Awakening is a pre-rendered teaser trailer for Halo 4, developed by agencytwofifteen, produced by Digital Domain, and filmed at Anonymous Content. The music featured in the trailer was composed by Neil Davidge and Human Worldwide.
The trailer was first shown at Microsoft's E3 Media Briefing on June 6th, 2011. It depicts Cortana hastily awakening John-117 from cryo-sleep on the aft half of the UNSC Forward Unto Dawn, followed by John securing Cortana's storage chip and rushing through the wreckage to witness the ship being pulled into a mysterious object.
Fades in to many points of reddish light, apparently stars, against a black background. In the foreground, one of these sends small curling sparks throughout columns of smoky material; the lights resolve themselves as neurons in a human body, sending slow pulses to one another.
- Cortana: (muffled) "I need you!"
The neural pulses reach the heart.
- Cortana: (muffled) "Please!"
The heart begins beating, and the neural pulses race up the spine to the brain.
- Cortana: (muffled) "Wake up, John!"
- Cortana: "Chief!"
John, now wide awake, forcibly throws open the cryotube and pushes himself to Cortana's holotank.
- Cortana: "John..."
- John-117: "I'm here."
John and Cortana turn to see the UNSC Forward Unto Dawn exploding and collapsing. John stows Cortana's chip in his helmet, and pushes off the holotank to speed down the hallway. Taking advantage of the microgravity, he uses a pair of thrusters on his armor to maneuver through the girders and debris in the imploding hallway. He grabs a sticky detonator and blasts a piece of debris out of the way, and stops his movement by grabbing a protruding girder. His boots magnetize themselves to the ship's hull. Now standing on the edge of the Forward Unto Dawn, John reloads his pistol and stares out into space. The camera turns to show the Dawn being pulled into an enormous iris-like opening on the Forerunner shield world, Requiem.
Cut to black. The Halo Theme plays.
Video ends as the Xbox 360 logo is shown.
- John-117's armor lacks a codpiece, which led to a great deal of confusion and even uproar among fans. The codpiece was actually present on the contemporary in-game model, though an older version was used for reference when the trailer was made. The codpiece is present in the final game.
- Cortana can be heard crying "Wake up, John!" and "I need you!" to John while the latter is still in cryo-sleep. This is a reference to the final line of Halo 3, when John tells Cortana, "Wake me. When you need me."
- There is also a "Director's Cut" version of the trailer. This version of the Awakening trailer, which was released during GamesCom 2011, features a few changes from the original version. The background melody is different from original video, and continues until the end of the trailer. When John reaches the holotank, he does not speak to Cortana. Near the end of the trailer, he throws away his sticky detonator away rather than reloading it.