After the middling reception to Halo 4 and the disastrous release of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, there's a lot riding on Halo 5: Guardians — both in terms of the future of the franchise, and of its developer 343 Industries. As a result, you can expect to see a huge marketing push for the sequel when it releases later in the year, and we may have just had our first glimpse of said push.
While the first two Halo games were huge successes in their own right, it was only with Halo 3 that the franchise truly became what it is today. Microsoft spent more than $40 million to ensure that the game had a huge launch, with live-action videos from director Neil Blomkamp and the memorable 'Believe' diorama commercial being particular highlights of the advertising campaign.
In the years that followed, similarly grand marketing efforts were put together for titles like Halo: Reach and the ODST spin-off to Halo 3. The live-action adverts and other video content had become part of the tradition for any new release in the Halo series, and contributed greatly to its status as a bona fide pop culture monolith.
Halo 4 attempted to go one further with the web series Forward Unto Dawn, but results were mixed. While fans had clamored for some kind of adaptation of the series for some time, the franchise didn't offer the same kind of mainstream exposure that well-made commercials had contributed to previous entries in the series. With Halo: Nightfall being slated last year, it seems that the Halo 5 campaign will go back to basics.
The image posted to Reddit earlier today — the legitimacy of which remains unconfirmed — appears to depict Nightfall protagonist Jameson Locke discovering a prone Master Chief at the base of a large memorial. Speculation as to where this scene is playing out has already begun, with the planet of Reach and the memorial shown at the end of Halo 3 being two leading theories.
For one of the biggest releases of 2015, we don't know all too much about what to expect from Halo 5 — so you can be sure franchise devotees will be picking apart this image for any scraps of information about the hotly anticipated title. However, as of the time of writing there has been no confirmation of this image's legitimacy, so it's perhaps best to retain a bit of scepticism for the time being.
Halo 5: Guardians is set to release in the fall of 2015 on Xbox One.