- “Wake up, John.”— Official tagline
Halo 4 is the seventh installment of the best-selling Halo franchise. The game was developed by 343 Industries, a Microsoft owned internal development studio established for the purpose of creating new properties for the Halo series. Halo 4 is the first game in the Reclaimer Saga, and is the sequel to Halo 3.
On September 26, 2012, Halo 4 had "gone gold," meaning all development of the game had been completed and mass manufacturing had begun. Halo 4 was released on November 6, 2012 in all countries except Japan where it was released on November 8, 2012. It is also available from Games on Demand for Xbox Live.
On November 17, 2020, Halo 4 was added to Halo: The Master Chief Collection for PC, available on Xbox Game Pass for PC, Steam and the Microsoft Store.
E3 Expo 2011
- Main article: Awakening
Halo 4 was first revealed on Microsoft's homepage hours before the start of their E3 press conference, alongside Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary due to a mistake by the editing department. The game was then officially announced at the end of Microsoft's E3 2011 press conference with a short teaser trailer entitled "Awakening."
E3 Expo 2012
Details on Halo 4 were further expanded on in the 2012 E3 Expo, where Microsoft's E3 press conference revealed more about Halo 4's game-play. It was here where the new enemies were revealed to be Promethean AIs, and the return of the former Covenant's member species as foes was officially confirmed. Several minutes of game-play and multiple preview clips of the campaign were shown before the trailer ended with a cryptic message from an "unknown evil."
Four years, seven months, and ten days after the events of Halo 3, a mysterious energy passes through the aft section of UNSC Forward Unto Dawn. Cortana activates John-117's cryopod as an unknown assailant boards the ship. After progressing through part of the ship the assailant turns out to be the Jul 'Mdama's Covenant, to which John-117 expresses concern as he believed that humanity had a cease fire with the Sangheili. As John-117 fights his way through the Covenant boarders, it is revealed that it isn't one rogue Covenant ship on a salvage operation, but an entire fleet orbiting a Forerunner world. Cortana notices the nearest cruiser has its shields down and suggests firing a tactical nuke at it. Immediately after the cruiser is destroyed, a passage into the planet opens and activates a gravity well that begins to pull in every ship. The already weakened Forward Unto Dawn starts to disintegrate as it passes into the planet. While making their way to the escape pods, Cortana starts acting erratically. However, upon reaching the pods, a Covenant cruiser collides with the Dawn, tearing through the escape pods. The hull breach blows the Spartan outside just as the wreckage passes through.
John-117 awakens to find himself inside the planet. Cortana reveals her behavioral problem is due to her going into the first stages of Rampancy. John-117 suggests trying to find a ship back to Earth to see if Dr. Halsey, Cortana's creator, can fix her condition. Eventually they fight their way through Covenant forces to a localized Cartographer. Cortana says that the only intel she can get is that their location is a shield world called Requiem. She also receives a signal from an unknown source that is definitely "not Covenant" in origin, and suggests looking for the signal. They find that the mysterious signal is being bounced off of a tower near the planet's core, Cortana opens a portal as close as possible to the core just as a large number of a new type of foe appears.
After being teleported closer to the signal it is revealed the signal is from UNSC Infinity asking for help. A satellite near the center of the planet is blocking the signal, where two jamming towers are boosting the signal blocking device's power. Cortana suggests taking these jamming towers down to receive the whole signal. After defeating several groups of the unknown enemy, the only intelligence Cortana is able to get on them is the word "Promethean," and that they appear to be more advanced combat AIs than Sentinels. After taking down the first tower it is revealed the Covenant is very interested in finding something inside the core. After the second tower is downed the full signal of the Infinity is received. After discovering the ship is going to enter the planet, Cortana attempts to warn them away but is still unable to get through. Fighting their way to the center of the Satellite the pair discover a giant spherical object - the source of the signal. After attempting to stop the signal the sphere comes close to John's location where part of the sphere comes out of the bottom. A sole figure is seen on a pedestal. The unknown figure reveals himself to be The Didact, and handily defeats John-117 before declaring that his people, The Forerunners themselves, are returning to the Galaxy after thousands of years, and he remarks on how Humanity must still be weak, as the Covenant do not answer to Humanity and therefore are still unworthy of the Mantle.
