Wandering through the lush jungle around the Forward Unto Dawn’s crash site, the AI voice of Cortana rings forebodingly in Master Chief’s ear as he encounters a mysterious (but no less deadly) enemy in Halo 4′s newly released gameplay demo.
The conclusion of Halo 3 was nearly five years ago and since then we have gotten sneak peeks and hints at what is to come on this ancient Forerunner planet. Forward Unto Dawn has been sliced in half, Cortana’s identity and faithful companionship is starting to reveal itself and the new development team at 343 Industries has a fresh start for their version of the next Halo trilogy.
It is assumed that the gameplay footage we are seeing above shows an earlier part of Halo 4’s campaign. Cortana and Chief are very much in sync – with AI providing helpful visual/situational ques – it is obvious that a major focus will be how her declining state plays out as the story progresses.
However, we begin with Chief walking through the woods spotting Covenant through his new scope attachment on the Battle Rifle. A couple of precise headshots later, only one Elite remains. He makes a charge at Chief but is suddenly incinerated by distant energy blast. This is where the game heads into uncharted territory.
A few moments later, Chief encounters an animal-like enemy that is unrecognizable to anything the franchise has seen before. The consensus is reached that these are definitely not Covenant beings; Cortana identifies tham as AS’s with Forerunner elements in their makeup – and they have very vicious patterns of attack that present a new challenge for Chief early on. This differs from the typical forces he has overcome by throwing a few grenades and pulling off some melee attacks to keep his enemies at bay.
If you are concerned about the aging appeal of Halo’s arsenal, you won’t have to worry this November. After fending off various crawlers, human-sized soldiers (Frank O’Connor later referred to them as “Promethean Knights”), and even an aerial drone, Chief snags a new Light Rifle powered by the same glowing Forerunner energy source. He’s easily able to vaporize the next batch of adversaries with a surging light beam and later finds a shotgun variant of the weapon. Unfortunately, he’s unable to use it: the video ends as Chief is surrounded by our new foes, who appear en masse thorough an infrared scan and knock the Spartan unconscious.
Halo 4 releases on November 6, 2012 for the Xbox 360.