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Microsoft is preparing to throw its first major punch of 2017 with the release of Halo Wars 2, which comes to Xbox One and PC in just a few weeks time. The unexpected sequel to the surprisingly functional Xbox 360 real-time strategy game was announced at Gamescom back in 2015 and has enjoyed a couple of public betas since then, but the publisher has today released a launch trailer to make sure everyone knows the full game is almost here.
Total War team Creative Assembly have taken over development duty from Ensemble Studios, who were best known for the classic Age of Empire series and were shut down after the release of the first Halo Wars in 2009. Creative Assembly’s game is a sequel in that it’s another RTS, but storywise it slots in after the events of Halo 5: Guardians rather than as a direct follow-up to Halo Wars, which was set 20 years before Halo: Combat Evolved. However, it is still centred on the crew of the UNSC vessel Spirit of Fire, who fans will remember went into hypersleep at the end of Halo Wars.
In the sequel they wake and are thrust into conflict with Brute warlord Atriox, who heads up a brand new faction dubbed the Banished. The stunning CGI shown in the trailer is the work of Blur Studio, who produced the cutscenes for Halo Wars and the remastered ones for Halo 2 as part of Halo: The Master Chief Collection. All of the cutscenes in Halo Wars 2 have also been put together by Blur.
In addition to the promise of an epic campaign, Halo Wars 2 will also boast plenty of online multiplayer options. Unfortunately there’s no cross-platform play as has been the case with several of Microsoft’s recent titles, but it is an Xbox Play Anywhere title, which means if you buy it digitally you can play it on both your PC and your Xbox One.
Those who pony up for the Ultimate Edition can start playing Halo Wars 2 on February 17, while the rest of us will have to wait until February 21.
Image/Trailer: Microsoft Studios