Microsoft have announced that Halo 4 will feature some sort of functionality with its upcoming Surface tablet.

The tidbit of news was announced by Microsoft exec Don Mattrick at VentureBeat’s GamesBeat conference last night, but no details of what this may entail have been offered. The logical conclusion would be some sort of SmartGlass functionality, but that has been confirmed as multiplatform, so will Halo 4‘s integration be Windows-exclusive? Or did Mattrick mean to say SmartGlass, and ‘Surface’ just popped out..?

Time will tell, but as I’m planning to buy a Surface when they arrive in October, my thoughts are more focussed on what kind of functionality we’ll see. Will it be similar to Halo: Waypoint‘s ATLAS extension that shows real-time map information during online Halo Reach games? I can’t think what use it would be in single-player, but I’m hoping 343 have something interesting to show.

In related news, it was revealed over the weekend that map editing tool Forge will indeed be included in Halo 4. A 343i panel at Rooster Teeth Expo in Austin, Texas officially unveiled the newest version of Forge, showing off many extra usability features that should make map editing much more user-friendly. A new feature called ‘Player Trait Zones’ allows the creation of areas within the map where variables such as degree of gravity and damage limitation can be altered. A new ‘magnets’ effect will also help editors places pieces much more easily. The presentation was caught on camera, and the resulting video can be seen below.

Many had wondered if 343 would scrap Forge mode – after all, they are a new team working on their first game in an established franchise. They would probably have been forgiven for not being able to fit Forge into their development schedule this time out. But not only is it present in Halo 4, it also looks to be massively improved.; anyone who has used Forge mode in Halo 3 and Reach will appreciate the new features, especially the magnetised pieces – fitting pieces together in Halo 3 was often a nightmare, and while Reach‘s Forge mode was a monumental improvement over its predecessor, it could still take some time to line up your installations. The new Player Trait Zones could also lead to some utterly crazy map variants, with areas of differing gravity all over the place.

Since E3, my anticipation for Halo 4 has gone through the roof, and every new scrap of information only serves to heighten that. With a new storyline, the extensive multiplayer, ongoing Spartan Ops campaign and now Forge, it’s shaping up to be an absolutely massive package.

Halo 4 launches on November 6th.

 

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