Although next month’s Game Informer, which features a cover story unveiling new details regarding 343 Industries’ Halo 4, doesn’t release for another few days, first details from the cover story have begun appearing online. While the information isn’t as concrete as fans might expect, what 343 Industries does share regarding the game’s story and multiplayer is pretty intriguing.

Story wise, it appears that Halo 4 picks up right where Halo 3 left off (although a few years later), with Master Chief battling a Covenant force that has breached his ship. The Covenant, if you’ll remember, had made a truce with human forces over the course of the Halo series, but apparently something has them after Spartan 117 again.

As the story envelops, 343 promises to explain more about Master Chief’s origins including a deeper exploration of Cortana’s evolution from irreplaceable partner to an AI gone rogue. Cooperative fans should also be happy to learn that four-player co-op across the entire campaign will be making a return.

Spartan Ops is a new addition for Halo 4, but is a common feature amongst multiplayer shooters. Essentially a cooperative campaign, Spartan Ops will allow up to four players to get together and complete their own story missions complete with unique objectives and cinematics.

Like Call of Duty‘s Spec Ops, Spartan Ops will also be getting a wealth of new additions through DLC and updates. Spartan Ops will be 343’s answer to Firefight, which will not be receiving its own dedicated mode this time around.

Halo 4 New Multiplayer Details

Multiplayer, which 343 Industries has labeled Infinity, will be a somewhat familiar experience, but still carry some unique qualities. Rather than only picking up weapons on the fly — although weapon drops will be returning — multiplayer will feature loadouts, which are predetermined weapon options each player takes into the multiplayer. Among the items that will be customizable include primary weapon, secondary weapon, grenade type, and weapon armor abilities.

Yes, the return of armor abilities will be pretty contentious, but at least one element, sprinting, will come standard for the Spartan IVs. Additional Spartan abilities like being able to see through walls will be unlockable via an in-game currency system called Spartan Points. Another controversial change is the removal of the respawn clock for matches of Team Slayer; instead getting right back into battle will be instantaneous.

There’s still plenty more details to be revealed by the Halo 4 cover story, but just these small pieces of information show that 343 Industries isn’t just picking up where Bungie left off, but are instead trying to make the series there own. And based on some of the things they are attempting, fans should have plenty to be excited about this Holiday.

Are you more interested in picking up with the story of Master Chief or to get your hands on the new multiplayer?

Halo 4 is scheduled to release Holiday 2012 for the Xbox 360.

Source: Game Informer, NeoGAF