Halo 4 TV Ad

A brand new Halo 4 TV advert has been released which, much like the Halo 3 commercials, gives further insight into the Master Chief’s origins and the horror of the Spartan II programme. It also highlights his deteriorating mental state which rumour has it will become a theme throughout this story arc of games.

Halo 4 Collectors Edition Revealed

News of the Halo 4 Collectors Edition has been revealed today on Halo Waypoint. But to save you some time I’ve robbed it and put it up here.

Available for preorder today, the Halo 4 Limited Edition maximizes your multiplayer experience and puts you in the boots of a Spartan-IV aboard the UNSC Infinity – the hub of your Halo multiplayer career.

The Halo 4 Limited Edition will be available at the estimated retail price of $99.99 (around £60) and includes:

War Games Map Pack Access
The competitive multiplayer modes of Halo 4 are known as War Games. The Limited Edition includes access to nine maps – three future competitive multiplayer map packs, each including three locations, available for download post-launch on Xbox LIVE. Yes, you read that correctly; you get nine maps in the form of future DLC with the purchase of the Halo 4 Limited Edition. Score!

Everyone will have access to select Specializations, but those that purchase the Halo 4 Limited Edition will receive the ability to unlock six Specializations early, available at launch on Xbox LIVE. You can use them, one at a time, to achieve higher ranks in your Spartan career. In addition to gaining access to new ranks, Specializations unlock new customization options. We’ll be releasing more information about Specializations at E3, so expect additional details about this particular feature then.

UNSC Infinity Briefing Packet
The UNSC Infinity Briefing Packet includes a Spartan armor customization schematic, information about UNSC weapons, an introduction to the massive ship UNSC Infinity, and insight into what it means to be one of humanity’s finest warriors: The Spartan-IVs. Story lovers will especially enjoy this in-fiction offering that provides a glimpse into the indoctrination of Spartans aboard the Infinity.

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn Special Edition
The Special Edition of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn is a 90-minute extended version of the live-action digital series which will take fans back to the terrifying beginning of the Human/Covenant war, when the Master Chief inspired a young cadet who would eventually become a leader aboard the UNSC’s greatest vessel ever: the UNSC Infinity.

Digital content also includes in-fiction bonus content that expands the characters and stories of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, special featurette Bringing Gaming into Reality, and a behind the scenes look at the making of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn.

Bonus digital content through Xbox LIVE
The Limited Edition includes the following bonus digital content through Xbox LIVE: unique in-game Spartan-IV armor skin, unique in-game weapon skin for the Assault Rifle, an exclusive in-game emblem, Xbox LIVE Avatar prop, and Xbox LIVE Avatar Spartan IV armour set.

Right about now you may be wondering, “If all those things come with the Limited Edition, what are they going to put in the Legendary Edition?” Here is the answer to that question: There will be two options available at retail for Halo 4 – the regular version of the game and the aforementioned Limited Edition. We decided to focus our efforts on a single special edition instead of numerous ones so you wouldn’t have to pick and choose between what ancillary items you want. Now your primary choice is whether or not you just want the game, or the game along with all the goodies. And we’re hoping we made that decision an easy one for you…

Must wash hands before returning to battle
Along with cutting up images and sprinkling the pieces upon the community, we’ve continued to maintain beyond full plates as we traverse the road leading up to launch. Section 3, our services team, is putting the polish on a few different updated experiences. Frankie and Kevin are currently at the Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn set, checking out today’s shoot, “accidentally” bumping into the actors and actresses (one of whom is one of my most favorite actresses EVER), and playing around with various weapon replicas every time the person in charge of props turns his back.

The rest of the team is head down in Halo 4, coming up for breath only as time allows. Some are occupied with an upcoming network test. The majority, though, find their days (and nights) consumed with preparation for E3.

Yesterday we were three weeks away from showing you what Halo 4 is all about. Today we are two weeks and six days away. Every second counts as we finalize the builds, take the screenshots, and prepare to reveal new weapons, enemies, game types, and more.

This particular stage of preparation is nerve-wracking. There’s an indescribable current in the air, one that gets more intense with each passing day. When you pour your heart and soul into something, when you are determined to do right because you know what you’re creating is important to people, the pressure elevates you and fosters an atmosphere that breeds strong focus and drive, where the team is only capable of performing at their very best. That’s where we’re at, in over-drive, with the E3 finish line coming into sight.

And as an added bonus; I saw this mad video that someone did recreating the Believe trailer from Halo 3 – the massive scale model – out of Minecraft.

