Halo: Spartan Assault is officially confirmed for release on Windows 8 devices – including smartphones, tablets, and Win 8 PCs – in July 2013. The $6.99 game (the estimated retail price, according to the PR text) is described in Microsoft’s press release as a “top-down action shooter,” and the trailer posted on Halo Waypoint (below) certainly makes that clear. Visually, the game looks like the real-time strategy game Halo Wars, but the play appears to fall closer to what Crystal Dynamics did with Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, at least on the action side.
Spartan Assault features a story set between the events of Halo 3 and Halo 4, running through the early days of the Spartan Ops program. Players will learn more about the war between the Covenant and the human race as seen through the eyes of “either Commander Sarah Palmer or Spartan Davis.” Both are stationed about the UNSC Infinity, a ship that factors heavily into the story of Halo 4.
The game features 25 missions in all, focusing on “never-before-seen battles against Covenant forces.” The single-player campaign – no multiplayer, Microsoft confirms – packs in 40 Achievements and an assortment of Medals. Your performance is tracked and charted on built-in Leaderboards and Weekly Challenges promise to provide additional hooks for long-term play. Any experience points you earn in Spartan Assault also ties into your Halo 4 multiplayer progression, meaning your XP level in one translates to the other.
A separate fact sheet indicates that Halo: Spartan Assault supports microtransactions. There’s nothing in the way of specifics, but it sounds like you’ll have the choice between grinding time into the game for upgrades or spending real dollars to “speed up your training by purchasing credits for boosts, unique weapons, or armor abilities.”
Along with the game, Microsoft is partnered with Dark Horse Comics on Halo: Initiation, a three-part comic book series that chronicles Commander Sarah Palmer’s path to becoming a Spartan-IV warrior. It is described as a prequel to the events of Spartan Assault. There’s no indication in the press release of when the comics will be released, but it’s a safe bet that we’ll be seeing them close to the launch of the game.
For now, take a peek at the reveal trailer below.