343 Industries will use Halo 4 to continue revealing Master Chief’s life story, but won’t send him through a dramatic emotional upheaval to drive the plot.
“We called it a new trilogy, but that’s really just a chronological description. It’s a direct continuation and evolution of the Master Chief’s story,” director Frank O’Connor told 1UP in an interview.
“We’re going to be pretty front and center about that. This is about the Master Chief and we’re going to make him a deeper and richer character than he’s been, but just in the way that I’m sure Bungie would have naturally done anyway.”
O’Connor said Master Chief won’t suddenly become talkative or go through a personality change. “You’re just going to learn more about him, and that’s the best way to explore anybody’s character,” he said.
“The Chief has had a strange, difficult, and brutal life. And I think people want to know a little bit more about that – that’s one of the attractions of the books and it’s something that we’re able to put into the games very easily, and something we’ve always wanted to do.”
The director said that 343 aren’t going to produce a clone of Bungie’s games, but is aware that making changes to the winning formula will concern already suspicious fans.
“We had a lot of people saying, ‘Why does the Chief’s armour look different?'” he said. “Well, the Chief’s armour has looked different every single game. It’s a natural evolution of trying to make your graphics better and having different artist approach it.
“But in the case of the trailer in particular, there’s some fairly radical modifications to his armour. Some of those are definitely an artistic evolution, but some of it is connected to the story. We just can’t talk about it yet. He’s been in space for a long time.”
O’Connor dropped a few teasing hints about Master Chief’s AI companion, Cortana, noting that according to Halo’s canon, artificial intelligence systems have a limited lifespan of around seven years.
“Cortana was getting close to the end of her natural lifespan at the end of Halo 3. The reality is that Cortana has been exposed to far more information and far more technology than any other A.I. in existence,” he said.
“So she’s going to develop some weapons and some muscle from that process, but it also directly contributes to her rampancy [AI overload] – that much information and that much thought, that makes things worse.”
Halo 4 is expected in the holiday period of 2012, exclusively on Xbox 360.
Hit the link above for the full feature; there’s plenty of good reading on how 343 is tackling Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition, too.