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Halo: Reach is Microsoft's biggest-ever marketing spend

Media campaign to top $6.5m, and involves a laser-wielding robot

Microsoft intends to spend more on marketing for upcoming shooter Halo: Reach than for any previous effort. While figures are undisclosed, its media spend alone will top the $6.5 million laid out for Halo 3.

Xbox global product manager Michael Stout told Advertising Age that the campaign would be Microsoft's biggest ever, and followed a beta trial for the game which attracted 2.7 million players.

Media spend includes 300 million bottles of Mountain Dew, 30 million bags of Doritos, an Ultimate Fighting Championship sponsorship, a series of live-action TV spots… and a laser-wielding robot in San Francisco.

"We're trying to get people to connect back to their lives, not computer graphics or something overly sci-fi," said Taylor Smith, director of global marketing communications for Xbox.

"Live action is a way to capture that. We're trying to tell the story in broad strokes and universal themes that people know all around the world."

The KUKA KR 140 robot arm will be controlled by visitors to rememberreach.com, who can use it to remotely carve a 54000-point light-sculpture of the game's protagonists.

The aim is to beat Halo 3's $300 million in first-week sales, and to significantly increase the $2 billion the 34 million-selling series and its associated merchandise has generated since 2001.

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Alec Meer

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A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.

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