Microsoft’s biggest franchise is returning this fall with Halo 4. The first of a new trilogy, Halo 4 (and hopefully 5 and 6) will explore the Halo Universe’s backstory; specifically, the Forerunners. In a lengthy gameplay demo shown during Microsoft’s E3 press conference yesterday, we join the Chief in exploring a new world.
The new game takes place four years after the war with the covenant. The UNSC is slowly beginning it’s re-expansion across the stars. We follow the UNSC Infinity, a warship commissioned for the war against the Covenant and now repurposed for peaceful survey duties. On route unfortunately, the Infinity is hijacked by an unknown entity and ends up on an alien planet where the Master Chief just happens to be … convenient, right? As the ship comes in for a crash landing, we flash over to the Chief.
Looking bright and shiny under 343’s new lighting system, the Chief tracks Infinity’s trajectory and plots a landing zone. As he’s doing so, a cloaked Forerunner drone unveils itself and shoots off in hot pursuit of the ship. The chief follows on foot and the cutscene finally fades to the game itself.
En route to Infinity, the Chief encounters Covenant forces (what?) as well as several new entities, all of which immediately attack. Appearing to be Forerunner AIs, or at least controlled by Forerunner AIs, they possess several new abilities unseen in the Halo games. At one point the Chief hurls a plasma grenade, only to have it caught and returned. There are benefits however, in the form of new, more powerful weapons. One similar to the carbine, and another functioning as a shotgun, the are very gray with yellow glowing light, and fit into the Forerunner style quite well. Additionally, the Chief now has the ability to switch to infrared, an ability seemingly taken from the ODSTs.
From a visual standpoint, the game is looking incredible. The lighting has been totally reworked, bringing a whole new level of realism to the game. Halo Reach really pushed the boundaries for the 360, but Halo 4 makes Reach look dull and washed out. Given the fact that it’s going to be running on hardware that’s been out for 7 years, this level of improvement is an achievement for 343, regardless of anything else about the game. As to the storyline, we can only wait to see more. At the very end of the trailer, a deep voice appears to have just woken. It’s my prediction that this is the Didact. (Read the books or at least Wiki if you don’t know who that is).
Edited by Andy Mercer