Cortana Is Dying, Multiplayer Sounds Very Interesting, And Other Pieces Of Halo 4 News

Game Informer's Halo 4 issue is now out, and inside are details not just on the game's singleplayer campaign, but what new developers 343 studios are doing with the series' multiplayer as well.

Which is blah blah bullet points whatever. More interesting, to me at least, is that a big part of the fourth main game will be dealing with the impending death of your trusty sidekick Cortana.

Apparently complex AIs like Cortana have a limited shelf life, and hers is fast approaching. Seems after seven years spent crunching limitless amounts of data they begin to go crazy, then mad, then they die. So you'll be spending time with Cortana dealing with her life sentence, and I'm just guessing here, probably try and help her find a way to beat it.

Hopefully not in a Mass Effect 3/EDI kind of way, because this would then become a love story real fast, and that would be just weird.

Also noteworthy is a tease that you'll finally run into some of the series' mythical Forerunners, and that Halo's multiplayer set has been completely overhauled, now being based around something called Infinity. Peel back the PR jargon and it appears Infinity is an attempt to tie the game's multiplayer to its singleplayer, so as to give it more context and meaning within the larger scope of the game.

Infinity is the name of a massive UNSC ship, deployed to the same area that Master Chief winds up in and which you'll cross paths with a few times during the singleplayer campaign. Boot up multiplayer, though, and you'll play as a Spartan onboard the ship.

Alongside regular multiplayer battles there's also a co-op campaign you can play, and which in a neat touch is episodic, with new cutscenes and five new missions being added each week.

I like the sound of this. I rarely play multiplayer because it all feels so abstract and impersonal. Tie it more closely into a narrative and I may just stick around. Especially since 343 say they'll be free.

On the technical side of things, respawn times are gone, there's a whole ton of in-game awards to be earned and weapon drops are now random.

Halo 4 [Game Informer]


    At the risk of sounding like an elitist dick, the majority of Halo fans are already aware at the 7 year lifespan of A.Is (as well as the number 7 being everywhere).

    Although I would stay out of the forums if I were you, every new detail or rumour released is attacked by people who are angered that Halo4 might be different from Halo2.

      well guess i am not a fan then. can't say i knew that. it has been a while since i played though and never went on the forums

        Kinda hard to miss, it's like part of her bio.

          i think its time to go re-read what i have on Halo. last thing i read was the info on the spartans from Reach where cortana played a minor role

            Read the books and everything they are talking about should be familiar. Especially the Spartan III's and stuff.

              It doesn't make him 'not a real fan' for not reading the books.

      Yeah, saw this from a mile away considering this was explained a long time ago. Was only a matter of time for Cortana.

        The A.I. lifecycle seems to be a holdover from Bungie's earlier Marathon games where is was called "Rampancy". The idea was that after living long enough and gaining enough experience the A.I. would start to develope a greater understanding of the nature of it's own existence. Along with this came the ability to ignore elements of it's own programming and negative personality traits and abilities such as jelousy, often of the freedom of choice that humans have, and the ability to lie for personal gain.
        Eventually the A.I. either is either destroyed when it turns against it's creators, destroys itself through the complexity of it's own unchecked growth or reaches a state where it is mostly stable and able to react to the world like a normal person with the full range of a human personality.

        So basically it's like going through puberty but for computers.

          Cortana's a little different in that it's 3 identical AIs that have to reach a consensus before anything is done. When they go rampant, the idea is that the best choice will be made.

      i had no idea about the 7 year life span but i don't know why people are holding Halo2 up as a paragon of the series when everyone complained about it incessantly.

        Because that game had the best sidestepping and firing your BR that makes everything else in the game worthless!

    Cortana dying? Noooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I always wondered what she would look like in a synthetic form but who says it would create a romance option? there are ways around that and no i don't mean alerting the anti-gay groups. i think i am one of the few people who actually bought the halo games for the storyline not the mp aspect so it will be interesting to see if they shorten or lengthen the sp aspect and how this integration goes.

    also hope there is no flood. i hate those little buggers

      no flood? In a Master Chief Halo game? You're dreaming, they're as much a staple of Halo games as the Chief and Sergeant Johnson

        your right. still doesn't change the fact i hate the little buggers.

        they could still do something interesting without the flood. there wasn't any in Halo: Reach

          Oh I agree, I hate the little bastards and hope they never come back and Reach was that much more enjoyable because they weren't in it.
          It would be interesting if they re-introduce them, but with a different touch, sort of like the skirmishers in reach, very similar to jackals but entirely different

            Sorry to say but the flood are still alive and kicking read the last to halo novels.

              i don't read any novels/comics based on videos games to expand the universe. just look at how the last ME one turned out. not saying Halo ones are dodgy but i like getting my canon directly from the games/ info included with the games.
              if they do include the flood they really need to approach it from a completely new direction. i got tired of fighting them in Halo 2 and was tedious in Halo 3. thankfully i got a break from them in Reach

              Didn't binge say the novels arnt anything to do with to story line anymore?

