With fall rapidly approaching, many game developers and publishers are gearing up to release the highest profile games of the year. The end of 2015 seems especially packed, with long awaited games such as Fallout 4 and Star Wars Battlefront competing for gamers' limited time and budget.
One of the few titles that shouldn't have much trouble standing out amongst the crowd is Halo 5: Guardians. The latest entry in the long-running series promises to roll out big changes for the franchise, introducing a squad-based campaign as well as a new set of protagonists. Developer 343 Industries recently revealed the opening cinematic for the game, giving viewers a new sense of scope for their latest campaign.
Now the developer has released the first gameplay footage from the story - which you can view above. The mission is called "Swords of Sanghelios" and features Spartan Locke and Fireteam Osiris rather than the Master Chief. The hands-on host is playing single-player with the squad being controlled by AI - and the developer noted that this is only a small chunk of the total mission.
Campaign lead designer Chris Haluke released a statement on the community page Halo Waypoint, detailing some of the design goals behind crafting the new campaign:
"When building Halo 5's campaign, the team set an early goal to have some of the most robust sandbox experiences in any Halo game to date... We wanted our missions to have the most weapons, vehicles, enemies, tactical and exploration options ever seen in Halo. Throughout production, our team pushed one another to ensure that gameplay spaces were huge, highly populated and alive. We've expanded our environments to support battle scenes while surrounding them with multi-layered skyboxes that showcase the larger conflict around the player."
While it's only a brief look at the new story, the video does showcase an open, sprawling level with multiple paths for players to navigate. The design is impressive, taking into account the new Spartan movement abilities - and giving players room to pull off devastating ground pounds. This is likely early in the level so there aren't an overwhelming number of enemies, but that will surely change as the player pushes toward the Elder Council Chamber that's under heavy fire at the end of the video.
The post also indicated that the game's campaign will always run at 60fps (frames per second), though not necessarily at 1080p. Head of 343 Industries Josh Holmes explained how the game will maintain that frame rate - at the occasional cost of resolution.
"From the beginning, we set ourselves the goal of delivering consistent 60fps gameplay across all modes. Delivering on this goal meant re-engineering the gameplay systems at the core of our engine... 60fps gameplay is supported by a new progressive resolution system that allows us to dynamically scale the resolution at which we render the game (up to 1080p) based on the needs of the scene. This enables us to deploy resources where they have the most impact across a diverse series of experiences while delivering the most visually stunning Halo game ever.
Judging by the video at the top of the page, the studio is delivering on the promise of "the most visually stunning Halo game ever." It looks phenomenal and the occasional sacrifice of the resolution to lock 60fps should allow for a more immersive experience as a whole.
Halo 5's massive campaign is sure to be a selling point for many players, combining new material with characters drawn in from the expanded universe of novels and comics. However, with all of the changes being made to the game's structure and the introduction of squad-based commands, it's hard to say if the game will still feel like an old-school (but still modern) Halo game. There's good reason to be confident in the storytelling, as 343 has proven themselves capable of crafting a compelling story, but the underlying gameplay might feel a bit alien to longtime fans.
Evolution is necessary for the longevity of the franchise, but whether the changes are beneficial or detrimental to Halo remains to be seen.
Halo 5: Guardians launches on October 27th, 2015 on Xbox One.
Source: Halo Waypoint