Halo's new guardians 343 Industries hope they can tell stories which don't necessarily centre on franchise poster boy Master Chief.
Speaking to Polygon, 343's Kiki Wolfkill said it was "important" for Matser Chief to return in halo 4 after being absent from ODST and Reach, but that he's not necessarily going to appear in every game from now on.
"He's always going to be a pretty critical component of Halo and the game experiences. I would hope that we could also build strength and investment in other characters, for no other reason than that's part of what makes the universe interesting," she said.
"Master Chief's not going away, but we need to be able to give people more connection points."
343 Industries is proud of Halo 4 and feels it was an important "first step" in proving to fans that it's worthy of looking after the property, but it wants to innovate and tell its own stories.
"How we look at it is 'Where do we want to be in ten years? What are the stories we want to tell?'" Wolfkill said.
"We have started to flesh out broad strokes of a few different arcs that are interesting. There could be opportunities where exploring a different game genre makes sense or exploring a different linear format makes sense. If the medium fits what we want to do, then we'll definitely consider it. If there's a great idea we get energized around [it]."