GameSpot UK is reporting that 343 Industries’ post-Bungie Halo trilogy – or Reclaimer story – is no longer confined to just Halo 4, 5 and 6, but tons of games beyond that. This explains a lot regarding why their tease during the Microsoft conference was number- and subtitle-less. But what does it really mean? Let’s dig in a little deeper.
Halo 4 Can Be The Bridge Story It Always Wanted To Be
In my Halo 4 review, like many others out there, I complained about the game’s story. It began and ended in a kind of self-encapsulated experience without much explanation about who the Didact was or why you were fighting him. It felt like you were being introduced to a story-in-progress that had started with the Forerunner books and ended with you not reading the Forerunner books and wondering what the hell was going on. Science-fiction has this terrible habit of going for the unjustified bigger threat with the larger laser in each new iteration to raise the dramatic stakes and Halo 4 was no different. (Yeah, I realize that Bungie set up the Forerunners to do this, but hear me out.) As that game ended, I was left wondering where they could possibly take the story as they’d sewn up everything a bit too much, leaving Halo 4 to feel like it was a bridge story to another trilogy, rather than the first act of something larger. With all these new stories that Microsoft is letting 343 build out the universe proper.
More ODSTs and Reaches
I felt like Reach was a bit of an odd parrot and I didn’t get to play ODST, but I enjoy the idea of playing in side stories to this larger universe. This new game that 343 and Microsoft presented may be one of those side stories. Halo feels so much smaller if every iteration has to involve Master Chief at every step (it doesn’t, but you know what I mean), in much the same way that including gratuitous references to the sequel trilogy put an odd binding on the Star Wars prequel trilogy – no doubt one of the least of its issues. Still, as someone who wanted Halo 4 to be far more than you in a Warthog versus the Covenant again, I hope this allows them to create new, weird things that wouldn’t normally exist.
Way Too Much Halo
Let’s face it, even as each new iteration has broken bigger and bigger records as they debut, there’s already too much Halo out there. It’s a series that I lost my passion for nearly a decade ago and so buying their games – which seems anti-thetical, I realize – feels like a by-the-numbers affair. Microsoft leans on Halo too much and I’m afraid that Disney may be doing the same thing with a new Star Wars film every year from 2015 on. The series feels clouded by the me-too space marine grabs that have sprung up in all the years since and it no longer has that same special feeling that it does. What I want Halo to be is something it can’t be, but that’s only because it’s what it should have been the whole time: introducing crazy new experiences instead of tipping the hat to commerce.