Who is Master Chief? He's an icon, of course. As the lead character in Microsoft's blockbuster Halo franchise, the image of the faceless super-soldier has become synonymous with modern video games, with its competitive online play and near-photorealistic HD graphics. He's a hero, too; over the course of the four main Halo titles, not to mention countless multimedia spin-offs, the Spartan has constantly proved his noble intentions as well as his prowess on the battlefield.
But what if it's all been a lie? That seems to be one of the central questions behind Halo 5: Guardians, the Xbox One title currently in development at 343 Industries. A few days ago, a mysterious website appeared out of nowhere. Asking players to "hunt the truth," the site featured a brief video that showed a bullet engraved with the word "traitor" shattering Master Chief's famous helmet, as well as a countdown clock. Clearly, something was coming - but what?
Now, fans have the answer. As revealed this evening, the new website marks the beginning of Hunt the Truth, a new augmented reality game promoting Halo 5: Guardians. The heart of the game seems to revolve around a Serial-style podcast by Benjamin Giraud, a fictional journalist and war photographer. According to Hunt the Truth's first episode, Giraud was hired to produce a documentary celebrating Master Chief; instead, he found something far more sinister.
The brief teaser doesn't go into many details, but Giraud implies that there's something rotten at the heart of Master Chief's story: as he puts it, "Something big is happening in deep space, and I can't even corroborate a single fact about one man's life." The broadcast is riddled with hints about some kind of conspiracy, and Giraud promises he'll reveal the "truth" about Halo 5's hero. New episodes of Hunt the Truth are scheduled to arrive every week.
This isn't the first time that the Halo franchise has dabbled in the ARG space: leading up to the release of Halo 2, designer Elan Lee (one of the creators of the record-setting Kickstarter project Exploding Kittens) unleashed I Love Bees on an unsuspecting Internet. I Love Bees kicked off with a hidden message in Halo 2's trailer, and told the story of an artificial intelligence that had been stranded on Earth. The game was a wild success, attracting more than three million viewers and winning both Game Developers' Choice and Webby awards.
Halo 5: Guardians releases in fall 2015. It is an Xbox One exclusive.
Source: Hunt the Truth