It was expected that with Halo 4 releasing this year would show up at the Rooster Teeth Expo and they definitely didn’t upset anyone with their presence. While at the convention they announced a couple new multiplayer modes and unveiled the unfinished Forge world. Certain Affinity is announced to be partnering with 343 Industries to bring you their new Forge world in Halo 4. Certain Affinity has worked with Halo before with the Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition as well as other projects such as Call of Duty: Black Ops so they are pretty familiar with the first person shooter genre. Max Hoberman from Certain Affinity actually worked on Halo up until Halo 3 came out. So he knows thoroughly how Halo is supposed to feel. Like Bungie said, Halo is in good hands so don’t worry about whether or not Halo 4 will stay true to how Bungie did it since a lot of the team has heavy experience with Halo and are all big fans of the series.
Now for some forge talk, Certain Affinity unveiled that forge will now be implementing a duplication system where you can duplicate objects on the fly. Also the object selection tool has been enhanced so that you are clear on which objects you are selecting when you are in the game and even allowing you to lock objects in place so that they are not accidentally. The biggest and best improvement however comes in the form of magnetizing objects so that you can create objects such as bridges easier and more smoothly. Also a minor addition, and is really only important if you do machinima with Halo 4, is that every forge object has dynamic lighting to it. Giving it a sense that it is really there in the game world. Another new addition is the “player trait zone” which allows you to change various aspects of a player’s traits in a controlled environment. Basically my assumption is that they are learning about what Little Big Planet has been doing and trying to implement it. The only thing though is they haven’t figured out how to do a “rewind” button in forge. So if you mess up you can’t really go back and undo it, just rebuild. LBP has also had player trait zones since the first game and to date probably has the best level creation tools out there (for consoles). Check out the video I took of the forge world demo below to see it in action (turn up the volume a little bit) and below is a video of Geoff and Jack from Achievement Hunters playing a round of PIE in forge.
Now for some details on the game itself. There will be two multiplayer modes in Halo 4; the first one being Spartan Ops which is a storyline based multiplayer experience taken 6 months after the events of Halo 4, and each week will be a new episode for you to play. Each episode is a complete piece with cinematic sequences and new story developments. This will really get you to continue playing the game after it releases. The other mode is more traditional matchmaking and called Wargames. The player progression modifications will be more tailored to fit people’s play styles and the XP gained in either mode will still contribute to the overall XP.
For Wargames they announced two new game types such as Regicide and Infinity Slayer. Regicide will be pretty cool and difficult to win, because it is a new version of a Free For All match. Giving the title of “king” to the top player and also putting a bounty on his head for extra points. So you can easily move up the ranks by killing the person who is winning. Be careful though… if you’re in the lead and someone is a close second, they may camp around waiting for the clock to run down and then kill you quickly to get the lead. The other one, Infinity Slayer, will be based around the UNSC Infinity which is the ship in the campaign. This new mode will be a team slayer variant that emphasizes on the new ordnance system as the UNSC Infinity will drop weapons and such onto the map versus having weapons respawn. The ordnance system is also going to be on a personal level as a “killstreak” kind of situation. The more cool stuff you do and the more medals you earn, you gain the ability to use the ordnance system for some further assistance in the game.
They also talked about some of the maps as well. Haven which is going to be a 2 tiered map in Requiem. Adrift is a mining vessel with a symmetrical map layout and a large mech in the middle with a sword between his legs (yeah that’s right). Also Longbow will be mostly a vehicular map and will be bringing back favorites such as the Mongoose, Ghost, and Warthog (or is it a Puma?). Although if you can’t find a vehicle then don’t worry, in this map you will have automatic sprint enabled.
During the Q&A section there were a few good questions asked and equally good answers.
-Can you edit the time of day in forge? No you cannot, but each forge world will be different and have lots of variety to the levels. There will be 4 forge worlds releasing on disc and more than likely more to come as DLC.
-How much book storyline will be incorporated in Halo 4? A lot actually, but it won’t be essential to read it to understand what is going on. Some of the Spartans from the previous books will be put somewhere in the new Halo trilogy (no details discussed).
-You will be able to actually lower/drop your weapons freely in mulitplayer now. So another benefit for machinima users.
-There won’t be any beta as they are working very hard to get the game out and the beta won’t benefit them too much.
-Cortana will explore the AI rampancy in the campaign. She is a bit overdue for it and they have plans for her in the story.
Hands-On Demo Impressions
On the show floor of RTX 2012 they had playable demos of the multiplayer version of Halo 4 and I got a chance to check it out. I was easily able to navigate my way through the settings and tune up my Spartan for supreme optimization. Never being able to see the menu system before hand it was impressive how easy it was to figure out how to get in and change things around. Although the modifications get pretty complex and more time is needed with the game to understand the benefits of certain perks and such. You’ll have the loadouts of preset equipment so that if you need to change your tactics quickly it won’t be too tough to do so. The in game action is not different from previous Halo experiences and the maps feel very familiar, but different at the same time. Honestly all seemed good with this. However, the downside I found was with the ordnance system. I got to use the ordnance twice in my match and both times I selected the Forerunner Scattergun (basically an energy shotgun). It came down in form of an orbital drop and the first time I used it I grabbed it and made multiple successful kills. The second time though it fell closer to some teammates and they were like “OH COOL SHOTGUN!” and stole it. It’d be nice to use the item I earned instead of putting it in the hands of someone who didn’t earn it. I didn’t get to choose the other ordnances so I’m unsure of how those affected the gameplay. Although I would like to say that our team won and it was glorious!