Master Chief returns: Halo 4 launches at midnight in 10,000 stores worldwide

Master Chief at the Halo 4 launch in London.

Dear bosses of employees who love Halo: Tomorrow might not be the most productive day of the year.

Halo 4 is finally here. More than 10,000 retail locations around the world in 40 countries will open their stores at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday to the thousands of fans waiting for the latest installment of the legendary series.

There will be more than 30 marquee global launch events with Halo 4 gameplay, food and raffle prizes planned in Paris, Tokyo and several other big cities. In London, fans were treated to a Halo aerial lighting performance that was visible for miles over the city. A Halo 4 Glyph symbol measuring 50 feet in diameter flew over the city, and you can see it at the top of the picture above.

Seattle is hosting one of the big events and the Microsoft Store in University Village will undoubtedly be packed with Halo diehards waiting to embrace Master Chief again (you can literally hug him, as he’ll be there). One cool part about the Seattle launch party will be the presence of employees from Microsoft’s 343 Industries, which has taken over development of the Halo games from Bungie Studios.

GeekWire will be live from the launch event with pictures, videos and Tweets from Halo Central.

Previously on GeekWire: Halo’s success by the numbers: 46 million games, $3 billion in revenue