John manages to escape the Didact and makes his way to Infinity, which had entered the planet. The Didact also heads for Infinity. After fighting off many Prometheans and Covenant, who have joined forces, he finds Commander Thomas Lasky, Spartan Commander Palmer and scattered groups of Marines. Chief clears an LZ for a Pelican to pick them up, and is transported to Infinity, where he fights off waves of Covenant. Then, he is introduced to Captain Andrew Del Rio and Commander Palmer. Palmer, Lasky, and John are sent on a mission to allow Infinity to escape Requiem, and are given a Mammoth. After destroying many Covenant vehicles, including a Lich, the mission brings John inside what is assumed to be a trap. It turns out not to be when John and Cortana are separately taken by the Librarian, who explains that the Prometheans were once Humans, and how the Didact is looking to escape Requiem and find the Composer, which he plans to turn on humanity. She helps to accelerate Chief's 'evolution' so that he can survive the Composer. Once John and Cortana are reunited, they proceed outside of the Forerunner structures, where they attempt (and fail) to destroy the Didact. They are returned to Infinity, where Del Rio gives the command to leave Requiem; stating that they should return to Earth and inform FLEETCOM about what had occurred. Cortana and John attempt to convince him otherwise, but the Captain orders that Cortana be decommissioned due to rampancy. Upon Chief's refusal to hand her over, he orders both Palmer and Lasky to arrest him, but neither of them move. With Lasky's assistance, John escapes Infinity before it leaves and attempts to destroy the Didact once and for all. However, he is unsuccessful, and boards a Lich to follow the Didact into slipspace.
He, along with The Didact and a Covenant fleet, arrive at Halo Installation 03, where the Covenant under the Didact's control immediately attack the UNSC science facility orbiting the Halo, that housed the Composer. After fighting his way inside, John argues with some professors there and grabs a HAVOK bomb to attempt to destroy the Composer. Unfortunately, he is too late, and the Composer is fired and kills all on the base aside from him. He takes a Broadsword to follow the Didact to Earth, where he is assisted by Infinity, which is now controlled by Commander Lasky, in getting inside. There, the Didact fires the Composer, and extermination of Humanity begins in New Phoenix. In order to bring down the Didact's shields, Cortana clones her rampant personalities to overload the system. John places her chip in a holo-pedestal, but it is destroyed, and she is brought into the Composer's system. She manages to weakly communicate with John before assisting him in defeating the Didact and destroying the Composer. She uses the last of her energy to form herself into a visible form and touches John for the first and last time. She dies right before the Composer collapses around them. John is found amongst the space debris by a Pelican. Talking with John, Commander Lasky echoes a statement Cortana once made to John regarding the humanity of soldiers. John is seen on Infinity's Spartan deck, having his armor removed.
Characters and Setting
Information on Halo 4's campaign was purposefully kept to a minimum in order to maintain high anticipation for the game. In the August 22, 2012 Halo Bulletin on Halo Waypoint, it was confirmed that the game would feature about eight campaign missions.
