Halo Hype Train Brings Mona Lisa, Flood Pet, Something In August

Lest you forget that Halo is a big deal – and that the series turns 10 this year – Microsoft is ready to remind you. A raft of Halo news hit this morning, including a promise of a Friday upgrade to the Xbox 360’s Halo Waypoint and a tease of some big things in August. Plus… a cute ‘lil Flood pet!

Here’s the news from Microsoft today, in chronological order of Halo events…

Avatar Gear: Microsoft will start selling new Halo-themed items for Xbox 360 avatars starting on April 14. The items include new Halo helmets (see above), new Halo shirts (what’s that “zombie” message mean??) and even…

This adorable Flood pet… coming out on Friday, too.

Waypoint Upgrades: The Xbox 360-based Halo hub called Halo Waypoint will be upgraded on Friday, adding a lot of features that bring it closer to par with Bungie.net, the premiere Halo community and stat-tracking site that, remember, is run by Bungie, a studio that invented Halo but isn’t making it anymore. Official summary of upgrades: “For the first time, your “Halo: Reach” service record will be fully accessible from Waypoint, making everything from detailed game history to weapons stats and Challenges available at your fingertips, anytime you’re using your Xbox 360. There’s even a brand new “Compare with Friends” feature that lets you compare your stats against your friends and rivals, along with two new Waypoint career levels.” (The features will also be added to the Windows Phone 7 Waypoint app).

New Halo Motion Comic: The comic is pulled from the Halo Evolutions anthology and is set after the first Halo game. Official summary: “Sent on a highly-classified mission in the debris field of the Halo artifact, the crew of the UNSC Red Horse discovers a derelict prison ship – the Mona Lisa – adrift in space. When a contingent of marines board this vessel, they come face to face with a more terrifying threat than the Covenant and are forced to battle for their very survival.” It will premiere on April 23 on Halo Waypoint, Windows Phone 7 and the Internet.

New Halo Action Figures: Red and blue Spartan figures from Square Enix, “based on the classic Team Slayer multiplayer mode in Halo” will go on sale a the San Diego Comic-Con in July.

PAX Surprise? The Penny Arcade Expo will be held in Seattle in August, in the same town where Microsoft’s chief Halo division, 343 Industries is located. Convenient, then, that a Halo 10th Anniversary celebration is happening there. Maybe they should announce a remake of the game there or something. Officially, Microsoft public relations is saying this: “We’ll just say this for now: if you’re a fan of Halo, the Halo community, and celebrations in general, this is the year to attend the Penny Arcade Expo Prime in Seattle on August 26, 27 and 28, where you can help us celebrate 10 years of Halo in a very special way.”

Man, that’s a lot of Halo. They wouldn’t go through this whole year, release all these things and not put out a new Halo game, would they? So far, none is announced.

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