Coming this summer: A new Halo for Windows Phone 8

Add this to your list of must-see summer blockbusters: The first Halo game in franchise history for Windows Phone.

Microsoft today unveiled Halo: Spartan Assault, a new single-player shooter coming exclusively to Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8. The game is scheduled to be released in July with an expected price tag of $6.99. It’s the first Halo title designed for touch screens.

The new game should appeal to both hardcore fans and Halo newbies. Played from a top-down (as opposed to first-person) perspective, Halo: Spartan Assault mines some rich storytelling territory. Set in the years between Halo 3 and Halo 4, it offers new insights into the first missions of the Spartan Ops program, the history of the Human-Covenant wars, and the rise of Commander Sarah Palmer. Check out the trailer:

In the game, which spans 25 missions, you play either Commander Palmer or Spartan Davis aboard the UNSC Infinity. The title features weekly challenges, leaderboards, and more than 40 in-game achievements and medals. You can also shop for better weapons, armor, or abilities within the game.  Beyond the game’s storyline, there’s another cool Halo 4 tie-in: Playing Spartan Assault can earn you experience points and unlock new achievements and emblems for your Halo 4 Spartan.

Another great thing about Halo: Spartan Assault is that it’s designed to work hand-in-hand with Windows 8. If you’ve played Skulls of the Shogun, the cross-platform Xbox hit released this year, you know what I mean: You’ll be able to pause Halo: Spartan Assault on the phone and pick up where you left off on your PC or tablet. The Xbox Wire blog has more of the story. And here’s the game’s official website.

Today’s announcement isn’t the only big Halo news of late, either. Last month, Microsoft announced that it was planning a live action Halo TV series for Xbox Live, with Steven Spielberg signed up as executive producer. So there’s a lot to look forward to. Meantime, here are a few more screenshots to whet your appetite—and don’t forget to try out the Xbox SmartGlass and Halo Waypoint companion apps for Windows Phone while you wait.

What do you think?

Halo Spartan Assault Screenshot - Alien Forest

Halo Spartan Assault Screenshot - Bridge Blockade

Halo Spartan Assault - Armory