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In a post on Xbox Wire titled ‘The Halo Journey’, 343 General Manager Bonnie Ross has made Halo 5 official. For the first time since Combat Evolved, the game will carry a subtitle; Halo 5: Guardians is expected to be released in Autumn 2015 for Xbox One.

Calling the project “massive and exciting”, Ross outlined some of the core tenets that will shape Xbox One’s first Halo outing. “In the past, Halo games have pushed the Xbox forward, showcasing the console and its ecosystem in entertaining and innovative ways,” she said. “Making a Halo game that runs at 60 frames per second, on dedicated servers, with the scope, features and scale we’ve been dreaming of for more than a decade, is non-trivial. It’s a task that we, at 343 Industries, are taking very seriously to ensure we deliver the Halo game that fans deserve, and a game that is built from the ground up for Xbox One.”

Halo 5: Guardians is a bigger effort than Halo 4,” she continued, before announcing that the game will run on an all-new, more powerful engine. “Certainly there are some core elements carried over from prior games, but we’ve invested a huge effort in retooling our tech to take full advantage of the Xbox One’s hardware and ecosystem to create worlds and experiences worthy of next-gen.

“It’s a game that will hopefully demonstrate the talent, learnings and abilities of the 343 Industries team. A game that will incorporate the things we learned from Halo 4 about technology, aesthetics, performance and scale – and perhaps more importantly, understanding and embracing a community of gamers who love what lies at the heart of this game, and the limitless potential of the Halo universe.”

Accompanying the post was a piece of artwork depicting series’ protagonist the Master Chief, along with a mystery character. Both of them seem to be set against a backdrop of the dusty, sandy planet the Chief was seen traversing in last year’s E3 reveal trailer. But who is this other character? Their armour seems to mark them out as a Spartan, so the immediate conclusion to jump to would be Sarah Palmer, who played a supporting role in 2012’s Halo 4 (and was thus a character introduced to the franchise by 343), but looking closely, one can pick out an ONI symbol on the armour’s chest piece. If it is Palmer, she’s been moved from Spartan branch to intelligence. Of course, it could also be someone else; it’s a long shot, but perhaps it’s Serin Osman, a Spartan II candidate that didn’t make it through the augmentation process and later went to work in ONI. Though, given that she did not undergo the bone strengthening enhancements necessary to wear MJOLNIR armour, this seems unlikely.

Either way, I can’t wait to find out. I’ve said before that I’m a massive Halo fan and I look forward to seeing what 343 can achieve with the Xbox One hardware, especially considering what they managed to squeeze out of the then-seven-year-old 360 with Halo 4. That game seemed to be 343 saying, “See! We can make a Halo game!”, and while I thought it was an excellent addition to the franchise, I’d like to see what they could come up with having now taken full ownership of the series.

Interestingly, Ross also took time to reiterate that we’ll be seeing something Halo-related this year, calling back to a previous announcement that insisted our Halo ‘journey’ would begin in 2014. There have long been rumours that this year will see a Halo 2: Anniversary release (the game is ten years old this year, after all), and announcing Halo 5: Guardians for 2015 almost seems to confirm this. Ross assured readers that we’ll find out more at next month’s E3 conference, adding the tantalising promise that our “journey definitely begins in 2014 with a giant leap, rather than one small step.”

Perhaps then, it’s something more than an HD remake for Halo 2? Maybe the rumours of a HaloWar Collection‘, comprising Xbox One versions of Halos 2, 3 and 4 is a reality after all? One thing’s for sure; it’s not the forthcoming TV series being made in collaboration with Steven Spielberg, as Ross clarifies: “We’ll have more to share on the Halo television series as we near its projected fall 2015 release.”

Meanwhile, over on Halo Waypoint, Franchise Development Director Frank “Frankie” O’Connor also chimed in, adding that 343 “have significantly more to say about that at E3 and beyond. Suffice it to say, another shoe has yet to drop.” He also shared a new piece of concept art, which you can see below.


Whatever form the beginning of our Xbox One Halo journey takes, I for one am very excited to see it.

Bungie have posted a piece of concept art from their in-development multi-platform ‘new universe’, currently known as Destiny, on their website

The post came as a response to a story posted on IGN last night that gave early plot details and more concept art, said to have been passed to them by a reader, which Bungie then confirmed to be material from an advertising agency document.

The game is described as “fun and accessible to all,” and that the development aim is “to create a universe as deep, tangible and relatable as that of the Star Wars franchise.” Coupled with a quote from Bungie co-founder Jason Jones that reads, “Destiny is designed for your inner seven year old. We want to make it feel like a mythic adventure.”, it now seems as if Bungie are crafting something for all ages in Destiny.

The document also calls the game “social at its core,” and says it will offer “a world to explore with friends, both old and new.” These comments seem to back-up assumptions many have made that the new series will be an MMOG in some way (assumptions not helped by anonymous claims that Destiny would be World of Warcraft in space – comments later refuted by Bungie’s David Aldridge).

IGN’s materials also detail the basic premise of the plot: “Our story begins seven hundred years from now in the Last City on Earth, in a Solar System littered with the ruins of man’s Golden Age. A massive, mysterious alien ship hangs overhead like a second Moon. No one knows where it came from or what it’s here for, but only that it’s our protector. Meanwhile, strange, alien monsters creep in from the edge of the universe, determined to take Earth and the Last City. We are young ‘knights’ tasked with defending the remains of humanity, discovering the source of these monsters and – eventually – overcoming it.”

The Traveler – image courtesy of IGN.

Elsewhere, the document names the satellite-like ship ‘The Traveler’, and I must say the image above reminds me somewhat of the Didact’s cryptum in Halo 4. Another of IGN’s procured images shows a PS3 logo, which seems odd, given the details that emerged from the West/Zampella vs Activision case. The released documents revealed that the first title would be exclusive to the Xbox 360 and its next-gen successor, while a later port to the PS3 was at the time only under consideration – perhaps this serves as confirmation that the first game will indeed come to Sony’s current machine.

I am very interested to see what comes of this, and perhaps we’ll be hearing more about it come E3 next summer -perhaps it’ll even be part of a next-gen reveal? I’m still not sure how I’ll feel if Destiny does indeed turn out to be an MMO, but I’m hopeful that Bungie will create a new universe that can keep me enthralled for a decade – just like they did with Halo back in 2001.

Head over to IGN to see the images handed to them: