need for the raw materials and supplies the Outer Colonies provide, tensions and outright civil war foments between the colonies and the UNSC. The UNSC creates the SPARTAN-II Project in order to covertly suppress these rebellions. Twenty-seven years before the events of the main game trilogy, UNSC communication with the colony Harvest is lost, and the ship sent to investigate is destroyed by the Covenant, a theocratic collective of aliens bent on exterminating humanity. The Covenant leadership has declared humanity to be an affront to their Gods, the Forerunner. By 2535, almost all of the Outer Colonies have been destroyed by the Covenant; in response, the UNSC vigorously enforces the "Cole Protocol", destroying material and ships that might lead the Covenant to Earth. The Covenant possesses a significant technological advantage, and proves nearly impossible for the UNSC to defeat in space engagements. These events are only alluded to in the video games, but their full descriptions are outlined in the novels Halo: The Fall of Reach and Contact Harvest, as well as in the real-time strategy game Halo Wars.

The story arc of the game trilogy begins with the game Halo: Combat Evolved, set in 2552. The Covenant arrive at Reach, which is the UNSC's last colonial major stronghold; they vitrify the planet, leaving very few survivors. The Master Chief, the last SPARTAN thought alive, escapes on the ship Pillar of Autumn. The Pillar of Autumn, in order to avoid leading the Covenant to Earth, proceeds to coordinates selected by the female A.I. Cortana; dropping out of slipspace, the Autumn discovers the titular Halo, and is attacked by the Covenant. Battle damage forces the Autumn to the surface of the ring, where the Flood, a parasitic alien species, are accidentally released by the Covenant. The release of the Flood prompts the ring's caretaker, 343 Guilty Spark, to convince the Master Chief to activate Halo's defenses, so that the Flood can be destroyed. The Forerunners created Halo to starve the Flood of their food—sentient life—by exterminating all possible vectors for thousands of light-years in every direction. Upon discovering Halo's purpose, the Master Chief detonates the fusion reactors in the crashed Pillar of Autumn, destroying the ring; he and Cortana then escape in a fighter spacecraft.

In Halo: First Strike, the Master Chief returns to Reach, located in the Epsilon Eridani system, and rejoins the survivors of the vitrification. He and other SPARTAN-II's attack a Covenant space station, where a fleet is massing to attack Earth. The space station is destroyed, giving the humans time to prepare for the invasion. Soon after in Halo 2 a small Covenant fleet arrives at Earth. Badly beaten by the humans, the Covenant commander, the High Prophet of Regret, flees to another Halo, Installation 05, unwittingly taking the human ship In Amber Clad with him. At Installation 05, the Master Chief kills the High Prophet, leading to the replacement of the Covenant Elites with the Brutes as the preferred soldiers of the Covenant. This changing of the guard causes a schism within the Covenant. The Elites, realizing they have been betrayed, ally with the humans. The Elite warrior known as the Arbiter joins the humans Miranda Keyes and Sergeant Johnson in stopping the activation of Halo. This act inadvertently puts all the Halo installations on standby: the remaining rings can be activated remotely from a location known as "The Ark".

The Master Chief stows away on a Forerunner vessel headed to Earth, in the midst of a full-scale invasion by the Covenant. In Halo 3, the Covenant excavate a Forerunner artifact in the African desert; despite the efforts of the Elites and humans, the High Prophet of Truth activates the artifact, which opens a slipspace portal to the Ark. The Master Chief and the Arbiter travel through the portal and kill Truth; They then activate a new Halo ring under construction in an effort to destroy the local Flood, led by the intelligence known as the Gravemind, while sparing the rest of the galaxy. Because the ring's construction is incomplete, the resulting pulse destroys the ring and damages the Ark. The Arbiter escapes the explosion, but the Master Chief and Cortana are left drifting in space, trapped in the severed rear half of their ship. The Master Chief cryonically freezes himself as he and Cortana wait for rescue. In a bonus ending, the ship is seen drifting towards a mysterious planet.

As of 2009, the Halo series includes a main trilogy of games; the games were released in chronological order, with each new installment following the events of the previous title. Two new games are in development. The Halo series features recurring science fiction and action game elements. Ancient structures and alien races appear throughout the series. The games of the main trilogy are first-person shooters, with the player experiencing most action from the protagonist's perspective.

Originally developed as a real-time strategy game for the Apple Macintosh platform, Halo: Combat Evolved went through several iterations before arriving at the console first person shooter for which it is recognised. When the developer was bought by Microsoft in 2001, the game was rapidly finished and became an Xbox launch title and platform exclusive.

