It may be hard to believe, but almost five years has passed since the Master Chief was left tumbling through space at the close of Halo 3. Understandably, fans of the franchise and character have high hopes of the story that 343 Industries will be telling (not to mention the new trilogy being launched) with the campaign of Halo 4. After concerns recently arose that the singleplayer portion of the game would be lacking in length, those within the studio have set the record straight.
Not only will Halo 4 be just as long and in-depth as Bungie’s past releases, but the episodically-released season of co-op campaign coming with Spartan Ops will contain even more content than Halo 3: ODST.
The concerns all started after the Halo 4 achievements list was released by 343 Industries, revealing that the singleplayer campaign would be built around only eight Missions. While that doesn’t give any indication as to the exact length of each respective mission or total game time, some online began to voice skepticism that the new development team would be delivering a lengthy, varied experience. Given the increased emphasis that has been placed on the new UNSC Infinity multiplayer systems, those feelings weren’t completely unfounded.
Fans took to NeoGAF to discuss the potential reveal of a shortened campaign, where Halo Franchise Director Frank O’Connor appeared to allay fears. Commenting under the name ‘Stinker,’ O’Connor claimed that the number of missions had “no bearing” on the overall length of the game itself, stating that Halo 4′s campaign would absolutely be “Halo sized.” Not to mention all of the additional story beats being integrated into the multiplayer and Spartan Ops.
343′s David Ellis elaborated further, explaining that those who had feared a repeat of the somewhat shorter campaign of Halo 3: ODST had nothing to worry about, since the Spartan Ops campaign “alone is longer than ODST.” How is that possible with limited resources? Ellis explains:
“Spartan Ops and Campaign are completely separate teams. As Frank mentioned earlier, the main campaign is substantial and will compare favorably with previous entries in the series.”
Nobody had been doubting the size or scope of Spartan Ops, with over fifty missions in the first season confirmed, spread out through groups of five ten-to-fifteen-minute missions each week. But to hear the amount of content directly compared to a game that Halo fans likely have had some experience with speaks volumes. It’s hard to tell if the Spartan Ops season will live up to the same consistency of narrative or storytelling aspirations, but everything we’ve seen so far looks poised for success. And that’s not even getting to the greater mystery of the role played by Majestic Squad’s Gabriel Thorne.
Whether 343 can release a Halo title that rivals those previously-released – or if that’s even possible, given the power of nostalgia – remains to be seen, but at least the campaigns offered will offer at least as much gameplay as fans have come to expect.
Halo 4 will be released on November 6, 2012, exclusively for the Xbox 360.
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