In many respects, Halo 4’s situation is the stuff of nightmares. 343 Industries is tasked with guiding one of the biggest franchises in video gaming history into the next generation of consoles, all while starting that relaunch on the current generation Xbox 360. They’re assuming the reins of the de facto face of Microsoft’s gaming division after the departure of Bungie Studios, who created the series in 2001. They’re releasing the first true sequel in the series post-Call of Duty paradigm shift. No pressure. A couple of weeks ago, we visited Kirkland, Washington, home to 343i’s gigantic studio space to check out how the game was shaping up. After hours in the game's campaign and with multiplayer and a long chat with the studio development director Frank O'Connor, we came back with a deeper understanding of where the game is and where the franchise is headed.
At last week's Halo 4 preview event, developer 343i unveiled a new multiplayer mode for the series, Dominion.
Dominion takes elements of the Conquest game type found in titles like Battlefield 3, while adding additional, Halo-inspired wrinkles to the mode. Matches start with three unoccupied bases that must be captured in order to earn points over the course of a round. If a control point is occupied long enough, it can be resupplied, which offers additional points after a predetermined amount of time.
The aforementioned wrinkles come in the form of the structures that house each capture...