In case the newly rebalanced Halo 4 or that Halo TV show wasn’t enough for you, today Microsoft announced Halo: Spartan Assault, a brand new twin stick shooter set in the Halo universe, for Windows 8 devices.
Spartan Assault is a top down, third person shooter that casts players as a new Spartan engaged in training exercises designed to recreate “classic Spartan battles” from the series’ long history. The gameplay footage revealed so far sort of looks like a Halo-ified version of the old top down levels from Contra. Despite the change in viewpoint, it looks like Spartan Assault still focuses on Halo’s “holy trinity” of guns, melee, and grenades, and it looks like you can still commandeer vehicles. As with Halo 4, you’ll be able to customize your Spartan with custom load-outs and perks.
Hardcore Halo players will be happy to know that playing Spartan Assault will unlock bonuses in Halo 4: achievements and experience earned in Spartan Assaults will be added to players’ career totals in Halo Waypoint, allowing them to unlock extra content in Halo 4. Microsoft hasn’t stated what that extra content will be, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few new armor sets added to the game.
There won’t be traditional co-op or competitive multiplayer in Spartan Assault, but players can compete on leaderboards for the highest score.
Spartan Assault will retail for $6.99 on both Windows 8 PC’s and phones. The game will also have optional microtransactions that can be purchased in order to make the game easier.
In a recent interview with Polygon, 343 Industries’ Kiki Wolfkill said that Microsoft sees a future for the Halo franchise that extends beyond traditional first-person shooters, and this latest Halo spin-off seems to be the one of the first steps (along with the upcoming Spielberg produced Halo TV series,) into expanding Halo’s audience beyond its current scope. I’m sure most hardcore Halo fans would’ve preferred some sort of news regarding the inevitable Halo 5, but I think Spartan Ops looks interesting: I like 2D shooters, and if Spartan Assault manages to maintain the polish and balance of the console Halo’s, I don’t see much to complain about.