Halo 4 will be the biggest, baddest-ass Halo ever. That's the message developer 343 Industries sent loud and clear in its first video documentary on the work going into creating the game. Franchise director Frank O'Connor and executive producer Kiki Wolfkill presented the video (which you can watch for yourself below) to members of the media at Microsoft's Xbox 360 Spring Showcase. They explained as if some reassurances were necessary, that Halo 4 would not be a "reboot" of the franchise that rewrote its origin story or attempted to start from a clean slate as has been the case with some other modern games. It is, however, a major technical update, one that O'Connor called, "the start of the next ten years of Halo."
For that foundation, Halo 4 returns to being the story of Master Chief. The team at 343 considers him to be the "heart and soul" of Halo. As such, he's been at the center of attention in their efforts. As the video shows, the "new" Master Chief has more detail than ever before, but there's more to it than that. His armor has a lighter look and feel, with plates spread out a little more exposing more of the black ballistic mesh beneath them that holds it all together. This reflects the intent to make a more flexible chief, one capable of graceful, athletic moves in the heat of battle. The HUD has also received a complete overhaul to better recreate the sense of being the inside of a visor to really put the player in the game as Master Chief.
Halo 4 has also seen what O'Connor termed a "radical" overhaul in service of better telling the story in game. Exactly what that comes down to remains unknown but he noted that they want to stop relying on outside media such as novels for the primary source of Halo lore. Chief apparently won't be facing a return of the Covenant, though. O'Connor said that Halo 4 introduces a new ancient dark threat.
Multiplayer also sits high on the development priorities list. Halo 4 will include purpose-built multiplayer maps--none drawn from the campaign maps. New Spartan 4s will be in play for multiplayer and offer functional customization to tailor them to different play style in addition to cosmetic appearance modifications. There's even a plan in place to explain why the red and blue Spartans keep squaring off in these matches.
Enough talk; check out the video to catch your first fleeting glimpses of Halo 4.
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