Recently GI (Game Informer) recently did a cover story on the next installment in the Halo franchise. Halo 4 is slated to return players to the boots of John 117 and opens a new trilogy. The campaign is somthing I'm looking forward to with far less apprehension as the multiplayer component. Since Halo 2 introduced the world to Halo online multiplayer it as been a force. Millions of gamers have dedicated hundreds of thousands of hours of in game time because the multiplayer was both unique and compelling.
Halo 4 is going to take one step further and actually intergrate multiplayer into the story. While details about exactly what that means are scarce, but basically you're a new breed of spartan training on a UNSC ship called Infinty. This ship comes to interact with the MC at some point and there's your single player tie in. All that being said I worry about some of the details that have come to light.
The top of my consern list isn't even in the competitive portion of the game. "Spartan Ops" is a co-op game mode designed to be an episodic romp much in the same vein of "Spec Ops" of Call of Duty. As the only direct rival to the Call of Duty juggernaut, I don't feel that directly ripping ideas out of their playbook is the way to wrestle the strangle hold they have on the first person shooter genre. I like the idea of weekly episodes, but that name has got to go to be able to claim any legitimacy to an original idea.
The next thing that bothers me is loadout. In Halo Reach was the first Halo game to attempt this and I though while a little out of place it was at least executed effectively. That being said Halo 4 looks to take that to the next level by giving the player choices in starting weapon, attachments, and armor abilities. This is another nod to the game they are directly trying to compete against and to me it's a mistake to make this game more like it.
Finally they are messing the a huge part of high level gameplay in Halo games. The power weapons are not going to be spawning in the same locations over and over again. With this added level of randomless it takes away the one advantage that experienced players have over newbies and once again against the idea that Halo is fundamentally different from Call of Duty.
In closing while my conserns at this point are minor and while I still believe that Halo 4 will be a great game, I have to wonder if the burden of being so successful is starting to sacrifice the spirit of the other core games in the series. Halo has always carved out it's own path with innovation and high quality development standards and I hope this will live on in this 343 Industries developed game.