With digital versions of the July 2015 edition of Gameinformer now out in the wild, it’s time to summarise what is new in Halo 5: Guardians. In case you missed the initial reveal and information dump, be sure to check out our previous article here.
Halo 5: Guardians follows on from the on-going storyline from Hunt the Truth, the Halo 5 viral marketing campaign which stars Benjamin Giraud and his look into the events of the Master Chief. Giraud was looking into the past of the Master Chief when a lot of stories simply didn’t match up and the deeper he looked, the worse it got. Eventually, ONI caught onto Giraud’s antics and cut him off.
As the story moves on, we learn that the Master Chief showed up at an alien peace talk, shot up the place and as a result, 19 people were killed. He abducted the human ambassador and escorted the alien delegation to safety. Shortly after this, the human ambassador was found… dead. Master Chief, who is currently on the run with his old squad known as Blue Team, is currently on the run and has been designated as AWOL by the Office of Naval Intelligence. Spartan Locke, a Spartan-IV who works for the Office of Naval Intelligence or ONI, has been tasked with hunting down the Master Chief and Blue Team to bring them in for questioning. Spartan Locke will be accompanied by Fireteam Osiris who consists of Buck, Tanaka and Vale.
However, at the start of the game, none of these events have happened.
Halo 5: Guardians Story Outline:
Halo 5: Guardians takes place eight months after the events of Halo 4 and unknown anomalies are occurring throughout the galaxy with human outer colonies going dark without any explanation. While 343 Industries were quiet on the details, they confirmed that the huge Guardian seen in the Halo Xbox One reveal trailer back in 2013 is the reason behind these on-going anomalies.
Tim Longo, Creative Director for Halo 5: Guardians said that the events of Halo 5: Guardians is going to change the Halo canon in a huge way and that the “galaxy will never be the same again.”
Campaign Mission 2 – “Blue Team”:
During their gameplay session, Gameinformer were shown the second mission of the Halo 5: Guardians Campaign which is titled “Blue Team”. At this time, the Master Chief and Blue Team are still under command of the United Nations Space Command and have been tasked with investigating and securing an abandoned ONI research location which is packed with intel that has been missing for over two years.
The cinematic begins with a view of the station floating in deep space and both Chief and Blue Team use their new Spartan Abilities (previously seen in the Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer beta) to navigate from their ship to the research station. The camera cuts to inside the station and shows that the Covenant are already inside of the station, presumably looking for the same intelligence that Blue Team and Chief are. The Covenant attempt to draw their weapons on the fast-approaching Spartans but their effort is futile and they smash through the glass, sending the Covenant out into deep space and suffocating them.
Once the airlock closes, the gameplay begins with Blue Team searching the facility which dormant after Blue Teams initial breach. Throughout the level, players hear that the Covenant are once again speaking English, rather than the alien language they spoke in Halo 4. This is because Jul M’dama, Hand of the Didact is losing his grip on the Covenant that we saw in Halo 4. One of his rules was to not speak the language of the enemy and as his leadership becomes weaker, the Covenant are less inclined to listen.
As Blue Team and Chief proceed through the research station, they encounter different types of Covenant enemies such as Grunts, Jackals and Elites. When they come under fire from Jackals, the player can order Blue Team to shoot at them with the new AI commands being added into Halo 5: Guardians. An example of this is by aiming at an enemy and hitting up on the D-PAD. Other types of commands include picking certain weapons up, using turrets and even commandeering a Warthog. If one of your team mates goes down, you can order Blue Team to revive them.
This works both ways as well. If you happen to die while playing through the Campaign, Blue Team are able to revive you. Later in the level, the Master Chief is walking along a bridge when it suddenly cracks and starts falling beneath him into a dark pit. When he awakes, he tries radioing to the rest of Blue Team but to no avail. He gets up and begins exploring the area when he hears a familiar voice calling out his name…
It’s Cortana. Before you get too excited, she is still dead. Similar to Halo 3, Cortana will be popping up throughout various points in the Campaign to progress the story. In this mission specifically, she says “The domain is open, Meridian is next. You only have three days. John, the Reclamation is about to begin.”
Co-operative Experiences in Halo 5: Guardians:
Halo has always been known for it’s co-operative campaign experiences but up until now, it has always been kind of just slapped on and allowed for you to play with friends. This time around, co-operative is going to play a huge role in the campaign. It is no coincidence that both Blue Team and Fireteam Osiris feature four players total. When you begin playing co-op, you will take control of these previously AI team mates.
Each character has their own unique heads-up-display and loadout too, an example being Linda who will always spawn with a Sniper Rifle. To recap a few more things covered in the co-operative section:
- Difficulty will now scale with more human players in the game in co-op
- Alternate paths will be offered to complete certain tasks
- Split-screen will not be available for co-op Campaign
- Xbox LIVE Gold will NOT be required for Halo 5: Guardians’ co-op campaign.
Halo 5: Guardians & the future of Halo Multiplayer:
One of 343 Industries biggest goals with the multiplayer was to remove any doubt of split communities. Halo 5: Guardians will ship with over 20 multiplayer maps and plans to release an additional 15 by June of 2016.
All of these maps will be absolutely free, meaning there will be no more paid map DLC in Halo 5: Guardians. This is an attempt to unify players who just want to play new maps without any doubt of slow matchmaking or the maps simply not showing up because nobody purchased them.
Since the beta, 343 Industries has been hard at work fine tuning and reworking the maps that we played including Empire. Various pieces of geometry have been moved around to make the map flow a lot better than previously seen in the beta. Red/Blue colouring was also added to the map so players could easily tell what side of the map they are on.
343 Industries also revealed a brand new map to Gameinformer called “Fathom” – a new underwater base map. This map is entirely symmetrical and features heavy red/blue colouring to allow players to understand what side of the map they are on to allow for easier callouts. When looking at the outside of the map, you can see giant fish swimming around.
On Fathom, there is a submarine which is docked and a Shotgun currently spawns on top of it. If you are pushed or fall off the top of the submarine and fall into the water surrounding it, you will die. This is to add a risk/reward factor and requires more communication with your team mates to ensure you don’t knock each other off the edge and risk losing the weapon. The maps in Halo 5: Guardians have been designed extensively around the new Spartan Abilities such as Slide, Ground Pound and more. An example is some doorways on Fathom are cut off and will require players to slide under them to make it through.
An image in the magazine also seemed to confirm that in Capture the Flag in Halo 5: Guardians, players would once again be forced to hold a Magnum (also dubbed as the Flagnum) similar to Halo 4. It isn’t known if this is going to be a custom game option or if anything else from Capture the Flag in Halo 4 will also carry over.
A Bigger Multiplayer Experience
To close off the coverage, Kevin Franklin talked briefly about their bigger multiplayer experience that they [343 Industries] had yet to talk about. This brand new multiplayer experience is currently set to debut next week at E3 2015. While Franklin couldn’t talk much about the mode, he said that it incorporates “all aspects of the Halo sandbox” and has been in development for over three years.
So that’s about it. Throughout the month, Gameinformer is going to continue having exclusive coverage of Halo 5: Guardians that wasn’t revealed in the magazine. This coverage includes video interviews, written features for Halo 5: Guardians, a special edition podcast and much more. As always, be sure to check out Beyond Entertainment daily for the latest and greatest news about both Halo 5: Guardians and the Halo franchise as a whole.
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