While the controversy and speculation may continue over just what role Master Chief will play in the upcoming Halo 5: Guardians, it's clear that everyone claiming to be a Halo fan should prepare to get very familiar with the story of Jameson Locke. That begins with the digital Halo:Nightfall series, introducing fans to Locke's character, and sending him and his team on a deadly mission that will help link the stories of Halo 4, Halo 5, and the still in-development Halo TV series.
The latest extended trailer sheds some more light on Locke's character, played by actor Mike Colter (The Good Wife, The Following). As a human who has lost his own family to the Covenant threat, Locke works his way up the ranks of ONI - the Office of Navsl Intelligence - the Halo universe's most experienced and versatile black ops organization. Colter has claimed that he will eventually be hunting down Master Chief himself in Halo 5, but Nightfall looks to begin even before that, familiarizing viewers with the man as he was, not as they will come to know him (as a playable character).
Taking place between the events of Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians, Halo: Nightfall follows the origin story of legendary manhunter Jameson Locke (Mike Colter) and his team as they are caught in a horrific terrorist attack while investigating terrorist activity on the distant colony world of Sedra. Led by Locke, the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) agents are forced to coordinate with a Sedran commander with a remarkable history and deep-rooted mistrust of ONI. As the plot unravels, they’re drawn to an ancient, hellish artifact where they’re forced to fight for their survival, question everything, and ultimately choose between their loyalties and their lives.
Those overseeing the latest foray of 343 Industries and Microsoft into the world of a live-action Halo feature - following their previous work on Halo: Forward Unto Dawn - make a point of mentioning Locke's rise from an ONI officer to a more "evolved" soldier. It was Colter himself who confirmed that his character would be joining the Spartan-IV program, turning UNSC's best and brightest men and women into augmented super-soldiers, with the help of their very own cutting-edge Mjolnir armor.
Live-action or tie-in fiction tends to be targeted only at the most devoted audience of AAA games franchises, but Guardians and Nightfall may be an exception. After all, Locke is on the game's cover; and with even more connections between the story of Halo 4 and 5 being established in Halo 2: Anniversary, 343 is taking some risky (but curious) steps in expanding their series fiction.
Will you be tuning in to see how Locke's story will add to that of the Halo franchise, or are you more interested in the parts of his story actually included in Halo 5?
Halo 5: Guardians is expected to release for the Xbox One in 2015.
Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.