Halo Waypoint opens up, anime due out Feb. 9

Xbox Live's all-Halo channel launches with avatar awards, open to all until Nov. 26; <i>Halo Legends</i> preview coming Sat.; combined Halo 3: ODST US/UK/Japan sales hit 1.85M.

As promised last month, Halo Waypoint opened for business today on Xbox Live. The 113.8MB download adds an entire new channel to the Xbox 360's online service completely dedicated to Microsoft and Bungie's popular series of sci-fi shooters. The most recent installment, Halo 3: ODST, sold 1.85 million units in the US, UK, and Japan in the third quarter, making it the fifth most popular game when those three territories are aggregated. In October, Microsoft declared the game had sold 2.5 million units worldwide.

Now you can tell your parents you're making a career out of playing Halo and technically not be lying.

As previously reported, Halo Waypoint will feature a section called Intel, which includes bonus information on installments in the Bungie-created series past and present. It will also feature daily updated content related to non-game Halo projects, such as the anime collection Halo Legends, due out February 9. Waypoint members get a look at the first preview episode, "The Babysitter," starting Saturday, November 7. The short, made by STUDIO4˚C (Tekkon Kinkreet), follows a Spartan accompanying an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper (ODST) squad on a mission to assassinate a Covenant Prophet.

ODST Armor is just one of the avatar awards offered by Halo: Waypoint.

Besides content, Halo Waypoint will feature a new career section that collates all past and future achievements earned in Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, Halo Wars, and all related downloadable content and "converts them into an overall ranking and recognition system" called Halo Career.

In addition to granting an overall level, Halo Career will reward hardcore Halo-heads in two ways: Waypoint Milestones, which are essentially achievements for getting achievements; and avatar awards, clothes, and accessories for gamers' virtual personas on Xbox Live. Gamers will receive a Forerunner Monitor avatar prop like Halo's 343 Guilty Spark just for signing up for the service. A more detailed list of initial avatar awards, all from Halo 3: ODST, is featured underneath the video below.

Until November 26, Halo Waypoint will be open to all Xbox Live subscribers. However, starting November 26, access will be restricted to those who pay $50 per year for the premium Xbox Live Gold service. The official Xbox.com Web site has more details.

Achievement Title / Achievement Description / Avatar Award

Tourist / Downloaded the city map to VISR / ODST Black T-shirt

Dark Times / Killed 5 enemies while using VISR mode / ODST hoodie

Campaign Complete: Normal / Completed the Campaign on Normal difficulty. / ODST Rookie Helmet

Good Samaritan / Killed no Engineers during entire campaign / ODST Full Body Armor

Vidmaster Challenge: Endure / In Firefight, pass the 4th set on 4-player Heroic co-op/ ODST Dare Helmet (Female) or Recon Helmet (Male)

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