By Paul Hunter
Looking for new information on Halo 4's much touted multiplayer offerings? Microsoft have released a video on Halo Waypoint, the community hub for all things Halo, detailing new information on the multiplayer modes in what is sure to be one of the biggest games of the year.
Arguably, there are no better test subjects for Halo 4's multiplayer features then cyber-athletes from Major League Gaming (MLG), the world's largest competitive video game league, and knowing this, Microsoft decided to give some of MLG's top-ranked Halo players a behind closed doors hands-on during E3.
The Halo 4 multiplayer showcase event was filmed and condensed into a 3-minute video, including commentary from Kevin Franklin, lead designer of Halo 4 at developer 343 Industries, and direct feedback from the pro gamers themselves. It's a content-rich video, packed with fresh news and footage, so take a moment to soak it all in:
The MLG pro-gamers in attendance, which included David Walsh a.k.a. "Walshy" and Brett Leonard a.k.a. "Naded", were among the first gamers ever to get their hands on Infinity Slayer in its full form and a new competitive multiplayer mode called Regicide. In this new mode, the player in first place is dubbed the "king" and as he or she scores kills, their bounty rises, thereby increases the points other players receive for killing the king. To make the king the focal point of each match, a marking icon appears above their head which is visible to all other players in the match, no matter where the king may be.
Another interesting new addition to Halo 4 is the introduction of Spartan Points, which Walshy describes as points awarded for accomplishments like assists, kills, distractions, and if you are stealthy enough, assassinations. These Spartan Points fill up your Ordinance meter, which at a certain level will let players request weapons and upgrades deployments from the massive UNSC Infinity starship.
Moving on to multiplayer maps, Microsoft's Jessica Shea, Community Manager for Halo 4, briefly mentions three maps that the pro-gamers were allowed to experience, which were Adrift, Haven and Longbow.
Haven - this is a cloudy map, situated high above Requiem's surface (the main location for campaign mode), and is intended for mid- to long-range encounters. Expect lots of Sniper Rifle and Assault Rifle action here.
Adrift - Next up is a close combat map which takes place in a CAA mining vessel that has sustained significant damage during the Battle of Kholo.
Longbow - Finally, this open world map is suited for both infantry and vehicle play (currently Warthogs, Mongooses, and Ghosts). While on foot players will mostly use mid- to long-range weapons, there are base structures where close range combat situations can be encountered.
Further into the video, Greg Murphy, Senior Designer for Halo 4, discusses the all-new Spartans Ops episodic co-operative multiplayer mode. Presented like a weekly TV show, up to four players can join together to complete special missions separate from the campaign. The weekly missions will be divided into seasons that will last for ten weeks. Each week five new missions will be available, for a total of fifty missions during the first season. This innovative new feature has Phil Spencer, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Studios, pronouncing that Spartan Ops "will be one of the pinnacle moments for us in the franchise".
Last, but certainly not least, Microsoft's Claude Errerra, reveals more details of the co-op campaign, including a look at the powerful new short-range weapon, the Scattershot. MLG's Mason Cobb a.k.a. "Neighbor" describes the futuristic new weapon as "like a shotgun that you can bounce off the walls". Shea also steps in to briefly mention that the fan-favourite Battle Rifle is finally back.
By their closing comments, it seems the pro-gamers really dug their time with Halo 4 (as I did during E3), and as the toughest Halo critics out there, their endorsement speaks volumes.
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.
The game is not yet rated.
[This article originally appeared on the Future Shop Tech Blog]