E3 2012 Preview: Halo 4

Old Spartans never die…they just appear in new games. And with the plans 343 Studios has for Master Chief, he won’t be resting for awhile yet. The direction of Halo fiction and the game director for Halo 4 told us that their plan is to use Halo 4 as the foundation for the next ten years. I won’t know until November how viable that is, as this meeting only covered the multiplayer, but I am greatly intrigued by it. It also looks like I will be picking up the books, as the lore-master said that all fiction, including books, will count toward the Halo story throughout the games. That’s just great, as I don’t have enough to read.

As you have seen from their trailers, Halo has a new class of enemies for Master Chief, and this new class calls for all new multiplayer. The traditional red vs. blue mode will still be present, and it will be called Wargames mode. It’s set up to serve as a training ground for new Spartan recruits. From there, you can take your Spartan creation and go on Spartan Ops missions, where you will play cooperatively with a teammate on episodic missions that will release each week. Each episode consists of five missions. It is possible to play the Spartan Ops missions alone, but it will be far easier with a friend due to the large number of enemies, even on the easiest difficulty setting.

When creating your Spartan, you can also create customized loadouts to help fit any anticipated situation. For example, for an episode that includes hordes and hordes of enemies, you may want a loadout that includes ammo bonuses and two assault rifles over one rifle and a pistol.

In Spartan Ops, many of the levels will seem familiar as your Spartans traverse familiar areas, but 343 promises that none of the levels are rehashes from past games. The Spartans may visit the same planets, but they won’t cross familiar terrain.

So in other words, the multiplayer portion visits the best of both multiplayer worlds; it has both competitive versus play and collaborative team play, and both feed into what is going on in the overall Halo story. I have a feeling this will mean that the Halo discs will remain in players’ Xboxes for a long, long time, especially since there is no cap (as of yet) on how many episodes will be released over time.

Halo 4 will release on November 6, 2012.