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Microsoft has "totally bungled" Halo ODST marketing

Mixed messages have promoted criticism in the press, says Bethesda's Cheng

Bethesda's production director Ashley Cheng has said that Microsoft and Bungie have sent out mixed messages about Halo ODST, prompting reviewers to question the length and value of the game.

If the marketing of the game – which was originally called Halo: Recon and pitched as an expansion to Halo 3, before being upgraded to a full-price release – was clearer, the game wouldn't have faced such criticism, said Cheng.

"Microsoft and/or Bungie totally bungled the marketing on this," he wrote on his blog. "First, saying it was a standalone expansion pack, then coming out and saying wait, no, we're charging full price because - surprise! - we put 'more' stuff in it and it's called Halo ODST now, versus it's original title, Halo Recon.

"Like Microsoft was ever going to sell this for less than full price. It is a new Halo title, it'll sell like hotcakes no matter what," he added.

Indecision on Microsoft's part has tainted reviews in the press, said Cheng, adding that a majority of first-person shooters offer less than 10 hours play – a criticism levelled at the game by reviewers.

"Because of the waffling, reviewers are now mentioning that Halo ODST may not be worth the price point, that it should've been cheaper, etc... Give me a break.

"First off, most games - especially first person shooters - are anywhere from 5-10 hours. Tops. What makes Halo different from others? You can't just ping Halo ODST for it. I bet if Microsoft hadn't screwed up the marketing messaging, there would less talk about pricing," he concluded.

Halo ODST has received favourable reviews since the embargo lifted on Sunday, with the game notching up a Metacritic rating of 84 per cent. The title went on sale today in the UK.

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Matt Martin avatar
Matt Martin: Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.
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