By Paul Hunter
For Halo fans, the release of Halo 4 might as well be considered a national holiday. So what will millions of Halo fans be playing when the game launches on November 6? Multiplayer of course, and it just so happens this time around 343 Industries promises the new "Halo Infinity Multiplayer" offering will redefine the Halo multiplayer experience. In fact, the development studio promises that Halo 4's multiplayer is so innovative that it will redefine how gamers think about storytelling and multiplayer experiences altogether.
The entire Halo 4 multiplayer experience takes place aboard the UNSC Infinity -- the largest starship in the UNSC fleet and the central hub for Spartan training. Featuring a state-of-the art combat deck, complete with a training chamber that is capable of replicating environments, the UNSC Infinity will immerse players in the sights and sounds of the Halo universe.
The UNSC Infinity space vessel
Starting out, players will create and customize their Spartan-IV supersoldier which will be used across the co-operative and competitive game modes in Halo 4. The story of the UNSC Infinity will intersect with the Halo 4 campaign, and then continues on in a brand-new, story-driven experience called "Spartan Ops". This new mode, a first of its kind for the Halo franchise, will introduce weekly episodic cinematics that provide the backdrop for Spartan Ops gameplay missions. These objective-based weekly missions can be played solo or co-operatively (with up to three friends) and will be included to all Halo 4 owners at no additional cost.
The familiar competitive multiplayer mode is back in Halo 4, this time known as War Games, and takes place on the combat deck of the UNSC Infinity. Microsoft says that War Games will deliver "fresh, immersive new game modes and strategies...while also delivering an experience that's still distinctly and uniquely Halo," which is both vague and expected. More details on the Halo 4 competitive multiplayer mode will be released at a later date.
Halo 4's multiplayer experience will deliver a fresh progression system that will introduce gameplay-enhancing capabilities for the first time in a Halo game. Whereas in previous Halo games players could only modify the appearance of their Spartan warrior, in Halo 4 players can earn and activate combat enhancements called "Specializations" based on the style of play they engage in, be it stealth or all-out assault, and everything in between. These Specializations can be used in both Spartan Ops and War Games matchmaking, creating more creative options and a much deeper experience of core fans and newcomers alike. In addition, Halo 4's multiplayer modes will feature a vast array of new weapons, vehicles, armour abilities, and a new loadout.
Halo 4 launches on Nov. 6, 2012, exclusively on Xbox 360. The game is being developed by 343 Industries and will be published by Microsoft Studios.
[This article originally appeared on the Future Shop Tech Blog]