When it released on Windows 8 devices and Windows Phone 8 earlier this year, “Halo: Spartan Assault” was greeted by Halo fans with open arms. The twin stick shooter was lauded by critics and players alike for presenting a game that looked and sounded just as great as the Halo games of old while providing a top-down experience that had never been seen in the series. In fact, the only thing that was missing was the ability to play the game on your console.
That all changes on December 24 when a new and improved “Halo: Spartan Assault” comes to Xbox One via a digital download priced at $14.99. Not only will the game look gorgeous on the Xbox One thanks to its native 1080p resolution and smooth 60 fps frame rate, it will also feature a brand-new cooperative mode, new weapons, and the inclusion of the “Operation Hydra” add-on.
Best of all, fans that have purchased “Halo: Spartan Assault” for Windows 8 devices or Windows Phone 8 to date or purchase prior to December 15, 2013, will be eligible to purchase the Xbox One version of the game at the discounted price of $4.991. And don’t worry, Xbox 360 owners: “Halo: Spartan Assault” will be available on your console in January 2014 and will offer the same affordable pricing ($14.99) and upgrade discount ($4.99) as the Xbox One version.
To find out a bit more about “Halo: Spartan Assault” for Xbox One, we chatted with Executive Producer Dan Ayoub from 343 Industries about everything from the new co-op mode to his personal weapon of choice.
For the uninitiated, could you tell us a bit about what’s been added to the Xbox One version of “Halo: Spartan Assault?”
Dan Ayoub: We’re really excited about the Xbox One version of “Spartan Assault,” as this came to be due to strong demand from the fan base. The Xbox One version will feature all of the modes and content from the original mobile version (optimized for your console), including the “Operation Hydra” add-on. In addition, we are introducing a new co-op mode that will allow players to play together in some pretty frantic gameplay versus an old enemy.
How exactly will the new co-op mode work?
Dan Ayoub: Co-op will work through Xbox Live and will allow you to play with a friend. We wanted to do something completely new for the game that featured really crazy action against waves of enemies. For this reason, we’re putting you up against the Flood! Players will work together against huge waves of enemies bearing down on them. The mode is heavily focused on teamwork and victory can only be attained by working together. Co-op is a ridiculous amount of fun, and people in early testing have really enjoyed playing it.
Did you have to overcome any particular challenges in bringing the game to Xbox One?
Dan Ayoub: Probably the most interesting challenge was to adapt gameplay that was originally conceived for a very different form factor. We didn’t just want to do a straight port to Xbox One, so we had to rethink things like controls and pacing that to make sure it played great on the console. We also made considerable efforts to make the audio shine. The Xbox One version will feature 7.1 Surround Sound, and we re-mastered the SFX for console; we also did all new music and VO to support the new mode. I think what I’m most excited about is that we’ve created a fantastic upgrade path for people who already purchased the game on Windows/Mobile that will allow them to get their hands on the Xbox One version at a significantly reduced cost
Can you earn any “Halo 4” rewards (like emblems) by playing “Halo: Spartan Assault?”
Dan Ayoub: Absolutely. The console version will allow players to unlock rewards for use in the 360 version of “Halo 4” just like the mobile version did.
Has the in-game economy or upgrade system been changed at all for the Xbox One?
Dan Ayoub: What’s so great about a product like “Spartan Assault” is that we are constantly making changes based on data and feedback from players. This console version will feature all of the things we’ve learned and tweaked. For example, we had some items that players could only purchase and not play toward in the launch version – we heard player concerns about this very quickly and were able to change this right away so that players can attain anything available in the game
What are your favorite new weapons and armor abilities?
Dan Ayoub: My personal favorite new weapon is the Battle Rifle, the old “Halo” classic is back to battle the flood. In terms of new abilities Teleport is my favorite, when you’re overcome by the flood and in the corner, a quick teleport and you return to fight back to back with your partner.
What prompted you to include the “Operation Hydra” missions to the Xbox One version of the game
Dan Ayoub: We really wanted to offer the full experience to players, so took the extra effort to include “Operation Hydra.” People really loved the expansion, so we wanted to make it available to console players as well.
1 Estimated Retail Price. Discount offer requires original purchase of “Halo: Spartan Assault” for Windows 8 PCs and tablets, or Windows Phone 8 and login using a valid Xbox profile. Matching Xbox profile required for discount when purchasing “Halo: Spartan Assault” on Xbox One.