Halo 5: Guardians is a big deal. That is of no surprise to anyone. We’ve had a multiplayer beta, ahead of the October 27th release date, that whet the appetite of many a shooter fan but what of the game itself? Thanks to Game Informer per their July issue a whole slew of images and information have come to light about 343 Industries’ latest entry into the Microsoft flagship franchise.
Right off the bat the cover alone reveals a big detail about the game. It looks like Master Chief won’t be flying solo this time but, instead, be accompanied by Blue Team. If you’re one of those Halo fanatics who even went so far as to dive into the expanded universe fiction then you’ll know that Blue Team was a group of potential soldiers all selected, along with John-117 (also known Master Chief) to be turned into SPARTAN-II soldiers. Their adventures are well-chronicled in the numerous Halo books yet they’re only appearing in the video game universe for the first time in Halo 5: Guardians. Cortana’s presence will be supplanted by the group of Kelly, Linda and Fred. They will serve not only as companions on the mission but also as AI teammates that will accept orders from the player via presses on the D-Pad. They will appear alongside Master Chief in in-game cutscenes, accept orders and generally play an integral role in single-player and co-operative play.
The single player campaign will be split into Master Chief/Blue Team and Locke’s hunt for the infamous SPARTAN-II soldier. Spartan Jameson Locke, last seen in the Halo TV series Nightfall, will assemble a fireteam of his own (Osiris) to take down or bring in Master Chief. That’s the gist of things without going into spoiler territory though the Digital Version of the issue covers things in-depth from a story perspective for those who wish to view it (subscription required).
Some interesting details from the cover story summarized pretty well:
- Single Player
- Solo play will be accompanied by three other Spartans from Blue Team. Squad can be given commands via the Directional Pad. Highlighting an enemy, for example, and hitting Up on the D-Pad will issue an Attack command to your Squad. This includes things like picking up items, manning turrets, driving vehicles, etc.
- Co-Op: Each player will be a different member of Blue Team with unique loadouts and different HUDs for each character.
- Alternate paths in campaign levels. There will be multiple ways to complete missions that include guns blazing methods, more sneaky ways, etc. Numerous side routes that allow for different approaches to each mission objective.
- Teammates can revive you even in single player mode.
- Split Screen is not supported.
- No Xbox Live Gold is needed for online co-op play.
- Active scaling of difficulty by number of players in session.
- Audio has been reworked heavily, from scratch, for the Xbox One (bullets, guns, explosions — similar to the treatment done with Halo 2 Anniversary).
- Game to launch with over 20 maps (15 more added by June 2016).
- All future DLC to be free.
- New underwater map known as “Fathom” to be unveiled soon.
- Brand new ‘epic multiplayer experience’ to be unveiled at E3 for the game.
One last thing. Looks like Buck is back. The popular character from Halo 3: ODST will be in Halo 5: Guardians and is played by Nathan Fillion. That means Adam Baldwin’s Romeo is back too right? For those curious as to the quality of the model, according to Franchise Director Frank O’Conner that is in-engine which he confirmed via an answer on NeoGAF. He will join Locke’s Osiris Fireteam along with Romeo (one would have to assume) but the last member of that team remains a mystery.
We’ll have some more info as more is revealed by 343 Industries at E3 next week. What do you think so far, Nation? It sounds like 343 Industries is attempting to shake the formula up with Guardians. Will it work? Let us know via the comments below. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, @APGNation, for more gaming news, reviews and interviews.