As it shares bits of plot in a new podcast, Microsoft is continue to share pre-order and purchasing details for Halo 5: Guardians, the next major release in its long-running first-person shooter series. This morning the company announced a new Halo 5: Guardians pre-order deal that’ll get GameStop shoppers exclusive access to in-game armor.
Microsoft announced the new GameStop exclusive Spartan Locke armor in a post on Xbox Wire this morning. Accompanying that post is a brief video of the armor in action. Anyone who pre-orders Halo 5: Guardians ahead of its release at GameStop gets a redeemable code printed on the bottom of their receipt. This code will unlock the Hunter armor and helmet that are showcased in the video. Players will be able to equip the armor and helmet in Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer, just like they could in past games.
Naturally, die-hard Halo fans are wondering if Agent Locke’s armor, which Microsoft calls simply Hunter armor, will mean Halo 5: Guardians buyers at GameStop have an advantage over other players. That certainly doesn’t seem to be the case. Everything shown in today’s video are abilities that all Spartans will have when Halo 5 arrives. Endless running, jumping and ground pounding are for every single Spartan, regardless of armor. Until Microsoft says otherwise, it appears custom armor will do no more than provide a new look for characters. That makes sense, past games in the series featured light character customization, but different armor pieces never gave you advantage. Instead, the community treated them as coveted rewards; they signified a user’s status.
This is the first time we’ve seen any news about Halo 5: Guardians pre-orders, but there’s no way it’s the last. Halo 5: Guardians launches exclusively on the Xbox One on October 27th. Between now and then Microsoft could add more pre-order bonuses for other big game retailers like Best Buy. It’s also worth noting that the Xbox Store acts as Microsoft’s own digital games store and doesn’t have an announced pre-order bonus just yet. It makes since that Microsoft would offer a pre-order bonus for its own store at the very least.
Pre-order extras are just one of the many ways video game developers team up with individual retailers to give users a reason to buy with them instead of somewhere else. Forget cosmetic armor, some video games — like Batman: Arkham Knight — will come with entire missions only available to those that pre-order.
As its new podcast is slowly revealing, Halo 5: Guardians is a radical departure from what we’ve seen in the franchise recently. Halo 4 focused on the story of John 117 after waking to a threat from the collection of alien species known as the Covenant. Halo 5: Guardians early PR campaign focuses on what we know about John 117. Agent Jameson Locke, a character that debuted in the Halo: Nightfall television series, is apparently tasked with finding Master Chief John 1177 at all costs.
Beyond a new story, Halo 5: Guardians will feature a heavily modified multiplayer experience. Developer 343 Industries has made the faster, unlocking running for everyone. In fact, running no longer takes an add-on slot either. Every Spartan has jets on the back of suite that allow them to jump higher than they ever could before. Those jets can be angled down to “ground pound” and take out any enemies below. Microsoft let users test drive the Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer last December. That Halo 5: Guardians beta gave 343 Industries the opportunity to fine tune the game ahead of release.
Halo 5: Guardians will anchor Microsoft’s Xbox One holiday 2015 line up. Joining it will be Rise of the Tomb Raider. Quantum Break won’t be joining the other Xbox exclusive games this year. It’s been delayed into 2016.