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You may want to play Halo 4 on normal, says Frank O' Connor

Halo 4 Screenshot - 1123748

If you're a Halo fan like me you're probably thinking about whether you'll start Halo 4 on Heroic or Legendary difficulty when it comes out on November 6. Six games in, we've learned every trick in the book for fighting the Covenant and normal difficulty is for wimps, right? Well, at the Halo 4 panel during New York Comic Con last weekend, Halo Franchise Director Frank O' Connor explained why you may want to re-evaluate your choice of difficulty.

"We haven't put a whole new class of enemies in Halo since the first game," says O'Connor. "Everyone is familiar with the Covenant, and we've added to them slowly over the years. We've added Buggers, we've added Brutes, but we never sort of revamped it."

Now the series is seeing its first entirely new class of enemies in the Prometheans. With that comes a new set of challenges and obstacles. But it's just different, not harder, right? Again, I'm not so sure that will be the case.

"They had to be philosophically very different," he explains. "We tried to make them...where the Covenant are tactical and aggressive and hardly simplistic, they do complex things, they show intelligent behavior all the time, but we wanted them to feel primitive, deliberately primitive beside the Prometheans. And so we focused the thought behind the Prometheans on making them more of a strategic enemy. Something where it's always wise to get a look at the battlefield before you jump down in there and take them on."

Halo 4 screenshot

We've already seen footage of the Prometheans and some of their new tricks. The Knights will teleport around the environment, Crawlers will swarm you and flank from walls and ceilings, and the Watchers will catch your grenades and toss them back. Still, can a new set of gimmicks really change the fundamental gameplay of a Halo game? It sounds like that's a yes, and O'Connor explains why.

"We just finished a review event over in this hotel room in Midtown and we had all these Halo fans review the game. We had to tell people, 'Play on Normal, don't try to play on Heroic the first time. If you want to switch to Heroic afterwards, do that.' But it's because you have all this muscle memory built up from learning how to defeat the Covenant and then we throw a wrench in the works and really start turning things upside down. And we needed a foe that would continually surprise you and keep surprising people for years."

If the Prometheans really give the Covenant that much of a run for their money, we'll be looking at a very refreshing campaign when Halo 4 drops next month. Until then I'll probably continue to debate Heroic or Legendary with myself. I'm sorry Frankie, but I won't go down like a chump, new enemy or not.

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Joe Donato Video games became an amazing, artful, interactive story-driven medium for me right around when I played Panzer Dragoon Saga on Sega Saturn. Ever since then, I've wanted to be a part of this industry. Somewhere along the line I, possibly foolishly, decided I'd rather write about them than actually make them. So here I am.
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