343 Industries has changed the way Halo's much-loved multiplayer works for Halo 4, and implemented a new mode called Spartan Ops.
Spartan Ops, according to the latest issue of Game Informer (via NeoGaf), replaces Firefight, which is no more. It works similarly to Call of Duty's Spec Ops mode, but with an episodic storyline played out over several months' worth of TV show season-style DLC. It will compare in scope and size to the single-player campaign, which is, like in previous Halo games, playable co-operatively with up to four players.
Spartan Points are used to buy armour, armour abilities and Spartan Ops missions. One new armour ability is Forerunner Vision, which allows you to see through walls and thus discourage camping. Returning armour abilities include the hologram, the jetpack, and active camo. Sprint is a default ability all players have access to at all times.
Important changes have been made to the multiplayer gameplay, too. In Halo 4 weapons drop down in drop pods at random locations around the map, preventing Halo's traditional weapon camping. 343 has also done away with respawn delay. Now, by pressing the X button, you are sent immediately back into the match. 343 hopes these changes will make Halo 4 more accessible to newcomers.
The Microsoft-owned developer has also come up with a backstory to explain why Reds fight Blues in Halo's multiplayer. It's for training purposes, apparently, inside a Holodeck-style virtual reality simulator aboard a huge space ship called the UNSC Infinity. Elites, though, won't be playable here.
Meanwhile, some campaign and story information has popped up. Cortana, Master Chief's AI companion, is dying (or coming to the end of her shelf life). As previously revealed, you'll run into the Forerunners, the Halo universe's mysterious ancient alien race.
Halo 4 launches on Xbox 360 in time for Christmas.