Microsoft’s 343 Industries — its new division devoted to making new Halo games — has spilled some early details about Halo 4… and beyond.
343 Industries has enormous shoes to fill and unreasonable expectations to meet in trying to pick up Bungie’s torch to run with the Halo franchise. Our first glimpse at Halo 4 came via this year’s E3, when Microsoft unveiled a CG teaser trailer that showed Master Chief being awakened from his stasis by a new galaxy-threatening crisis.
At the recent PAX gaming convention, 343 held a Halo 4 panel and began to trickle out details about the new game. The big news: Halo 4, Halo 5, and Halo 6 are being collectively titled “The Reclaimer Trilogy.” (As such, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the title “Halo 4” go away at some point, in favor of some new “Halo: Subtitle” name.) They said that the trilogy will more deeply explore Master Chief as a character, and that he and Cortana — and the unique relationship between them — will be a big focus.
As hinted at in the trailer, Master Chief is heading towards a “mysterious new planet,” which is directly connected to the Forerunners (the alien race that built the Halo rings). Might we be visiting the Forerunners’ home world in Halo 4? Hmm… One of the devs mentioned that while we’ve seen abandoned Forerunner technology in the past, The Reclaimer Trilogy will show us Forerunner tech at its peak. Exploration of this world will play a big part of the game.
They also plan to introduce new weapons and abilities, but to balance this carefully with the elements fans know and love from the original trilogy.
Lastly, they commented on the visuals in the game and how they will evolve and grow to reflect the evolution of Master Chief‘s character. They said they’re still tweaking the details of the Chief’s look for the new game, and that the one seen in the teaser trailer is not the final version. One thing they hope to convey with their design is that Master Chief is “an 800-pound hero that’s part tank, part jet fighter.” They also showed a demo reel (embedded above) showing off concept art for the new game.
Halo 4 has no release date, but Microsoft has wanted to make the franchise an annual one for a long time now, so with Halo: Anniversary coming this year… My money is on Holiday 2012.