Halo 4 takes players to a foreign world dubbed “Requiem,” and this is where most of the game’s campaign takes place. After players finish the campaign, the story continues through the Infinity multiplayer system, an attempt by 343 Industries to bring competitive and cooperative multiplayer modes into the story and Halo universe in a way that hasn’t been done before.
On the one side, there’s the traditional competitive Halo 4 multiplayer, which in this game is known as War Games. From a story perspective, it represents simulated Spartan combat training for all of the Spartan aboard the UNSC Infinity, the massive ship fans can see in the latest Halo 4 gameplay footage.
Think of it as training as sorts for Spartans (players) who then can utilize their skills in story-based missions in Spartan Ops, a co-op campaign of sorts that launches when Halo 4 releases. It’s essentially a weekly event of sorts where every single week, 343 releases a CG webisode which tells the story of a few characters aboard the Infinity.
For players, each episode comes with five new missions for the Spartan Ops mode, objective-based missions that can be played with 1-4 players cooperatively. The mode allows not only serves to add meaning and purpose behind what players do outside of the campaign, but it allows for them to explore other areas in the Halo universe not presented in the campaign.
Frank O’Connor, franchise development coordinator for 343, tells us this is something they’ve been working on for a long time, and while he couldn’t tell us specifics in terms of how long season 1 will be, he did say to think of it in terms of months of content and not weeks. Seasons two and beyond will likely come as future DLC for players wishing to continue the story beyond that in Spartan Ops.
In our demo, executive producer Kiki Wolfkill and O’Connor took us through one of the missions players will get as part of the Spartan Ops mode. It involved the collection of some artifact and the enemy units were of Forerunner origin, the ancient race responsible for the construction of the Halos.
In Halo 4, these new units of the new threat uncovered and were first showcased as part of the Microsoft E3 2012 press conference earlier this week. There were three types of these orange-colored Transformers-esque “Promethean” units and they’re not organic in nature:
- Crawler: Fast-moving dog-like creatures that are a threat in groups.
- Knight: A commander unit of sorts and very large. Has the ability to phase-teleport.
- Watcher: A support unit that can catch grenades and revive knights.
We saw the new hardlight shield in action as it erects a large energy-based shield in front of one of the players, along with some crafty use of the new Scattershot weapon – a Promethean shotgun that can even take down Promethean Knights if close enough.
The mode takes advantage of the Halo 4’s multiplayer loadout system we saw leaked before E3, which contains six options: primary, secondary and grenade weapon slots along with armor, tactical and support upgrades.
By default the secondary is restricted to handguns but by adding a firepower tactical upgrade for instance, players can instead wield two heavy weapons.
Players can alter the difficulty level of the Spartan Ops missions, adjusting the challenge based on not only their skill level, but by how many allies they may be playing with online. O’Connor told us that 2-player splitscreen is available.
Halo 4 releases on November 6, 2012 for the Xbox 360.
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