The Halo 4 franchise has quite a lot of bragging rights in the gaming world.
As Microsoft reminded us, 46 million copies of Halo have been sold to date, and 3.3 billion hours have been logged in for the games on Xbox Live. Microsoft also points out that Halo had the first ever red-carpet premiere for a video game.
The series is going to reach even greater heights when Halo 4 comes out on November 6, and to help launch the next Halo installment, David Fincher produced a trailer for the game that debuted on Jimmy Fallon. To keep the hype rolling on the eve of the game’s release, Redmond actually took over a country to promote the game.
As The Guardian tells us, Microsoft assumed command over a number of landmarks in the European country of Liechtenstein, including Gutenberg Castle, which it turned into a military compound and set up a United Nations Space Command camp nearby as well. A local mining quarry was also reworked into an exhibit that The Guardian described as "an immersive adventure," with Master Chief making a guest appearance, driving his Warthog vehicle.
As Microsoft has freely acknowledged, Halo is bar none the company's most important franchise, and there’s speculation this installment of the game could reach $100 million dollars in production costs and promotion.
As The Guardian notes: "Now Xbox 360 has transformed a country. A small country to be sure, but it’s a country nevertheless and all to promote the release of a game you’d have to have been locking in an isolation ward for about three years to not know about."
And indeed, the funny irony of promotion is how much a company will put into hyping something that everyone on earth already knows about. According to a Nielsen poll, Halo 4 is the #1 anticipated game of the season, so how much higher on the charts can you go from there?
Still, while some will definitely look at promotion like this as being grandiose, megalomaniacal and bloated, others will find it fun, and the kind of showmanship we used to see all the time for movies that presented everything as bigger than life in the classic P.T. Barnum tradition.
Bringing a game to life is a natural, and it would be wild to see something like this on tour, and going ‘round to bigger cities around the globe.