Released on November 15, 2001, the Xbox version of Halo: Combat Evolved is the first Halo video game. The game introduced many gameplay and plot themes common to the whole trilogy. Players battle various aliens on foot and in vehicles to complete objectives, while attempting to uncover the secrets of the eponymous Halo. One concept introduced in Halo: Combat Evolved, is limiting the number of weapons players could carry to two, forcing them to carefully select their preferred armament. Players fight with ranged and melee attacks, as well as a limited number of grenades. Bungie refers to the "weapons-grenades-melee" format as the "Golden Triangle of Halo", which has remained fundamentally unchanged throughout the trilogy. In Halo: Combat Evolved, the player's health is measured in both hit points and a continually recharging energy shield. A PC and Mac port was later developed by Gearbox Software, and released on September 30 and November 11, 2003 respectively. A stand-alone expansion, entitled Halo: Custom Edition, was released as a PC exclusive, and allowed players to create custom content for the game.

Its sequel, Halo 2 was released on the Xbox on November 9, 2004 and later for Windows Vista on May 17, 2007. For the first time, the game was released in two different editions: a standard edition with just the game disc and traditional Xbox packaging, and the Collector's Edition with a specially designed aluminum case, along with an additional bonus DVD, extra booklet, and slightly different user manual. Halo 2 introduced new gameplay elements, chief among them the ability to hold and fire two weapons simultaneously, known as "dual wielding". Unlike its predecessor, Halo 2 fully supports online multiplayer via Xbox Live. The game uses "matchmaking" to facilitate joining online matches by grouping players looking for certain types of games. Completely forgoing the more traditional "server list" which was used to find matches in online games almost exclusively prior to this. Upon release, Halo 2 became the game played by the most people on the Xbox Live service that week; regaining this title every week for over two years — the longest streak any game has held the spot. To this day, Halo 2 is still the game played by the most people each week for the original Xbox.

Halo 3 is the third and final game in the main Halo trilogy, ending the story arc begun in Halo: Combat Evolved. The game was released on the Xbox 360 on September 25, 2007. It adds to the series new vehicles, new weapons, and a class of items called equipment The game also includes a limited map-editing tool known as the Forge, which allows players to insert game objects, such as weapons and crates, into existing multiplayer map geometry. Players can also save a recording of their gameplay sessions, and view them as video, from any angle.

The success of the main Halo trilogy has spurred the creation of spin-offs. Halo Wars is a real-time strategy game being developed by Ensemble Studios for the Xbox 360. Set in the year 2531, the game will take place prior to the events of Halo: Combat Evolved. According to Ensemble, much effort has been expended into developing a control scheme that is simple and does not have issues like those in other console strategy games. The game was announced at X06, where a pre-rendered trailer was shown; at E3 2007, a montage of gameplay clips featuring many aspects of Halo Wars was shown, followed by a demonstration video on the official site. The game will be released in Spring of 2009. The other in-universe spin-off is Halo: Chronicles, a "new trilogy" of Halo games. Originally announced on September 27, 2006, at X06 as an untitled project, these titles are to be co-written, co-designed, and co-produced by Peter Jackson, with his recently formed development studio, Wingnut Interactive; the series will be episodic. A Halo-based character, SPARTAN Nicole-458, appeared in Dead or Alive 4, a product of the collaboration between Tecmo's Team Ninja and Microsoft's Bungie Studios.

In an interview on MTV on July 16, 2008, Microsoft’s head of Xbox business, Don Mattrick, stated that Bungie is working on a new Halo game for Microsoft, which he stated is independent of Halo Wars and Halo Chronicles. An announcement of the new Halo project was expected at the 2008 E3 game exposition, which Bungie stated "has been building for several months", but was delayed by their publisher Microsoft. The Halo announcement was to be part of Microsoft's 150-minute E3 presentation, and was cut to trim the presentation down to 90 minutes; Microsoft has stated it wants to give the game its own dedicated event. After the release of an ambiguous teaser trailer on September 25, Microsoft announced the game as Halo: Recon (which has since been retitled Halo 3: ODST), a prequel to the events of Halo 3 to be released in 2009.

