Opinion: ‘Halo 4′ Deserves Better Than ‘King of the Hill Fueled by Mountain Dew’

2 years ago by  

Microsoft and 343 Industries have shown consistent care and good taste in their handling of the first post-Bungie installment of the Halo franchise, and should be commended for it. The lavishly produced Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn live-action web series – the final installment of which released just today – has been warmly received, Halo 4’s Spartan Ops campaign offers a total of 50 downloadable co-op missions for free, and the game itself is a marvel (read our Halo 4 review).

Unfortunately, that sterling record now sports an unsightly, if inconsequential, blemish: Halo 4: King of the Hill Fueled by Mountain Dew, a free “location-based promotional game” presented by “Mountain Dew and Doritos – in partnership with 7-Eleven, Xbox, 343 Industries, and Ogmento.” Too bad none of them bothered to look up the correct spelling of the word “fueled.”

Available right now from Apple’s App Store, Halo 4: King of the Hill Fueled by Mountain Dew tasks players with visiting 7-Eleven Stores and scanning “Halo 4 themed Mountain Dew and Doritos products” in order to unlock rewards in Halo 4. Up for grabs are “Double XP matches, an exclusive Halo 4 Theme, a ‘Bulletproof’ Emblem, and a ‘Locus’ Helmet (US Only) or Ghost Prop Avatar (Canada only)!”

Halo 4 King of the Hill Fuled by Mountain Dew

Once they’ve registered and “deployed,” players will find themselves on a wire-frame map of their neighborhood, with any nearby 7-Eleven stores (“Hills”) clearly marked. Those “Hills” can be attacked remotely until players have used up their “Supplies” (a single attack will do it), after which a trip to the store to scan items – thereby restocking said “Supplies” – is in order. Players can also “Scavenge” for “Supplies,” which translates into waiting anywhere from 20 minutes to 12 hours for them to regenerate. Of course, “Hills” can also be directly attacked while players are actually in the appropriate 7-Eleven Store – direct attacks do more damage than remote attacks, and are presented as the player firing at a Spartan surrounded by a glowing shield.

Predictably, there are opportunities for players to involve their friends in all this nonsense – you’ll get a “50% Supply bonus when they Register!” says the app – along with Leaderborads, in-app Achievements and Medals (I managed to earn “First Strike” at my local store, only because no one else had played there yet).

To be fair, Halo 4: King of the Hill Fueled by Mountain Dew is not irredeemably offensive, and die-hard Halo fanatics will probably appreciate the bonuses that can be earned, though they’d best be prepared to invest a fair amount of time in the pursuit. Scanning Doritos and Mountain Dew to restock “Supplies” can only be done once an hour, and it’ll take many, many hours of “Scavenging” and remote attacks to be crowned “King” of any given “Hill.”

That said, the whole enterprise is just kind of dumb and disheartening. Halo 4 is as prestigious a project as video games are apt to deliver this year – our Awards Season movie, if you will. Gamers get enough bad press, and are subject to enough unflattering, inaccurate stereotypes (fat, lazy, unkempt, never go outside, wouldn’t know how to get a date if his/her life depended on it) as it is – do we really need to reinforce those views by standing around convenience stores, pointing our phones at tortilla chips and heavily caffeinated soft drinks? Is that how 343 Industries wants the public at large to think of Halo fans?

Halo 4: King of the Hill Fueled by Mountain Dew is available now from the Apple App Store.

Follow me on Twitter @HakenGaken.

Source: iTunes [via Joystiq]

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT: 343 Industries, Halo, Halo 4, iOS, Microsoft, Mobile
  • The_Philosopher


    It would seem to me that the real prize is mapping out your consumer base, location and purchase habits, all accompanied with more very valuable data for spy—errr I mean market research.

    Does the eye really see all? Or does it need more than one eye to see equilaterally across all three points?

  • Joseph Rubbe, Ph. D.

    Gentlemen: Surely someone at either Halo or Mountain Dew has spell checking capabilities and has noticed by now that “Halo 4: King Of The Hill Fuled By Mountain Dew,” should read “Halo 4: King Of The Hill FUELED By Mountain Dew.”

  • boogoo

    It sounds like you practically have to live inside 7-Eleven to earn anything worthwhile. Do they assume gamers spend all their time buying Doritos and Mountain Dew so we might as well scan the products for game bonuses? There had to have been better alternatives than this idea. Nice write up :)

  • bleeples

    Halo is for little kids, so they market it with little kid products. Simple. It’s just right for Halo 4.

    • Riley Little


  • Gary

    Get over it, that’s all I can say. You say Halo is prestigious? I call it over-rated. It’s just a game. It’s going to be a subpar single player campaign with the focus going entirely on multi-player that is ruined by a bunch of internet tough guys who now think they’re military experts because they spend all day playing Halo online.

    There’s nothing presitigous about a game that has bad single player campaigns. Just be glad that it’s getting any kind of attention from Mountain Dew.

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess the plot of Halo 4. Master Chief lands on a Halo ring to battle the Covenant and Promethians. The game will talk as if the Halo ring is the only one in existance even though there’s been at least 4 throughout the series. Then when you think things can’t get any worse, they surprise you with an enemy that everyone (without a brain) will be shocked to see, The Flood. Because they didn’t wear out their welcome in teh first game, let’s add them to every game and pretend they’re still a surprise.

    • boogoo

      In the words of Riley Little- Troll. 😉

  • Gary

    And people think bad enough about Halo fans. This article proves Halo fans to be just as whiny and entitled as every other gamer that they point and laugh at (pretending that they’re better). I’d rather drive from my house to The Grand Canyon stuck in a car with a bunch of Twilight fangirls without stopping for a piss break than hang out with a Halo fanboy. At least Twilight fans don’t think they’re vampires just because they like that crap, unlike Halo fanboys who talk about coordinating their next attack like they’re somehow a military genius now that they’ve played a FPS online.

    • http://www.twitter.com/HiredN00bs HiredN00bs

      I think your generalizations and bias against fans of Halo are wholly justified. Damn those video game fans for liking their favorite video game franchise. I was also unaware of the military strategist stigma. Thank you for bringing this to light, Gary!