It’s surprising to think that in the wake of E3 2013, one of the least talked-about reveals was what at one time would have been Microsoft’s biggest showstopper. We speak of course of Halo 5, unveiled via a misleading cinematic trailer dropping Master Chief in a brand new setting, against an enemy unlike any he has ever encountered.
Yet anyone paying close attention noticed that although Master Chief and the Halo name were included in the footage, the number ‘5’ was not. Now, it seems that the hesitance to brand the game Halo 5 was no mistake, since the next release in the series is still a long way from being shown.
Since the trailer dropped, vice president of Microsoft Game Studios Phil Spencer explained that 343 Industries‘ once-pitched ‘Reclaimer Trilogy’ was now a full-blown saga. Moving from three games to an infinite number doesn’t seem to change the fact that the next Halo will be Halo 5, but it was clear Microsoft was holding their cards close to their chest.
Yet the question remained: if Microsoft’s Bonnie Ross was walking out on stage to announce something in the Halo universe – not the live-action TV show she’s already announced – then exactly what was revealed?
Now Spencer has offered further explanation to IGN, citing a desire to remind gamers that Halo is alive and well:
“There was no ambiguity in not putting a number after the game. For me, what we showed wasn’t the game. Nobody should be confused on that. I didn’t really want to try to show something that was clearly a thought piece by the studio around where Master Chief is in his journey, and then drop the name after it and be somewhat disingenuous about that being the game.
“But I did want Bonnie to come out and say, ‘First-person shooter. Master Chief.’ Because they’ll get the questions — ‘Hey, is this ODST? What are you guys doing?’ Bonnie comes out and reaffirms that 343 is building this game. It’s Master Chief. It’s a first-person shooter at 60 frames per second. It’s coming in 2014.”
Gamers will no doubt be disappointed to hear that the footage shown in the E3 trailer isn’t indicative of a final Halo game; as thrilling as it is to know that the next Halo will be bigger than ever, we were hoping the massive Forerunner colossus seen in the trailer was a literal hint at the series’ new direction. Spencer went on to remind fans that “Halo usually two E3s,” with an announcement trailer appearing at one, and the game playable the following year (as was the case with Halo 4). So as disappointing as this news happens to be, next E3 should be one to watch.
It’s no surprise that among the launch of two brand new consoles, Microsoft would go out of its way to once again point out that Halo is an Xbox One exclusive. With that said, it seems odd that the company would allow not one, but two holiday seasons to pass without a Halo game on store shelves. The obvious question then becomes: is another Halo Anniversary being planned? 2014 just happens to be the ten year anniversary of Halo 2, so the precedent has been set. But as Spencer explains, the company isn’t in any hurry to water down their top franchise:
“The Halo Anniversary that we did was as much about the launch of the first Xbox as well. It was a culmination of many things coming together. It would probably run out of steam if we were trying to think about, ‘Okay, what’s 10 years old now?’ It’s definitely more from the game itself, the experience that we’re able to bring to market. Less about ‘Is the last digit a zero?’ in terms of its anniversary.”
What do you make of Spencer’s explanation? Is a two year break leading up to Halo 5 exactly what the doctor ordered, or is a Halo 2 Anniversary a certainty in your eyes? Sound off in the comments.
We’ll keep you updated as more information on the future of Halo arrives.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.