Alternate reality games were used to promote the release of the games in the main trilogy. The Cortana Letters, a series of cryptic email messages, were circulated by Bungie prior to Halo: Combat Evolved's release. I Love Bees, an alternate reality game, was used to promote the release of Halo 2. The game focused on a website created by 42 Entertainment, commissioned by Microsoft and endorsed by Bungie. Over the course of the game, audio clips were released that eventually formed a complete five-hour story set on Earth between Halo and Halo 2. Similarly, Iris was used as a viral marketing campaign for the release of Halo 3. It featured five web servers containing various media files related to the Halo universe.

Spin-off titles were planned for release on handheld systems, but proved to be either rumors or did not progress far in development. Early rumors of a handheld Halo title began in 2004 about a title for the Game Boy Advance. However, Bungie denied the rumors and commented that such a project between Microsoft and Nintendo would be "very unlikely". At a Las Vegas consumer technology convention in January 2005, rumors were spread about a version of Halo for the handheld Gizmondo system. Bungie denied the rumors stating they were not making a game for the system. A former-Gizmondo employee later revealed development only extended to basic story and game structure concepts to obtain funding from investors. In 2006, a concept video for Microsoft's portable Ultra-Mobile PC featured footage of Halo and caused speculation for a handheld title. Microsoft later stated the footage was for demonstration purposes only; Halo was included because it was a Microsoft-owned property. In January 2007, IGN editor-in-chief Matt Casamassina claimed he played a version of Halo for the Nintendo DS. Due to speculation, on October 2, 2007 he demonstrated on-camera, in-game footage of an early-development style version of Halo DS. The demonstrated work featured dual-wielding and a version of the Halo 2 map Zanzibar. On October 5, 2007, Bungie employee Brian Jarrard explained the Halo DS demo was in fact an unsolicited pitch that was never taken on.

The first Halo game was announced on July 21, 1999, during the Macworld Conference & Expo. It was originally planned to be a real-time strategy game for the Mac and Windows operating systems, but later changed into a third person action game. On June 19, 2000, Microsoft acquired Bungie Studios and Halo: Combat Evolved became a launch title for the Xbox video game console. After receiving Xbox development kits, Bungie Studios rewrote the game's engine, heavily altered its presentation, and turned it into a first-person shooter. Though the first Halo was meant to include an online multiplayer mode, it was excluded because Xbox Live was not yet available. The success of the game led to a sequel, Halo 2, which was announced on August 8, 2002 at the Microsoft's New York X02 press event. It featured improved graphics, new weapons, and a multiplayer mode on Xbox Live. Halo 3 was announced at the 2006 Electronic Entertainment Expo. The initial conception for the third game was done before Halo 2 was released in 2004. It utilized a proprietary, in-house graphics engine, and employed advanced graphics technologies.

A report published on IGN explores the literary influences present in the franchise, and notes Halo was influenced by The Culture and Ringworld, written by Iain M. Banks and Larry Niven, respectively. It comments on the similarities between characters in Halo and other science fiction series, most notably Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game: aspects of the SPARTAN Project and the design of the Drone species are perceived as reminiscent of the super soldier program and Buggers found in the novel. Other elements of the games such as the Master Chief's name "John" have been suggested as originating based on a character named Jon 6725416 in Christopher Rowley's Starhammer. Another essay suggests that the name is a homage to the John Spartan character of Demolition Man. A report written by Roger Travis and published by The Escapist compares Halo with the Latin epic Aeneid, written by classical Roman poet Virgil. Travis posits similarities between the plots of both works and compares the characters present in them, with the Flood and Covenant taking the role performed by the Carthaginians, and the Master Chief's role in the series to that of Aeneas.

Four Halo soundtracks, composed by Martin O'Donnell, have been released. The Halo Original Soundtrack contains most of Combat Evolved's music. Due to the varying nature of gameplay, the music present was designed to use the game's dynamic audio playback engine. The engine allows for the mood, theme, and duration of music played to change according to gameplay. To afford a more enjoyable listening experience, O'Donnell rearranged portions of the music of Halo into standalone suites, which follow the narrative course of the game. The soundtrack also contains music not used in the game, including a variation on the Halo theme that was first played at Halo's debut at Macworld 1999.

For Halo 2's soundtrack, producer Nile Rodgers and O’Donnell decided to split the music into two separate volumes. The first, Volume One, was released on November 9, 2004 and contained all the themes as well as the “inspired-by” music present in the game (featuring Incubus, Hoobastank, and Breaking Benjamin). The second release, Volume 2, contained the rest of the music, much of which was incomplete or not included in the first soundtrack, as the first soundtrack was shipped before the game was released; the second volume was released on April 25, 2006. Halo 2, unlike its predecessor, was mixed to take full advantage of Dolby 5.1 Digital Surround Sound.

