It is 2.18 meters tall and weighs 500 kilograms. Protected by his Mjolnir armor, he only removes his helmet on rare occasions. Perhaps he will design to show his face to blow out the candles on his birthday cake? The famous Master Chief will celebrate his 20th birthday tomorrow. It was in fact on November 15, 2001, that the game of which he is the hero, Halo: Combat Evolved, was released in the United States. Heckled by the specialized press until the last month of its release, the app met with stunning success. We’re calling on the memory of 343 Guilty Spark to remember the good old days when millions of gamers agreed to wear the Bungie Forged Ring on their finger.
First envisioned as RTS before evolving into TPS and then FPS, Halo: Combat Evolved has survived a tumultuous development due to a regularly redefined artistic vision. The demonstration orchestrated by Jason Jones (co-founder of Bungie and director of Halo) at MacWorld 1999 was an unexpected highlight for studio executives. We must believe that Steve Jobs had detected genius in these developers who showed journalists an impressive demo. The artificial intelligence seemed good, the physics engine seemed strong and above all the environments were open, which was rare enough to impress an audience in the late 1990s. Yet it is the big rival of the apple group who bite into Bungie in June 2000
Microsoft, then on a mission to secure content for its future – and first – game console buys the parents of Halo. The studio then only has a big year to finish a software which must now be the spearhead of a brand new machine. The late arrival of dev kits means the Bungie title isn’t in top form when it hits the press at GameStock 2001. Tomonobu Itagaki, the creator of the Dead or Alive series, recently said that the FPS featuring Master Chief worried him because of its too low framerate. At E3 2001, some fears melted away. “You know that we had doubts about the interest of Halo” explained the magazine Joypad (n ° 110, July-August 2001). “Fortunately, the version presented at E3 reassured us” he continued.
Despite everything, Microsoft remains cautious in its sales outlook. By the admission of the American giant, the marketing teams of the Redmond firm did not believe in the commercial performance of Spartan. “ When we looked at the forecast, Halo was at the bottom of the list, ” admitted Phil Spencer. At this time, the first-person shooter was struggling to gain traction on consoles, although the success of GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark sent encouraging signals. “ Halo did not explode the charts from the first day ” admits Jaime Griesemer (Game Designer at Bungie) in the book Halo, the Space Opera according to Bungie of our dear Epyon. Like the cave accessible in the “ Halo”, The success of Bungie’s game has nothing in common.
When Halo: Combat Evolved hits newsrooms, it’s like a bombshell. ” Before leaving for Canada, where I brought my Xbox from, I was on Metal Gear Solid 2. You can imagine that I was not strictly speaking happily to leave my quest for Dog Tags to go do this. unforeseen report … and since I came home with the console and Halo, the job took precedence, I could not get back to MGS2. I had to hit Halo in the meantime. I’ll give it to you in thousand: the pill went fantastically well, I had so much fun on HaloRaHaN joked in his test published in the lines of Joypad (n ° 115).
The editors are amazed at the richness of the environments, the transitions without loading times, the detailed textures, and multiple special effects never before seen on consoles. The app fills your eyes, your ears, and proves that the Xbox is the most powerful console on the market. In the first few months of the machine’s sale, 80% of buyers leave with a copy of Halo. Week after week, the madness 117 spreads across the Atlantic. In 2002, the producer Nile Rodgers insisted with the Redmond firm to publish the soundtrack of the game under his label. In 2003, the machimina scene seized on soft and gave birth to Red VS Blue. In three years, Halo: Combat Evolved has sold more than 5 million copies: all the lights are green for a sequel. Proof of the shock engendered by the franchise’s first episode, Halo: Combat Evolved entered the highly prized World Video Game Hall of Fame in 2017, alongside Pokémon and Donkey Kong. Master Chief may still be at war with the Covenant, but he has earned the respect of his peers nonetheless. And millions of fans.
Although Master Chief plans to descend to Earth to fend off the Covenant in Halo 2, the Spartan’s reputation reaches the skies. When Bungie unveiled the title trailer at New York’s X02 in August 2002, the fuse was lit. Fans can’t wait any longer. Microsoft will then skillfully maintain the wait through impressive gameplay snippets (at E3 2003 and 2004), and especially by developing an intriguing Alternate Reality Game. In mid-July 2004, the Redmond firm released a new Halo 2 trailer in American cinemas, just four months from its release. She invites the viewer to go to a funny website called “ilovebees.com”. Over the days, this site run by a beekeeper fell victim to bugs.
There are mysterious messages there and especially audio clips from… the future. The craze is such that ilovebe posters are brandished during the televised debates between Kerry and Bush. The result is there: 1.5 million pre-orders are registered for Halo 2. Artists go out of their way to be associated with the Halo madness. On the soundtrack of the second part, we find pieces of Breaking Benjamin, Hoobastank, and Incubus, while Steve Vai brings a little electric guitar to the main theme. In 2004, players are eager to continue the adventures of Master Chief and Cortana and meet online to compete through Xbox Live. Bet won: two-thirds of Xbox Live subscribers buy Halo 2. The game shatters previous records, selling 2.38 million copies in a single day in North America alone. On November 9, 2004, the successful launch of Halo 2 made the morning headlines on NBC, ABC, and Komo 4. In the process, Xbox sales increased 27% and Xbox Live subscription kits sold out like hotcakes.
During the years that followed, nothing stopped Master Chief. When Halo 3 lands on Xbox 360, it’s once again a hit. A year after its release, almost one in two owners of the Microsoft console bought the software from Bungie. Why such a success? Halo knew how to tell a simple but fascinating story. Thanks to its level design and the artificial intelligence of the opponents, no game is alike. Best of all, Halo isn’t just aimed at hardcore gamers, it’s also aimed at casual enthusiasts who are fond of split-screen campaigns. In the process, Bungie delivers Halo 3: ODST (2009) and Halo Reach (2010). Two titles which once again meet with great success when they are released. Nevertheless, the influence of Call of Duty begins to weigh on the shoulders of the UNSC soldiers. Packs are invited to the party, as are special abilities and the bloom on certain weapons.
Halo 4 goes further in crossbreeding with the arrival of Assets and killstreaks. Despite a good single-player campaign, the fourth episode divides fans. This first Halo headed by 343 Industries following the departure of Bungie is nevertheless selling extremely well: in just 24 hours, it generates 220 million dollars in revenue. On the side of its scenario, and even if it is the direct continuation of the third part, Halo 4 explores new avenues with The Didacte and the Librarian. He especially digs into the relationship between an end-of-life Cortana and Master Chief. A story that Halo 5 will try to advance with all the sorrows in the world. Deprived of split-screen co-op, obscure in its storyline, Halo 5: Guardians is content with an 84/100 on Metacritic, making it the worst-received episode by critics, along with the Halo 3 spin-off: ODST. Of course, this average remains very good, but it insists on the fact that the saga has lost some of its splendor. Fortunately, thanks to its multiplayer mode called Warzone, the software from 343 Industries provides the show online. According to the studio, it would have sold 5 million copies of Halo 5 in three months.
Figures officially released since tend to prove that Halo continues to interest millions of fans. But the series faces stiff competition as well as a lot of criticism. The video shown at the 2020 Xbox Showcase did no good for the upcoming Halo Infinite’s communications campaign, and while multiplayer testing is reassuring, there are still a lot of mysteries surrounding the production of 343 Industries. . Either way, Halo is a strong license that has marked a whole generation of players. So it’s only natural that we wish him a happy birthday.