|Prologue||"Catherine Halsey is interrogated deep within a secret ONI facility." (Cutscene)|
|Dawn||"After four years adrift in space, Cortana awakens John-117 to investigate a disturbance on the Forward Unto Dawn."|
|Requiem||"Having survived the destruction of the Dawn, Master Chief and Cortana search for a way off of the mysterious Forerunner planet."|
|Forerunner||"Master Chief tracks the Infinity's signal to Requiem's core in the hopes of returning Cortana to Earth to address her rampancy."|
|Infinity||"Following the Didact to Infinity's crash site, Chief and Cortana descend into the surrounding swamp to rescue UNSC survivors."|
|Reclaimer||"Infinity sends the Master Chief and Gypsy Company to neutralize the gravity well keeping them on Requiem."|
|Shutdown||"As Infinity flees Requiem and Cortana's rampancy worsens, Master Chief struggles to stop Didact from pursuing the Composer."|
|Composer||"The Master Chief's pursuit of the Didact leads him to a UNSC science station orbiting Installation 03."|
|Midnight||"With the Composer in the Didact's possession, Chief and Cortana must destroy the device before he turns it on his next target."|
|Epilogue||"After the destruction of New Phoenix, and the death of Cortana, Master Chief must carry on." (Cutscene)|
- Main article: War Games
Halo 4's multiplayer capabilities were explored extensively in the gradual buildup to its release on November 6. Unlike Halo: Reach, multiplayer maps featured in Halo 4 are not based upon campaign levels, but instead were designed from the ground-up, like the other games, with competitive gameplay in mind. Gameplay features a customizable load-out and the return of Armor Abilities
To link online competitive multiplayer matchmaking to in-game fiction, it has been coined War Games by 343 Industries. War Games are held on vast simulated training grounds for Spartan-IVs as part of their preparation for Spartan Ops missions, which take place 6 months after the conclusion of the campaign. These simulations are hosted inside UNSC Infinity and allow players to take control of virtual Spartan-IV characters and battle in a realistic environment.
- Main article: Ordnance (Multiplayer)
To encourage dynamic movement of games and prevent players camping at weapon respawn points, Halo 4 features ordnance drops in matches. Random Ordnance randomly drops weapons, grenades, or power-ups on the map for anyone to use, and Personal Ordnance gives each player a choice of power-ups or weapons which can be earned via performance during a game.
Similarly to the Halo 4 game types, all of the maps that are featured in Halo 4 are listed below, including DLC map packs. Halo 4 has ten Multiplayer Maps available on the disc and four DLC map packs.
Crimson map pack
Majestic map pack
Castle map pack
Along with the announcement of War Games and its included features, several returning and new game types were announced. Game types confirmed by 343 Industries that are featured in Halo 4's multiplayer have been listed:
- Infinity Slayer
- Big Team Infinity Slayer
- Capture the Flag
- King of the Hill
- Team Slayer "Pro"
- Team Snipers
- FFA Throwback
- Team Regicide
- Crimson DLC
- Majestic DLC
- Castle DLC
Players are also be able to customize their Spartan-IV characters with a variety of different armors and can change the gender at any time. In addition to this, players also have access to Specializations, a set of eight unique armor enhancements that bring combat benefits to the players who use them, such as increased vehicle handling or resistance to EMP blasts.
A major addition to the customization of characters in Halo 4 is the new custom loadouts, allowing players to edit their loadout before games to a much greater degree than that in Halo: Reach. As a player progresses through the ranks, they will unlock additional loadout slots.
Customizable loadout options:
- Main article: Spartan Ops
With the announcement that Firefight will not be included in Halo 4's gameplay, 343 Industries announced that they have replaced it with a new episodic co-op series called "Spartan Ops". Spartan Ops features weekly releases of missions on Halo Waypoint that are free to download and will follow the story of Spartan-IVs as they complete vital missions on Requiem six months after the conclusion of the campaign. Season 1 includes ten episodes with five missions each for a total of fifty missions.
- Main article: Forge
Forge returns in Halo 4 with vast improvements to that of Halo: Reach's Forge mode. These improvements include dynamic lighting (to create more realistic forged environments), more forge items, magnetic linking of objects (to ease attachment), and three Forge-centric maps, each with a different terrain and forge pallets. A new Forge map was announced at PAX 2013 named "Forge Island" which will have a series of flat spaces.