The soundtrack for Halo 3 was released on November 20, 2007. O'Donnell noted he wanted to bring back the themes from the original game in order to help tie together the end of the trilogy. The tracks are presented, similarly to the previous soundtrack for Halo 2, in a suite form. Unlike previous soundtracks, where much of the music had been synthesized on computer, the soundtrack for Halo 3 was recorded using a 60-piece orchestra, along with a 24-voice chorus. The final soundtrack was recorded by the Northwest Sinfonia at Studio X in Seattle, Washington. The soundtracks were bundled and released as a box set in December 2008.

For Halo Wars, the task of creating the game's music fell to Stephen Rippy. Rippy listened to O'Donnell's soundtracks for inspiration and incorporated the Halo theme into parts of his arrangements. In addition to synthesized and orchestral components, the composer focused on the choir and piano as essential elements, feeling these were important in creating the "Halo sound". Rather than use the Northwest Sinfonia, Rippy travelled to Prague and recorded with the FILMharmonic Orchestra before returning to the United States to complete the music. A standalone compact disc and digital download retail version of the soundtrack was announced in January 2009 for release on February 17.

The Halo franchise includes various types of merchandise and adaptations outside of the video games. Currently, this includes bestselling novels, graphic novels, and other licensed products, from action figures to a packaging tie-in with Mountain Dew. Numerous action figures and vehicles based on Halo have been produced. Joyride Studios created Halo and Halo 2 action figures, while Halo 3 poseable and collectible action figures were produced by McFarlane Toys.

There have been numerous printed adaptations based on the Halo canon established by the video games. Larry Niven (author of Ringworld) was originally approached to write a Halo novelization, but declined due to unfamiliarity with the subject matter. The first novel was Halo: The Fall of Reach, a prequel to Halo: Combat Evolved. It was written by Eric Nylund in seven weeks, and published in October 2001. William C. Dietz wrote an adaptation of Halo: Combat Evolved called Halo: The Flood, which was released in 2003. Eric Nylund returned to write the third novel, Halo: First Strike, which takes place between Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2, and was published in December 2003. Nylund also wrote the fourth adaptation, Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, which was published on October 31, 2006. Bungie employee Joseph Staten wrote the fifth book, Halo: Contact Harvest, which was released on October 30, 2007, while Tobias S. Buckell produced the sixth, Halo: The Cole Protocol, published in November 2008. Bungie considers the Halo novels as additions to the Halo canon.

The Halo universe was first adapted into the graphic novel format in 2006 with the release of the Halo Graphic Novel, a collection of four short stories. It was written and illustrated by graphic novelists Lee Hammock, Jay Faerber, Tsutomu Nihei, Brett Lewis, Simon Bisley, Ed Lee and Jean Giraud. At the 2007 New York Comic Con, Marvel Comics announced they would be working on an ongoing Halo series with Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev. The limited series, titled Halo: Uprising, bridges the gap between the events of Halo 2 and Halo 3; initially planned to conclude shortly before the release of Halo 3, the constant delays led to the final issue being planned for publishing in March 2009.

Marvel announced at the 2009 Comic Con that two new comics, a five-part series written by Peter David and a second series written by Fred Van Lente, would appear the coming summer and winter. David's series, Helljumpers, is set prior to Halo: Combat Evolved and focuses on the elite Orbital Drop Shock Troopers; Lente's series, Spartan Black, revolves around a black ops team of Spartan supersoldiers assigned to the UNSC Office of Naval Intelligence.

In 2005, a script for a film adaptation of Halo was written by Alex Garland—which D. B. Weiss and Josh Olson rewrote during 2006—for a 2008 release. The movie was to be developed and released by 20th Century Fox, under the creative oversight of Microsoft. Peter Jackson was slated to be the executive producer, with Neill Blomkamp as director. Before Blomkamp signed on, Guillermo del Toro was in negotiations to direct. The crew has stopped and resumed preproduction of the film several times; while Blomkamp has declared the project dead, Jackson says the film will still be made. Blomkamp commented the Master Chief worked from a video gamer's perspective, but dramatically does not hold much weight because of his faceless nature. The character as depicted in the film would have been "the most important supporting cast member". Instead, "other characters around him did most of the emotional heavy lifting", with their story exploring their perception of the Master Chief.

