Spartan Ops allows up to four players to play cooperatively. Though it is designed primarily as a cooperative experience, Spartan Ops can be played solo as well. It follows the SPARTAN-IV units Fireteam Majestic and Fireteam Crimson, with the players assuming the role of the latter while the former features in the CGI cinematics. Set six months after the campaign, Spartan Ops expands on the story of the UNSC Infinity and her crew. Due to its scope and scale, this new mode has been likened to a second campaign for the game.
Frank O'Connor has stated that the mode will "bridge the gap" between the events of Halo 4 and the future release of its sequel. 343 Industries will support additional Spartan Ops missions for months after launch of the game and players will have the opportunity to play from the beginning of the episodic campaign regardless of when they started playing. The first season is included with the game, though 343 Industries have not ruled out charging players for additional Spartan Ops seasons. As of March 2013, there are no plans for a second season of Spartan Ops. However, Frank O'Connor has stated that "the story of Crimson, the Infinity and those characters and events is far from over". Indeed, the comic series Halo: Escalation follows largely the same cast of characters a month after the events of Spartan Ops.
Each episode is accompanied by an episode of Halo: Infinity, a computer-animated series that follows the crew of the UNSC Infinity. Produced by the Scottish studio Axis Animation, the series' point-of-view alternates primarily between the ship's command crew and Spartan Fireteam Majestic. The events of the series intertwine directly with those of the cooperative missions, which in turn carry the story forward to the next episode. Those without an Xbox LIVE account may view the Halo: Infinity series on Halo Waypoint, Waypoint's YouTube channel or the Halo Channel.
Spartan Ops follows an ensemble cast of both new and preexisting characters.
- Thomas Lasky - Commanding officer of the Infinity, Captain Lasky leads the UNSC expedition on Requiem.
- Sarah Palmer - Leader of Infinity's Spartan complement, Commander Palmer occasionally steps in as she deems Crimson to be the squad of choice to deploy into the most dangerous ops.
- Catherine Halsey - ONI's former chief scientist and mother of the SPARTAN-II Program, Dr. Halsey has recently been stripped of her power and declared a war criminal by ONI's leadership. However, her expertise is required to decipher the mysteries of Requiem.
- Henry Glassman - A civilian scientist serving as the Infinity's chief engineer.
- Roland - Infinity's eccentric shipboard AI construct, Roland runs the ship while making occasional appearances during operations whenever his expertise is required.
- Fireteam Majestic - Consisting of Spartans DeMarco, Grant, Hoya, Madsen and Thorne, Majestic is frequently deployed on the most crucial ops alongside Crimson.
- Jared Miller - A Spartan who serves as Fireteam Crimson's mission handler.
- Robert Dalton - Another Spartan tasked with directing ordnance, air strikes and extraction whenever needed.
- Jul 'Mdama - Leader of the reconstituted Covenant, 'Mdama is a cunning figure who seeks to claim Requiem's treasures by awakening the essence of the Librarian.
- Gek 'Lhar - A brutal Sangheili soldier serving as Jul 'Mdama's top lieutenant.
- The Librarian - A Forerunner Lifeshaper, whose imprint and her secrets are wanted by the UNSC and Covenant alike.
- Main article: Requiem Campaign
In February 2558, the UNSC Infinity is dispatched to reclaim Requiem from the occupying Covenant forces. Once there, Infinity engages in combat with the Covenant fleet, and deploys ground forces, including Fireteams Majestic and Crimson as well as detachments of Marine, Navy, Air Force and Army forces on Requiem. The Spartan fireteams run through a series of search and destroy, rescue, artifact recovery, extraction and assassination operations.
During a mission on the surface, Fireteam Crimson uncover a Forerunner slipspace artifact which is subsequently brought aboard Infinity. After the device disrupts the ship's systems and teleports Chief Engineer Glassman to the surface of the planet, Dr. Catherine Halsey is brought in to investigate. The artifact scans the ship's systems and begins transmitting data to the surface of Requiem, where said data is intercepted by Jul 'Mdama. Glassman is taken captive by the Covenant and is ordered to activate the Librarian's shrine, though he is not successful.
