Many gamers have suspected that the next numbered installment in Master Chief’s adventures was right around the corner long before a hint was dropped in a recent Xbox One trailer and (very) early this morning 343 Industries confirmed that Halo 5: Guardians will be arriving on the Xbox One in 2015. Although the developer is holding onto some of the juiciest details for E3, the company has been kind enough to leak out more than just the box art to hold eager fans over until the upcoming gaming conference.
Following this morning’s official confirmation of the game and its release window, franchise development director Frank O’Connor took to the Halo Waypoint blog to drop a few extra details. Before revealing the first concept art to the masses, O’Connor confirmed everyone’s suspicions that we will be hearing a lot more about Guardians at E3…
“It’s quite likely that Bonnie’s 2015 release announcement today surprised no one in the Halo community. In fact, I suspect most of you who read the Halo Bulletin regularly anticipate there’s even more to come… Well you might be right, but we’ll have significantly more to say about that at E3 and beyond. Suffice it to say, another shoe has yet to drop.”
The director went on to unveil the concept art, which appears to depict desert outpost. He didn’t offer any context or details about the art, except that the team is aiming to use Halo 5 as an opportunity to push both the ecosystem and the universe forward by innovating and amplifying ideas. Buzzwords without context! The new artwork, as gorgeous as it may be, doesn’t bring us any closer to confirming who or what the Guardians are and the role they will play in Halo 5, but that will likely be clarified in the coming weeks.
O’Connor went on to acknowledge that the gaming community was correct to assume that a full-length Halo game requires at least a 3-year development timeline and that 2015 was the logical release window for the next major installment. We can all still hold out hope that a Halo 2 Anniversary arrives sometime in 2014, but the director did not acknowledge that possibility in his post. Instead, he kept his focus on Halo 5: Guardians and the new engine that is being developed to produce the sci-fi shooter.
“But we’re not just making a new game in that three year span, we’re also making a new engine. During the development of Halo 4, we pushed the Xbox 360 and the engine to its limits, and we were happy with the way we were able to make the Halo universe look. The Xbox 360 still has a few tricks up its sleeve, even now. We are moving to a whole new platform with the Xbox One — a new architecture, new graphics hardware and bluntly some new ways to think about gaming, period…
“Bonnie also called out 60fps and dedicated servers last year — attractive, desirable, and possibly expected upgrades to the Halo experience. After all, we won’t be the first 60fps shooter out there. That said, these must-haves are not necessarily easy to achieve.”
Waiting until 2015 may be disappointing for some fans, but it really comes as no surprise and it sounds like the improvements to the game’s architecture will make the wait worth it when a truly next-gen experience is delivered. Games like Titanfall (and soon Destiny) are already delivering what it is being boasted as the first next-gen shooter experience, so it will interesting to see how much 343 ups the ante with the next installment of Halo. If waiting until 2015 still seems unbearable for some gamers, they can always hold out hope that the E3 announcements include confirmation of the Halo 2 Anniversary rumors.
343 Industries General Manager Bonnie Ross did say the following alongside the initial Halo 5 announcing on Xbox Wire.
Many fans noted that I was very deliberate with my phrasing on stage at E3 last year. I spoke about a “journey,” rather than a destination — and that journey definitely begins in 2014 with a giant leap, rather than one small step. We’ll give you much more information about our plans for this year at the Xbox E3 2014 Media Briefing on June 9, and we’re confident that “Halo” fans will be pretty excited about the special plans we have in store.
Does the first concept art spark any theories for you about Halo 5’s setting and plot? Do you think waiting until 2015 is worth it to have the game developed on new engine? Let us know in the comments.
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