So I’m gonna do something kind of unexpected: I’m going to ignore all the Nintendo hype that’s going around right this second and talk about Halo instead. Why? Because I can write about Nintendo whenever, they’re in the news all the time now and there will be no shortage of chances to bring up the latest rumors and news. But when it comes to Halo, a chance doesn’t present itself particularly often. Microsoft and 343 Industries have been extremely tight-lipped about Halo 6, a game that by all accounts should have been officially revealed by now with a Fall 2018 release date... but it hasn’t. The only other Halo related news to crop up in recent months is that Halo: The Master Chief Collection will finally be overhauled into a fully-functioning state to be the product they intended it to be, and it’ll get Xbox One X enhancements beyond what the console does automatically(And for those that are curious, no, the backwards compatible Halo 3 improvements are not what they’re aiming for. I compared the two on my Xbox One X and the enhanced Halo 3 was identical to the one in the MCC which is automatically enhanced by the X1X, and that goes for all the other games as well.). Beyond that however, there has been no other news. That is, until this week.
A community manager over on the Halo Waypoint forums stated the following:
“2018 has arrived and with it, the promise of new fun times to be had and adventures to be embarked upon. No, not those adventures, but plenty of exciting ones regardless – some which might surprise you more than others.”
It isn’t hard to put two and two together and figure out what’s being implied here. Fans are expecting Halo 6, but this basically says that the adventure people are expecting will not be embarked upon in 2018, hinting that it’s a 2019 game. However, this is followed up by the statement that there will be other adventures in 2018, which includes ones that will surprise people. In other words, 343 Industries has more than just Halo 6 in the works. While it’s not specified that any of these are actually games, there isn’t much outside of games that would surprise Halo fans at this point. So while the usual books and other assorted spin-off materials will very much continue this year, 343 has something else up their sleeves that they believe fans won’t expect.
So, as has become tradition for me, I shall now list off what they could potentially be cooking up that would surprise fans:
1) A Late Halo 3 Anniversary
Lets get the obvious first guess out of the way. You know I want this, I know others want this, but I’m also aware that quite a few don’t. And considering Halo 3's 10th anniversary has come and gone, the chances seem slimmer than ever. Even 343 Industries’ Frank O’Connor stated via NeoGAF that it wasn’t in active development due to diminishing returns(Whether this was referring to profits or graphics was not stated, but considering how many people consider Halo 3 to be a good looking game even 10 years later thanks to Bungie’s stellar art direction, one can assume he meant graphics.). However, the introduction of the Xbox One X changes things in that department. The system drastically increases the power gap between the Xbox 360 and the Xbox One, making it possible to create a higher quality version of Halo 3 that would not have been possible on the base Xbox One(Though obviously there would be a lower quality version of a Halo 3 Anniversary for the Xbox One S.). On top of that, Halo 3 Anniversary would make sense as the poster child for 343 Industries Xbox One X enhancements for the Master Chief Collection. While the other games wouldn’t receive quite as significant an upgrade, it might offer more incentive for players to return and give the collection another chance.
Of course, it could also be offered as a standalone product.
2) A New Spin-off Game
The Halo universe is full of opportunities to tell new stories in new ways, and not every game has to star the Master Chief or his Spartan brethren. Halo 3: ODST proved that this was possible and fans have since clamored for another game in a similar vein to ODST. While a sequel featuring the same characters has long since been ruled out by the novel Halo: New Blood and Buck’s subsequent appearance in Halo 5, there are other stories to tell. The player could be dropped into the shoes of your average marine during the Human-Covenant War during a major battle, or they could be trapped on a derelict ship that has seen a Flood outbreak, creating a horror atmosphere. Whatever the case, a chance of pace wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. And considering that its been a while since we got an FPS spin-off game, this would definitely surprise players, probably more so than Halo 3 Anniversary would. The possibilities for spin-offs is endless and I’d be interested to see what they could come up with.
3) A New Halo Film/Series
This is by far my least expected outcome, but it would also be, by far, the most surprising. Currently, we know that 343 Industries, Microsoft, and Steven Spielberg are working on a Halo television series that is basically supposed to be Band of Brothers: Halo Edition. However, according to recent interviews, that project is thus far still just on paper. A readable script, but still on paper only. If it hasn’t even begun shooting yet, let alone casting, it likely won’t be coming out this year. This leaves one of two other things to be the case: Either 343 industries has begun work on yet another live action web series that will later be edited into a full length Halo film(Halo: Forward Unto Dawn, Halo: Nightfall), or they may very well try their hand at yet another animated adaptation. I was a huge fan of 343 Industries venture into the realm of anime which produced the 8-episode Halo Legends collection and I would love to see more. However, I’d rather they not contract out 7 different studios again. While it was interesting to see each studios unique art style applied to the Halo universe, some made less sense than others. Personally I’d go with Studio Bones who animated the episode “Prototype” which is pictured above. While the episode definitely had some scale issues, the artwork and atmosphere was perfectly suited to the world of Halo. Gritty, detailed, it showed the Halo expanded universe from the books as I had always pictured it, unlike other episodes which had very clean looks with far less detail(Not including the CG animation of “The Duel” and “The Package.”).
Of course, there could be other things that I’m not thinking of, but those are the three most likely things to surprise any Halo fan this year. Regardless, I’m looking forward to seeing what they really have in store for this year.