Halo 4 dated

Halo 4 will be released worldwide for Xbox 360 on November 6, Microsoft has confirmed.

In a press release, Microsoft says that the game – the first in the series to be developed by 343 Industries, with original developer Bungie now under Activision's wing – marks "a new beginning" for the series, hinting that the questions surrounding the fate of Master Chief and Cortana that were left unanswered at the end of 2007 release Halo 3 will finally be addressed.

Microsoft Studios corporate VP Phil Spencer said: "We are beginning a new saga with Halo 4 and embarking on a journey that will encompass the next decade of Halo games and experiences.

"Millions of fans worldwide have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to step back into the boots of Master Chief, and with Halo 4 leading the charge we're confident 2012 will be the most successful year in Xbox history."

The November date shows just how confident Microsoft is in 343's game given that, in recent years, publishers have released their shooters early to stay out of Call Of Duty's way. While the first two games in the series were released in November, Halo 3, ODST and Reach all launched in September. It seems fitting, then, given that this is a "new beginning" for the series, that Microsoft is returning to the series' original release date.

As we reported last week, Massive Attack producer Neil Davidge is composing the game's soundtrack, and taking it "to another level" – which means leaving behind Bungie composer Marty O'Donnell's iconic themes and chants.