343 Industries' panel at Comic-Con, which featured the firm's Frank O'Connor, Kevin Grace, Dan Ayouh and writers Karen Traviss and Greg Bear, discussed the Halo series and the upcoming books book Bear and Traviss are writing, and Halo 4.
Halo CE Anniversary
During the panel, attended by Gamespot, the team discussed Halo: CE Anniversary, which 343 said will include an extra story called Guilty Spark, which is about the AI that resides on the Halo.
Similar to the terminals in ODST, the ones in Halo Anniversary won't have any effect on gameplay but some of the new story elements will be told by Guilty Spark while other story bits will be told by other characters in the game.
O'Connor said the fiction in the books will be canon, and will help enhance the experience of both readers and gamers, although the later need not read the books in order to understand the story between games.
Traviss' new book, which is due in October and called Halo: Grasslands, is the first in a series which will fill in the blanks between Halo 3 and Halo 4. While she is working with a set beginning and end to each that she must adhere to, she said she will be adding elements in the novels that aren't touched upon much like the Office of Naval Intelligence.
Bear, meanwhile, is heading into the past with his Halo novels, the first of which is Halo: Cryptum. Each will go deeper into the story of the Precursors and Forerunners, with tit being revealed exactly what the former was doing with their Halo program. Hubris is also a central part of the series.
Traviss' book is about 99 percent finished, and Bear's is around 85 percent to 90 percent finished.
According to O'Connor, 343 was relieved to have finally announced Halo 4, considering the teams has been working on it in "relative secrecy for a couple of years." He told Gamespot that it was hard for a team of 150 people to not tell people what they've been working on for two years.
"[Halo 4] is the beginning of a new trilogy," said O'Connor. "It's absolutely the continuation of the Master Chiefs story, and we're going to put our own spin on it. But we're also going to respect what makes Halo awesome already, and working within those goalposts to make sure we make a really compelling experience."
As far as pleasing Halo fans with the new entry is concerned, O'Connor admits it can't "be all things to all Halo fans," but since it is a big sandbox you can "get close to that."
"What we're doing is making sure this is recognizably a Halo game in the Halo universe [while] adding things to it, changing things, and even simplifying some things," he said. 'We know we're going to be under a different spotlight and microscope because we're a new developer as far as the fans are concerned, and that's a lot of pressure. But the simplest thing to do is just be confident in the work you are doing and confident in the strengths and talents of the people that work with you and know that they are going to execute on something amazing."
You can watch the full interview with O'Connor below.