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Halo 4 | What We Want!

Felix Kemp
343 Industries, Game previews, Halo 4, Master Chief

Halo 4 | What We Want!

Halo is a Bungie game no longer. The beloved studio has parted ways with its greatest achievement, setting sail with Activision for a new adventure. As such, Halo has taken up residence with step-father Microsoft, who've set up a brand new home for it, 343 Studios. Made up of some of the industry's sharpest tools, it's a fitting place to begin an all new trilogy and take Halo to the next level.

But with a new home comes a new beginning for John-117. The story picks up two years following the climactic events of Halo 3, but should the fourth game follow in the footsteps of its predecessors, or a forge a path all its own?

Iron Sights, Por Favor

Halo 4 | What We Want!

While a select few weapons in the Halo armory - the original Magnum, Battle Rifle and Sniper Rifle, among others - feature a scoped reticule, Halo is predominantly a hip-fire shooter. It's no bad thing, and Halo has built its ever-evolving, adaptable gameplay style on the ability to wade into the fray, firing in each and every direction while leaping in the air or strafing right and left.

We're not calling for a revision to Halo's fundamentals, but an iron-sights mode would be a welcome addition in 343's game. Imagine creeping up on a bunch of Grunts - or whatever we're fighting in Halo 4 - and carefully lining up headshots, even if you're not equipped with a scoped weapon.

Sadly, Call of Duty has changed gamers' expectations when it comes to the FPS genre. I have numerous fans I once played Halo with each and every night - ah, schooldays - who now play Call of Duty almost exclusively. Reach felt dated to them, and I feel the lack of iron-sights was a major benefactor. It's a divisive suggestion, sure, but one we stand by.

Vehicular Carnage

Halo 4 | What We Want!

While Reach's campaign was often pitch-perfect, a culmination of Bungie's ten years spent developing Halo, I did feel a little letdown by the glaring omission of vehicle on vehicle carnage. Halo is renowned for its sprawling battles, with Warthogs careening across the map, spraying shells, Ghosts boosting here and there, and Scorpions and Wraiths lobbing destruction from afar. Who can forget emerging from the Forerunner facility in 'Assault on the Control Room', stumbling on a massive encounter between UNSC and Covenant forces on the frigid ring's tundra.

For Halo 4, we want 343 to embrace the utter anarchy of vehicle on vehicle combat. Sweeping battlefields, strewn with Covenant forces, both on-foot and aboard vehicles - I love running over hapless Grunts in a Warthog - chock-full of variety and excitement. In the concept art video 343 has released, you can clearly see a human carrier, suggesting Master Chief regroups with UNSC forces. As such, we expect the full roster of UNSC vehicles, not to mention a few Forerunner variants.

However, a key component to Halo's vehicle-heavy scenarios is choice. While it's advisable to hop in a Warthog or Ghost, it's entirely your choice whether to go it on foot or not. While I'm a huge fan of Reach's 'Long Night of Solace' level set in near-orbit aboard a Sabre spacecraft, the fact that you couldn't simply hop out - even Spartans can't survive in a vacuum for long - contributed to it feeling like just another vehicle level you often see shoehorned into shooters.

Armor Abilities

Halo 4 | What We Want!

Again, we're back to Reach. It was the last Halo game, after all. So, Armor Abilities. I think we can safely say they were a well-implemented success. Rocketing into the sky like an armored stalk on Jetpacks, soaking up damage like a Hunter with Armor Lock, creeping around like the Predator with Invisibility. It was all good fun.

However, we're of the opinion here at Dealspwn that Armor Abilities should be removed in Halo 4. In our opinion, the best Halo title since the first - still the reigning champ - is the jazz-infused noir spinoff, ODST. Returning to the ideals of the first game, ODST was a riveting, compelling experience. You had your gun, a few grenades and your wits. That was all. In Reach, you feel like a superhero, less like the super-soldiers Spartans are.

Halo 4 should return to the basics of Combat Evolved. It is, after all, the start of a new trilogy, with the Chief once again woken from cryo-sleep to find himself crash-landing on a Forerunner construct he has no knowledge of. It's almost poetic how we've come full circle, and the gameplay should reflect this. That said, the teaser trailer shows the Chief escaping from the fiery hulk of Forward Unto Dawn via zero-g thrusters on his back. Perhaps he'll have new abilities inherent to the armor?

