Halo 4 Preview
Halo 4 Preview: The Halo series has laboured under an air of finality for years now. with Bungie ending the original trilogy in 2007, and then finishing its work on the franchise with the apocalyptic Halo: Reach towards the end of 2010. So you have to feel for 343 Industries, the studio that has the inestimable job of kickstarting it again with Halo 4 .
After all, the studio is in an exceedingly delicate position. On the one hand, it must make the series its own by building on Bungie’s work – not least to claw back some of the popularity and regard that Halo has lost to the likes of Call Of Duty. But it also has to satisfy fan expectations for continuity, while being be careful not to talk Halo 4 up as the kind of step forward that clumps all over the honour of its illustrious forebears.
For its part, 343 Industries says that it wants to make this latest take on the IP its own Halo game.
We need to find our own voice and give ourselves the freedom to take chances and push things forward. In some ways, you can see Halo 4 as a bit of a reboot.
So Master Chief will remain the star of Halo 4, but this time around he’ll be kitted out in a suit of streamlined armour that’s intended to better imply his athleticism and power, with joints exposed between its heavy plates. And similar to the Spartan Ill’s armour in Reach, it will be customisable, allowing for both cosmetic and performance-enhancing choices. It’s an’evolution’of Reach’s Armor Abilities that 343 isn’t yet ready to explain further.
It’s not just the outer shell of the hero that’s being worked on, either: it seems the studio is looking to build up Master Chief‘s character.
We wanted to pull the curtain back a little bit on Chief, and also his motivations, and a little bit of what’s going on behind the mask in a way that’s not disruptive for the player,
says executive producer Kiki Wolfkill.
As humanity’s saviour and a beacon of hope, 343 intends to make the iconic lead more emotionally resonant than the empty vessel of previous Halo games. O’Connor’s quick to allay fears that he’s going to drop the quiet and stoic thing, explaining that,
The Chief isn’t going to become this monologue-spewing automaton.
The story this updated Master Chief stars in will have him facing a new, ‘very dark’ threat. The tone coincides with some of the intentions Bungie had for Reach, aiming to be more serious and’visceral’. O’Connor is keen to put distance between the two approaches, though, suggesting that Reach’s tale of planetary destruction precluded levity.
Grinding tragedy all the time can be really exhausting,
But, that said, even just technologically we’re going to be doing things in a much more sophisticated, layered way. I’m not trying to say better, I’m just saying different and much less videogamey and bookendish, and much more cinematic.
But it’s debatable how much the Halo series – for all of its creators’ambitions -is about story and how much it’s about its legendary flowing combat and the virtual tourism element to its settings. Still, it’s easy to see why 343 is heavily leaning on its revamped tale to sell the game and to try to reclaim the FPS crown. We just hope that it will be building on the cornerstones of Halo‘s beloved gameplay as well.