A Closer Look at the Chief's Return
Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard the news: Master Chief is coming to the Xbox 360 this November, for the fourth installment in the Halo trilogy. We've known about the development of Halo 4 for well over a year, and a number of details have been leaking out ever since it was originally announced.
If you recall, Halo 3 ended with the Chief going into stasis, adrift in the wreckage of Forward Unto Dawn near a sinister-looking alien world. Flash forward to Halo 4. A fair bit of time has passed since the events of the third game. The war between human and covenant is over, and mankind is set to enter a new golden age of scientific development. Not all is well, however. On the distant planet of Requiem (which just happens to be the world Chief was stranded near), something ancient is waking up, and it's not friendly.
That something is The Prometheans, led by the Forerunner known only as Didact.
Although The Covenant will be playing a minor role in Halo 4, they won't be the primary villains this time around. If anything, Chief's going to be doing battle with a few rogue splinter groups that didn't get the memo that the war's at an end, and they aren't the real threat, anyway.
As if the Prometheans aren't enough of a problem for Chief, he'll also have to contend with Cortana's impending rampancy. See, by the time Halo 4 rolls around, she's started to reach the end of her operating cycle. Anyone who's read the lore of the Haloverse knows what happens to an A.I. at that point: essentially, they go utterly insane. So, basically, we might see one of the most recognizable and trusted faces in the series become a villain in this installment. Pretty cool, right?
In addition to some considerable aesthetic changes (Halo 4's Grunt have been redesigned, as has Chief's armor), fans should also expect some pretty big changes in the gameplay department, although 343 Industries has promised that the core of what makes Halo fun will remain intact. The first, most obvious changes involve the new weapons and enemies. The teleporting Promethean Knights make Elites and Brutes look almost tame in comparison, and the packs of Promethean Crawlers will likely serve the role which was traditionally held by the Grunts in previous titles.
New weapons include the Promethean Light Rifle and Rail Gun (essentially, an anti-infantry variant of the Spartan Laser), along with updated and upgraded versions of iconic weapons such as the sniper rifle and battle rifle. Pretty standard stuff for a sequel, really, although the new weapons in Halo 4 do look rather cool.
The multiplayer is getting a bit of an overhaul as well, with a perk system of some kind, ties to the story of the game proper, along with an actual, solid reason for why the Red and Blue teams are fighting one another. Halo 4 players will be put into the shoes of the Spartan IVs, and Firefight will be replaced with a cooperative, objective-based game type known as Spartan Ops.
November 6 is still a long way away, so we'll probably be hearing a bit more about Halo 4 as we get closer to release day. Still, what we've heard thus far is pretty bloody engaging, no?
A gamer at heart, Nick started writing when he was a child. He holds a BA in English, works as a freelancer, and loves every minute of it. One day, he hopes to net himself a career in game design - but that's something for the future.
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