Spartans Vs Space Marines

Those that know me, know that I love the Halo game series. It’s awesome. The story is compelling, the characters are engaging and there’s so much cool that I swear I’ve got cooler just by playing the games. I’ve played the games, I’ve got the encyclopaedia, Halo Legends, and some of the books. I am a fanboy. The Master Chief is my hero.

Equally, I love Space Marines. I’ve been collecting Space Marine in one form or another and reading about their exploits for over 20 years. With the release of Space Marine I decided that I needed to thrash out a debate that has been raging since Halo came out 10 years ago.

Spartans verses Space Marines. Who would win?

I gotta say knowing what I do about both, it’s not as cut and dry as people think. Yes a Space Marine has a bolt gun but in a straight up and down fight, assuming both parties were armed the same, it’d get pretty interesting.

So lets break it down into sections.

Space Marines were created by the Emperor as the instrument of his will. Unstoppable legions of posthumans created to defeat His foes and unite the galaxy. After the Horus Heresy the Space Marines were broken into Chapters and scattered across the galaxy. At the close of the 41st Millennium the Space Marines are stretched to breaking point in defence of the Imperium of Man. The Space Marines are revered and feared in equal measure by even the most loyal and pious members of Imperial Society. They are death incarnate.

The Spartan program was created in answer to the rising escalation of seditionist activity in the outer colonies of humanities budding empire. Intended to be deployed to essentially crush civil uprisings, their creation represented the darkest day in humanities history. Their first couple of missions against separatists were so devastating that even UNSC Marines would think twice about serving alongside them. When the Covenant War broke out in 2525 the Spartans were re-tasked and were the only military asset that made significant inroads 28 year conflict, of which the Chief was at the forefront of. The chief was, like a Space Marine still in his teens when deployed for his first combat mission.

Space Marines are chosen from amongst the greatest warriors of the generation from the recruiting worlds. Often the initiates are teenagers, their bodies young enough to accept the volume of augmentation. Beyond that, however, they undergo a tremendous amount of psycho-indoctrination to make them utterly loyal to the chapter and the emperor. To be unflinching in combat and utterly committed to the cause. And to know no fear.

The Spartan II program, of which John-117 (the Master Chief) was a part, was conducted in secret, 150 children were taken from their homes and replaced with fast-growth clones. The children were then subjected to gruelling physical training and relentless lessons in wargames, tactics, lateral thinking and problem solving. By the end of the training on 33 survived, so invasive and traumatic the augmentations but the result was that Spartans were utterly fearless and incapable of walking away from fight. The primary objective was to win, no matter the personal cost. Duty, and honour was the driving force behind the Spartans. Sound familiar?

There are some striking similarities between Spartans and Space Marines at this point. Both taken from the life they knew and reconditioned into instruments of war, both with a level of emotional immaturity that could lead to disaster should the conditioning ever become unstuck.

Physical Augmentation
Both Space Marines and Spartans undergo physical augmentation. Space Marines have 19 implants, Spartans just 5.
Space Marines are blessed with the ability to filter sound, see over incredible distances, increased muscle density and ossification of the bones. They also boast a second stomach, a third lung (greedy) and the ability to halt any bleeding. A fully augmented Space Marine stands at over 7ft. More so fully clad in Power Armour. Although not all augmentations are list here, because that’s not the pont of the post, a Space Marine can sustain a tremendous amount of damage before it proves fatal. However, it is worth pointing out that severe trauma to the head and/or hearts will still do the job just as it would on anything else.

This image came from the Relic Forums and is just for illustration purposes.

Spartans, although not so heavily altered are still adapted to a formidable level. Spartans have carbdie ceramics overlayed onto their bone structure so although not having a solid ribcage, Spartan bones are all but unbreakable. Muscle density is also considerably increased. The result of these two not only increases the Spartan’s height to 7ft but doubles their mass and weight. These augmentations also allows an un-armoured Spartan to lift three times its own body weight and run at an average of 35mph. In MJOLNIR mark V armour the Master Chief was clocked at 65mph. Cerebral implants also allows a Spartan to react 300% faster than a regular human.

There’s no denying the Space Marines apparent physical superiority but the Spartans ability to lift three times its own body weight, combined with a blistering reaction time still makes the Spartan an impressive foe. Space Marines are fast of course, an in novels are found to be able to match Eldar blow for blow but it’s also something that a Space Marine can’t keep up for long and it is often a Space Marines ferocity and sheer bloody mindedness that wins out rather than his agility.