These three Forge maps were made available upon release:
Another Forge map was released in March 2013:
- Main article: List of Achievements for Halo 4
|Content||Standard||Limited Edition||Console Edition||Halo 4 Controller||Halo 4 Headset|
|Halo 4 Editions|
|Bonus Digital Content||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn (Special Edition)||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|UNSC Infinity Briefing Packet||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|War Games Map Pass||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|Specializations (Early Access)||No||Yes||No||No||No|
- Main article: Halo 4 Limited Edition
343 Industries announced the Limited Edition on May 16, 2012. The Limited Edition was released on November 6, 2012, for $99.99 USD/CAD or £64.99 GBP.
The Halo 4 Limited Edition contains:
- Bonus digital content through Xbox LIVE:
- Unique in-game Spartan IV armor skin.
- Unique in-game weapon skin for the Assault Rifle.
- An exclusive in-game emblem.
- Xbox LIVE Avatar prop.
- Xbox LIVE Avatar Spartan IV armor set.
- The Limited Edition also contains the UNSC Infinity Briefing Packet:
- A Spartan armor customization schematic.
- An introduction to the massive ship UNSC Infinity.
- Insight into the Spartan IVs.
- A redeemable code for the War Games Map Pass.
- Early access to unique Specializations.
- The Special Edition of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
- Bonus content expanding the characters and stories of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn and their connections to Halo 4.
- Special Featurette: Bringing Gaming into Reality.
- Making of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn.
Game of the Year Edition
The Game of the Year Edition was announced on August 27, 2013, and was released on October 8, 2013, for $39.99. This edition contains certain content that previously was only available through pre-orders.
The Halo 4 Game of the Year Edition includes:
- Halo 4
- Spartan Ops Season 1
- War Games Map Pass
- Champions Bundle
Bonus Content Details
- Avatar Items
- Master Chief Avatar Cloak (inspired by Halo for Xbox One)
- UNSC Avatar Shirt
- Ghost Avatar Prop
- Xbox 360 Dashboard Themes
- Haven Premium Theme
- Longbow Premium Theme
- Armor Skins
- Recruit Prime
- Hazop Forest
- Oceanic Circuit
- CIO Web
- Venator Raptor
- Gungnir Pulse
- Weapon Skins
- Assault Rifle Prime
- Battle Rifle Arctic
- Light Rifle Imprint
At the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con, it was announced that there would be an exclusive Halo 4 themed console bundle for the Xbox 360 Slim edition. In this announcement, the accessories and prices were also revealed. The bundle will be available for pre-order and selected stores, and will also be available to buy on November 6, 2012, at the cost of $399.99 USD or £269.99 GBP.
The bundle will contain:
- Halo 4 standard edition.
- Wired headset
- Two Halo 4 themed controllers.
- One Halo 4 themed Xbox 360 Slim with 320GB hard drive.
- Xbox LIVE tokens for exclusive bonus content:
- FOTUS in-game armor.
- FOTUS avatar armor.
The console and controllers will feature an exclusive blue glow to the Xbox button ring, and the controller center button; these are usually green.
Halo 4 Controller
Along with the Limited Edition Halo 4 Console Bundle, a limited edition Halo 4 controller was announced. This product will be available by October 21, 2012 and is priced at $59.99 USD.
The controller will feature a different design to those of the Limited Edition Halo 4 Console Bundle, with a United Nations Space Command emblem on a dark grey translucent body. The controller will include an Avatar T-shirt as exclusive downloadable content.
Halo 4 Tritton Warhead Headset
This Headset was announced at the 2012 Comic-Con, with the price being $300. It could have been pre-ordered at most game stores.