        Dude I halo 3 they whipped the last of them out by activating the replacement halo ring. Unless there's a hidden stash of flood somewhere i doubt they will be in it

      Agreed - I just finished Reach and enjoyed it MUCH more than 3, and probably even 2, because of the lack of flood.

        the reason i feel the flood should be left out is because it would feel like the same old Halo. they need to re-imagine the storyline and find a way to develop a new antagonist. the forerunners give them this opportunity to develop a new storyline, one that is not explicitly dependent on the previous games

      I hope there aren't any Flood in it as well. I like the Flood but we've spent an entire trilogy dealing with them, it's time to move onto something else.

    Halo 4 is going to have to be something seriously special to get me to play it ...

      Seriously? If you don't like it, don't buy it. Very simple, I don't buy CoD games or Final Fantasy games so I don't buy them, hell I avoid the news articles because I don't care. If you are just going to make comments like this, please don't comment at all, they incite further fury amongst hardcore halo fans and add nothing to any conversation

        How does it not? It's not vitriol, it's not anger, it's certainly not insulting, and it's a statement of fact - for me, the series needs to improve. Isn't it a balanced forum and community? Aren't I allowed to express my opinion? If people are allowed to express their like for Halo I'm allowed to say it needs to get better.

        Matey, he can say whatever he wants. Chill out fan boy.

    Major spoiler in the title?... Fuck you Luke.

      Not a spoiler. It's been common canonical knowledge for about 5 years.

        Even longer. It was mentioned waaaay back in the novel "Fall Of Reach", which was released way back in 2001.

          if it's not in the games then its not common knowledge. That is an aweful excuse, "Oh well it was in a novel, so everyone knows about it, despite it being a game series". Just no, no way in hell is that acceptable, I shouldn't need to be glued to a wiki to learn about "common knowledge".

    Not really liking the idea of the Master Chief just stumbling across some UNSC ship deployed to the place he wound up after the events of Halo 3. It subverts the sense of isolation that surrounded the bittersweet ending of the first trilogy. Hope it makes more sense in the context of the game's plot - I mean it's obvious this is only happening because Microsoft want to milk Halo, but they could at least try and make it seem like there's more stories to tell.

    I don't really know what to make of the multiplayer. I guess I'll wind up buying it anyway, especially if my friends are all playing the multiplayer, but I'm prepared to be disappointed and as far as I'm concerned Halo ended once Bungie was done with it. It'll take a lot to make me believe otherwise. In short: I have high expectations, and no hopes they'll be met.

      well in the trailer it had the wrecked ship being drawn into a larger structure, maybe for processing. maybe it will be a similar scenario to ST: Voyager. i am only speculating though.................

      I would guess they would invent a decent reason for the ship to be there, my guess is that Chief will land, call Earth, somehow since he found a jetpack somehow, and they will send a ship of spartans to rescue him. Where these spartans were during the events of the first 3 games, I don't know and there's almost no reason I would believe

        i think the spartans are the new generation spartan 4's which are all unsc volunteers (as opposed to kids) who are augmented using the new tech they got from studying forerunner tech they are mentioned in the halo: grasslands novel

          I would imagine this takes place at least a few years after halo 3 although I guess the exact length of time would be partially chosen by bungies internal theory on cortana's lifespan and watever 343 industries has decided to do with that. Also I don't remember anything being said about the fate of the slipspace portal on earth.

          From that my hypothesis is that this is a new group of spartans, either modified like the chief from childhood or "insta-spartan"-ed (TM) as adults using new technology. I'm guessing humanity eventually gets curious enough to send a spartan crewed ship through the portal on an exploratory mission.

          Insta-Spartan just ad water (May cause cancer, out of control muscle growth, genital tessilation and/or esophogeal full body inversion, By using Insta-Spartan (TM) you hereby releive Lord Bob of all duties of care and responsibilities under criminal negligence laws.)

          hmmm long post I wonder if anybody has read this far?
          If you have please make this apparent by joining zac in annoying exosyphon in his post below :)

    No one cares what the content of this comment is :P

      On the contrary, I care about the content of this comment and will, in the future, skip over all comments made by Exosyphon

    I remember reading about AI's lifespans in one of the Halo books years ago and wondering if it would ever be mentioned in the games. Glad to see it hasn't been forgotten about.

