In the latest Halo Bulletin, Frank O’ Connor has been answering some community questions and has given a few more details about the highly anticipated Halo 4. There’s an awful lot of “not just yet” and “you’ll find out soon”, but hidden amidst the rubble of vagueness are just a few shiny nuggets of new info.
As previously reported, Halo 4 will feature character customisation and perks for multiplayer. Frankie first clarified that 343 are not and have not called them perks, then went on to explaining that the systems within Halo 4 “will not be mirror images of the stuff they’re being compared to now in online conversations”..
Frankie also discussed the character customisation, explaining that players will have a great deal of control over the appearance of their Spartan IV but will also be able to control certain elements of ability and performance, which will affect gameplay. He promised that this would not allow players to spawn with power weapons and that 343 were focused on providing “a balanced and enjoyable game for all types of players”.
When asked about equipment and armour abilities, Frankie spoke of the evolution from pickups in Halo: CE to abilities in Reach and explained that Halo 4’s system would be a “logical evolution”.
One thing that’s definitely returning, assassinations, though Frankie wouldn’t comment on weapon specific animations. On the subject of weapons, Frankie said that Halo 4 definitely does not feature the same number of guns as Reach. He went on to say that 343 “have made significant changes to the sandbox. Perhaps the most radical overhauls and additions it’s ever had in a single iteration. Fans should expect to see very new stuff.”
He also confirmed that it will be “more or less” possible to play Grifball in Halo 4, with no further details regarding the weaponry traditionally used in the gametype. As for other playlists, he would only say that there would be traditional offerings as well as some exciting new options.
Staying tight lipped regarding other aspects of multiplayer, when asked about the ranking system Frankie said only that it has been “altered”. On the subject of maps he explained that beyond War House and Wraparound, 343 are saying nothing. He was asked about possible remakes of previous maps but again kept quiet, teasingly mentioning that 343 “know what the ladies (and gents) like”.
Regarding the gameplay footage from the ViDoc, he explained that the multiplayer footage seen in the video was from their own in-house setup, so not to take too much from it. However, he did confirm that Slayer will not feature the standard 50 kill scoring that we’re used to. He also confirmed that health pickups are gone, more information about the new health system is to be revealed at a later date.
We’ll have to wait until release to actually try any of this out because also confirmed was the fact that Halo 4 will not have a multiplayer beta.
Moving on to campaign, one question I’ve been pondering was asked and answered. Will the Cyclops 2 (the mech featured in War House) be playable? Short answer, no. Long answer, no but there are going to be some surprises coming on the vehicle front, one of which is going to “dwarf” that enormous mech. Yikes.
When asked about the Covenant, Frankie was surprisingly forthcoming. Yes, they’re back! They’re completely revamped, “graphically, politically and sonically” but they are definitely back. Frankie then went on to say that the Covenant are “the least of your problems”. As for other characters, Frankie wouldn’t confirm whether any other familiar faces would be featured but did mention “very interesting new characters”.
Beyond that, there wasn’t much more info about the campaign. 343 are keeping details close to their chests on this one. Frankie was a little more open regarding some of the development aspects however.
343 are at the “crunch” phase in development. The entire campaign is now playable from beginning to end, some levels already graphically polished and others still waiting completion. The music is composed and final orchestra sessions are in the works. Frankie admits that 343 “can never emulate Marty’s legendary scores” and so they’re aiming for a different direction musically. He mentioned that all the music we hear from here on in will be from the game and that the composer will be revealed soon.
No word on Forge or Theater modes as of yet, beyond Frankie saying that the fans should be very happy. He did mention his passion for machinima and said that 343 will continue to support that, so I think it’s fair to say that Forge and Theater will both feature and should hopefully be receiving the attention and care that they deserve.
Frankie went on to talk about marketing plans and release. He wouldn’t confirm a release date and also refused to give any details about different editions of the game, stating only that available retail content will be detailed following announcement of release date.
343 have some plans in place for marketing, both traditional and non-traditional, mentioning “a couple of things that go beyond product marketing into what I can only tease as a fairly different experience”. He also said to expect a 343 presence at many of this years big gaming events.
Saving the best until last, Frankie did talk a little more about the Battle Rifle. He also mentioned bloom, or the lack thereof. Best said in his own words, I feel:
“The BR is a three-shot burst weapon. It is hitscan. In its current tuning, it has recoil (not bloom) which causes it to rise slightly (in a predictable and suppressible way). It is not a replacement for the DMR as has been discussed in the community. You will not see bloom as it currently exists in Vanilla Reach on any weapon, but there will be different methods for reticle targeting that vary depending on the weapon, and players will have a wide arsenal of weapons to choose from. More news about that later.”
Frankie O’Connor was a Bungie boy before moving to 343 and it seems he’s definitely picked up Bungies love of “tease ‘em until they pop” info drops. We’ll bring you more news as soon as we have it.