REMEMBER GUYS – this is speculation. We don’t know any of this, but we’ve used our internet detective skills and a lot of Halo research to come to some potential theories. But remember, they’re just that – theories, and nothing more. We’re as in the dark as you guys. Everything that appears here is conjecture.
1. Halo 4 might take place on a Forerunner structure
343 Industries has confirmed that the planet-like structure seen in the Halo 4 teaser trailer is indeed the same as that seen upon completion of Halo 3 on Legendary difficulty. 343 studio head Frank O’Connor has only revealed that “It’s safe to say it’s not human”, but we can see that for ourselves. The glowing blue symbols on the structure look Forerunner in origin – indeed, one such symbol can be seen in wall ornamentations in all of the Halo installations.
Some have suggested that the structure is therefore a Shield World, perhaps even Onyx as seen in the novel Ghosts Of Onyx. However, this theory is rather unlikely given that Onyx’s planetary shell was destroyed by the trillions of Onyx Sentinels that comprised the superstructure of the construct, leaving only the slipspace rift.
Shall we get really speculative? We have read some very curious rumours out there on the internet that may or may not be true, but we’ll repeat them here because it’s fun to speculate, right? Here goes: apparently – an important word to remember here because none of this has been corroborated by an official source – apparently the planetoid in the trailer has both inner and outer environments. The outside is industrial, playing home to a range of hostile Forerunner tech and AI. The interior is a vast hollow, sectioned off into many different tiers that resemble Halo rings. Each features a different environment, some looking akin to Earth others far more alien in nature. Combat therein will occur on mountains, plains, oceans and space. Is this mere rumour? Who knows…
2. Cortana may have experienced Rampancy
In the Halo universe all AI eventually gains too much knowledge and goes insane, experiencing delusions of godlike power and developing contempt for its biological inferiors. We don’t know how long the Chief and Cortana have been floating in space between Halos 3 and 4, but the Halo Legends short film Origins, which takes place four years after the events of Halo 3, shows Cortana displaying many signs of the onset of Rampancy. Could she be one of Master Chief’s enemies in Halo 4?
3. This isn’t the Master Chief we once knew
Master Chief has changed somehow, and not just in terms of his armour – although the Halo 4 teaser trailer did show a Chief with shoulder-pieces that were different from the original Mark VI version and with a missing pelvis-guard piece. In a recent interview 343’s O’Connor stated that there are specific reasons given in the game as to why Master Chief looks different, and also why some of his behaviours have changed. Sounds like this could be a different Master Chief to the one we’ve come to know and love.
4. We could be fighting Forerunner AI and potentially new Prophets
Back when the Forerunners were still fighting the Flood they had a bunch of AI that went Rampant and joined the enemy. Most of them were destroyed, but if 343 wanted to delve back into that part of Hal’s history some of this AI could be alive and well, and harbouring a big grudge against the Chief.
Also, although the all the Covenant Prophets were killed by the end of the Halo trilogy there’s still every chance that some of the San ‘Shyuum species exists somewhere in the universe. The Halo novel Contact Harvest suggests as much. The Covenant has always been as much a part of the Halo series as Master Chief, so we wouldn’t be surprised if 343 didn’t include it in Halo 4 in some shape or form.
5. We could be getting a game a year
Towards the end of 2010, Microsoft Game Studios’ corporate VP Phil Spencer, told IGN, “There’s no explicit strategy that says we’re to ship a Halo game every year. I will say I think one Halo game every three years – which was kind of our old cadence – is probably not frequent enough.” He went on to admire Activision’s annualisation of Call Of Duty, saying, “343 Industries is thinking a lot about how to take this franchise and turn it into something that people feel like they have an ongoing relationship with and they can entertain themselves more often.”
Spencer did state that it’s not Microsoft’s intention to build a yearly production plan around a specific date, but the company is certainly interested in giving fans more Halo. The real question is where does the Xbox 720 fit into these plans?
6. You’ll be getting new weapons
Well, ok. You probably did know this one as it’s pretty obvious but bear with us. The weapon Master Chief uses in the Halo 4 teaser trailer might look like a standard Magnum but it’s actually a weapon we haven’t seen before. Rod-mounted grenades are fed into the barrel of the weapon, and must be replaced after each round is fired. Compact but powerful weapons such as this could open up interesting strategic options in both single-player and multiplayer.
But remember that unsubstantiated source we mentioned in the first point? Well, we’re going to return to it now. Apparently the Chief has also been seen holding one weapon that looks like a cross between a rocket launcher and a Needler.
7. You won’t be fighting the Flood
The official Xbox website for Halo 4 simply mentions the Chief battling an “ancient evil”, which many have assumed means the Precursors, Forerunners or Flood. However, 343 has stated that the Chief will be facing a “dark new threat” – something that we haven’t seen before.
To return to speculative rumour, it’s been suggested that in Halo 4 you’ll be fighting alongside UNSC forces on this unknown Forerunner planetoid, except they’ll be in shambles; disorganised, in disarray, and split into factions that appear to be engaged in civil war. According to this source a video has also been seen in which Master Chief is standing in front of a cave from which a strange grunting and gurgling is emanating…
8. Halo 4 may feature narrative choice and weapon customisation
All sequels feature different gameplay to some degree, but if the rumours we’ve heard regarding Halo 4 are true then this game could be very different than all that have come before. Apparently Halo 4 will feature story telling and player choice at the core of the experience, with players offered a narrative experience far beyond anything witnessed before in an FPS. The battlefields will be larger too, with conflicts seamlessly spanning land, sea and space.
Internet rumour also suggests that customisation will play a big part in Halo 4. A new system called ‘Arsenal Improvisation Mechanics’ will allow for menu-free creative customisation of both weapons and vehicles in order to tailor them to your play style. Apparently a heavily modified Warthog has been seen with its wheels replaced by anti-gravity devices.
9. You could be fighting alongside other Spartans
Remember the theory that the planetoid seen in the Halo 4 teaser is Onyx? Well, if it is then the surviving Spartan IIIs and the rest of the Blue Team could very well feature, given that they were all trapped on the Shield World at the end of Ghosts Of Onyx.
10. If there’s a new score it won’t be written by Martin O’Donnell
Yeah, you didn’t think of that did you? We assume that 343 will still make use of the iconic Halo themes, but any new music will have to be penned by a new composer, given that O’Donnell is working on Bungie’s new and as of yet unannounced project. It’s a worrying thought – O’Donnell’s music brought so much to the gameplay of Halo. Without it could feel like a different game altogether. But O’Donnell’s absence also gives 343 a chance to experiment and bring in some new talent – a Hollywood composer, perhaps?