Phsyical prowess will only get you so far once the bullets start flying. Space Marine power armour is a layers of ceramite which would be utterly unusable were it not for a series of servos and artificial muscle bundles that not only helps move the armour but further enhances the Space Marines strength and speed. Big, bulky, ornate and designed to withstand staggering amounts of fire, power armour is as much a tool of psychological warfare as it is about protection. Space Marine power armour also grants the wearer autosenses including reactive lenses that will dull in the event of explosions to prevent a Space Marine become disoriented in combat. Power Armour is at its best at long-range/against ranged weapons. It’s layered and curved design makes it adept at turning aside bullets and the ceramite can absorb a great deal of heat whilst protecting its wearer. However in combat the armour, according to canon, suffers a little more. Because of its modular design (for ease of repair) parts of the armour can be torn away by stronger foes and, like MJOLNIR armour does have weak points, although not as many.

Similarly, the MJOLNIR armour is as much about intimidation as it is about keeping the wearer safe, the gold visored helmets making the Spartans faceless and uncaring. In addition to armour plating designed to turn aside bullets and energy weapon blasts, MJOLNIR armour also boasts a rechargeable energy shield capable of absorb repeated bullet and/or energy impacts before collapse. It can also be projected around the hand to make a first strike even more powerful with the potential to overload electrical systems, albeit at the cost of shield collapse. In addition the suit has a gel layer that, when the amour goes into lockdown, stiffens to the point that it is possible for a Spartan to survive a surface impact following a free fall descent with no parachute, from low orbit. Like power armour, MJOLNIR armour enhances speed and physical strength. It also boasts a HUD including health status, weapon ammo levels and a motion tracker. Although there is no denying that Space Marine armour is far more durable than even mark VI MJOLNIR armour, the suit not only increases reaction time but also further enhances strength. A punch from a Spartan in MJOLNIR armour will delivered with 2 tonnes of force which even the most die-hard Space Marine fan must admit, would put a serious dent in power armour.

Combat Performance
Space Marines are not subtle warriors. But at almost 8ft when armoured, there’d be little point in trying to be. One of the main advantages they have against their foe is their size. A Space Marine will charge head long into withering hails of fire. On the surface it would appear that Space Marines are insane but they are driven by faith and a genuine hatred for their foes. A Space Marine does not give up. Once in combat that ferocity is given form. A master at arms with decades, if not centuries, of experience, every movement has purpose and lethality. It is documented a Space Marine can match even the Eldar’s speed but never for prolonged periods of time, a Space Marine having to go for a quick and violent kill to ensure victory. Using the Space Marine game as a guide (which is GW approved and fair as Halo is a video game franchise) a Space Marine’s turn of speed is comparable to a Spartans but I doubt if the speed can be matched consistently. I think, similarly, a Space Marine would need an immediate kill or a Spartan could out manoeuvre him.

Because they lack the same level of protection as a Space Marine, a Spartan must be more cautious but is still capable, when the time is right, to make that daring charge into the fray. This can be assisted by a variety of technology such as bubble shields which is a bit of a cheat but handy none-the-less. With reaction times 600% higher than normal, when in MJOLNIR armour, combined with ample physical enhancement I don’t doubt that a Spartan could harm, if not kill, a Space Marine. Plus with a Spartan possesses a similar singular mindedness which would make him, like a Space Marine, utterly determined to win. More so in the MKIII Spartans who were bred to be psychotic and wouldn’t think twice about spending their lives if it meant victory. I’m taking walk into a room with a nuke strapped to their chest kind of crazy.

I think blow for a blow, in a stand up fight, like a boxing match, a Space Marine would kill a Spartan. Their ferocity and strength would be overwhelming. And although the MJOLNIR armour is, in many ways, more advanced than Power Amour, it doesn’t have the resilience of Power Armour.

However in a combat situation over a warzone I think the playing field would be levelled. A Spartan’s greater agility, especially over rough terrain – remember a Space Marine can hardly stalk through the rubble – coupled with motion trackers and a turn of speed could give a Spartan a certain edge. But I think a Spartan would have to rely on the element of surprise as the Space Marine’s raw power and aggression would be staggering.

So, to conclude; in a fair fight within a cityscape etc, I think the Master Chief could win because it’s the chief and there’s a lot to be said for luck. Plus it’s fair to say the MKII Spartans were pragmatic in the extreme and although were determined to win at all costs they wouldn’t throw their lives away blithely, but were utterly prepared to die if it meant victory. That said, any other Spartan would most likely lose. A MKIII Spartan could probably beat a Space Marine despite being inferior to a MKII in just about every way, mainly because he’d happily blow himself, the Space Marine and everything else up with him.

But at the end of the day, this is all just a bit of fun and more about comparing two future heroes that I love. As the fact is, if a Space Marine and a Spartan ever found themselves face to face they’d recognise a kindred spirit. Plus if we were to lay the time lines over one another, the Spartans could well be the Space Marine’s forebears.