Halo 5: Guardians is coming in 2015, and although VG247’s Dave Cook doesn’t consider himself a fan of the series, he’s growing keen on the Xbox One shooter.
I’m not what you’d call a Halo fan or a person who’s been that bothered by the series, but that’s been changing over the last few years. I was a Sony fanboy in my youth – a despicable act I know – so I missed the whole Halo: Combat Evolved craze on the original Xbox.
While fans of Microsoft’s console were loving every minute of the first two Halo games, I was buried deep in the likes of Final Fantasy 12 and other PS2-exclusives. As the years went on I started to come around to Master Chief and his pew-pew ways.
Now I think about it, I’ve actually spent countless hours having a blast in Firefight mode with friends, we put a lot of time into ODST and Reach co-op, and I actually really liked the Halo 4 campaign. So while I’m not a super-fan I have to admit I’ve had a lot of fun with the series so far.
The reveal of Halo 5: Guardians has me really intrigued to a whole new level – a level I’m not entirely familiar with.
Halo 5 could be open world
At least, that’s what the rumour mill is suggesting. After playing Bungie’s shooter Destiny on PS4, I started to see the appeal in Halo going down a similar path. Don’t forget that many locations in Master Chief’s earlier adventures felt almost open world by design. Consider those long, vast locales that you travelled across in your Warthog, or the wide battlegrounds filled with Covenant vehicles and troops.
The template is already there for 343 Industries to craft some truly explosive and inviting play-spaces that invite the player to explore, think tactically about their approach, and wage miniature wars against hordes of alien attackers. I can’t hide the fact that Destiny has its hooks in me, so I don’t see why a Halo game made in the same fashion can’t be just as enjoyable. Bring it on, 343.
Halo 5 already looks dark
I’ll be frank here; I understand why many of you like Halo. As an objective writer I can clearly see and appreciate that it’s a solid series with many wonderful things going for it. However, it felt too sugary for my liking, with alien designs I couldn’t take seriously, a pompous nature in places and a control mechanic that felt too floaty and odd in my hands. That was how I felt at the start, but this is now.
Halo 3’s story irked me. I had no idea what was going on by the end, but I was certainly more invested in ODST, Reach and Halo 4. In fact, I really enjoyed the darker tone of Halo 4 best, along with the interesting Forerunner world established by 343 Industries. There was a sense of menace running throughout the whole thing, and both the new enemies and their powerful arsenal felt right.
If Halo 5: Guardians can bring a more mature and darker tone to the table – and from the looks of Microsoft’s reveal trailer, it will – then I feel like I’ll really enjoy ploughing through the campaign. I guess this fondness of darker tropes comes from my love of horror games and – he said while coughing nervously – Call of Duty. Sorry.
Halo 5 already presents us with a vital mystery
That, right there, is a new Spartan called Locke. He’s shrouded in total mystery right now, other than 343’s confirmation that he’ll appear in Ridley Scott’s Halo: Nightfall digital series. The lone piece of Halo 5 key art that exists poses several questions.
Who is Locke? Has he been sent to bring Master Chief in? Why is he taking priority above the Halo 5 logo? Why is Master Chief upside down beneath the text? Will Master Chief die in this game, leaving Locke as the series’ successor? Has Chief gone rogue? Why has he taken a journey to find himself? Where has he gone? What will he find there?
I like being teased with plots, and I enjoy using my own imagination to theorise like this. We also know that Locke’s loyalty to the UNSC will be tested, as he starts to question the motives of his commanding officers. This leads me to believe he’ll start off as a villain in pursuit of the Master Chief before siding with the jolly green giant in battle.
It’s the first new-gen Halo
That’s certainly something to be excited about, even if you’re not a fan. Does a little part of you not at least want to see what 343 Industries can do with the franchise given all the time, resources and additional hardware grunt going into the project? Maybe it’ll be a transformative leap that forces us to re-appraise what the series means to us? Who knows, you may even become a true series fan after playing it.
All I’m saying is, it pays to have an open mind at times, and my mind is certainly ready to accept that Halo 5: Guardians could be an outstanding piece of gaming. It doesn’t matter what team it is, I always like to see what established studios can do with extra horsepower and the space to let their creativity run riot. That’s exactly what I feel we’ll see with this game; a studio unfettered and willing to re-write the playbook.
Halo 5: Guardians launches on Xbox One in 2015.