Its going to be a long wait but in the end it will be worth every minute. This holiday season sees the return of a beloved friend…Spartan 117″ Master Chief”!
It has been 5 years since we last grabbed a controller and heard the familiar sound of his Mjolnir armor powering up and single-handedly saved the universe. In reality it has only been 2.5 games since then ( Halo CE anniversary counts as the .5) My last article on HALO 4 was a list of things that I wanted to see in the upcoming sequel and having learned a little more about the game itself I can say that my wish list is coming true.
Having said that there are a swarm of concerns over this latest entry in the franchise most notable is the fact that the stewards of all things HALO has handed over the reigns to a new studio; Bungie has left the building.
This is either a good thing or a VERY bad thing for HALO fans. prefer to think that it is a good thing. Having fresh perspective on a franchise while maintaining respect for whats come before you is something that 343 has made its mission statement while working on HALO 4. A lot of gamers who are already bashing HALO 4 because Bungie is not involved don’t realize that part of 343 studios development team are in fact former Bungie employees who worked on past HALO games. Dont worry guys; HALO 4 is in good hands and here are some snippets I have compiled to re assure you.
- The new Graphic engine looks amazing: From early screenshots and video I have seen I can tell you that Master Chief looks better than he has ever looked before. We can expect to see new armor tweaks as far as aesthetics goes ( and I’m sure a reason to go with it) but more than that 343 has given attention to HOW we feel playing as Master Chief. They have used the analogy of making us feel like we are inside the cockpit of a fighter jet. Master Chiefs HUD will power up and everything we do will give us a sense of weight and power; something that was missing from previous HALO titles. They want you to feel like you are a state of the art super soldier and I am excited to experience it!
- Battle Rifle is back! Of course we can expect the actual gun model to be suitable enhanced from the last time we saw it but the core functionality ( 3 round burst) will be back and better than ever
- All new sound design. While I am fully expecting a new Orchestral score to accompany your journey through the story of HALO 4 and I am very excited with the fact that they are using all new sound assets. HALO has trademark sounds for everything that breeds a certain amount of comfort we have in playing it.
- The franchise has carried over these sounds from game to game allowing us the players to identify with key elements that make us feel warm and fuzzy inside. New weapons means news sounds to go with them and while I love the status quo , change is good and I cant we ait to see what kind of new toys I will be able to play with both weapons , vehicles and equipment.
- Multiplayer makes sense now. The one thing that REALLY bothered me about HALO multi player was the concept that these now extinct Spartans ( ie. Master Chief and co.) all assembled in random battlefields to kick the crap out of each other. Whether it was Red vs Blue or other color variants the fact remained that all you where doing was playing against each other for the sake of competitive gaming; and while that was more than enough reason for most people ion the world I myself was wanting more. I wanted a reason why all this was taking place and being that there where other shooters that at least made the multi player make sense ( Gears of War, Call of Duty, Medal of Honor, Batttlefield, all had different factions battling it out online) it seemed odd that Bungie didnt insert some form of narrative reason for it.
343 Studios has stated that they have crafted a story element that gives everyone some background on why these matches in the online world would be taking place. It’s a minor detail but one that shows the attention to the little things they are giving this project.
- Multi Player maps are stand alone. In the world of competitive games the develop[ers usually take the easy way out and create maps pulled from the single player portion of the game. This accomplishes the goal of pulling us into the game as we have experienced the locales already and makes some amount of sense in one part of the game and the other being that they can spend less Development time on the multi player portion of the game since they have already created the maps once. The fact that 343 is taking the time to create dedicated maps that fit within the structure of the overall narrative they are telling is a bold move but one that will pay off when we jump online at launch.
There is still a lot more information that will be coming on HALO4 as we get closer to the games release. I truly believe that the HALO brand is in good hands and we will finally get a return to form for the franchise this holiday season.
Dwayne” EVO Knight” Morash