Fireteam Crimson secure another Forerunner artifact, dubbed "the Didact's Gift". This device is revealed to contain the memories of victims of the Didact's attack on New Phoenix six months prior, revealing that the composed human minds have been repurposed as Promethean Knights. Investigating the first artifact on his own, Spartan Gabriel Thorne is translocated to the Cauldron and is left to fend for himself amidst Covenant-controlled territory. Dr. Halsey begins dialog with an unknown party who shares her interest in the Librarian. The intelligence is actually Jul 'Mdama, who is manipulating Halsey into divulging vital secrets about the Forerunners. Halsey is apprehended after her unwitting communication with 'Mdama is discovered. Meanwhile, Spartan Thorne rescues Dr. Glassman and the pair escape custody.
After Dr. Halsey briefly escapes imprisonment and resumes her communication with 'Mdama, Infinity is boarded by Covenant and Promethean forces who capture Dr. Halsey. They take her to the Librarian's "shrine", where 'Mdama awaits. Meanwhile, Admiral Serin Osman, head of the Office of Naval Intelligence, orders Captain Lasky to assassinate Dr. Halsey; Commander Palmer departs to execute the order. However, Lasky sends Fireteam Majestic to rescue Dr. Halsey and stop Palmer. Meanwhile, Dr. Halsey successfully activates and enters the Librarian's shrine. The Librarian's essence gives Dr. Halsey an artifact known as the Janus Key, but Jul 'Mdama gets one half of the key. Halsey tosses Gabriel Thorne the other half before she is abducted by 'Mdama.
Believing to have obtained what they were looking for, Jul 'Mdama sends Requiem to be destroyed by a nearby star. Deactivating a slipspace anchor originating from Requiem, the UNSC Infinity narrowly escapes the planet's gravity well. Afterwards, Lasky and Palmer observe as Dr. Glassman studies one half of the divided Janus Key. Meanwhile, aboard a Covenant ship, Dr. Halsey seemingly agrees to collaborate with Jul 'Mdama and his forces, stating that she wants revenge.
Each week, players with an Xbox LIVE Gold membership were able to view a new episode of Halo: Infinity, which was then followed by five objective-based missions. The missions offered new content, as well as challenges to complete for each week.
|Title||Original release date|
|Departure||November 6, 2012|
|Artifact||November 12, 2012|
|Catherine||November 19, 2012|
|Didact's Hand||November 26, 2012|
|Memento Mori||December 3, 2012|
|Scattered||January 21, 2013|
|Invasion||January 28, 2013|
|Expendable||February 4, 2013|
|Key||February 11, 2013|
|Exodus||February 18, 2013|
Equipment and technology
- Prior to the adoption of the photorealistic CGI used in the final game, Spartan Ops episodes were to be accompanied by stylized motion comics akin to those featured in the Terminals. A sample was produced by Planet Jump, an animation studio based in London.
- Each episode contains a radio that, when shot, plays the first few notes of the Red vs. Blue theme song. Doing so replaces some of the dialog in the episode with lines from the show's voice actors.
- In Halo: Infinity, some weapons use models from older builds of the game, as seen in early in-game screenshots. For example, the BR85HB SR is erroneously labeled as the BR55HB SR and the M395 Designated Marksman Rifle lacks a front sight. The use of earlier builds to reference in-game assets might also explain why Commander Palmer's hair color varies between the campaign (reddish brown) and the Epilogue and Spartan Ops (nearly black).
- Game Informer (May 2012), pages 46-47
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- Game Informer: Special Halo 4 Podcast
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- The Guardian: E3 2012: Frank O'Connor on Halo 4 – Spartan Ops could run for years
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- Halo Waypoint: The Halo Bulletin: 3.28.13
- Axis Animation: FEATURED WORK - Halo 4: Spartan Ops Ep 1
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- IGN: Halo 4 E3 floor coverage
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- YouTube - Halo 4: Spartan Ops Gameplay
- "Halo Waypoint - Halo 4 Terminal - Jul 'Mdama"
- Planet Jump: Halo 4 Promotional Film