Describing this sequel as "hotly anticipated" is a bit of an understatement - it's one of the most beloved series in gaming history, and with an all-new company at the helm, gamers are more than a little intrigued to see how this all pans out (hint: 343 Industries is going all out on this one, aiming to "set a new standard" for blockbuster interactive entertainment).
The game itself is set four years after the events of Halo 3, with Master Chief preparing to confront his destiny - and, y'know, face an ancient evil threatening the entire universe.
So far, the landmark franchise from Bungie has sold more than 40 million games, inspired best-selling novels, short films, comic books, action figures, clothing, and countless me-too video games. Now the baton has been handed to 343, and fans are breathlessly waiting to see if the new team can do the story justice.
Phil Spencer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Studios, explains:
We are beginning a new saga with ‘Halo 4’ and embarking on a journey that will encompass the next decade of ‘Halo’ games and experiences. Millions of fans worldwide have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to step back into the boots of Master Chief, and, with ‘Halo 4’ leading the charge, we’re confident 2012 will be the most successful year in Xbox history.
Back in 2007, when Halo 3 launched, it shattered records around the world as the biggest consumer launch of all time. The game concluded the original trilogy, but fans were left wondering about Master Chief and his AI companion Cortana. Now, five years later, you'll finally be able to find out what happens to them. With Cortana reaching the end of her seven-year lifespan, things are going to get emotional.
Goes without saying, but Halo 4 will be an Xbox 360 exclusive when it launches in November.