Halo is one of the most successful video game franchises of all-time. Developed by 343 Industries, these science-fiction first-person shooter games have amassed a massive fanbase since the launch of the first game, ‘Halo: Combat Evolved’, on November 15, 2001. There have already been six video games released in this franchise and these have sold 65 million copies worldwide and have grossed $3.4 billion. The franchise also includes various other products based on the games, including comics, novels, graphic novels, and a range of other licensed products.
343 Industries, a subsidiary of Microsoft, are currently developing the seventh video game of the franchise. In the meantime, Microsoft has announced that a touring theme park based on the Halo games is set to tour the United States in the summer of 2019. This is an exciting opportunity for fans of the video game franchise to immerse themselves into the Halo world. The enormous theme park covers a vast 300,00-feet-square and it is called ‘Halo: Outpost Discovery’. This tour will visit five cities across the United States, starting with Orlando on July 5, 2019. Next, the park will stop at Philadelphia, Chicago, and Houston, before the tour comes to an end in Anaheim in September.
‘Halo: Outpost Discovery’ is a collaborative project involving both 343 Industries and Herschend Live. The latter is the live entertainment company that is responsible for ‘Dollywood’. The combined skills and knowledge of the two companies’ team members mean that this is an interesting venture. Kiki Wolfkill, the Head of Halo Transmedia Entertainment for 343 Industries, has spoken about the tour in interviews. She has said that they had originally imagined a location-based entertainment space. However, Herschend Live suggested the idea of a tour as they thought it was a better fit for the ideas already put forward for the theme park. Overall, it was decided that a touring theme park was a better option than a permanent installation when all the pros and cons were considered.
So, what can visitors to the traveling theme park expect? Just some of the features of ‘Halo: Outpost Discovery’ include laser tag battles, virtual reality games, games stations, escape rooms, replica and art exhibits and many more attractions to keep visitors entertained. The aim is to allow visitors to enjoy a fully immersive environment that recreates the classic world of science-fiction shooter games that gamers seem to love so much. This is exactly the type of fun experience that will get Halo fans excited.
Wolfkill has explained that the breadth of the activities available at the touring theme park will give visitors an experience that is far beyond just playing the game. She described the experiences available as both physical and interactive as they reflect the ethos of Halo with elements of virtual reality. According to Wolfkill, the combination of these attributes gives this theme park a similar atmosphere to that of a festival.
This theme park is just the latest in a range of spin-offs from the original video game element of the franchise. In addition to the merchandise, books, comics, and graphic novels, the franchise has also inspired its fans. Halo enthusiasts have created social media channels and video accounts that allow them to share live-action as they play that other fans can then view. These videos usually feature multiplayer games but there are also podcasts where people talk about the games and give advice relating to strategies.
Another development from the video games was a film adaptation. This was based on ‘Halo: Combat Evolved’ but the film version was simply titled ‘Halo’. Originally, this film was planned for release in 2008. Unfortunately, it was repeatedly abandoned and then picked up by other studios. Now, it is postponed indefinitely.
Fans still have a while to wait for the next installment of the video game series. The new game is called ‘Halo Infinite’ and it was announced in June 2018. However, there is no official release date for the new game. Until then, fans can get their Halo fix by visiting one of the locations of the new touring theme park. Visitors have the option to buy either single-day passes, three-day passes, or VIP passes for any of the locations in the tour.