Microsoft's new first-party shooter, Halo 5: Guardians was released yesterday, with celebrations around the world to mark the event. We joined Microsoft for its festivities in London to see how its UK team was getting into the spirit of things. We were able to get our hands on with the full retail game before launch, and experience a range of events prepared for the night.
For the evening, Xbox took control of the Roundhouse in the north of the city, with a large scale event to promote and celebrate Halo 5’s arrival. The site was draped in banners of the two protagonists, with promotional material scattered outside.
The main hall of the venue had been redesigned, with decor inspired by Halo 5's campaign. Most notably, the stage had been styled to look like an ancient stone structure, similar to those found on Sanghelios, visited during the game's story.
The show was hosted by social marketing manager for Xbox, Graeme Boyd, and presenter Julia Hardy, who interviewed guests and gamers throughout the night. Over the course of the event, the duo spoke with a wide range of celebrity guests from the gaming industry.
The legends themselves, the Master Chief and Spartan Locke, also took to the stage, in all their glory.
A small-scale tournament was the center of attention for the night, featuring sixteen online personalities competing in teams of four. The teams were pitted against one another, in a range of different game modes from Halo 5: Guardians. The tournament took place on the mainstage, with a live commentary provided by two shoutcasters.
Franchise development director, Frank O'Connor gave a walkthrough of the third mission of the Halo 5: Guardians campaign and spoke about development decisions, with an insight into how the game was built with the Xbox One in mind.
Graeme Boyd got the chance to speak to Ted Timmins - legendary designer and lead of Fable Anniversary and chat about his history with the Halo franchise.
Alpha Team and Delta Team were eliminated early on in the competition, and fought for third position, before the grand final took place. Delta Team soon took the lead, and left Team Alpha in fourth place.
Charlie Team, consisting of Buk20, Ali-A, Verbi, and Wizzite, emerged victorious, beating Bravo Team in a final game of Breakout.
Once the tournament rounded off, attendees were given the opportunity to explore the venue. The hall was populated with many Halo collectibles and displays, including various editions of the game, and replicas of iconic weapons and vehicles from the Halo universe.
A small area was separated off, and fillled with Xbox One consoles running Halo 5: Guardians. These were easily accessible, and gave players the chance to fine-tune their skills before the game dropped later that night. Those who played the game were given access to the both the multiplayer and single-player modes.
Inspired by a CGI trailer released by Microsoft, a replica of the Covenant Banshee could be found at the back of the hall.
Also taken from the Halo universe, a replica of the MA5D assault rifle was on display, built to scale from in-game assets.
Both the Halo 5: Guardians Xbox One console, and Limited Collector's Editions were on display. For a more in-depth look at the Limited Collector's Edition, ensure to take a look at our coverage from last week.
And for a further look at the London event, check out the gallery below.