These days, the blockbuster game is a release from a major publisher hoping for an event to be cast of all the attention and discussions about the game of the year, is an institution. It’s easy to tell what such a game is in its current state, as is usually the case around Dads trying to connect with their previously neglected children or characteristics a B-list celebrity actor or two in his cast. But in the early days of this trend, the primordial definition of it would be halo 3.
Developed by Bungie and released for the Xbox 360 on September 25, 2007, halo 3 was by any measure a big deal for Microsoft and the broader gaming landscape at the time. With the sting of halo 2 2004’s cliffhanger ending is still fresh in players’ minds as to whether Bungie could release a satisfying conclusion to its trilogy – a word that feels ancient now that franchises either don’t come to a trilogy or go far beyond– was the big question at the time. That question arose as Bungie shifted much of the marketing focus to multiplayer and was noticeably reticent about the game’s campaign until a few months before release. When it finally emerged that the campaign was effectively a team between series leader Master Chief and halo 2 Deuteragonist the Arbiter, saving the earth from the covenant and the deluge felt like a real surprise.
gloriole has always been a fairly popular franchise, but it was during Bungie’s original tenure and with the release of halo 3 particularly, that the series was at its peak. halo 2 had a healthy life thanks to DLC, and being playable on 360 thanks to backwards compatibility was a good incentive to get the console well ahead of the Threequel’s release date. Such was the excitement for the game and the desire to play it that it was recorded with another Xbox 360 crackdown helped boost sales of this game. (When that turned out, it turned out to be a nice fluke crackdown was pretty good in itself.) Even after the game came out, Microsoft knew it had a golden goose and wouldn’t let you forget it. Similar to crackdown, both Halo Wars and Halo 3: ODST from 2009 had DLC cards to the halo 3 as another incentive to buy these games.
Beyond the beta, Microsoft and Bungie have done everything they can to make the game’s release seem like a big deal, and not just with limited-edition merchandise like consoles and controllers. Microsoft wanted to make sure the game was also marketed has already shopped fans and spent over $40 million to make it happen. There were a variety of commercials that are remembered to this day, such as the “Believe‘ promo featuring minifigures, the alternate reality game ‘Iris’ and the ‘Starry Night’ commercial, which made it famous when it premiered once, during an ESPN game in December 2006.
Eventually, halo 3 would sell 5 million copies by the end of the year, become one of the best-selling games of 2007, and gain over a million Xbox Live players within the first 20 hours of release. It was such a hit that film executives blamed its release for Ben Stiller’s flop The heartbreaking child (Serious). It was the kind of hit — one that drew in fans as well as people who might not even know what before gloriole was even – that games these days just aren’t always, at least until Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in 2017. Part of the reason why games are slowly but surely becoming more of a widely accepted cultural institution halo 3 and the efforts Microsoft has made to make it appealing to people beyond those who are already driving or dying for the franchise.
There have been games that have been surpassed halo 3 in terms of sales and critical reviews. You could certainly argue that it was on the low end of The best games of 2007a year that had some very Great games towards the end. But in relation to what halo 3 As a cultural touchstone that served as a benchmark for what makes a Triple-A game stand the test of time and matter beyond its isolated audience, Bungie’s trilogy conclusion is in a league of its own.
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