This morning at PAX Prime Halo Fest 343 Industries held a panel to talk to their fans more about the Halo franchise and didn’t escape without dropping some news on their current project, Halo 4. The biggest announcement was the name of the series: The Reclaimer Trilogy. As you may know, 343 Guilty Spark, a character in the Halo series often refers to Master Chief as ‘The Reclaimer’ so it seems 343 Industries has decidedly locked Master Chief into the title role of the next three games of the Halo franchise.

The panel didn’t reveal too much information about Halo 4‘s plot as 343 kept their lips sealed when it came to spoilers, but they did answer several interesting questions from the crowd. The panel explained that players can expect some of the old gritty UNSC weapons, as well as new upgrades thanks to the discovery of Forerunner technology. And we can’t forget the Halo 4 Warthog which will first appear in Forza Motorsport 4 this fall.

The always important co-op mode was confirmed, but whether the second, third and fourth players would be included in the story or would just be ignored during cutscenes wasn’t clearly answered. The map creation tool, Forge, was mentioned as an important connection to the community and is expected to return in Halo 4 but no improvements were detailed.

At the end of the panel the team showed off some Halo 4 concept art that we’ve compiled below, take a look:

The panel stressed how important the development of the characters is to them; they really want to get deep into the personality of the newly upgraded Spartan 117, while still pledging to begin a ‘new generation’ of Master Chief’s journey. The team also talked about several gameplay features they had implemented that were incredibly fun, but were cut since they didn’t fit in to the Halo universe. It’s nice to know that the new developers have a strong vision for the future of the franchise that could control the fate of the Xbox 360.

343 Industries confirmed that there will not be a beta code for Halo 4 included in Halo Anniversary but if there is a beta they will be sure to let the community know as soon as possible.

Are you happy to see 343 Industries commuted to a Halo trilogy of their own? What do you think of the new concept art?

Halo Anniversary will be released for the Xbox 360 on November 15th, with the first game in the Reclaimer Trilogy, Halo 4, expected in fall 2012.