We may still have little more than a month to go until Halo 5: Guardians drops on Xbox One, but developer 343 Industries says that they’re already laying the “fictional foundation” for the next decade of Halo and beyond.
Speaking with GamesRadar in a forthcoming Golden Joysticks Halo 5 special, franchise development director Frank O’Connor and 343 boss Bonnie Ross explained that the studio’s already hammered out a game plan for the series.
“We do kind of know what’s going to happen in the next game pretty well at this point,” O’Connor says. “We’re doing serious real planning and even some writing on the next game already, and that’s a luxury – we’ve never been in that position before. So we both know at a very high level what’s going to happen in, say, ten years from now. But at that very granular level knowing what’s going to happen in the next game and that’s just been a great feeling for me.”
On that note, Ross muses on the fact that the series has always left itself an open book for future entries:
“You can look at the ending of Halo 4 – and where Master Chief is,” Ross muses, “obviously we had to know where we were going to take Halo 5 and Halo 6 with that. You have an epic sci-fi universe and we have multiple ways that we can go with this story, but all the pieces are laying there. The canvas is there for us to paint.”
O’Connor, meanwhile, cautions that the creative process at 343 is as susceptible to change as its heroes. Halo 5 will notably feature a lengthier campaign from the perspective of Spartan Agent Locke and Fire Team Osiris alongside series lead Master Chief. Whether Master Chief will be passing the torch to Locke isn’t clear, but his fate is set as far as O’Connor is concerned.
“If you start making those stepping stones too rigid, then you’re not being realistic about the game development process,” he continues. “That process could change the story but we know what’s going to happen in the next game, and we kind of know what’s going to happen to the Master Chief ultimately.”
The franchise development director also looks back on Halo as an ever-evolving series whose success was never so assured, nor were its chances for a sequel.
“Halo 1 was unique, because you don’t know if there’s going to be a sequel, you don’t know if you have a franchise at that point,” O’Connor reflects. “I think by the end of Halo 2 we knew we had a successful franchise and we knew that we had a story, but Halo 2 itself suffered so many pretty giant changes in the story and in the content as a result of production issues that all the plans for the story kind of got thrown out of the window in some way.
And so when we started Halo 3, there was a lot of kind of… ‘OK, we’ve got to finish telling the story that we had in Halo 2, but we also have to move it forward.’ So we kind of had the luxury, as Bonnie said, of being able to bond the universe and figure out roughly where the story is going to go.'”
Halo 5: Guardians deploys this October 27th on Xbox One. Will you be picking it up? Let us know in the usual place.