A Sweeping Mystery

Halo 4 | What We Want!

Remember crash-landing on the first Halo ring? Emerging from the ruined pod, your squad-mates splattered across the grass. You look up, and a giant waterfall is crashing down before a sloped ridge. Behind you, a sheer drop, the landscape carved in crude, rough angles, like a child's drawing of what a world should look like. It was enthralling stuff, and we clung on to every story-thread with rapt attention in Combat Evolved. Sadly, the quality of storytelling diminished with each and every game - bar ODST's novel approach - culminating in Reach's shockingly forgettable tale.

In Halo 4, Chief once again finds himself crash-landing on a mysterious Forerunner outpost. He's alone - for a while at least - and must contend with an 'ancient evil'. While I'm all for furious action and spectacle, I'd like to see Halo 4 return to the sweeping mystery of Combat Evolved. For every epic encounter, a lull, where you'd wander the alien landscape, dumbstruck by the sheer beauty and craft of artificial islands like The Silent Cartographer or the disused spires still firing long-forgotten ammunition into the sky.

We're quietly confident 343 will deliver on this. The concept art video we mentioned earlier has numerous passages of Chief standing alone on an outcrop of rock, overlooking a vast landscape. It's classic Halo, and the tone - even in the art alone - is quintessentially Combat Evolved. Mystery, wonder and invisible menace all wrapped into a single image. Bring this back, 343; please!

What do you want to see from Halo 4, Dealspwners? Should Armor Abilities in fact return? Is suggesting an iron sights mode tantamount to heresy? Tell us! We'd love to hear your thoughts.

Add a comment8 comments
bigerik1992  Sep. 21, 2011 at 14:00

iron sights are the worst thing to happen to fps games

ldonaldson77  Sep. 21, 2011 at 18:14

A distinct lack of iron sights in Halo is what help to distinguish it from the rest. If you want them go play generic military shooter 23 and leave Halo alone, it isn't for you. I don't care that Dealspwn's mates didn't like that Reach because it didn't have them; they're probably all called Dave. Daves play CoD and I hope they keep playing it. Leave Halo alone, your iron sights suggestion makes me shake my head in despair. Please just stop with your trendy suggestions, cheers.

Last edited by ldonaldson77, Sep. 21, 2011 at 18:16
jatpunkguy  Sep. 21, 2011 at 18:20

You forgot a few things:

1) Weapon Modifications
Weapon modifications are important to shooters in 2012, people in the army use them all the time, and they are a great way to keep online fresh. Like everybody copied HALO with the health regeneration, it's time people took a page from COD and implemented a better weapon system. HALO's system is still from the QUAKE/UNREAL days of FPS

2) No weapon placements on maps. Or a modification of this would be important. You should be able to have tons of gun options to start with, and maybe a few power weapons placed on maps. You shouldn't have to pickup a needler for example, but a spartan laser? Yes.

I love HALO, but it needs to breakout of the multiplayer it created 10 years ago! Gears of War will also face a similar problem in the next iteration if the Multiplayer is the same (not enough customization).

palaeomerus  Sep. 21, 2011 at 20:27

Iron sites is a really dumb idea for Halo. It's not CoD or Borderlands. We already have pull in for sniper-weapons. That's enough. And Mjolnir armor does targeting assistance so iron sites really doesn't fit the background.


Armor Abilities are fine as a basic idea but probably need to be tweaked and rethought a bit for a new game. Some of them are silly like "sprint". Spartans have enhanced muscles and nervous systems and train constantly to stay at their peak and wear power armor that speeds them up. They should not need an external doohickey to run a little faster for a brief time.

(And if you MUST use it as a power up then make a big deal out of it! Put the camera to third person and make it so you can briefly outpace a mongoose with extreme maneuverability and make it assist jumps greatly enhance a melee!)

Some armor abilities like the healing bubble shield are just weird and should probably be one-shots more like the options of Halo 3.

Maybe dual-wielding should be brought back in a limited form (to prevent certain combinations) as an armor ability. Maybe an alternative health/shield system (to the default) should be an armor attachment just to give a different gameplay option. Maybe have one that deflects or prematurely detonates grenades and missiles(including fuel rod funs) for a (carefully timed) quarter-second but has a long cool-down before it is usable again to stop it from becoming a means of making a vehicle almost invulnerable to everything but the Spartan laser.

