Fans Fill Dundas Square In Toronto For Halo 4 Infinity Experience


Just several hours before the midnight release of Halo 4, Torontonians were treated to a massive launch event in Dundas Square. The lines were long, the weather was cold, but the fans were cheerful and the event itself expansive.

When we first arrived, what immediately caught our eyes was the large structure that had been set up as the entrance into the event. Designed as a facsimile of the UNSC Infinity’s interior, the semi-hexagonal framework had complex lighting and ambient audio to give the illusion of entering the massive starship that is crucial to Halo 4’s story.

As people approached the fog-emitting console at the end of the chamber, they were given metal UNSC dog tags and a blank plastic ID card that was to serve as their pass for the various activities inside the event itself. The scores in each activity determined an overall rank, and finally a photo was taken and all the details added to create a custom UNSC ID card for every participant.

The activities were wide-ranging, from a trivia quiz on the lore of the Halo universe to a complex eye-tracking headset to a laser-tag shooting range, in which participants shot facsimile light-guns downrange at event staff simulating enemies diving in and out of cover.

Despite the cold, the fans were ecstatic and the long lines a testament to the hardness of core they possessed. We saw many fans in costume as Spartans, ODST, and UNSC officers, excited for each new activity station. Periodically they circled around the tall heating lamps placed about the outdoor event space, but that was only to warm themselves up enough to dive into the next challenge.

The event’s staffs were enthusiastic and well-organized, playing the part of UNSC Infinity crew guiding each ‘recruit’ from station to station. They provided snacks and drinks, with promotional codes attached for double XP in Halo 4’s multiplayer mode.

A playable demo of that multiplayer mode was available as well, as the final stop in the various UNSC Infinity activity stations. Players competed against each other in 4 on 4 matches, with the winning side in these exchanges scoring Master Chief T-shirts and all participants given a Halo 4 poster. Even the losing side in each match walked away with heads held high and gleeful with anticipation at the chance to play more when the game launched later that night.

The centrepiece of the whole event itself was set up on Dundas Square’s stage, with seating for a sizeable audience. The entirety of the online web series Forward Unto Dawn was shown, with never-before-seen footage that wasn’t included in the online release of each episode.

The Halo 4 launch event went to an impressive extreme to not only promote the game and electrify fans for the imminent launch, but actually make the participants feel included and immersed in the Halo universe. The various ‘training’ activities and customized UNSC photo ID cards served to underline that this event was a celebration for Halo’s diehard fans.

We’re in the office right now getting our thoughts down on Master Chief’s return to the battlefield.  Tune in tomorrow morning for our full review of Halo 4!

About This Post

November 6, 2012 - 7:30 am

Events, Gaming Life