June 4, 2013 at 11:25 AM ET
At the Xbox One unveiling event last month, Microsoft made a surprising announcement that Steven Spielberg (of Steven Spielberg fame) was working on a live-action television series based on the company's popular sci-fi shooter "Halo."
Now, it turns out, the company didn't just have plans for bringing "Halo" to the big screen. With the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) just a week away, Microsoft today announced that it also has a mobile Halo game in the works going by the name of "Halo: Spartan Assault."
The newest in a long, long line of Halo titles, "Spartan Assault" also offers Microsoft a powerful way to leverage its cross-platform capabilities. The company said that the top-down shooter will be available next month for all Windows 8 devices for an "estimated retail price" of $6.99 — the only exception being the Windows Phone 8 version of the game, which will be sold separately. The game will be compatible with both touchscreen and mouse-and-keyboard control systems, and the company said that it plans to add "support for the Wired Xbox 360 controller on Windows 8 PCs, tablets and Surface devices shortly after launch, via a title update."
Judging by the trailer released today, "Spartan Assault" has much more of an arcade-y feel to it than the core first-person shooters that dominate the acclaimed franchise. While much of this has to do with the isometric, distant perspective that turns any game (think "Diablo") into a cutesier version of itself, "Spartan Assault" nevertheless bears more in common with a game like "Asteroids" than its immediate Halo predecessors.
Still, that might be enough to keep Halo fans happy. The game stars Sarah Palmer from the series of "Spartan Ops" missions that complemented the release of 2012's "Halo 4." And many gamers and critics alike praised the newly-minted Halo developer 343 Industries for bringing a strong narrative back to the game with their first turn at the franchise.
So will "Spartan Assault" complement the Halo franchises upward trend, or is it just a stand-in to satiate series fans and promote Microsoft's various Windows 8 devices until the company is ready to bring out the next fully-fledged console title? NBC News will take a look at the game for review next month to let you know.
Watch the first trailer below.