Microsoft reveals that Master Chief and Spartan Locke will not only go head-to-head in Halo 5: Guardians, but will also face off via special NASCAR paint schemes.
In the run-up to the release of Halo 5: Guardians, developer 343 Industries has made no secret of the conflict brewing between series favorite Master Chief and the mysterious Spartan Locke. The rivalry has regularly spilled over into the game’s marketing, but Microsoft’s latest plan to push the title before launch certainly takes pole position. The publisher has announced that Master Chief and Locke are facing a race to the finish in the upcoming NASCAR Hollywood Casino 400.
In a post announced over on Xbox Wire, Microsoft revealed a partnership with two NASCAR teams in the racing event, which is scheduled to take place on the Kansas Speedway on October 18, 2015. Dale Earnhardt Jr. will race at the event in a Master Chief-themed car from Hendrick Motorsports, whilst Jamie McMurray will showcase Halo 5 by driving a Locke-adorned vehicle backed by Chip Ganassi Racing. “We have many NASCAR fans at the studio,” said 343 Industries executive producer Kiki Wolfkill. “We’re excited to see both cars compete at Kansas Speedway.”
Halo fans will be able to follow a pair of scavenger hunt sweepstakes over on Twitter, dubbed #HUNTthe88 and #HUNTthe1. It’s not the first time that 343 Industries and Microsoft have tried to get gamers involved in Halo 5’s marketing, either. The title has been subject to a strong viral marketing campaign that has invited Halo experts to investigate the game’s backstory.
Meanwhile, with Halo 5’s release date fast approaching, would-be players are getting more and more excited to finally see the full release of the game. Microsoft has been teasing gamers with some enticing content, including a live-action trailer showcasing a grim fate for Master Chief. Meanwhile, the publisher also revealed the launch trailer for Halo: The Fall of Reach, an animated series expected to release at the same time as Halo 5.
NASCAR may seem like a bit of an odd choice for a partnership, but at least it makes a change from the usual choice of a soft drink sponsorship. Halo 4 received a heavily critcized free iOS game titled Halo 4: King of the Hill, which was apparently “fuelled by Mountain Dew.” The Dew struck again through a partnership for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, whilst Destiny received a timed exclusive DLC mission through a deal with Red Bull.
The partnership could also rekindle the relationship between NASCAR and video game fans. NASCAR ’15 received less than flattering reviews when it was released in May, with developer Eutechnyx losing the license. With NASCAR now in the hands of DMi Games, perhaps the racing series can receive a shot in the arm with its next release.
Halo 5: Guardians will release for Xbox One on October 27, 2015.