Halo 5: The Future of the Halo Franchise

So these are the two basic elements that illustrate how a Halo game works: a new alien construct/superweapon is introduced (Halo, Delta Halo, the Ark, Requiem) and a new alien species/a new viewpoint on a known alien species is introduced (The Flood, The Arbiter, Gravemind, the Prometheans).

There WAS one thing that Halo 3 introduced, but didn’t execute as well as it should have: Cortana’s rampancy. If you look back at the old “Finish the Fight” trailers, you’ll see how the game was pretty much built around the fact that your AI companion was going nuts and might serve as some sort of a villain. You’d be driven to make a decision: save her or destroy her.

Of course, none of that happened. Instead, we get a remix of the famous drive-the-Warthog-off-this-thing-before-it-blows-up scene, and Cortana and Master Chief sail off into space on whatever is left of their ship. Very Titanic, sorta.

343 took the “rules” of the series (it’s really great that video game storytelling has reached a point where one should consider narrative rules [no one EVER say Halo isn’t a sophisticated work of art]) and bent them to their will.

Back was also the fleeting relationship between Master Chief and Cortana, who is at the peak of her rampancy. These expert developers made sure her end was not with a whimper, but with a bang. And they fooled millions by doing the old-switcheroo that didn’t quite work for Bungie in Halo 2, but worked fantastically in Halo 4: they took the focus off of Master Chief and zoomed in on another character.

The best way to examine what might happen in Halo 5 is to first understand that the fourth installment is Cortana’s story. You, the player, are a secondary character, the vessel that holds in its hand/head the center of the story. Cortana has been your guide throughout this series, and now more than ever, she guides you through the rings of Hell inside her head like a cyberspace Virgil.

Few characters complement each other as well as Cortana and Chief. The AI’s painful cries are really the soldier’s. Chief is wasting away in the same way as Cortana. But Chief’s emotionlessness really belong to a machine. These characters really represent each other. And that’s the mirror. The whole point of Halo 4.

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