"tremendous amount of pressure" on the new 343 Industries team working on Halo 4, but the devs know they're following in the "footsteps of giants".
They promised gameplay would step forward but they're "definitely not creating Mirror's Edge" but with Halo slapped on. It won't be unrecognisable to fans - it'll have that 'true Halo feel'.
Above all they want the player to have a "greater sense of empowerment" through choice in gameplay without ditching everything fans have come to love. Keeps the 'sandbox'.
"I think you always want to set your goals high and exceed everything that's come before you - that's just part of what motivates you as a creative individual. The challenge is great for us and that's a motivation," admits Josh Holmes.
The 343 Industries creative director affirms they aren't for radical change but the pressure is on for innovation.
"Personally it's incredibly exciting, in a lot of ways it's an honor and it's daunting. I won't lie to you; it's something that is a tremendous amount of pressure on a new studio and a new team, and yet at the same time we built this team with this task in mind," continued Holmes. "We all came to the studio knowing that this was the goal, that we wanted to create the definitive Halo game and that we were following in the footsteps of giants in Bungie Studios."
"I think it's one of the things that energises us as a team and it gets me up every morning and motivates me to want to do everything I can when I go in to work each day."
The iconicsm of Halo will be instantly recognisable to fans of the series.
"We're definitely not creating Mirror's Edge set in the Halo universe - so I wouldn't go as far as to say we're radically changing the gameplay style in a way that it's unrecognisable. One of the things that we've said is that we want this to very much feel true to that Halo feel that we believe fans everywhere love. But we also want to evolve it and add new experiences, new ways to play and give players a greater sense of empowerment through choice," he said.
"I think one of the things that's fantastic about Halo and one of the things I love most about it is this idea that players have a set of tools that they can employ in any way that they want."
"They can go in to every encounter, every situation and chose from this sandbox of great weapons, abilities and vehicles and employ whatever means they chose to be effective and successful."
The sandbox style combat isn't going anywhere - it's a core tennant of Halo.
"As you can imagine, when any team takes on a new creative endeavour you go through a lot of exploration and thought. Very early on there were discussions around 'do we stay with the sandbox approach that has taken Halo to this place, or do we radically reinvent it as something that's maybe more scripted and constrained?'"
"My view personally is that what makes Halo so special is that sense of choice, freedom and creativity - the fact that I as a player can be creative in everything that I do throughout the experience, both moment to moment and then in the surrounding experiences like Forge and stuff like that - I can create my own experiences and stories to share. That's part of the foundation and bedrock of Halo for me, and we want to stay very true to that."
Click here to read thebetween Josh Holmes and CVG. Halo 4 releases on Xbox 360 holiday 2012.