"New And Never Before Seen Playspaces And Environments" Incoming
One of Halo 4's most exciting selling points is providing to be the Spartan Ops campaign: five cooperative missions released per week that will gradually unfurl into an enormous side-story. In case you haven't tried it yet, Episode 3 features the pitched Scorpion and Mantis battles that we could only dream about in the singleplayer campaign.
However, 343 Industies has revealed that Spartan Ops originally had much humbler aspirations.
“It originally was a Firefight-type mode, where it wasn’t always about killing all the enemies," Halo 4 designers Chris Haluke, Greg Murphy and David Ellis explained on Halo Waypoint. "Some missions would be get an item (like a bomb) to the bomb spot, kill the leader, capture the item, etc. But it was more arcadey and meant to be replayable."
“Each map would have the same four or five types of missions. When you played them, it would randomly pick four missions on four different maps, and your party would play through them. We got back to this concept, then onto just concentrating on the five missions a week, then making the missions story driven.”
The integration of a strong narrative eventually led 343 to abandon the randomised elements in favour of more scripted missions.
"One of the main changes or evolutions with Spartan Ops was the importance of narrative and tying all of Halo’s Multiplayer together with a story that matters," Haluke continued. Narrative is an integral part of Spartan Ops, and this truly began to come together at a critical point in production when all the pieces began to fall into place. Working so closely with our narrative team has been an incredible experience, as we all get to feed into the ideas and storylines that ultimately shape Spartan Ops."
"The best way that it changed was going from more arcade-like “random” missions where you would accomplish the same goals, just on different maps in a very generic way, to something story-based, with each mission featuring a unique story, VO, goals, etc."
So far, we're loving Spartan Ops - to the extent where Monday has become 'SpOps Day' after we finish work. With this week's episode providing some insane vehicular shenanigans that go beyond the scope of the campaign, 343 Industries plan to add completely new maps and environments into the mix over the coming weeks.
"Okay, okay, so we do have a few tricks up our sleeves for the future," Haluke continued. "Do players enjoy new and never before seen playspaces and environments? Check. We have them! Do players enjoy cliffhangers? Check. We have more! Do players enjoy that phenomenally deep Halo fiction and lore? Check. Our narrative and design teams will certainly keep you wanting more!"
"I’m really looking forward to seeing how players react to the all-new environments and locales that we have coming later in the season," Ellis concluded. "One sequence of missions in particular brings a grin to my face every time I think about how cool that will be for players when they experience it for the first time. I think people will really be surprised by the scope of the story we’re telling with this season of Spartan Ops. As these things often do, we’re starting relatively small, but if you’ve been keeping up with the story, trust me, things are just getting started."
We'll keep you posted.