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Halo 5: Guardians (2015)

Microsoft is setting the bar high for Halo 5: Guardians, the latest installment in its popular first-person shooter franchise due for release on Xbox One this October.

It’s going to be the “biggest game” ever launched by Microsoft’s Xbox division, according to Xbox product manager Kuran Kapoor. That’s a pretty bold statement given the near-15 year history of Microsoft’s range of Xbox consoles. With PlayStation 4 leading hardware sales this console generation, Microsoft needs to give gamers a good reason to buy an Xbox One. It’s banking on Halo 5 being a big hit, despite the fact it’s releasing into a busy window for shooters this fall, including the arrival of blockbuster titles like Star Wars: Battlefront and Call of Duty: Black Ops III.

“We are releasing in close proximity to some great games, but we couldn’t be more confident that Halo 5 will deliver upon expectations,” Kapoor told MCV. He promised “amazing announcements” about Halo 5 at next week’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) trade show in Los Angeles.

Halo’s track record says Kapoor could be right. Halo 4 took $300 million in a week when it released on Xbox 360 back in 2012. More recently, though, Halo: The Masterchief Collection on Xbox One — a remastered collection of previous titles in the series — suffered terrible multiplayer problems which rendered it pretty much unplayable, even forcing the cancellation of an official Halo esports tournament. Halo fans will hope that Microsoft’s learned a lot from that experience.

With E3 coming up, it is time for Microsoft to start ramping up the marketing machine for Halo 5: Guardians, which is due out this October. We will undoubtedly be seeing more of the game next week, although Game Informer has been given the go-ahead to publish a trove of new details this week.

There are some good points and some bad points. Unfortunately, Halo 5 won’t be featuring split screen co-op, which is a huge shame as it was one of the few triple A series left that supported it. That doesn’t mean no co-op though, there will be up to four player online co-op for the story mode and the best part is that it won’t require an Xbox Live Gold subscription, although the traditional multiplayer mode will.

Moving on to more details about the story, which will feature Master Chief accompanied by the Blue Team. While Master Chief is set to be on the run in this game, it seems that he isn’t out there on his own as he will be commanding the Blue Team throughout the story.

343 Industries has big plans for competitive multiplayer as well, with more than twenty maps planned for launch. An additional 15 maps will be released for free between launch and July next year as well, which is a big step in the right direction as it means the player base will not be divided.

Now 343 Industries does have some hurdles to overcome as last year’s Master Chief Collection launch went painfully wrong. In the Game Informer magazine issue, Bonnie Ross notes that it probably would have been better off shipping each Master Chief Collection title separately, rather than attempting to bundle it all on one disc. In the future, every single Halo title will have a beta test before releasing in an effort to avoid anymore bad launches.

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