After Jackson's project stalled, Stuart Beattie chose to write an adaptation of Halo: The Fall of Reach. Concept artist Kasra Farahani drew up concept art for Beattie, as part of an eventual presentation to Microsoft. Microsoft requested Latino Review – who discovered the existence of Beattie and Farahani's presentation – to take the images offline, which the website refused.

The Halo franchise has been highly successful commercially and critically. During the two months following Halo: Combat Evolved's release, it sold alongside more than fifty percent of Xbox consoles and sold a million units by April 2002. Halo 2's sales generated US$125 million on its premiere day, making it the fastest selling United States media product in history up to that time. Combined with Halo's sales, the two games sold 14.8 million units before Halo 3's release.

GameSpot reported 4.2 million units of Halo 3 were in retail outlets on September 24, 2007, a day before official release—a world record volume. Halo 3 broke the previous record for the highest grossing opening day in entertainment history, making US$170 million in its first twenty-four hours. Worldwide, sales exceeded US$300 million the first week, helping to more than double the sales of the Xbox 360 when compared with the weekly average before the Halo 3 launch. At the end of 2007, Halo 2 and Halo: Combat Evolved were the number one and two best-selling Xbox titles, respectively, and Halo 3 was the best-selling Xbox 360 title. The Halo series has gone on to sell more than 25 million copies worldwide.

The Halo adaptations have been successful as well. All the novels have appeared on Publisher Weekly's bestseller charts. and the Halo Graphic Novel sold more than 100,000 copies, a "rare hit" for the games-to-comics genre. Ghosts of Onyx, Contact Harvest, and The Cole Protocol appeared on The New York Times bestseller lists , and The Cole Protocol also opened 50th overall on USA Today's bestsellers list.

Overall, the Halo series has been well received by critics. Halo: Combat Evolved has received numerous Game of the Year awards. In March 2007, IGN listed it as the top Xbox game of all time, while readers ranked it the fourteenth best game ever on "IGN Readers' Choice 2006 - The Top 100 Games Ever". Conversely, GameSpy ranked Halo: Combat Evolved tenth on its list of "Top 25 Most Overrated Games of All Time", citing repetitive level design and the lack of an online multiplayer mode. Halo 2 also received numerous awards, with IGN listing it as the number two top Xbox game of all time in March 2007. From its initial release until the launch of Gears of War on the Xbox 360 nearly a year later, Halo 2 was the most popular video game on Xbox Live. Halo 3 was nominated for and won multiple awards; it won Time magazine's "Game of the Year" and IGN chose it as the Best Xbox 360 Online Multiplayer Game and Innovative Design of 2007. Most publications called the multiplayer aspect one of the best features; IGN said the multiplayer map lineup was the strongest of the series, and GameSpy added that the multiplayer offering will greatly please "Halo veterans". Complaints focused on the game's plot. The New York Times said the game had a "throwaway" plot and Total Video Games judged the single-player aspect ultimately disappointing. The series' music and audio has received enthusiastic response from game reviewers.

The main trilogy, particularly its protagonist, has been declared iconic and a symbol of today's videogames; a wax replica of the Master Chief was made by Madame Tussauds in Las Vegas, where Pete Wentz compared the character to notable characters from previous generations like Spider-Man, Frodo, and Luke Skywalker. The Escapist author Roger Travis compared Halo's story to Virgil's Aeneid, saying the religious and political struggle described in the games relates to the modern epic tradition. GamesTM stated Halo: Combat Evolved "changed videogame combat forever", and Halo 2 showcased Xbox Live as a tool for communities. GameDaily noted Halo 2's launch is "easily comparable to the biggest in other sectors of the entertainment industry", marking the first time a video game launch has become a major cultural event in America. Time magazine included the franchise in the "2005 Time 100", highlighting that in the first ten weeks after the release of Halo 2, players spent 91 million combined hours playing the game online. A The New York Times report noted the success of Halo 3 was critical for Microsoft, persuading consumers to buy the Xbox 360 console which was experiencing waning sales compared with the Nintendo Wii, as well as helping restore the console's image. On September 25, 2007, the release date for Halo 3, Microsoft's shares rose 1.7% based on sales expectations for the game. Halo has been described as a series that "has reinvented a genre that didn't know it needed to be reinvented", with aspects of the main trilogy being duplicated in other FPS games multiple times.

