- It’s high time for Master Chief to take a step out of the Halo spotlight and let other parts of the lore shine.
- 343’s new Halo title could potentially focus on other in universe stories that fans have been requesting.
- There’s much part of Halo lore that could easily become full-fledged games of their own.
The iconic Master Chief has been the face of the Halo franchise since its inception, but I believe that it’s time for 343 Industries to explore new horizons within the lore of the expansive Halo universe.
The character, once portrayed as the badass savior of humanity, has become more of a repetitive element, detracting from the rich universe Halo has built over the years. The latest installment, Halo Infinite, though well-received, even crossing the 30-million player mark recently, arguably lost the essence of what made Halo stories so engaging.
The shift towards a more Master Chief-centered narrative has left some longing for the days when the character served as a vessel for players to explore the vast and diverse universe. The argument isn’t against Master Chief as a character but rather the overemphasis on his story to the detriment of other parts of Halo lore.
It’s become evident that a change is needed to breathe new life into the series. To that end though, clues suggesting a departure from the current narrative have recently emerged, adding fuel to the speculation that 343 Industries is indeed working on something fresh.
343’s Unannounced New Halo Project
Recently, an online employee profile on LinkedIn belonging to Ben F, a former project manager at 343 Industries, hinted at an “unannounced internal project” in the works. While details remain scant, the fact that the studio is actively exploring new ventures is a promising sign for fans yearning for a break from the familiar Master Chief formula.
Additionally, back in 2019 Bonnie Ross, the former head of 343 Industries, did an interview with IGN where she said that after Halo Infinite, spin-offs were not an “if”, but a “when” type of thing. The fact that 343 has begun work on a currently unrevealed new title seems to suggest that that statement will soon come to be. At least I sure hope it does.
Now I get it, Master Chief is the first thing everyone thinks of when they hear the word Halo, aside from Beyonce of course. But there are so many stories in Halo lore that could easily become games of their own. Here are some of my personal picks for potential Triple-A Halo titles.
A Solo/Co-Op Headhunters Game
Shifting focus to ONI’s elite Spartan unit, the Headhunters, offers a unique angle for a spin-off. These specially selected Spartans operate as ONI’s private Grim Reapers, undertaking high-risk missions with precision and lethality. The game could explore their galaxy-spanning operations, blending stealth, cooperation, and high-stakes scenarios.
The narrative could follow a Spartan 3 or Spartan 4 navigating through the post-war era, undertaking covert missions to disrupt enemy supply lines and sabotage Covenant forces. This spin-off could not only provide intense gameplay but also allow for deep customization, creating a personalized experience for players.
Being able to customize your own spartan 3 and 4, as well as the type of weapon they carry, could add a level of immersion currently non-existent in the franchise. Kind of like what Call of Duty multiplayer allows. Add the option to go as Lone Wolf units or invite a friend to create a co-op Beta unit, and you have the perfect recipe for a great Halo title.
Not only would this be a good idea for a story-driven game, but it would also allow for a Halo Battle Royale game mode. Imagine running solos or duos of your customized Spartan against 23, or 22 if you’re going as a Beta unit, other players on different maps. Tell me why you wouldn’t play a game like that, I bet you can’t.
A Survival Horror Game Set On High Charity
One avenue 343 Industries could explore to revitalize the franchise is a spin-off focusing on the survival horror genre. The Flood has always been a source of terror in the Halo lore, and a dedicated game could tap into the success of horror games in the broader gaming industry.
High Charity, the once-majestic Covenant holy city, could serve as the eerie backdrop for such a game. Following the events of Halo 2, where the Flood rapidly consumed the city, players could experience the horror firsthand as an imprisoned Marine navigating the twisted and corrupted remnants of the former holy city.
The narrative could begin with the city under attack, gradually transitioning from Covenant-controlled to Flood-infested environments. The transformation of the architecture, from pristine Covenant design to the grotesque influence of the Flood, would add a layer of atmospheric horror.
