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- Halo 4
Sir, request permission to leave Bungie.
It can be frustrating as a writer when a presenter starts talking about a game without revealing much that isn't already obvious. The pencil on the page begins to dangle, and trying to find an angle that's worthy of a reader's attention—your attention—becomes almost desperate. I mean, what would you think about the following sentence: "Halo 4 will be a visceral, futuristic experience with single-player and multiplayer." Yeah, snooze.
However, this only speaks to the understandable apprehension of 343 Studios attempting to breathe new life into a well-established, epically popular franchise. For them, Halo 4 is more than just a sequel—it needs to respect Bungie's prior work, yet have a voice that's makes their creation distinct, and also set the tone for their future trilogy for Halo over the next ten years (there words). No one can blame them for being deliberately tight-lipped on information, though it certainly makes my job harder.
What little was unveiled, though, should whet your Marine-sized appetite. Master Chief has long been the iconic 900-pound badass, who may just be more laconic than Clint Eastwood. This time around, Master Chief must survive in space after the conclusion of Halo 3. The story will foster a sense of mystery, isolation, and discovery, and his reactions will have a personal tone—particularly, his relationship with Cortana—elicited by situations that he normally doesn't contend with. He still must find a way to defeat a new ancient and dark threat, but now he'll act as much like Master Chief as he does John.
As for the angular power suits and environments, 343 Studios rightfully decided to enhance the detail without destroying the original design. The battle rifle has been given additional grooves and corners, about three times the detail has it had before. Master Chief's own power suit has been adorned with a few more pieces and a more attention to mass and texture. Otherwise, nothing crucial like the HUD has been overhauled, just enhanced.
The two new multiplayer maps, which have been made from scratch and are separate from the main storyline, also show the precision of the graphics. Taking place on a mobile industrial plant hovering over a sand-colored gas giant, Warhouse features narrow rectangular corridors and steel platforms that surround a giant mech called the Cylcops Mark-2. In contrast, Wraparound contains wide circular corridors held up by slanted blue crystalline pillars as well as right-angled pathways adorned by transparent engravings on the floor. Unfortunately, we weren't able to see anything beyond some fly-by shots of each map, but they look like they'll fit easily into the Halo universe.
As a final tease, the developers revealed that there will be a gameplay connection betwen the single-player and the multiplayer. They will definitely be connected in terms of story, and it's been hinted that the multiplayer will delve into the animosities between the blue and red Spartan teams. What's more curious, though, is that the player's "Spartan IV" soldier in multiplayer may be given better weapons or armor through completion of the single-player. It's not as risky as incorporating Kinect support, which they have no plans to do, but if true, it's a bold move that will give an incentive for all players to understand Halo 4's storyline more thoroughly.
Halo 4 is scheduled to release exclusively on Xbox 360 for a holiday release in 2012. Look for further details here at Game Revolutoin as Microsoft and 343 Studios reveal more at E3 and beyond.