Excuse me while I collect my jaw from the floor.
New weapon! A Forerunner shotgun perhaps? It certainly looks like it's going to mince that BR guy.
These were posted early this morning on the Guardian GameBlog.
There's a pretty good interview with Frankie too, I won't copy in the whole thing, but here's some key points:
How did you come up with the idea of housing all the multiplayer components within a narrative framework?
We had the luxury of know what the next few years would look like and we decided at that point that one of the simplest strategic decisions we could come to, was to make sure that everything mattered; that every single piece of fiction we made counted, that every storyline and character we created actually had some worth and value and was part of a long term investment in the Halo universe. Taking that philosophy through books and comics and graphic novels is one thing, but applying it adds a wrapper for the entire game experience is something really different.
What that enabled us to do was to move separate components of the game, together. Normally, the campaign, the competitive multiplayer and the half-way house of the co-op mode are ring fenced apart from each other. Wrapping the whole thing together allowed us to make sure that all the fiction in all of those pieces actually mattered – in this case, it connects directly to your career as well as the narrative experience.
The idea of Spartan Ops as an episodic adventure is an interesting one. What was the thinking there?
We wanted gamers to have a continual water cooler conversation that revolves around shared gameplay experiences. So if you have four people working together to get through these missions and then watching and experiencing fiction at the same time ... it's not that you have to go and blow up a reactor and then you watch a cinematic sequence of a reactor blowing up; it's real characters with really significant universe-changing events going on in the narrative.
We have the Spartan Ops story mapped out, at least loosely, for a few years. The first season is very rigid at this point and we know where this story goes. If it's successful, if people enjoy it, we have a narrative arc that can last for years, with a known beginning, a middle and an end.Full article can be read >here<
So if we're talking about multi-season interactive episodic content, there's quite a cost to developing that. Will you be charging at some point?
The first season is absolutely free if you buy either the special edition or the regular edition - that's a really significant amount of content; it's being compared to an entire campaign on top of the one that ships with the game.
Yes, it's a lot of content and yes it's an expense, but we think it's worthwhile. Halo has long tradition of doing innovative things: Halo 2 had Xbox Live multiplayer; Halo 3 had social and sharing aspects. It's a tradition that goes back to the first game and we wanted to continue that spirit of experimentation. But this works, it's fun and it's testing really well. It's going to be interesting to see if those water cooler conversations emerge organically and naturally. We have our fingers crossed that they will.
With the War Games online multiplayer content, a few gamers have voiced fears that the customisable load-outs and character progression elements are moving the series closer to Call of Duty. How would you allay those fears?
It's not so much that we're doing completely new things or that we're taking things from other games, it's just that, every time we go through the process of making a new Halo game, we have to evolve it to move it forward – otherwise you just increase the resolution of the successful maps and put out the same game every year. That wouldn't work, that would be terrible business.
So you have to evolve the game naturally and sometimes fairly radically. Some of the things we've done would seem fairly trivial to the average man in the street, but they make a really significant difference to players who take this stuff seriously. And of course, in the vacuum of not having played it – or in our case, they haven't even seen a lot of it – there's this panic and resistance to change.
Typically we find that, as long as we do our jobs correctly and ensure everything is balanced and fun and makes sense for our game, which has a very specific heart to it, then eventually even the most resistant players will figure out what's good and what's bad for them, and then pick their matchmaking style based on those premises. Eventually, they adapt.
- Cowboy Out.