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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

August 26, 2011 at 10:02 AM

Halo Warthog in Forza, Microsoft’s opening Pax salvo

Microsoft gave the press a sneak preview Thursday night of Halofest, a sprawling “Halo” arcade, museum and tchotchke mart within the humongous PAX Prime game conference, which begins today and runs through the weekend at the Washington State Convention Center.

If you don’t have PAX tickets yet, it’s too late. The show sold out in May, less than a month after ticket sales began.

Microsoft is working on “Halo 4” but new details of the 2012 release won’t come out until Sunday.

The company is casting the PAX Halofest as a sort of celebration of the 10th anniversary of the franchise that established the Xbox platform, although the actual anniversary of the game’s release isn’t until Nov. 15 and the studio that created the game withdrew from Microsoft in 2007.

On Nov. 15 the company is releasing “Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary,” a bundle of “Halo” content from the past decade that’s been remastered and modified with some new features. The $40 game can be played in 2-D or 3-D, and you can toggle back and forth between the original graphics and current graphics based on the “Halo: Reach” engine.

“Halo” purists may balk, but Microsoft may sell millions of copies, as it’s turned the marketing machine up to 11.

One tidbit of news from last night’s press event was that Microsoft is cross-promoting “Halo” in its upcoming “Forza Motorsport 4” game. In a section that lets you explore cars up close using the Kinect motion sensor, you’ll be able to unlock a Halo Warthog jeep, start it up, customize the paint and play with the controls, although you won’t actually be able to drive it in “Forza,” which goes on sale Oct. 11.

A few screenshots:

FM4_2010_AMG_Warthog_3_WM.png

FM4_2010_AMG_Warthog_1_WM.png

Here are a few pictures of the Halo zone at PAX, before the crowds arrived:

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Three grunts per person!

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