Preview: Halo 4
If you’re a Halo fan November 6th is just around the corner and it couldn’t come sooner as Master Chief will call you into service when the time arrives. I recently wrote about my impressions of Halo 4 during rAge 2012, which focused solely on the multiplayer experience of the game, which is generally where people envision Halo’s core to be. Yet I feel that this time around the story and campaign (which can also be played in co-op) of Halo 4 deserves some attention as well, and discussion.
Title: Halo 4
Developer: 343 Industries
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Players: 1-4 (co-op)
Platforms: Xbox 360
Expected Price: R499
Release Date: November 6th
In Halo 4, 343 Industries’ approach to Master Chief is to develop him as character and give him greater depth, engaging us on a deeper and more emotional level. One has to remember that Bungie’s Master Chief was originally a vehicle for the gamer, to take on the role of ‘Master Chief’. That might still be the case, to some extent, with 343 Industries’ take on the character as to not alienate hardcore Halo fans. But this time around the Chief will be fleshed out, as shown in the trailer above.
This doesn’t mean that 343 Industries will unmask Master Chief. Like I said, 343 Industries want to get all the old school Halo fans on board with the new trilogy of games, before they pull a move like that. Halo 4 will be the first time in a while, since 2007 to be exact, that players will get the chance to take on the role of Master Chief once more. This time around Master Chief is stranded on a Forerunner (the alien race who created Halo) planet, called Requiem, following the events of the third game, where Master Chief and Cortana (his AI companion) are shown adrift in space. The game will also explore the effects of Halo on Cortana and the degradation of her mental state as she nears the end of her lifespan as an AI.
Halo 4 will be directing its gaze at a different approach in terms of gameplay with a greater focus on exploration, discovery and uncovering the mystery of Requiem, and the new enemy that the planet harbours. The game will still have elements of the traditional Halo first person perspective and gameplay that made the game popular, but will supplement it with a fresh new direction. This in my opinion may be what this new trilogy will need in redefining Halo as a franchise. The multiplayer, with the inclusion of Spartan Ops, is still very much the same as in previous instalments and is much faster in some instances, even more so than Halo Reach. If you are interested in knowing more about the multiplayer aspect in Halo 4, you can read about my impressions of the mutliplayer in the game, and this will give you an idea of what to expect. This should in turn give you some perspective about the visual style of the game, which is spectacular and pushes the boundaries of the Xbox 360.
According to 343 Industries, the game will explore the effects of the events of the third game on the current state of affairs in the galaxy, particularly in regards to how humanity, and the UNSC, have adapted to life after war time, and peace with the Convenant. Of particular interest will be how humanity has utilised remnants of Forerunner technology. This trilogy will differ from the original three Halo games in that it was conceptualised as a trilogy from the start, with connectivity intended between the coming trilogy and future Halo properties.
It seems that Halo 4 will be a much darker game than previous Halo outings, and it looks to be pushing the boundaries of what a Halo fan assumes Halo to be. This could either alienate Halo fans, or bring in a slew of new fans combined with the traditional Halo audience. A lot is riding on the success of Halo 4 for 343 Industries. We will see if it is a success next month. I’m looking forward to it.