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The Covenant Return In Halo 4 – No Public Beta Planned

The Halo Bulletin on the HaloWaypoint Blog has revealed some decent information about Halo 4 which is due fro release this Fall from Microsoft Studios and 343 Industries. Whilst a massive E3 2012 blowout is expected this June – for now we have a few tasty treats to keep us satisfied a little longer…

The Covenenant return, but not in the form as we know it and as the developers have stated “they may be the least of your worries” and sadly there are no plans for a public beta as the team are working hard on hitting the time schedules for a retail release – it’s just not in their plans.

In a community Q&A session the following was revealed:

Can you elaborate a little more on the armor customization and how it affects gameplay? I’m expecting a vague answer, but anything new on the subject (even a little sliver) would be extremely appreciated. –ZippingFilly812

You will have a wide degree of control over your appearance, of course, but as we have hinted, there will also be elements of your ability and performance as a Spartan IV that you will have some control over, that will actually impact your gameplay experience, although it should be noted this will not allow players to arrive in a game session with what are traditionally called “power weapons” or a massively asymmetrical advantage over opponents. Now, there’s a lot of speculation about how this will affect balance – and when we have more details to share, that experience will start to come into focus, but our philosophy is still to provide a balanced and enjoyable game for all types of players, regardless of skill or experience.

Will Armor Abilities and/or Equipment return? –Daedalos42

Without going into too many details, in Halo: CE, you’d fight for control over armor abilities based on timing and map control, and that’s something that evolved over time until it became the Equipment pick-ups in Halo 3 and eventually the Armor Ability loadouts in Reach. Halo 4’s system will be a logical evolution, but based on lessons and inspiration from the (matchmaking) successes and less-than-successes in prior titles.

What is your general approach to the marketing of Halo 4? Can we expect more/bigger info blowouts before release or will you keep things closer to your chest this time (compared to other Halo games)? –Sempik

We have some surprises in store. We’re not simply cruel teases—it’s a combination of genuinely wanting to surprise fans and, of course, the production reality of making sure everything is cool before revealing things. Previous Halo marketing campaigns have kind of taken on a life of their own and are definitely a part of the overall launch experience for some hardcore fans. I think we have some ideas, traditional and not-so-traditional, that certainly embrace marketing, but a couple of things that go beyond product marketing into what I can only tease as a fairly different experience. More on that later in the year, but expect at least a human presence from 343 Industries at many of the big events in the gaming calendar year.

So you guys mentioned that the Multiplayer will have its own story and explanations. Will they intertwine with the single-player Campaign and story? –DS xHunterZx SD

That’s an interesting question and the short answer is that they are connected, but you shouldn’t spend too much time wondering how. All of our current experiences, games, terminals, books, etc., are all interconnected. Sometimes directly, sometimes tangentially, but from this point on, everything matters. If you’re new to the series, don’t panic. None of the external experiences are necessary to understand the game plot, and vice versa. Each Halo story will work as a standalone piece, but the more you experience, the more resonance (and Easter Eggs) you’ll get.

When will the full game be released? –Burninhell647

In precisely 2012. The actual ship date (and other details) will be rolled out in the not-too-crazy-distant future.

Is there going to be a nice balance of playlists in Halo 4, like ranked and social? –A Critical H1T

We aren’t going to go into detail about matchmaking systems or playlists for a little while, but there will definitely be options for traditional Halo fans to enjoy, and some very new experiences that we’re pretty excited about. Our playlists will be tightly focused, consistent, and properly polished. This will be especially evident at launch, but like with prior Halo games, these playlists will be organic and will evolve, but sensibly and appropriately.

What is the difference of philosophy of visuals between Campaign and Multiplayer, and will we see a more cinematic look in the Multiplayer with different techniques usually reserved for single-player? –DemonCarnotaur

The technology for both Campaign and Multiplayer graphics is effectively identical, but the philosophies will vary depending on the game mode/map. Certainly the traditional MP stuff we’ve already shown continues Halo’s tradition of clean lines of sight and recognizable environments designed to propel and lubricate map flow and fast-paced gameplay. The technology in Campaign will be used differently to accommodate a more cinematic experience, but there are a lot of approaches we’re taking to the whole game this time that will add layers of nuance to those approaches.

For the full and complete list – head on over to the HaloWaypoint blog via this direct link

Posted By: - Can be followed on Xbox LIVE as "Jason of Duty"

Founder & Editor of ThisisXbox.com having previously written for other gaming sites since 2007. Ex-Microsoft Xbox MVP, Elite Member of the XCN, dedicated fan of all things Microsoft and Call of Duty! Can't start the day without a nice ice cold Diet Coke, a non-hippy type vegetarian who will do anything to get on a cruise holiday!!
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  • http://jstationx.com/ Jasmine Henry

    I can understand *why* they'd want to avoid a beta – no info leaks and time restrictions etc. but don't you think it seems a little detrimental?

    Halo 4 is going to be one of the biggest online games on Xbox 360, right after COD, so if they don't have thousands of people testing it, they're going to run into a ton of bugs once it's finally released – see : Skyrim.

  • http://www.thisisxbox.com/ Jason

    Imagine if the game was just outright awful… it would be ridiculed. I think they've been so careful with this, treating it like one of the worlds most precious items.

    I'd like to see a Beta too, Reach turned out quite successful and that was a risk on Bungies part, but who knows… never say never…

  • http://jstationx.com/ Jasmine Henry

    Either way the fanboys are going to love it but you're right, they've put it on such a pedestal that any bad reactions from the beta could harm what's expected to be one of the greatest games in Xbox history.

    Maybe it's really flawed and they want to keep it under wraps?