Halo 4: Spartan Ops used to be a Firefight mode with random missions

Thursday, 22nd November 2012 11:00 GMT By Dave Cook

Halo 4′s Spartan Ops season of co-op episodes was originally coined as a slant on Halo: ODST’s Firefight mode, developer 343 Industries has revealed.

In an interview on Halo Waypoint, Halo 4 lead designer Chris Haluke and senior designer Greg Murphy discussed the origins of Spartan Ops in detail.

Murphy recalled, “It originally was a Firefight-type mode, where it wasn’t always about killing all the enemies. Some missions would be get an item (like a bomb) to the bomb spot, kill the leader, capture the item, etc. But it was more arcadey and meant to be replayable.

“Each map would have the same four or five types of missions. When you played them, it would randomly pick four missions on four different maps, and your party would play through them. We got back to this concept, then onto just concentrating on the five missions a week, then making the missions story driven.”

Haluke explained that the addition of narrative prompted 343 to think bigger with Spartan Ops, “One of the main changes or evolutions with Spartan Ops was the importance of narrative and tying all of Halo’s multiplayer together with a story that matters.

“Narrative is an integral part of Spartan Ops, and this truly began to come together at a critical point in production when all the pieces began to fall into place. Working so closely with our narrative team has been an incredible experience, as we all get to feed into the ideas and storylines that ultimately shape Spartan Ops.

Murphy added, “The best way that it changed was going from more arcade-like “random” missions where you would accomplish the same goals, just on different maps in a very generic way, to something story-based, with each mission featuring a unique story, VO, goals, etc.”

What do you make of Spartan Ops as it exists now? Does it serve to enhance the core campaign and multiplayer offering, or would you have preferred an expanded return to Firefight mode? Let us know below.

Thanks OXM.



  1. Ristas

    I would love Spartan Ops if it actually was story driven. Instead you get one (pretty cool) cinematic at the beginning and five missions that are only, if at all, loosely connected and mainly consist of “There are aliens in this building, please kill them”. The missions barely have anything to do with the cinematics and really feel like randomly generated maps.

    I’m still going to play them all because I love Halo but this mode is kind of a disappointing replacement for Firefight.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Gadzooks!

    I was initially disappointed that firefight was gone, but much prefer Spartan Ops now.

    Played the 3rd set of episodes last night which had Scorpion and Mantis drops! Hell yeah!! I’m hoping they can squeeze some Pelican combat in somewhere too.

    I like that it’s more focussed than ‘survive as many rounds as possible’ as it allows for speed runs, and the maps are nice and distinctive.

    I’m finding playing with randoms on Spartan Ops to be generally really good. No greifing, good coordination overall.

    Also loving having a parallel story, and hopefully an explanation of Halsey’s incarceration. The cutscenes are stupidly high quality for a ‘bolt on’ mode.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. NocturnalB


    I kinda felt the same about Spartan Ops when you said it felt like it wasn’t very related to the cinematics and just felt like “Aliens, kill them”. But i actually prefer it to Firefights.

    What I want explained is the 1000% total let down of a campaign, I’ve been a Halo fan for over a decade, and when the credits started rolling on Halo 4, my jaw was on the floor… because of how utterly and totally disappointing it was, i was SO completely let down! The MP and all that is great… but 343 has completely displeased me with the story… I was pretty shocked seeing as i usually love Halo no matter what.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. polygem

    good game….but i miss the secret bungie spice.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. fengato

    I was looking forward to SPOPS above all else. The concept is sound, though the execution is pretty damn poor. The story is flat and completely one dimensional – “the egg heads want you to wipe em all out- go to it spartans.” Meh

    More importantly, having unlimited lives breaks this gamemode. It completely undermines the need for strategy, the reward for bold moves, the need for good loadouts, teamwork and resource management. Much like Firefight Arcade, it’s a mode for derps to run around randomly shooting stuff.

    Where there is no risk, there’s no fun. Out of ammo? Just die. Can’t kill that group of knights? Just keep spamming and respawing ’till they’re gone. There is very little fun in this – it promotes lazy game behaviour, and comes across as incredibly lazy game design.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. LuLshuck

    You have got to be kidding me right? it basically is firefight but shorter

    @fengato totally agree with you, its shit and pointless

    #6 2 years ago

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