That anticipation steadily built up and finally came to an end four years later when Halo 3 launched in September 2007 – the final chapter in one of the biggest video game series the industry has ever known had arrived.
In a wide-reaching game campaign, the build-up to launch was an impressive affair, attracting unprecedented column inches from the specialist and national press.
With a launch that saw an extensive advertising campaign and a UK launch event involving a VIP red carpet event, including rapper Pharrell Williams at London’s BFI IMAX cinema, it’s clear that some very hard work indeed went into orchestrating the events and campaign for the Master Chief’s swansong.
Halo 3 was Brett Siddons’ last game launch before he moved into his role as Xbox 360 platform marketing manager, so MCV asked him to cast his mind back to that campaign last year.
“We all had our fingers crossed for the award,” Siddons tells MCV. “It’s great to get recognition from the industry on what was the biggest campaign I had the pleasure of working on. It was obviously a massive team effort and everyone here at Microsoft, our agencies and retail partners stepped up to the challenge of making Halo 3 the most successful launch in entertainment history.”
And what had been the biggest challenge the team faced?
“Halo 3 was just the start of arguably the best line-up of games in the industry’s history and this in itself proved challenging as we worked hard to meet the huge consumer demand for the console.”
“Sales achievements aside, the MCV Award win was probably down to the noise that we created at launch, not just in gaming press but breaking out into national and broadcast media in an unprecedented way,” Siddons explains.
“We always set out to launch Halo 3 like a blockbuster movie and I definitely think we achieved this.”
Halo 3 played a key part in an impressive 12 months for the industry. “You just need to look at the sales figures to know that it has been a fantastic year for our industry, and the trend looks set to continue as we break down the barriers and bring more and more people into gaming and entertainment,” says Siddons.
And who would the Microsoft man pick out as a competitor he admired? “Nintendo are obviously doing a great job in expanding the market, which can only be positive news for all of us.
"Competition is always healthy, ensuring investments are constantly being made to deliver better products and services for consumers.”
We pressed the Xbox 360 marketing boss for a scoop on what was coming up next, but Siddons’ lips were sealed, only saying, “let’s just wait and see.”
One thing’s for sure, if Microsoft has anything like Halo 3 up its sleeve then retail is going to have its hands full.