With just a week left until the Halo Wars 2 release, Microsoft and 343 Industries have kicked the mania machine behind the title into high gear. Today, dozens of websites revealed hands-on coverage for Halo Wars 2. Additionally, Microsoft posted the Halo Wars 2 soundtrack and confirmed a release party in New York City.

Xbox Wire began the day-long blitz by posting the Halo Wars 2 Soundtrack on Soundcloud. The preview spans the entire final album. Also interesting is Microsoft’s decision to make physical copies of the soundtrack available on Friday and digital copies on Monday. Seems to me that the company is aiming for hardcore fans to buy a physical copy at the same time as they’re picking up their physical copy of Halo Wars 2: Ultimate Edition. It’ll cost $17.99.

Meanwhile, VentureBeat was posting a prolific profile of Creative Assembly’s inspiration for the game and its mechanics. Writer Dean Takahshi says that he was “pleasantly surprised” that he had to play the game’s mission again to master it during his time. Because of all the talk of incorporating play for all, he’d worried that the title might be heavily weighted towards the casual crowd.

Lastly, the company has confirmed the Halo Wars 2 Blitz Challenge, an event starting at 9PM East Standard Time and running until Midnight. Attendees at the Fifth Avenue Microsoft Store in New York City will get “early game play, food and the chance to mix and mingle with gaming influencers.” Sounds, fun, though I cringe every time I hear or read influencers. Definitely, RSVP for the event if you plan to attend. You can do so on the New York City store’s website.

Halo Wars 2 Ultimate Edition goes on sale this Friday. Anyone that buys a normal version of the game without a season pass doesn’t get their copy until Monday.