Yesterday, Halo 5: Guardians was revealed as the Gameinformer cover game for the month of July, and along with it came a torrent of news about the highly anticipated title. First off, as was assumed, the game will have four player coop for the campaign. For the missions featuring Master Chief, you will work with his Blue Team of Spartans, and in missions featuring Locke you will work with Fireteam Osiris, which sees the return of Halo 3 ODST’s Buck, voiced by Firefly’s Nathan Fillion. Each Spartan will have different abilities, HUDs, and loadouts based on which character you’re playing as. Linda, a Spartan II and member of Blue team, will be equipped with a sniper for example. When you are not playing in co-op you will be able to give your squadmates commands. It should be noted that the Creative Director of Halo 5, Timothy Longo, also directed Star Wars: Republic Commando which featured excellent squad commands.
For those following 343’s Hunt the Truth audio series on Soundcloud, the basis of Halo 5’s story will be familiar. Master Chief has gone AWOL after allegedly assassinating 19 people at a Sangheili peace summit , including a long time human peace advocate. I won’t spoil Hunt the Truth for you, as you should listen to it because it’s fantastic, but the official story isn’t always the truth. ONI, Office of Naval Intelligence, dispatches Spartan Jameson Locke, of Halo:Nightfall fame, and his Fireteam Osiris to capture the chief and renegade squad of Spartans. The Gameinformer article featured a lengthy description of the game’s second mission, which feature Chief and his Blue Team venturing through an abandoned ONI research location, which is full of vital intel that has been missing for over two years. I won’t spoil the mission for you, but it sounds exciting and potentially game changing for the Halo universe.
Halo 5 will not feature split screen coop for the campaign. 343 has said their reasoning for this is to ensure a constant 60fps and they couldn’t manage it in splitscreen. This comes as a major disappointment to fans of the series like myself who have long time love for playing the campaigns split-screen. Their was also a report yesterday that stated that Xbox Live Gold would not be required for campaign coop, but that report has been said to be false according to 343’s Joshua Holmes. “I misspoke during the interview when stating that online co-op campaign would be supported with an Xbox Live Silver account,” Holmes said. “Co-op campaign will require Xbox Live Gold to play. I want to extend my sincere apologies to our fans, and to Game Informer, for this error and any confusion it has caused.”
On to the multiplayer side, 343 dropped a bombshell by revealing that all Halo 5 multiplayer map DLC would be free. Following the trend of games like Killzone: Shadowfall, this will allow for more unity between the playlists, and not force those who want to play the new maps to go off into a separate playlist to do so consistently. 343 also revealed that the map “Empire”, along with all the others, have been tweaked since the December through January Beta. Empire’s changes can be seen here.
The team also revealed a new map called Fathom, which is set in an underwater military base, with heavy red and blue color-schemes to allow for easy call-outs. It is another symmetrical map, accentuating 343’s continued push for a more competitive focus to Halo 5’s arena multiplayer. Though nothing has been revealed for Big Team for Halo 5, multiplayer lead Kevin Franklin did tease that 343 will reveal an all new multiplayer mode at E3 next week. It will feature “all aspects of the Halo sandbox” and has been in development for over three years. A screenshot also showed that the ability to wield a pistol and carry the flag will return for Halo 5. This mechanic was near universally hated by the competitive community, as it removed a large aspect of team work from the objective based game modes. It was previously reported that flag running, the ability to toss a flag forward to run it quicker, would be returning for Halo 5, though how it will work with the flagnum is anyone’s guess. Hopefully 343 explains it next week at E3.
Lastly, after the disaster that was, and still is, the launch of the Master Chief Collection, 343 has announced that all future Halo titles will have betas. 343 Studio head Bonnie Ross said “Going forward, you will never see a Halo game coming out without a beta. It (The Master Chief Collection’s launch) was obviously painful for our fans and for us. But it won’t happen again.” This is big news for the series, which was famous for it’s betas during the 360 era, but abandoned them when 343 took over the franchise with the launch of Halo 4, although the beta for Guardians was a great sign.
With all this news now, and more expected at E3, it looks like this will be a massive month for Halo. Personally, I’m expecting a single-player demo at Microsoft’s E3 press conference, and a reveal of the new multiplayer mode that Kevin Franklin teased. What of this news got you most excited? Let me know in the comments below, and I’ll be doing my best to bring you tons of news from E3 next week.
by, Bobby Marquardt