With a franchise as well-known and beloved as Halo, change is always going to be met with resistance. So the apparent reveal that Halo 5will feature a brand new character as its protagonist is sure to ruffle a few feathers. Luckily, Microsoft has been quick to clarify that while the next-gen Halo will feature a new playable character, Master Chief will still be on hand to play an 'integral' role in the new game's narrative.
It's been assumed and alluded to by Microsoft and 343 Industries that Agent Jameson Locke - the new protagonist of live-action series Halo: Nightfall - would represent a new fusion of media and entertainment for the Xbox One manufacturer. After Nightfall is used to help launch the company's 'Halo Channel' (and reward future Halo 5 players for watching), Agent Locke would go on play a role in the story of Halo 5 itself.
While that in itself might seem a bombshell, the developers have allowed the most devoted players to squeeze out the rumored story and connections themselves. The announcement trailer for Halo 5: Guardians, for instance, hinted that a new figure (Locke) would be re-tracing Master Chief's steps through prior games, while confirming that Nightfall would help shed some light on the soldier's mission.
Now in an interview with X-One Magazine, Mike Colter, the actor portraying Locke, more details have been revealed. Including one change that some veteran fans may find controversial:
"Yeah, I'm a playable character in Halo 5. Once Halo: The Master Chief Collection is released, and then Halo 5 comes out shortly thereafter, you're basically going to be playing a game with me as the primary character. I'll have some cool weaponry, and some cool abilities, because by that time I'll be a Spartan IV."
"What's not known, is whether i'm a friend or foe. The relationship between Master Chief and Jameson Locke is going to be interesting. Because, what's the outcome? Is he dead or alive? Because that's usually what amanhunt comes down to do, dead or alive, but you won't know what the purpose of finding Master Chief is [right away]. Or what will happen if we do find him, what condition he will be in, and where he's at mentally. But I'm sure that'll be a plot twist in Halo 5."
It seems that Colter has well and truly spilled the beans on Halo 5: Guardians' story, helping clarify earlier claims that Halo 2: Anniversary will feature a new prologue, epilogue, and terminals to help link it more closely to Halo 5. Going by the original trailer and Colter's new details, 343 may choose to cast the game as a flashback of some type, acting as further research for Locke in his 'manhunt' (also explaining why the trailer shows him conversing with The Arbiter).
A Microsoft spokesperson was quick to respond, explaining to Eurogamer that while Locke is indeed a 'primary character,' fans of the Chief won't feel completely unsatisfied:
"As we've said before, Locke plays a primary role in Halo 5: Guardians. The Master Chief remains an integral part of the game's story and as a playable character."
What do you fans of the series think of the change in structure? It's possible that players could get the best of both worlds, adding a new playable character to the mythology (allowing a new perspective on Master Chief's past) while also gaining the reins to the Chief once Locke finally finds him? And what do you make of Locke's ascension into the Spartan IV ranks, or the mysterious reason that the Chief is being sought out in the first place?
We'll keep you updated as more information is either released or leaked, but for now, we want to hear your own theories, hopes or concerns given this new batch of Halo 5 details.
Halo: Nightfall is set to arrive alongside the Halo: The Master Chief Collection on November 11, 2014, with Halo 5: Guardians arriving at some point in 2015.
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