It was confirmed that there would be numerous pre-order bonuses, however these bonuses varied from store to store. The following table lists the items received from all participating retailers:
|Bonus Content||Amazon||Best Buy||EB Games||GAME||HMV||Microsoft Store||Mighty Ape||Play||Walmart|
|Battle Rifle Arctic Skin||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||No||No|
|Dead Eye Helmet Skin||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||Yes||No|
|Locus Helmet Skin||No||No||No||No||Yes||No||Yes||No||No|
|Forest Armor Skin||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Pulse Armor Skin||No||No||No||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Raptor Armor Skin||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Web Armor Skin||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Circuit Armor Skin||No||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||Yes|
|Haven Premium Theme||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Ghost Prop or Halo 4 Wallpaper Pack||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Purple SPARTAN-IV Avatar Armour||No||No||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No|
Note: Amazon.co.uk pre-orders include the emblems, whilst Amazon.com pre-orders include only the Web Armor Skin.
With the development of Halo 4, many things had to be cut out. The following is cut content from the game:
- There was a Teleporter Armor Ability within the game files that allowed the player to almost instantaneously move anywhere. The ability can only be accessible through modded gamemodes within the Crimson map pack map, Harvest.
- There was a Hacker Armor Ability within the game files that allowed the player to disable other armor abilities for a short time. The ability can only be accessible through modded gamemodes within the Crimson map pack map, Harvest.
- Multiple vehicles were cut, including:
- Multiple weapons were cut, including:
- A new beam weapon called the "Disintegrator"
- An area of effect weapon called the "Stasis Rifle," which creates a bubble that slows any who enter
- A Forerunner beam pistol called the "Bishop Beam"
- SMG concept art was shown in the Awakening: The Art of Halo 4.
- A Forerunner pistol which shoots in bursts
- Originally, competitive multiplayer teams in Halo 4 had special names. The team colour is listed to the left with the special name to the right:
- Many elements from Halo: Reach still exist in Halo 4 including:
Forward Unto Dawn
- Main article: Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn is a live-action webseries that debuted on Machinima Prime from October 5, 2012 until the release of Halo 4 on November 6th, 2012. Aside from marketing Halo 4, the goal of the webseries is to introduce the franchise to people unfamiliar with the games. 343 Industries franchise business management director, Matt McCloskey, said to Variety: "make Halo accessible for people who haven't played the games."
Halo 4 received generally positive reviews upon its release. On aggregate review GameRankings and Metacritic, the game holds scores of 87.42% and 87 out of 100 respectively. Ryan McCaffrey of IGN gave a score of 9.8, calling Halo 4 "a bar-raising triumph for the entire first-person shooter genre." The lighting, movements, and animations were well-praised, as well as Neil Davidge's work as the composer for Halo 4, noting it as a "bold shift," but stating that the music is "complementary rather than additive." McCaffrey lauded the campaign for its pacing, as well as "deftly mixing on-foot combat, vehicle sequences, quiet story moments, and key Chief-and-Cortana interactions."
Forbes writer Erik Kain gave high praise to the story, writing that Halo 4 had the "most stunning cutscenes I’ve seen in a video game" contributing to a "beautiful, tragic love story" between Cortana and Master Chief. Mike Mahardy of Game Informer complimented the characterization improvements of Chief and Cortana, calling their evolved love story more "focused" and "relatable" to the player, in comparison to the "cloudy and impersonal" stories from the prior games of the franchise. Despite high sales and good reviews Halo 4's multiplayer population has been declining rapidly since its release date all the way through 2013 with daily peaks barely reaching over 30,000.
Promotional/Trailer Images and Logos
- Halo 4 is the first Halo game by 343 Industries that is not a re-release.
- After Halo 3 was finished, Bungie considered developing Halo 4, but they decided to develop Halo: Reach instead.
- Halo 4 was first leaked early from its initial reveal at E3 2011 an hour early at Xbox.com, along with Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, the Halo title that would later be released that year.
- IGN – Halo 4 Release Date Confirmed
- Xbox.com - Halo 4
- Halo Waypoint - Halo 4
- Steam Halo 4 on Steam
- Halo 4 & GTA V Details! - IGN Daily Fix 11.14.11 - IGN - "O'Connor also mentioned that the next Halo will be built on a modified version of the same engine used in Halo Reach."
