Halo 4

[Update: We asked Microsoft to confirm or deny these leaks, and a spokesperson responded with the standard, “Microsoft does not comment on rumors or speculation.”]

Further details about the much-anticipated Xbox 360 shooter Halo 4 have emerged today. The Little English Halo Blog has posted screenshots allegedly taken from ExpertZone, a site dedicated to supporting Microsoft’s retail partners, breaking down the schedule for the episodic Spartan Ops downloadable content and providing some further multiplayer details.

As previously reported, Microsoft Studios and developer 343 Industries will be providing the first season of Spartan Ops content for free. We now know that season one will provide players with a total of 50 missions over a 10-week period, with five episodes delivered each week. It is an innovative move, and the companies hope that drip-feeding content in this way helps keep players engaged over the long term.

The ExpertZone slides explain that the Spartans Ops missions can be played in either single-player or co-op multiplayer modes, giving 12 hours of incremental gameplay in total for season one. This puts each new mission at approximately 15-minutes long. Franchise director Frank O’Connor has previously said that a second season of Spartan Ops content will depend on the popularity of the first. No word on whether season two might be paid-for content.

Microsoft is describing Spartan Ops to retailers as: “Like getting two campaigns with one game!”

On the multiplayer side, Halo 4 will include 10 weapons that are new to the series, two brand-new vehicles, and, “many of your favorites from the past.” Ten multiplayer maps will be available at launch, with more to come as downloadable content.

Hardcore Halo players hope that 343 includes clan support in the game, a feature that was missing from Halo 3. Such hopes are bolstered by the ExpertZone slides, which describe: “Improvements to make multiplayer a more social experience: Better matchmaking, able to drop in-and-out of matches, improved support to create, organize, and track groups.”

Halo 4 is due out this November 6.

[ExpertZone image courtesy of LittleEnglishHaloBlog]