Keys to Halo 4's Success ( Discussion)

It’s been awhile ladies and gents since my last post. I’ve been snooping around, but for the most part I have been dormant on these forums. I have come across some spare time and decided to use it on these forums for a short while.

There is a lot of excitement, hope, and controversy surrounding Halo 4’s release. Many Halo fans are excited to see the next chapter in Chief’s story, others look at Halo 4 as possibly the franchise to steal them away from “other” games, yet some are nervous and scared that Halo 4 will change too much, and rightly so.

Now i started my Halo campaign back in 2004 with Halo 2. It was unlike anything I had every experienced. It remains one of my favorite games of all time, and I have been hooked on Halo ever since.

After looking at Halo 4 and its changes, I stopped and thought about what made the original trilogy such a great series, and gave it the longevity that it had. Then I looked at Reach and saw what had changed, and what was missing. Then I looked at Halo 4 once again and thought once again if it would hold that same feeling the original trilogy has.

I think it has a chance. I think if done right Halo 4 can be one of the greatest Halo games ever made. But it needs to follow a few certain aspects.

Keys to Halo 4’s success:

“Fair” fast gameplay: In Halo 1-3 you felt like a super soldier. You had speed, amazing athletic ability, and tremendous strength all wrapped in to one. The original Halo’s had a very responsive and quick feel. Your character did what your hands asked it to do. It was not to the speed of arena shooters like quake or UT, but Halo found its own speed and style of gameplay. The shooting in the original trilogy offers some of the best gunplay of any game ever. It was easy to pick up, devastating if mastered. Shooting in Halo was an artform. Sure anyone can pick up the controller and fire at someone and maybe even kill them. But Halo had a level of depth that was just fun to master. A master knew that the BR was a minimum 4 shot kill, and aiming for the chest the first 3 and finishing with a headshot was the way to go. A master knew exactly how many hits they needed before their shields dropped, and they knew once that happened they were a headshot away from a kill. Every weapon had its uses and they all felt wonderful in your arms. Halo’s sniper is probably one of the best snipers in any game ever. Everything just feels good.

This was not the case in Reach. You were not only slower, and clunkier, but your jump height was nerfed and you were smaller. You didn’t feel like a super soldier, you felt like a normal dude that was given shields. Even the shooting, which had been so perfect, was changed. With the introduction of bloom shooting became random and sometimes frustrating. You went into battle more worried about if your bloom would fail you than if you were better than your opponent. It was a terrible system. Then the weapons lacked that perfect Halo feel. Yes the staple weapons like rockets and sniper were there and felt fine. but weapons like the plasma repeater were just awful. And this is just my personal opinion, but I was unimpressed by the Needle Rifle and DMR. They were the precission weapons of the game, yet they lacked that Halo feel that i just can’t put my finger on. Maybe it was the sound, or the feel of the gun. It just didn’t feel like Halo.

Don’t get me wrong, i loved Reach, but it was not as good as past Halo’s and lacked their overall feel.

halo 4 needs to capture what the trilogy captured. Run faster, jump higher, and create a game where shooting is an artform, not a random flurry of the reticule. Make the guns feel like they belong to the series and make them satisfying. make them so anyone can pick them up, but also make it so they can be mastered and learned by the player. Its that underlying gameplay elements that make Halo so great.

Incentives to play: The number one incentive to play is great gameplay, like I expressed above, but there are many other ways that keep players coming back for more. This worries me. I fear 343 believes that unlockable guns, and gameplay altering specializations are good incentives to keep playing, just because it works for Cod.

Well in actuallity, it doesn’t work at all. Yes a gun dangling a few levels away will work for a week or two. But when the player gets to that gun he wants, what does he have to play for? Sure theres a specialization thats a few hours of gameplay off, and yea you can farm credits for an hour to buy and armor piece, but those incentives will not last. Players need a substantial system that will give them a reason to jump in and play more. Look at the great sport of football ( opinion). Yea its fun to go out there and throw a ball around with your friends. Maybe you put on a small scrimmage of two hand touch. Then when your done you go inside and all you have is that experience of, hey ya we just played football. It may be fun, but you are not going to go play everyday, it will get boring.

but what if you went from playing backyard football, to playing in a football league. A league where you played and it mattered. Where backyard football is fun and a great social activity. Competitive football has a completely different feel. It’s all the fun of regular football, but your actions actually matter. If you do poorly, your teams record goes down, and it puts pressure on you, but makes victory so much more exciting, because each victory brings you closer to the championship, your overall goal.

Do you see where this analogy is going? Some of you may have picked up on the allusion to a ranking system. Where the credit system was backyard football, it didn’t really matter. competitive football was the 1-50 system where your actions mattered, and you had something to work for and earn.

Halo 4 needs to give you something to earn. Farming missions for spartan points is not earning anything. Its just playing the game and over time you get something everyone else has. Halo 4 needs to give you a reason to not only play, but play well. Give Halo players a place to go when they want to feel pressure. When they want their actions to matter. Halo needs competition. Go ahead and do your systems and unlocks and other stuff, just make a part of Halo 4 competitive.

I’m going to stop here. Thanks for reading.

A 1-50 ranking system, although would be very nice, will not make or break the game. It’s ALL about the gameplay. It needs to feel like Halo again. A semi-fast paced arena fps that takes skill.

Reach honestly was not that. Reach was more of a slow paced game with a few semi- fast paced moments mixed with unbalanced/broken mechanics and randomness.

343 has confirmed that they have fixed most of these to what they believe will make the best game. While I can’t completely disagree with them since I’m no developer and just a mere fan. So here’s my opinion on what will make it flop (I know I’m beating some of the same old dead horses.)

Armor abilities (sprint included)

  • hard to balance and mesh to the gameplay that is Halo.
  • JP and sprint change how maps have to be made i.e. more elevation, more open areas meaning less maps like Midship or Warlock
  • Camo: why did they see the need to change this perfect system they’ve had for three games.

No Ranking System
-like you said it helps to keep certain people playing ( I don’t need it, but some people do )

New Weapon Spawn
-It’s not so much as the system its self as it is the reasoning behind it. In the sparkcast the guy said something along the lines of it helps the new players. This truly scares me more than anything because they are deliberately decreasing the skill gap. They had no other reason (that they said) for doing this.

That’s not all of the reasons, but the ones I think are major. I do hope this game works because I love Halo, so I’ll keep my final judgement for when I play it. But right now I’m keeping my hopes low. I don’t want to be disappointed like with Reach.

don’t forget a form of ai for custom games does not have to be a full bot just some thing that returns fire and flies or walks a basic way.