Halo 5 is bigger and more challenging than its precursors – and it’s all thanks to co-op focused design. No, really.

Halo 5: Guardians developer 343 Industries recently released details of the shooter’s four-character fireteams, which are present in both solo and co-op mode.

One of the reasons Halo 5 is so large is because it has been designed for these fireteams rather than a lone soldier, studio head John Holmes explained in the same Halo Waypoint post.

“The scale of campaign experience that we are delivering with Halo 5: Guardians is far beyond any previous Halo game,” he said.

“With co-operative play as a focus, it has meant creating larger spaces with multiple vertical levels and intersecting pathways. Teammates are encouraged to spread out and explore, seeking advantageous positions from which to support one another.”

“We can have dozens and dozens of active antagonists, all systemically-driven and reacting in real-time to the world around them. This is where the sandbox nature of Halo really shines.”

In addition to upping the environmental scale, 343 has increased the enemy count in each area to challenge four Spartans instead of just one.

“Because players have more freedom in splitting up and exploring the environment, we can have dozens and dozens of active antagonists, all systemically-driven and reacting in real-time to the world around them. This is where the sandbox nature of Halo really shines,” Holmes said.

As well as throwing more enemies at you, 343 has changed the way those enemies behave: hostile AI needs to be smarter and tougher to deal with four Spartans, who can revive downed teammates and work together (even in solo mode, your AI-controlled teammates will accept orders from you).

“These changes have challenged a conventional approach to balancing Halo combat,” Holmes said.

“They have required us to revisit the tuning on every enemy, vehicle and weapon in the game, testing across all difficulties and player counts. Enemies are faster, more responsive and generally more lethal. Many have been given new behaviors to make them more effective in dealing with a team of Spartans.”

Neat. Halo 5: Guardians launches on Xbox One on October 27.

Read more here: VG247