Traditionally Halo‘s multiplayer has been a roll up n’ frag affair with little progression to keep you busy outside of matches. That looks to change with 343 Industries’ Halo 4. The game’s multiplayer component will pack performance-enhancing perks. But this isn’t just the franchise playing catch up with Call of Duty, 343 insists.
“I’ve never worked for Infinity Ward, or Respawn – for years I bet they were asked similar questions about how it’s like the multiplayer system in Halo 2 or something like that,” franchise director Frank O’Connor told Eurogamer. “We’re not chasing anybody else’s tail – all the pressure comes from inside.
“What we do take very seriously is changing player habits. So rather than chasing Call of Duty or Battlefield and trying to do their thing and doing it poorly and doing injustice to it, we’re trying to do our own thing, and do something fairly original but still something that’s completely compatible with the Halo universe.
“Halo’s not Call of Duty,” O’Connor continued, “Halo‘s a sandbox game about really emergent things. A lot of things that worked great about Call of Duty – and don’t get me wrong, I was addicted Black Ops all of last year – they do player rewards really well. We’re not trying to do the same thing, it’s as simple as that. We’re trying to do something else, and to push our game forwards and not theirs.”
343 isn’t so bold as to disregard any controversy, though. “I expect a variety of different reactions,” explained creative director Josh Holmes, “One of the great things about Halo is we have the ability to support a variety of different play styles and play lists, create experiences that cater to different player types and community desires.
“We’ve a tremendous amount of respect for Bungie and for the universe that they created, and yet we do want to take our own unique view on Halo and on where we want to take the franchise is in the future. It’s about finding the balance so it’s still Halo yet still feels fresh.”
“What we showed today is in some ways really traditional,” O’Connor concluded. “Some of the more revolutionary stuff that we’re going to be doing is going to create more fuss, and I think it’s going to be mostly positive fuss, as it’s all been carefully thought out and considered.”
It’s painfully clear that 343 want to respect Bungie’s Halo as much as possible while crafting its own image of the franchise. No matter what crazy ideas the team come up with, it’s hard not to appreciate just how much work they’re putting into it.
Halo 4 is out on 360 at year’s end.