Venturing into the Lower City, with its high concentration of potential hosts, players would be forced to navigate stealthily, avoiding the ever-present threat of the Flood. This setting not only aligns with the horror genre but also delves into a relatively unexplored part of the Halo universe, providing a fresh and gripping experience.
The Flood Invasion Of Voi
Another compelling setting for a Flood horror spin-off could be the Flood invasion of Voi, as depicted in Halo 3. Witnessing the Flood infect a real city on Earth and spread across continents adds a new level of horror. The protagonist, perhaps a regular human caught in the invasion, would bring a grounded perspective to the narrative.
Balancing the urgency to escape with the need to document the invasion’s horrors for public awareness could introduce elements of ONI’s corruption, adding depth to the storytelling. This spin-off could offer a unique blend of horror, human drama, and exploration of the consequences of the war with the Flood.
Now, a game like this probably wouldn’t warrant an entire Triple-A entry of its own, but it would most definitely make for a good DLC, or maybe even another mission, for the previous High Charity survival horror entry.
Another ODST Game
The desire for another ODST game has been echoed by fans since the release of Halo 3. The post-Halo 5 era, with the Created ruling the galaxy, presents a perfect backdrop for a new ODST installment.
With Alpha 9 reformed to combat the Created, the squad could embark on impossible missions in a galaxy plunged into darkness by the Created’s EMP assaults. The blend of quiet occupied cities, night missions, and the beloved smooth jazz soundtrack could rekindle the unique charm of the original ODST.
The storyline, despite the controversial books, sets the stage for a gripping narrative within Halo lore. And hey, it would also allow for more Nathan Fillion, which is never not a bonus. Rest in peace Rookie though, you will be missed.
An Elite-Centric Game
Who said Halo games have to revolve around humans? The absence of an Elite-focused game within the Halo franchise is surprising, given the appeal of the Arbiter’s missions in Halo 2.
A spin-off following the events of Halo 3, set during the Blooding Years, could explore civil wars on Sanghelios as the player attempts to unite various Elite keeps and clans. The potential inclusion of returning characters like everyone’s favorite half-jawed Shipmaster Rtas ‘Vadum adds familiarity while also introducing new elements to the narrative.
Alternatively, a focus on the Silent Shadow, the Elite equivalent of the Headhunters, offers an opportunity to delve into unexplored aspects of the Halo universe. Not only that but imagine if there was a game mode that pits Silent Shadows against Headhunters in massive PvP arenas. I would sell both of my kidneys for someone to make that a reality.
Taking It Back To The Beginning With Contact Harvest
For a truly captivating spin-off, adapting the events of Contact Harvest could provide a compelling narrative set at the inception of the Human-Covenant war. Playing as the legendary Sergeant Major Avery Johnson, players would experience counter-terrorist raids against Insurrectionists and witness the first contact with the Covenant.
The game could even offer a unique perspective by allowing players to fight against humans, a first in the Halo series. The inclusion of Johnson as the protagonist also adds a layer of nostalgia while avoiding any retcons in the process. A spin-off like this has the potential to satisfy both existing fans and newcomers.
The Untapped Potential Of The Halo Universe
In conclusion, the future of the Halo franchise lies in its ability to evolve beyond the Master Chief-centric narrative. 343 Industries has a vast and intricate universe at its disposal, and the potential spin-off ideas presented here showcase the diversity of narratives waiting to be explored.
Whether it’s horror, historical warfare, elite operations, or the untold beginnings of the Human-Covenant war, each spin-off concept offers a fresh and immersive experience that’ll satisfy both fans and newbies alike. Even if it doesn’t feature the iconic Spartan in Green.
Embracing these new directions can revitalize the Halo series, reigniting the passion of longtime fans and attracting new audiences eager to explore the vastness of the Halo universe. It’s time for Master Chief to step aside, if only temporarily, and let the Halo universe shine in all its glory.
So, from me and the rest of the Halo community, a statement that’s been echoed for years now: “343 Plz”
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