As a highly popular video game series with a large and active fan base, the Halo trilogy has given rise to a wide array of video productions in an emerging entertainment medium, machinima. Virtually all machinima footage is taken from the multiplayer modes of the main trilogy games. Most productions are set outside Halo canon, while others are based on fan fiction closely relating to the official story. Halo 3 includes a saved film function that allows camera angles not possible in previous games, and other features that simplify production; the game has since become one of the most popular tools for generating machinima, and Microsoft updated its user license agreement to allow noncommercial distribution of such films.

A notable machinima production is the comedy series Red vs. Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles, a parody of the Halo universe, created by Rooster Teeth Productions. It has achieved an unparalleled level of success in Halo machinima in specific, and machinima in general; it is credited with bringing attention to the genre. Red vs. Blue generated annual revenues of US$200,000, and special promotional episodes were commissioned by Bungie. The series ended on June 28, 2007, after 100 regular episodes and numerous promotional videos. Sequels to the series include Reconstruction, which contains more dramatic elements than its comedic predecessor, and Relocated. Other machinima series include Fire Team Charlie, The Codex, and the in-game interview show This Spartan Life.

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Halo (Beyoncé Knowles song)

Beyonce in the underwater scene featured in the official music video for "Halo"

The song "Halo", written by Ryan Tedder, was originally offered to British singer Leona Lewis, but was given to Knowles because Lewis did not have the time to record it. Lewis also stated that the song suited Knowles' voice better. A dance remix of the song was released by famous dance-producers Mysto & Pizzi on their blog.

Knowles performed the song for the first time at the NAACP awards where she also won Outstanding Female Artist.

The reviews of "Halo" have been generally positive. Chris Williams of Billboard writes, "'Halo' has a mainstream pop sound, with subtle R&B undertones that should carry it to the top of the charts. Comparisons could be made to Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love" (also co-written by Ryan Tedder), but hangs high on its own merits." Michael Slezak of Entertainment Weekly writes, "'Halo', an absolutely glorious and perfectly produced track that should be as big a hit as 'Irreplaceable' and 'Crazy in Love'.". Digital Spy said that " 'Halo' is a contemporary power ballad in the 'Bleeding Love' mould: modish beats, a simple piano melody and loads of emotion. "Everywhere I'm looking now, I'm surrounded by your embrace, baby I can see your halo, you know you're my saving grace," Beyoncé sings over Tedder's bombastic production. Could Lewis have pulled this off better? Well, that's a matter of opinion of course, but Mrs. Jay-Z doesn't leave much room for improvement".

The song debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 on the issue dated February 7, 2009, at number 93 and so far peaked at number 32, becoming her 17th Top 40 hit. On the Canadian Hot 100, the song debuted at 92 and so far peaked at number 28.

On February 2, 2009, "Halo" debuted at number 40 on the Official New Zealand RIANZ Top 40 Chart, becoming her 15th top 40 hit there. The following week the song jumped 34 places to number 6, then jumping to number three in its third week. The song has since peaked at number 2, making it Knowles' third consecutive number 2 single behind "If I Were A Boy" and "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)". The song was certified Gold after seven weeks, selling over 7,500 copies. On February 7, "Halo" became the most added song to Australian radio in the week of its release. "Halo" debuted at number twenty-nine on the Australian ARIA Singles Chart and has since peaked at number 3 making it a bigger hit than "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" there.

On March 7, 2009, the song made its way up the UK Singles Chart to number 40 on downloads alone, 6 weeks before its official release. The following week the song went up twenty places to number 20.

The video premiered exclusively on iTunes on December 23, simultaneously with the music video for "Diva".

The music video was shot in late November and directed by Philip Andelman. It features actor Michael Ealy as Knowles' love interest , and unlike the other three music videos from the album , "Halo" is the first video to be shot fully in colour. The song was cut to be shorter for the music video (the album version is 4 minutes and 21 seconds, while the video version is around 3 minutes and 45 seconds. The second bridge in the Video Edit of the song is shortened) and only part of the song is actually sung by Beyoncé while during other times it is just the music playing in the background while the video progresses. The video begins with Beyoncé up against a wall with a window behind her with light shining. As the video progresses the scenes vary in different parts of the house were one scene is Beyoncé dancing to some choreography in a leotard as her love interest looking down at her from a balcony. During the climax Beyoncé is seen underwater in white clothing and when the chorus begins, Beyoncé opens her eyes. The last scene is played with Beyoncé lying down with Michael Ealy above her and only their faces are shot for the scene.

There is an alternative video to be released in 2009. The alternative video will have Beyoncé driving throughout the video, however when Beyoncé reaches her destination, her love interest is found dead. Only two still photos of the video have been released so far.

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Source : Wikipedia