In the wake of Bungie’s new deal, 343 Industries has revealed the first details on Halo 4, due out in 2012 on the Xbox 360, the first in what’s being called the “Reclaimer Trilogy” designed to take gamers on a 10-year journey spanning Halo 4 to 6.
The information was revealed at Halo Fest yesterday, as 343 Industries takeover the Halo brand, hoping to usher it to new heights.
“We’re investing heavily in the look and feel of Forerunner,” senior art director Kenneth Scott said at the event (courtesy Eurogamer). “The thing that connected people initially way back in the first Halo experience is that mystery. That’s where a lot of our pressure on the art team is going right now. We want the player to feel that initial experience of discovery.”
“You’ve lived with the Forerunner for 10 years now, and three, four games. What do we do to move it forwards so it still connects the player with a mystery but it hasn’t fallen into the abstraction that will happen over that period of time? There’s a lot of push there.
You’ve lived with inert, static Forerunner abandoned structures,” franchise development director Frank O’Connor said. “It’s going to be really interesting to see a different aspect of Forerunner engineering and Forerunner architecture when it’s not completely inert and dead and empty.”
As of now, there are about 200 people working on Halo 4, and have been doing so for a couple of years, with talent from over 25-30 different studios.
“It plays like Halo,” creative director Josh Holmes said. “It sounds simple but that was really important to us. As a team we were brought together by this love for this universe and this play experience, and we wanted to maintain the core of that magical Halo feel.
But at the same time, it was important for us to have the courage to take risks and evolve the gameplay feel so it is fresh and different. It’s this constant question of balance for us we’ve wrestled with since the beginning as a team. How do we maintain both what is the core of Halo, making sure it feels like Halo, while at the same time adding new weapons, new abilities, new experiences you’ve never had before in a Halo game?
But at its core it does feel very much like Halo. It was important to us to maintain that commitment to the sandbox nature of Halo gameplay, making sure we’re empowering players to make choices in how they approach each problem instead of giving them only one solution. That was one of the things we held at the core of everything we did.”
Halo 4 will go into detail on Master Chief’s story, however it won’t reveal his origin.
“It is a direct continuation in a way of the events of Halo 3,” O’Connor added. “I’ll clarify one thing from the interwebs. The 2554 year model would have shipped at the end of 2552. So you’re not getting any chronology clues from the new [Wart]Hog [shown in Forza 4]. But it will deal with the fate of John and Cortana. There’s a lot of speculation about Cortana’s mind state. There’s a lot of relationship between those two characters. Character is something we’re focusing on very strongly this time.
Halo to me has always been about enigma and exploration and wonderment and scale. You’ve already seen a little bit of the artwork, and it gives the sense of incredible grandeur and scope. To me the story has that scope and that grandeur, too. Having three years to think about the story and plan it, and to commit to a trilogy right from the start, is a luxury even Bungie didn’t have with Halo 1.
We know we have a loyal fanbase and we know we have a community that’s going to enjoy Halo games, so we’re able to build a big, epic story with lots of wonder and explanation.”
There’s much more through the Eurogamer link up top.