Earlier this month, Microsoft registered a handful of domains related to something called “Halo Infinity.” While obviously related to their big, exclusive space shooter, Microsoft remained mum on just what Halo Infinity is.
“Microsoft often acquires various domain names as part of its ongoing business strategy, but beyond that we have no comment,” they said. Now, thanks to the magic of an embargoed press release (which means you could be reading this news at just about every online gaming media outlet in the universe) we finally know what it is.
Essentially, it’s a way of making your entire Halo 4 multiplayer experience more cohesive. Your multiplayer hub, you see, will actually be the UNSC Infinity – the largest and presumably most awesome starship in the USNC fleet. It’ll track your co-operative and competitive multiplayer experiences – and alter your appearance, available weaponry and role on the battlefield based on your choices and playstyle.
One of the features of Halo Infinity – and one that’s piqued my interest – is something they’re calling Spartan Ops. Each week, there’ll be a cinematic available on Xbox Live detailing the events after Halo 4, centered on the UNSC Infinity’s leaders and crew, and Majestic Squad, a new group of super space soldiers – which will be tied in to weekly in-game Spartan Op missions you can play alone or with up to three friends. It’s an interesting, story-driven way of keeping interest in Halo 4 high for a while after the game’s release.
The Infinity’s combat deck gives you access to War Games – which seems to be a fancy way of describing Halo’s beloved competitive multiplayer. Making the whole thing even more interesting is the fact that the game’s new armour modification system and customisations – available in select game modes – can be tailored to suit your own playstyle.
“The “Halo 4” player progression system goes beyond simple aesthetic upgrades, encouraging players to invest time and effort to create a Spartan that looks and plays the way they want. Players can earn and activate combat enhancements called “Specializations” based on the style of play they engage in, from stealth to all-out assault, and everything in between,” says the hyperbole-laden press release.
It seems that 343 Industries, Microsoft’s new Halo-dedicated Studio is really trying to bring something fresh to the series, and put its own stamp on Halo in the wake of bungie’s departure. It certainly sounds intriguing – and I’m interested in seeing if the fledgling studio (admittedly staffed with a number of bungie veterans) can pull it off.
In the same press release, Microsoft also detailed the game’s Limited Edition which, though it doesn’t contain a Master chief helmet, sounds like it has a wealth of extra, added value content. Here’s what you’ll find in your Halo 4 limited Edition, which’ll retail for R899 when the game’s released in November.
- War Games Map Pack Access – The Limited Edition includes access to nine maps – three future competitive multiplayer map packs, each including three locations, available for download post-launch on Xbox LIVE.
(A detailed release schedule for the map packs will be announced at a later time)
- Specializations – Receive early access to six Specializations, available at launch on Xbox LIVE, to achieve higher ranks in your Spartan career. In addition to gaining access to new ranks, Specializations unlock new customization options. Purchasers of the “Halo 4” Limited Edition will get access on launch day, while others will have to wait as Specializations are released over time.
- The Limited Edition also contains the UNSC Infinity Briefing Packet, which includes an armor customization schematic, a blueprint of the massive ship itself, and insight into what it means to be one of humanity’s finest warriors: the Spartan-IVs.
- Bonus digital content through Xbox LIVE:
Unique in-game Spartan-IV armor skin
Unique in-game weapon skin for the Assault Rifle
An exclusive in-game emblem
Xbox LIVE Avatar prop
Xbox LIVE Avatar Spartan-IV armor set
- “Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn” Special Edition – An extended 90-minute version of the live-action digital series that will bring the “Halo” universe to life as you’ve never seen it, and provide an enthralling backstory leading up to the events of “Halo 4.”
“Halo 4” Limited Edition also includes the following exclusive videos:
- Bonus in-fiction content expanding the characters and stories of
“Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn”
- Special Featurette: Bringing Gaming into Reality
- Making of “Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn”
- “Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn” – A Groundbreaking Live-Action Digital Series
Last Updated: May 16, 2012