In less than eight hours, we’ll be celebrating the launch of Halo 4 around the world starting with New Zealand, one of the closest countries to the International Date Line. Then, as the sun makes its daily procession around Earth, each consecutive region will host their frenzy of Halo 4 activity, marking the biggest game launch in Microsoft history.
In all, over 10,000 retail stores in more than 40 countries will play host to Midnight Madness launch events. In the U.S. alone, 7,000 retail doors will be flung open at midnight for a few hours to help the most eager Xbox 360 gamers and Halo fans get a jump on the rest of the population sleeping snugly in their beds. In addition to these retail activities, many countries and regions will host public launch celebrations. Europe kicked off launch festivities with theatrical flair in the principality of Liechtenstein earlier this week. Dubbed "Experience Halo", it was truly a Halo experience to remember. In all, more than 30 marquee launch celebrations will occur in major cities including Tokyo, Sydney, Hong Kong, Dubai, Toronto, Mexico, Germany, Spain, Italy and France. The United Kingdom will host an extra special activity: A spectacular stunt on the Thames in London between O2 Stadium and Tower Bridge. Executive Producer Kiki Wolfkill will be on hand for the festivities. I can neither confirm nor deny that it will be awesome. I can tell you, however, that it will be AWESOME.
For those of us stateside, Midnight Madness will take place in every major metropolitan area at GameStop, Best Buy or Microsoft Stores, to name a few participating retailers. The Microsoft Store in Austin, Texas, will host activities by leads from 343 Industries, Rooster Teeth and Certain Affinity. Best Buy in West Hollywood and Pembroke Pines, California will deliver a $10k cash prize to the winner of their Halo 4 launch night tournament. Here in Seattle, 343 Industries, Xbox 360 and the Microsoft Store in University Village welcomes one and all to join us for an evening of excitement as we ring in the release of Halo 4. Game play stations will be set up so fans can play before the game is available, the Master Chief and our brand-new, built-to-scale Warthog will be available for photo opportunities and 343 Industries – from our Creative Director Josh Holmes and Franchise Development Director Frank O’Connor – will attend the launch event en masse to meet fans and share in the launch excitement. The University Village store will also host very special guests, including the voice of the Master Chief, Steven Downes.
Regardless of where you live or how you celebrate, we hope you enjoy the newest installment in the Halo franchise. We'll see you soon, either at one of the launch events or on the virtual battlefields of Halo 4!