With all the Halo 4 related Game Informer news which have been coming up over the past few weeks we figured we’d sum it all up for you in a nice compact package.
Note: Most of the information being discussed are subject to change.
So what’s the deal with Chief? If you haven’t finished Halo 3 on legendary then this may come as a little bit of shock to you. But the Master Chief in all his glory is stuck inside the Forward Unto Dawn when out of nowhere a Forerunner facility looms ominously followed by really dramatic music that makes you immediately think… SEQUEL. And so here we are with Halo 4 coming out 343 Industries have begun to flesh out more of the campaign sequences and the role the Chief will play in all of this.
343 are trying to humanise John-117 and make the story more personal whilst still maintaining the feeling of being a one-man army. The chief however has a few cosmetic changes as well, the noticeably missing cod piece and the change in the overall look of the armour have been pretty perplexing ever since we all got a good look at it last E3. However 343 has explained that this change in armour is as a result of Cortana’s tampering and upgrading of the Chief’s armour whilst he was in cryo. However that in it of itself is a bit confusing. Where did she get the parts? The ship? Maybe … I guess and how did she do that without waking him up from his Snow white-esque beauty sleep? I reckon its just kind of an excuse to make some more armour.
343 Industries also have stated that the events of Halo 4 are taking place 5 years since the destruction of the Ark and replacement Installation 04 facility. That length of time is also a big problemo. Not sure if you guys know this but Cortana isn’t getting any younger and even though she’s got a few more polygons in a graphical sense her 7 year Artificial Intelligence (AI) life-span is coming to a close. Halo canon associates this with Cortana being a “smart AI” basically the most elite type of AI humans have created, but because of this they wield so much knowledge that after around 7 years they need to be decommissioned before they become too rampant and convinced of their god-like power. 343 have stated that this will have a major effect on the way the story progresses over the trilogy.
Okay so you have some back story now let’s delve straight into the supremely awesome first campaign mission details. According to Game Informer the first mission revolves around the Chief waking up only to discover the Forward Unto Dawn collapsing around him. But then out of nowhere an elite comes swinging with an energy sword trying to kill the Chief… needless to say the Elite’s life expectancy dropped substantially. But wait did you just hear that (I mean read that)? Why is an Elite attacking the Chief? What happened to the truce and all that brotherly-feeling of camaraderie with the Arbiter? Well it turns out that the elites and the subsequent grunts were part of a radical faction of Elites after the fall of the covenant. This ties in very closely with the novel Halo: Glasslands. This book is jam-packed with Halo 4 hints and background info, and provides some reasoning for the early attack in the game.
In Halo: Glasslands, ONI (The Office of Naval Intelligence) is doing some pretty shifty things. Following the fall of the covenant the Elites struggle to find a unified government. Whilst the Arbiter appears to be the obvious successor -something exemplified by the end of Halo 3 and Admiral Hood’s support of the Arbiter during Halo: Glasslands- ONI has other plans. During this time other Elites feel that the Arbiter should not take over leadership of the Elites. These Elites are apart of a fundamentalist Elite faction who believe in the worshiping of Forerunner relics prior to their interaction with the Prophets and before the formation of the Covenant. ONI was working with this faction and providing them with weapons but following the climatic cliff-hanger ending of the book, it appears the radical Elites may have double crossed ONI. Considering these events occur around 4 years before Halo 4, these new radical elites may have broken off from their brethren since the events of Halo: Glasslands.
The final bit of news that we know is that after fighting through these radical elites. The Forward Unto Dawn lands on a Forerunner shield world called “Requiem” similar to that present in the events of Halo Wars. The Forward Unto Dawn breaks apart, and the Chief is on land once more where he encounters a new threat unlike anything seen before (see Adrian Cajili’s article on possible new enemies).
So multiplayer huh, or should I say “Infinity” thats right infinity. Why is it called Infinity you ask? Well its fairly simple the UNSC Infinity is the largest ship ever created in human history, which comes in built with its own virtual reality simulator i.e. the multiplayer environment. 343 Industries have dubbed the multiplayer Infinity in an attempt to link multiplayer to the campaign.They have also announced that the UNSC Infinity will make an appearance in the campaign. 343 wanted to bridge the gap between multiplayer and campaign that has been lacking in all previous Halo games. The spartans you play as in multiplayer are Spartan IVs, who vary from Spartan-IIs and Spartan-IIIs in that all people who enrol to become Spartan-IVs are consenting adults of 18 and above.
The major tie from the campaign to multiplayer is Spartan Ops.These are different missions unlocked by Spartan Points earned whilst playing multiplayer and is being used by 343 Industries to get people who simply play campaign to jump into multiplayer to unlock this new content. This is mainly due to the fact that most people who actually play Halo, play campaign more than multiplayer despite multiplayer being very popular in itself.
There are also a few things you need to know about this, Spartan Ops replaces Firefight, that’s right Firefight is completely gone. These missions are also NOT DLC they come included in the game price and so you won’t have to spend excessive amounts of microsoft points to play through these missions. In total 343 believes that after all the Spartan Ops missions have been unlocked and completed it will become the equivalent length of the campaign itself. No plans for any future Spartan Ops missions have been announced so we’ll just have to see if they have more campaign goodies.
I briefly mentioned Spartan Points above, but it basically just replaces the credit system from Halo Reach but gives it a slightly fancier name. Not to be confused with Experience points, which helps rank up your in-game Spartan.
Customisable loadouts. But wait? This is Halo, not COD or Battlefield? But people relax here’s how it works. Yes 343 have announced that starting weapons will be unlocked. Like the DMR or the BR, but I think it will just be for certain general gametypes. I say this because previous screenshots have suggested that old playlists like Team BRs are still present in the game so if you want your classic experience you can play that playlist. Playlists solve all problems in this scenario, if Halo Reach showed us anything it would be how many flexible options of playlists can be made available to you and I’m sure if you wanna play more of a classic style 343 will cater for you.
Armour Abilities are making a return but many returning armour abilities have been altered, however we do not yet know of any of these changes.
Active Camoflague: Is coming back, from Halo Reach.
Jetpack: Is also making its return.
Hologram: Is once again returning, to test how dumb your opponents are.
Promethean Vision: A new armour ability which allows players to see through walls to view opponents. This one is a bit sketchy and 343 have said they will explain this in more detail as time progresses. The name appears to be a reference to the “Didact” a forerunner from the Warrior-Servant class who was prestigious enough to be termed a Promethean. This is depicted in the novels Halo:Cryptum and Halo: Primordium.
Sprint is not an armour ability but will be returning as a default setting.
Weapon spawns are no longer in fixed positions but move to different areas on the map to create new focal points and to prevent weapon spawn camping.
Instant respawns have been introduced into certain gametypes, but NOT objective gametypes as this would over saturate the game with players and make claiming objectives very difficult. But again if this particular procedure is not all that fun a playlist with more classic themes can easily fix this issue.
There are no plans to announce dedicated servers into Halo 4 however players will have the option of joining in-game sessions, basically like joining a quick match. 343 have not yet stated other ways to start games like waiting in lobbies for a full game but they will probably announce some of those details in the months to come.
And that’s a wrap, for any future Halo news make sure to come pay us another visit.