Halo 4 Special Edition Soundtrack will cost $75. No, really.
I know that headline comes as a bit of a shock. Trust me, I was shocked too. But the price isn’t quite as crazy as it sounds at first. Microsoft unveiled all the details behind the soundtrack (or soundtracks) for Halo 4, and they look pretty darned exciting. As exciting as a press release about a musical score to a videogame can be, anyway. Read on for all the details.
Aside from the unmistakable tunes of Mario and Sonic, there is perhaps no music in the history of videogames which is as recognizable as Halo’s. The chanting monks, the sweeping strings, the bombastic drums, the soundtrack to the Halo series is iconic. So when its equally iconic creator, Marty O’Donnell, decided to stay at Bungie and work on that studio’s new IP, Halo fans wondered who Microsoft would choose to write the music for the new Halo trilogy, currently being developed in-house at 343 Studios. Most fans breathed a sigh of relief after it was announced that Neil Davidge would be taking the reigns, but besides a few samples, nobody had any idea what the finished product would be.
This week, Microsoft pulled back the curtain on the Halo 4 soundtrack, and it is a monster. Or monsters, to be more precise. The Halo 4 Original Soundtrack will be released on October 22nd in both physical and digitial forms, and will retail for $13.99. Using a choir of 26 men and 10 women, and a full 50 piece orchestra, the soundtrack will consist of 15 tracks, and run over 75 minutes. For comparison, Marty O’Donnell’s soundtrack for Halo: Reach was 20 tracks and nearly 2 hours long. Don’t start calling Neil a slacker just yet, though. There’s much more.
There is also a Special Edition Soundtrack for Halo 4, which costs the before-mentioned $75, or $74.99 to be precise. Now, I know what you’re saying. “What could possibly be so special about this special edition that would justify such a crazy price tag?” Well, let me answer that for you. First off, it contains a 14 track remix album, featuring such artists as DJ Skee, Caspa, Sander Van Doorn & Julian Jordan, Gui Boratto, Apocalyptica, and James Iha. Granted, I only know who two of those people are, but the rest sure have impressive sounding names. There will also be a 70 minute “Making of Halo 4 Music” DVD which chronicles… well, the making of Halo 4 music. There’s also a hardcover book featuring production notes from Neil Davidge, and the obligatory exclusive art and photographs. Rounding out the offerings are two pieces of art: a 12×12 Halo 4 print, and perhaps most interesting of all, a 180g 12in vinyl picture disk featuring Cortana and Master Chief, packaged in a custom sleeve. The first 5000 pre-orders even get special Xbox Live avatar accessories.
So is all that really worth more than the actual game itself? Right now, I’m on the fence. I’ve never been a fan of remix albums, so that will probably just get shelved. The book and DVD should be interesting, and the vinyl disk sounds perfect for framing. But I guess the bigger issue is this: am I that committed to the Halo franchise to invest that much money in a soundtrack? Three years ago, I would have said yes. But Neil Davidge, and 343 Studios in general, are relative unkowns to me. If Halo 4 goes south, I’ll wind up regretting the purchase. But if it’s a worthy continuation of the Halo saga, and I have every reason to assume it will be, then spending $75 on a kickass soundtrack box set for one of all my time favorite videogame series doesn’t sound like such a crazy idea after all.
Oh, hell… I think I’m gonna do it. Join me, won’t you? Click here to check out the Special Edition, listen to some samples, and pre-order one for yourself.