Halo 4's newly unveiled multiplayer perks - which, for the first time in a Halo game will have an impact on the gameplay - aren't a result of 343 Industries chasing Call of Duty and Battlefield, the studio has said.
As part of a slim first look at Halo 4, 343 Industries' first game proper since Bungie departed the series, it's been revealed that you can change every aspect of your Spartan's appearance - and that doing so would influence the way that the game plays.
"I've never worked for Infinity Ward, or Respawn - for years I bet they were asked similar questions about how it's like the multiplayer system in Halo 2 or something like that," franchise director Frank O'Connor told Eurogamer when asked about the new system's similarity to Call of Duty. "We're not chasing anybody else's tail - all the pressure comes from inside."
"What we do take very seriously is changing player habits. So rather than chasing Call of Duty or Battlefield and trying to do their thing and doing it poorly and doing injustice to it, we're trying to do our own thing, and do something fairly original but still something that's completely compatible with the Halo universe."
"Halo's not Call of Duty," O'Connor continued, "Halo's a sandbox game about really emergent things. A lot of things that worked great about Call of Duty - and don't get me wrong, I was addicted Black Ops all of last year - they do player rewards really well. We're not trying to do the same thing, it's as simple as that. We're trying to do something else, and to push our game forwards and not theirs."
Both O'Connor and creative director Josh Holmes acknowledged that the change could prove controversial amongst Halo's community. "I expect a variety of different reactions," Holmes told Eurogamer, "One of the great things about Halo is we have the ability to support a variety of different play styles and play lists, create experiences that cater to different player types and community desires."
"We've a tremendous amount of respect for Bungie and for the universe that they created, and yet we do want to take our own unique view on Halo and on where we want to take the franchise is in the future. It's about finding the balance so it's still Halo yet still feels fresh."
Frank O'Connor also warned that what's been shown of Halo 4 to date - which, at Microsoft's Spring Showcase, amounted to a run-through of two multiplayer maps alongside a handful of snippets of the game in action - is the more conventional face of 343's take on the franchise.
"What we showed today is in some ways really traditional," O'Connor told Eurogamer. "Some of the more revolutionary stuff that we're going to be doing is going to create more fuss, and I think it's going to be mostly positive fuss, as it's all been carefully thought out and considered."