Above all, 343 needs to make armor abilities interesting and serve some purpose beyond mundanely hoofing it to hard cover when your shield is weak. Some of them should probably be missions specific like:

- a door cutter/welder that allows vehicle repair and entry into locked areas

- a demolitions/disarming kit to blow up targets and prevent others from blowing up yours,

- a hacking/espionage/ kit that can be used to pilot various types of ground and air drones(observation, attack, anti-armor, fire support, tracking, forward observation, signal intelligence, etc.) or hijack, crash, immobilize, or blind someone else's drone or vehicle.

- a satellite uplink that allows orbital fire missions, delivery of ODST reinforcements, target marking, and resource drops.

Of course this kind of armor ability would allow for some mission/scenario based multiplayer gameplay types like in Enemy Territory games (Wolfenstein, Quake Wars and to some extent Brink), Quake Wars, or Killzone 2/3.

No vehicle carnage in Reach? We must have played different versions! Wanting more that we got is fine I suppose but I blew up plenty of vehicles and hijacked some too. It had plenty of vehicle stuff to have fun with.


I do agree about the sense of mystery though. It would be best if we did not fully understand what's going on for the first half of the game like in the original.

FelixKemp  Sep. 21, 2011 at 21:03

A lot of intelligent debate here. We did know the iron sights suggestion would provoke a bit of chatter ;)

That said, what would you all like to see in Halo 4? Or, on the other hand, what would you not like 343 to include?

MattGardner  Sep. 22, 2011 at 01:01

Some of them are silly like "sprint". Spartans have enhanced muscles and nervous systems and train constantly to stay at their peak and wear power armor that speeds them up. They should not need an external doohickey to run a little faster for a brief time.

Aside from dicking around in the occasional game with the jetpack, or using decoys for sniper matches, Sprint is usually my go to power of choice in Reach. It's fantastic for Oddball and KOTH.

markjwba  Sep. 22, 2011 at 17:18

Ok easily all off the halo reach players I have played with all complain about armor lock it's like juggernaut from call of duty :/ as soon as you get shot go into armor lock it's pointless they should keep sprint due to the idealistic views of people using it to get to objectives quicker and Using it to close down gaps between you and your opponent but instead just use it to run for cover every two seconds (rant over) they should not put iron sights in unless for example they do put in weapon customization and when you take the scope off a scoped weapon you use the iron sights instead other wise it would not suit halo at all and one thing I would like would e more customization for races other than Spartans as in both halo 3 and reach the options for elites were disappointing at best :/ but If they did put weapon customization in I would definitely appreciate the smgs return to the game :) aswell as the br but they should not go into as much detail as cod eg 5 types of sights etc as halo has always had universal gun types eg all guns of the same type look the same and it wouldn't look like halo if two people had the se gun and one looked like an smg and the other a shotgun :/ all though the idea of going back to halo ce mysterious roots would be amazing as i food reach quite dull compared to odst and halo 3 although re graphics and multiplayer were good the idea of dmr spammers with armor lock or jetpack doesn't seem quite how I imagined a new halo to be when it came out please 343 keep it old skl with the wise recomendations made above by the others and Halo 4 will be great :)

laxman  Sep. 25, 2011 at 03:02

The use of AAs (armor abilities) in reach was a new approach, and on a personal note, I thought it was great. The problem as previously stated was that spartans are super soldiers. If you want to give super soldiers special abilities, give them abilities for SOLDIERS. Flying around with a jet pack is fun, but it makes you a sitting duck if you can't control throttle or cut the engines and drop like a boulder (you fell like a feather in reach). The use of cloak was good, but it had too many limitations to be useful on a grand scale battle, especially the stupid decision to make it "scramble" the radar of everyone near by. Thats practically shooting a flare into the air, and I won't even get into sprint. When coming up with changes for the game, look for things like cover. What **** me off about halo, is that you have to move half your body out of cover to get a shot in, ever heard of the LEAN maneuver? The next big thing that they should do is make the reticle in the center of the screen move when your in motion. After all, isn't the gun linked directly to the screen, So how is it possible to keep it that steady? Little things that improve the feel of the game go a long way, and thats all they need to spice up the worlds favorite sci-fi shooter?

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