Halo 4 developer 343 Industries and Microsoft built a Halo 4-themed limited-edition Xbox 360 bundle, and according to 343i, the design of the console and controllers is rooted in the game's fiction.
The design goal was to "create a Forerunner-themed object that differed significantly from prior consoles," which is one of the reasons the studio chose a translucent plastic housing for the console. It's also a unique design for an Xbox 360 console, but its main inspiration was an as-yet unknown "important object" in Halo 4. "Having [the console] grounded in the heart of our story was always the number one factor driving our design process," said 343i.
Although the team experimented with three-dimensional elements such as bas-relief and carvings, such flourishes can have adverse effects on performance. "Lots of our more hair-brained [sic] schemes ended in the cold reality of you know, making sure the console actually works," 343i explained.
The look of the console, developed by art director Kenneth Scott, also came from the Forerunner aesthetic. But the team wanted this unit to feel like a military-themed object that was "new, alive — and functional." According to 343i, the console "feels organic and vital in a way our previous monolithic Forerunner stuff has not." The controllers included in the bundle share the same Forerunner design as the console, while the controllers that will be sold separately feature new branding for the UNSC — "with the starship Infinity leading that resurgent human vanguard," said 343i, "the imagery is bold, strong, and ascendant."
Finally, the team put together audio cues for powering the console on or off, and opening its disc tray. The studio noted that the Xbox 360 only allows for one sound for both turning the console on and off, so "you can't, for example pick a 'power' sound that only sounds like 'power on' with a lilting uplift." But according to 343i, "the real challenge wasn’t finding cool sounds, it was finding sounds that worked well at the low volume and limited frequency range of that tiny speaker."
The Halo 4 Limited Edition Xbox 360 bundle, and the separate UNSC-themed controllers, will launch alongside Halo 4 on November 6th for $399.99 and $59.99, respectively. Photos of the bundle and controllers are available in the gallery below.