- Halo 4 Coming to Xbox 360 - International Business Times
- Internet Movie Database - Chris Schlerf
- Gamespot - The new Halo "Reclaimer" trilogy is no longer a trilogy. Now a "saga."
- Halo Waypoint - The Halo Bulletin: 10.3.12
- Videogamer - Halo 4 development is complete
- YouTube - Eurogamer Expo 2012: Halo 4 Developer Session with Frank O'Connor
- Xbox-360.nowgamer.com - Halo 4 confirmed
- YouTube - Halo 4 Teaser Trailer
- Washingtonpost.com - Halo 4 voice control and the cloud
- Halo 4 ViDoc
- Halo Waypoint - The Halo Bulletin: 08.22.12
- Halo Waypoint - The Halo Bulletin: 3.07.12.
- Halo Waypoint 343 Sparkcast 11
- Halo 4: The Essential Visual Guide
- YouTube - Halo 4 News : Enemies Leaked, E3, & Elites Replaced in Mutliplayer! - FT. Chris
- Halo Wypoint - E3 2012: HALO 4 RENDERS
- Halo Waypoint - Halo 4 Interactive Guide
- YouTube - "Halo 4 Spartan Ops Gameplay" (Briefly Seen at 1:08)
- Xbox.com: Halo 4 Maps + Missions
- GameTrailers: E3 2011: Halo Returns Interview
- IGN - Abandon
- Halo Waypoint - Halo Evolved: Game Types
- Halo Waypoint - The Halo Bulletin: 9.5.12
- IGN - Halo 4 Specializations Will Change Halo Multiplayer Forever
- GameSpot - Exclusive Halo 4 Forge Mode Details
- Halo Waypoint - The Halo Bulletin: 10.25.12
- Halo Waypoint – Welcome to Forge Island
- GameInformer - The Arsenal Of Halo 4
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- Halo 4 Official Site: ORDINANCE + ARMOR
- Halo Waypoint Forums: March 343 Sparkcast up (Jay S094: "They didn't say that the DMR was in the game." Total Sellout: "Yes we did.")
- Halo4News.com - Assault Rifle in Halo 4
- Halo Waypoint - The Halo Bulletin: 9.19.12
- YouTube Halo 4 Exile PAX 2012 - Beam Rifle, Banshee, Jetpack Gameplay & More! (Commentary)
- YouTube Halo 4 - Fuel Rod & Binary Rifle Leak
- Halo 4 - Wreckage
- IGN.com – Halo 4 Game of the Year Edition Outed
- The Halo Bulletin: 9.4.13
- Halo 4: Game of the Year Edition
- Halo Waypoint - Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo 4 Console Bundle and Accessories Revealed at San Diego Comic Con
- Mighty Ape - Bonus Content
- Amazon - Bonus Content
- EB Games - Bonus Content
- GAME - Bonus Content
- Best Buy - Bonus Content
- Play - Bonus Content
- HMV - Bonus Content
- Microsoft Store - Bonus Content
- Walmart - Bonus Content
- Youtube - NEW Armor Abilities in Halo 4!
- Pre-released image of Halo 4. Note the Falcons in the sky.
- Youtube: Halo 4 - Cut Space Banshee
- Youtube: Halo 4 - The Revenant and Disintegrator
- Youtube: Halo 4 - Unused Weapons Compilation
- SMG Concept art for Halo 4.
- Youtube: Halo 4 - Burst Pistol Unused Weapon
- Youtube: Halo 4 Beta - Overview
- Youtube: Halo 4 - Fighting Noble Team
- Youtube: Halo 4 - Leftover Reach Energy Sword
- Halo Multiplayer Population Chart - Halo 4 Multiplayer Population Statistics
- YouTube: Halo 4 ViDoc: First Look
- Halo at Gamescom Panel 2014