    I've always thought Chief and Cortana already had some kind of love thing going on, not that he would ever be able to, or want to, do anything about, but they've always seemed flirty, since Halo 1 before ME and almost every current gen game series. So this comes as no shock that there could be a save Cortana (Halo 3 anyone?) set to the game. As to combining multiplayer into the single player in some way...brilliant. I know it's not revolutionary or anything, MAG, Battlefield 1943, where the whole game is multiplayer, but when it comes right down to it, this is probably one of the only things that the Halo franchise can do without being accused of just reselling the same game over and over. Sure, you can change weapons but that will only get you so far with fans. I mean honestly, looking back, Halo has come so far. From having 1 set of guns with 2 different skins, essentially, to then similar guns but the ability to Dual wield and turn invisible, then the ability to use stuff like portable, impenetrable shields and being able to create your own maps with EASE, then being short but being able to see invisible enemies and enemies in hiding along with a survival mode, (this is the big one) then making your own amazing maps with extreme ease, commendations, such a high level of customisation, more personalised abilities, being able to fly. There is almost nothing you can't do in Halo if you are creative enough and for them to sell Halo 4 without something new would create such outrage that it could, potentially, kill the entire franchise. In short, brilliant idea and I can't wait to see it implemented, if it's implemented correctly

      might actually get me to play. getting shot in the head constantly by other spartans really wasn't my idea of fun.
      i think search and destroy missions would work well with an integrated mp. have a team defend, attack and neutralise. oh i guess thats already like horde mode

        True, and a lot like that other multiplayer mode, I can't remember the name of in Reach where you have 2 defend points and then an objective that the other team must take from inside the base to their ship...crap I haven't played in over a year but you know the one I mean

          i think i know the one. was it defend the flag or something like that?

      I've read a couple of the books, and have to agree with the love thing. Sort of an Oedipus sort of thing: He saw Halsey as a sort of mother, and seemed somewhat into Cortana, probably owing to that relationship with Halsey.

        Cortana is Halsey, isn't she?

          She's an AI grown from a bit of Halsey's brain, so, sort of.

    I really don't like seeing articles with the headlines "xxxx character DIES" like this one, or the Arkham City one that spoiled the Joker's death. Really not cool.

      ahhh but the difference is, dying and not dies. Plus I'm sure it's going to be an element in the first few moments of the game. -ship lands- -chief steps out- Cortana: Oh no, Chief I'm dying, being stuck with the Gravemind for so long has corrupted my systems, instead of the x years I was supposed to have, I only have a few days -forerunner walks up- blah blah blah

        the jokers not dead....... Long live the Joker!

      it a major plot point, not an outcome. i don't see the problem with it. as for the other example i see your point

      It was sort of alluded to in 3 that she was approaching rampancy but mostly that kinda stuff is explained in other lore.
      I believe the bits in Halo 3 where she spouts weird stuff in the screen flashes is because she is starting to go rampant because of the Gravemind trying to hack into her.

      The Halo novels have always stipulated that an AI has an average lifespan of seven (7) years. This is hastened by increased information loads (Cortana entering the Halo Control Centre is bad news). So Plunkett has done nothing wrong by stating a fact that has been known for the better part of 11 years, albiet perhaps not by all players.

      NB: Master Cheif is also dying. In fact you're dying too! Everyone is moving closer to death! Fatalism rulez!

      This is hardly the same. The information that Cortana would be dying has been known for years. The books and the anime both referenced rampancy.

    Hmm, so if there is an episodic co-op campaign does that mean the main story is not co-op? Cause that was a big part of what mad Halo so good.

      Think I read some where that teh campaign was 4 player co-op as well

    Sounds like a Marathon game but not made by Bungie

    "Tying singleplayer and multiplayer together" Ewwwww. It burns, if it's mandatory (ala ME3) and it's superfluous (though potentially fun!) otherwise. I don't play multiplayer on my 360 because it's inconvenient to have to move it (I have an old, wifi-less one) and because the lag is atrocious.

    If this episodic thing is just an excuse to pull a Activision (that is to say, the ELIT3 thing with month subscription) then colour me finally uninterested in Halo.

    Although the story sounds neat. I'm glad that Rampancy is finally coming into the picture, I've always thought it to be one of the more interesting background details of the Halo universe that never came into play.

      Word on the internets is that that episodes are free.

    Boys and girls if you read grasslands, primordium and cryptum you'll know that 343 guilty spark and the flood are still alive.

      Ehh... not a big fan of that decision. Reach was great, partially because it made the Covenant scary. There shouldn't need to be two enemies.

    I like the sounds of Halo 4, mostly. Something new! Halo 3 wasn't great because it was pretty much the same as Halo 2, and Reach was great for being different. Though, I hope there are more multiplayer maps than Reach; several custom made levels in Forge world all felt a little lazy.

    Best decision so far seems to me to allow multiplayer gamers join a match in progress (like BF or TF2 or COD) that way you don't get matches with only hlf a side as folks drop out, and don't get agonisingly long waits for matchmaking.



    Is that what that little blue floaty thing is for? I always just skip those scenes so that I can shoot aliens in the face.

    Aww, what's wrong with a little love between the Chief and Cortana? If anything, it shows that he's not completely an unfeeling killing machine. Sure, that's his appeal, but having someONE to fight for might be interesting.

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