Halo 4 will bring ongoing, cooperative multiplayer as Firefight is scrapped.
Tying into the fictional narrative, Halo 4’s Spartan Ops brings players together in weekly multiplayer missions
What I like about 343 Industries is that they’re thinking different with Halo 4. It would have been so easy to emulate Bungie’s past games and sell million of copies, but it looks like the developer wants to bring fresh experiences to a franchise that fundamentally hasn’t changed since its debut in 2001.
One of those experiences is Spartan Ops, a rival to Call of Duty’s Specs Ops/Zombies co-op modes. We already knew from GameInformer interviews, and tibits from Frank O’Connor over at NeoGAF, that the mode would be cooperative and would effectively be free DLC that expanded the narrative (of the campaign or characters, though we don’t know for sure).
Microsoft revealed Spartan Ops is a story-based multiplayer mode supporting up to four players (no surprises there) that takes place aboard the UNSC Infinity, which is where the multiplayer maps are set. The latter are virtual, and are virtual training grounds for the latest Spartans: the Spartan IVs. It’s possible players launch missions from the Infinity, acting similar to the hub world that was portrayed through New Mombasa in Halo: ODST. That was awesome, so anything similar would get me very excited.
Exploring new locations, expanding narrative
The missions seem to be related to the Halo 4 campaign – perhaps explaining concurrent events, or maybe even how players’ Spartans tie into the narrative, though that’s purely speculation on my part – as missions are released weekly. Yes, weekly — and for free.
The missions are also objective-based, which I’m guessing helps players to explore environments that would have otherwise been untouched in the game. It’ll be great if there’s a fail state, giving the new objectives real value. Microsoft says the missions will help uncover the secrets of the Forerunner world, presumably where Master Chief lands.
Almost certainly more information will surface during E3. I expect a campaign demo and some more in-depth multiplayer footage to be honest, especially regarding the new mechanics in the game which drew controversy around the GameInformer reveal. 343 did clarify the changes though, and the overall message seemed to be balance – exactly what’s needed.