In lieu of the recent announcement that Xbox 360 prices will be cut internationally to compete with the PS3’s new pricing strategy, Microsoft is now arguably in a position to threaten Sony’s reinvigorated console line.
It is well known that each console’s list of exclusive titles has an influence on how many units the company will sell. As it stands each console currently has a number of good titles which are due to be released before year’s end.
One of the most striking reasons to buy an Xbox 360 before Christmas appears to be Halo:ODST, which will be released internationally on September 22.
Set as a prequel to the events of Halo 3, the player will step into the shoes of a single UNSC trooper known as ‘The Rookie’ instead of ‘Master Chief, who is the original protagonist of the Halo series.
In typical Halo fashion the Rookie will not be entirely aware of where he is or why throughout the game. “One of the things (writer) Joe Staten talked about early on with ODST was thinking about it as a mystery,” Curtis Creamer, Halo: ODST’s Lead Producer recently told Computer and Video Games.
Because the soldier is an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper (ODST), he is not equipped with the protective armour and strengths that Master Chief possesses in the future and so finds himself more vulnerable – making the campaign more challenging for the player.
“We wanted to make the experience of playing as an ODST feel different,” says Curtis, “so you’re definitely weaker and more vulnerable, but that means you have to change up the tactics you’re used to using.”
Although Halo: ODST has been marketed as an expansion to the Halo universe for franchise fans, Creamer revealed that the game will be bigger in many ways.
“The scope of the game did grow some, we found a lot of ways to get a lot more out of it than we expected, especially since we didn’t originally understand what it would mean to have an open-ended world like New Mombasa. You could spend days just wandering around the city.”
Halo: ODST is significant for Microsoft and the Xbox 360 because, if it manages to be even marginally as popular as Halo 3, it will be a windfall for the company and the console.
To date Halo 3 is the only Xbox 360 title to sell over 10 million copies worldwide, a statistic which only a few games across all platforms have enjoyed. It continues to be a popular seller and its Xbox Live community still enjoys a large amount of activity despite the game’s 2007 release.
In a market where the value proposition behind the Xbox 360, given its lack of a Blu Ray drive and built in Wi Fi, is arguably slipping a successful exclusive title such as Halo 3 or Halo: ODST could cement the console’s worth in the eyes of buyers for months to come.
In this case a successful release of Halo: ODST, which already topped sales charts on the weekend based on pre sales alone, could perhaps make the Xbox 360 appear a more worthwhile purchase for new buyers than the PS3.
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