While Halo Wars takes place well before the events of Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, and Halo 3, there will indeed be Spartans in the game. Lead Designer, Dave Pottinger of Ensemble Studios, posted a lengthy blog entry on the official Halo Wars website, which details the super soldiers inclusion in the game.
Dave writes, "People expect Spartans to kick serious ass. The Halo FPS games have trained folks to believe Spartans are uber. There’s nothing wrong with that per se, but it does create some issues when you think about a strategy game setting."
Read on to hear about some of the things the Spartans will be doing in Halo Wars.
It seems that the strategy Ensemble is taking with Spartans is to embrace their awesome power. You'll be seeing,
"Multiple Spartans. Earlier on, we talked about Halo Wars being a prequel to the previous Halo games. If you’re a fan, you know this means that multiple Spartans were alive and kicking in our timeframe. That’s a huge advantage for us. Fictionally, we can tell a story with multiple Spartans now, something gamers haven’t had a chance to experience yet. Design-wise, we can actually use this to help address the quality expectations people have. Individually, our Spartans are very good. But, together they’re great. If you want that “Spartans kick ass” vibe, you can get it as long as you train a few Spartans."
In addition to that, Spartan units in Halo Wars will be getting the ability to jack vehicles, which has been a series staple since Halo 2.
On the ability, Dave says,
"Jacking a vehicle is as easy as selecting a Spartan and tapping Y on top of that Wraith. We definitely exaggerate the running and jumping animations of the jacking maneuver to make it larger than life. Strategy games do need to exaggerate key actions to make sure they “read” as more important than the general battle action when you’ve got a ton of troops that you’re looking down over... Your Spartan might even do a back flip en route to his perch atop the tank. Anyone who’s watched a fragged Spartan go flying off into the abyss with his arms flailing away will feel right at home watching the jack sequences."
We're definitely excited to see what Ensemble can do with this RTS game because they seem to have a handle on the universe and unique control challenge with bringing real-time strategy to the console.
Read the full blog post here and check out our preview of Halo Wars below.