September 14th. Remember that date.
Not only is it Amy Winehouse's birthday and the anniversary of the first spacecraft to crash onto the Moon, it's also the official release date for Halo: Reach
worldwide! Well okay, it's set to ship on September 15th in Japan, but everywhere else (so... nearly worldwide...) it's September 14th!
Fresh from a press release this morning, Bungie also announced some statistics about the game's recent Beta, alongside this official date. More than 2.7 million people played the beta, logging up over 16 million hours and over 1.1 billion
kills during the 18 days that the multiplayer Beta ran.
Quoted below is some excerpts from Bungie about both the Beta and the upcoming release:
"It's exceeded our expectations," said Bungie Studios community director Brian Jarrard. "Our only real perspective going into this was the 'Halo 3' beta test, which had about 800,000 people. We knew there were a couple million copies of 'ODST' out there, but we really didn't have any specific information that let us know what the population might be like."
"There really is tons of analytical data that we need to derive from the beta test with regard to the network and back-end systems," said Halo: Reach creative director Marcus Lehto. "We needed our fans to provide feedback. We needed a very large audience to hammer on this game, which allows us to use the data that really helps shape the final product."
"We always want to give our fanbase something new and fresh," said Lehto. "We definitely wanted to give them something new to sink their teeth into with 'Reach,' and maybe even grow our audience bigger than we're typically used to seeing. I think we did that with 'Invasion.' Sure, there's a few more rules to learn, but at its core, it's still a 'Halo' game."
"This is the most pressure we've ever been under. This is the biggest 'Halo' title we've ever made, and we're worried there's 'Halo' fatigue out there. That's why we set out to add new twists, and we're happy to see people enjoy it, but it was a huge risk for us to release what's essentially a work in progress to almost 3 million people."
Lehto went on to describe how it feels working on Bungie's final Halo
"It's absolutely bittersweet. We created this. I was there on day one in 1997 back when it was just three of us working on what ultimately became 'Halo.' Now, we have the largest team we've ever had on a 'Halo' game. We're having fun, but closing this series out as the leader of this project, I will definitely be sad when it's all over."