As the resident halologist on the team, I am tasked with the dubious honor of breaking down the footage we’ve all seen from E3 on Monday. If you haven’t seen anything, APDestructor1 hit us with some links earlier that can be found here. At first I was excited to see some of the new game mechanics. The new HUD looks like an improvement. Furthermore, the Battle Rifle has returned with it’s deadly three shot bursts. However, accompanying that raised several questions.
First question: In the game play trailer you see Master Chief wandering his way through a jungle on his way to a downed UNSC ship. As stated in the cinematic leading up to it and the ending of Halo 3, the UNSC is at peace with the covenant. Yet the very first enemy he engages is a group of covenant. So what’s happened to the peace? Now I was willing to let it slide at first as the Covenant are made up of various species of aliens. The only species you see directly making peace at the end of Halo 3 are the Men of Sangheili (or elites). So if the jackals, brutes, hunters and grunts were still banding together to fight humans, I can buy that. But the downfall in that exception happens when an Elite attacks the Master Chief in the first party, only to be tasered by an unknown new enemy. Furthermore, there is a shot of the Master Chief in mortal combat with an elite in further footage. A screen shot can be seen here. I understand that 343 wanted to bring forth a new storyline not see before in any of the Halo games, books or movies. But there is a fine line between being creative and pissing on 12 years of build up for the sake of more money. Just think of the fanboys that would perish of George Lucas did something like this to Star Wars.
Second question: Who is exactly this new evil? With a little research on the Xbox website found here, we can find out that the new evil are Prometheans (insert Ridley Scott paycheck here). Information claims they are as formidable as the forerunners. With the information they have on the Master Chief by referring to him as the “Reclaimer”, one must venture to guess that they have connections to the monitors or at least cursory knowledge of the Halo Array. If we link back to our HALO legends knowledge, the only enemy the forerunners could never defeat was the Flood due to the way it survive, eating sentient lifeforms. Furthermore, the Forerunners killed everything in the universe with the Halo Array once already. It cost the Forerunners their lives. So that means the Prometheans rose up after the Flood was first eradicated. Ergo, the Forerunners repopulated a planet with evil beings? it refers to the Prometheans as an ancient evil so did the Forerunners put evil back into the world after destroying one evil? That seems like extremely poor planning (writing) from an all powerful race that was about to kill itself.
Third Question: When during the cyrostasis sleep in the middle of BFE space did the Master Chief get upgrades? I’m fine with the re-emergence of weapons and the introduction of new weapons. However the game play footage leads us to believe that the Master Chief wakes us, jumps on to the new planet with an AI on the verge of rampancy and manages to swing into a armory to get infrared vision added to his now antiquated SPARTAN II armor? We will have to wait and see about how 343 addresses that aspect of the story. Somehow I suspect the writing will be negligent or the equivalent of a How My Summer Went Essay from second graders.
So while it was awesome to see footage, it left me with alot of question. I doubt 343 and Microsoft will address all fo them. I have concerns that this is what happens when a master artist like Bungie leaves it’s prized possession in the hands of a massive company hell bent on profits. And for the record, my summer isn’t that great, it’s starting off with a case of strep throat.
Disclaimer: Photos and videos come from people that have better connections than we do. I did not take them.