After a prolonged period of silence, 343 Industries is finally ready to start talking about Halo 4. The first official Halo 4 gamplay video premiered at the beginning of the week, along with screenshots of Master Chief in his new armor. The video offers a great overview of the forthcoming game, but there are plenty of questions left to be answered.
For now, the team at 343 Industries is remaining tight-lipped on a number of specifics, though Halo Franchise Development Director Frank O'Connor took the time to answer a number of fan-submitted questions on the Halo Waypoint website. Read on for the highlights, including the reasons why there won't be a Halo 4 multiplayer beta, the state of the game's development, its release date, and more.
Both Halo 3 and Halo: Reach benefited from wildly popular public betas (as did the games those betas were attached to -- Crackdown and Halo 3: ODST, respectively), but Halo 4 won't be upholding that particular tradition.
"While we are testing Halo 4 code, gameplay, and systems at significant scale to get excellent data, input, and feedback, we are focused on polishing and shipping our experience for the duration of the year, and splitting resources to manage and build a beta is not on our schedule."
The Halo 4 footage in the ViDoc shows a clear upgrade from Halo: Reach's visuals, though some scenes are obviously more polished than others. O'Connor discusses the state of the game's development.
"The Campaign is playable from beginning to end. Cinematics are being fully realized. Music is composed, final orchestra sessions are booked. Some levels are graphically polished and beautiful, others waiting their turn in the schedule."
Armor customization proved to be a popular feature in Halo: Reach -- so much so that Bungie raised the game's rank cap and added new armor options less than two months after release. Armor customization will also have a place in Halo 4, but 343 Industries will be taking a different approach.
"You will have a wide degree of control over your appearance, of course, but as we have hinted, there will also be elements of your ability and performance as a Spartan IV that you will have some control over, that will actually impact your gameplay experience, although it should be noted this will not allow players to arrive in a game session with what are traditionally called 'power weapons' or a massively asymmetrical advantage over opponents."
For many fans, it just wouldn't be Halo without The Covenant. Rest assured, The Covenant will make an appearance in Halo 4 -- though as with Master Chief's armor, it won't be quite what fans remember.
"The Covenant will definitely return, albeit in a completely (graphically, politically and sonically) overhauled form, but they may be the least of your problems."
From the very first announcement trailer revealed at E3 2011, Halo 4 has been slated for a holiday 2012 release. While he won't pin down a specific date (yet), O'Connor confirms that a 2012 release is still the plan.
"In precisely 2012. The actual ship date (and other details) will be rolled out in the not-too-crazy-distant future."
For the complete Q&A, head over to Halo Waypoint.
What do you think, Ranters -- are you disappointed that there won't be any kind of beta? Are you looking forward to customizing Master Chief's appearance? What role do you think The Covenant will play in Halo 4? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Halo 4 is scheduled to release in 2012, exclusively for the Xbox 360
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Source: Halo Waypoint