E3 2014: Halo Returns

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The lights go down and all is darkness. Then the familiar chorus of ages past begins to echo and rise, and on screen we see something we have not for a decade. We see the Master Chief in his old MJOLNIR Mark VI armour, dragging the jagged bomb and launching it and himself out into the vacuum of space.
Yes folks, this is the iconic scene from the beginning of Halo 2.

The video begins to get static and we slowly see the image of another figure watching this hologram of the Chief. He is a tall dark figure, armoured to the brim and the only light exuding from the blue of his helmet visor. He is watching the hologram intensely, as a voice narrates.
I know that voice, I thought to myself. Where have I heard that voice? And then it hit me. Could it be? Could he finally have returned? Yes folks, he has.
The voice tells the armoured figure, identified as Agent Locke, that to find Master Chief, he must do more than simply hunt him and follow in his footsteps, he must understand him, and understand his past. The hologram of the Chief with the bomb reaches its conclusion as the Chief sends the bomb flying into the Covenant ship. BOOM.
Locke walks forward and in his visor’s reflection, we see the speaker of the voice.
The Arbiter.
His final words…”I tell you this, not because I trust you Agent Locke, but because all our lives are at stake. Because the seeds of our future are sown in his past”.

And then I had a complete fangasm.

Halo 5: Guardians‘ sees the Master Chief turn away and leave the UNSC behind and set forth on his own quest of self discovery after the tragic loss of his A.I. counterpart Cortana, however he is being hunted by a new character known as Agent Locke, someone with affiliations with ONI, the dark and mysterious organisation that has been behind the scenes from the beginning of the Halo series.
AND THE ARBITER IS BACK IN HALO!!!!!
Sorry, I’ll sit back down.

This was not all 343 Industries had to show us though, oh no.
They then officially announced ‘Halo: The Master Chief Collection‘ , collecting ‘Halo: Combat Evolved’, ‘Halo 2’, ‘Halo 3′, and Halo 4’, all remastered for the Xbox One, containing every map ever made for each game, and possessing over 4000 gamerscore for Achievement hunters. For the first time ever, the entire main Halo saga will be available on one console. Amazing. Just like the Arbiter said, revisit the past to prepare for the future

. The Master Chief Collection

AND THEN!!! They revealed ‘Halo: Nightfall‘, a new mini-series produced and developed by Ridley Scott himself (‘Alien’, ‘Blade Runner’, ‘Gladiator’ etc.) and directed by Sergio Mimica-Gezzan (‘Battlestar Galactica’, ‘Heroes’). The mini-series will lead into ‘Halo 5: Guardians’ and introduce the backstory of a key character from that game (Agent Locke perhaps??)
This is essentially what they did with ‘Halo: Forward Unto Dawn’, and I LIKE this folks!! (You totally couldn’t tell, be honest)

Nightfall

To finish off, they showed a trailer for the ‘Halo 5: Guardians’ multiplayer beta, which will launch in December and be available to you when you purchase ‘The Master Chief Collection’.

Overall folks… WOW. I admit, I’m a huge Halo fan, I always have been, I liked the first game, and then ‘Halo 2’ made me a believer and I’ve been hooked ever since. The mythology and characters are just so rich.
So the Halo presence at E3 has been phenomenal in my own personal opinion, a new trailer for the next chapter in the series, a remastered collection for next gen, a mini-series by Ridley Scott, and the return of one of my favourite characters, the Arbiter.
All in all, I’m a happy Spartan. And now I REALLY need to get an Xbox One. Like really.

Just to throw it out there though folks… is it possible that this Agent Locke could be, dare I say it, the protagonist of the new game, and Chief could be… the villain?? Sound off with what you think in the comments.

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One comment on “E3 2014: Halo Returns

  1. After three disappointing entries, I didn’t even bother looking into Halo 4, much less have any remote interest in the franchise after hearing Microsoft’s announcement of wanting to hit the 9th title in 2012 [Yes, Microsoft wants a Halo 9.] . My problem with the Halo series is that since Halo 2, the overall designs of the campaign were just mediocre at best with varying degrees of bad in the gameplay department. Story-wise, there’s literally nothing worth writing home about. I only liked two stages in Halo 3; ODST barely held my interest considering it’s a side-story that contributed absolutely nothing to the plot; Wars felt the same as ODST despite the real time strategy skin given; Reach felt insanely long for the wrong reasons and had a lot of plot-dictated stupidity involved with the whole Spartan squad (To clarify: I expected to fight with the entire team of Spartans THE ENTIRE GAME while the numbers dwindled one-by-one during gameplay instead of how the Spartans died the way they did in the game]. I honestly enjoyed the idea of Halo 2’s E3 demo a lot more than the final product, especially with the whole “Humanity’s back is actually against the wall” aspect of the Human vs. Covenant War. What’s sad is I was more connected to the novels written by Eric Nylund than the entire series of games combined, and this is no joke, especially when the extensive universe gave a sense of depth to the story while the game’s story just felt like “generic space marine Arnold Schwarzenegger kicks ass in his 500th action movie.” . There’s something majorly wrong if the franchise’s extended universe is better than the main media themselves. Gears of War falls into the exact same trap if you’re not given a fucking clue on the game’s lore just because you were not aware of the existence of comics or novels for that franchise.

    Noah “SpoonyOne” Antwiler said this best in one of his VLOGs (Recent VLOG regarding Amazing Spider-Man 2 kind of fits it perfectly, especially when his personal confusions arose with the Parker family backstory [i.e. Did they try to combine both the 616 and Ultimate timelines? This is the case where ambiguity is more harmful than helpful]): “A story has to be able to stand on its own two feet. Requiring a secondary source just to UNDERSTAND THE STORY is poor story-telling.” This is where I stand on Halo’s story. Just from Halo 1, I wouldn’t even know squat about the game’s backstory if I didn’t read the instruction manual, and I would have known MUCH MUCH LESS if I didn’t read Fall of Reach. I wouldn’t even connect to Master Chief if I didn’t read of Fall of Reach. I wouldn’t even bother investing into the story if I had not read the novels. Unfortunately, the novels that weren’t written by Nylund, I outright hated or got bored with them because the writing style just didn’t fit well with me with either extraneous fluff I didn’t care about [i.e. Joe Staten’s obsession with scientific jargon for the sake of “world-building.”] or very generic portrayal of characters [i.e. UNSC supporting characters either range from being obedient drones with little personality to good-natured rebels screwed over by “the system.”]. Nylund at least had some source of inspiration for the Master Chief’s story being a parallel of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game. The other novels given by everyone else were just “events that just happened for the sake of them happening” without giving me any reason to connect with the given protagonists of those novels. It’s pretty jarring that I could connect with the Master Chief’s Spartans [i.e. Conscripted child soldiers that are socially deprived] a lot better than Sergeant Johnson. I should not HAVE TO feel this way.

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