Epilogue (Halo 4 level)
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|“||After the destruction of New Phoenix, and the death of Cortana, Master Chief must carry on.||”|
Epilogue is the tenth and last level of Halo 4's campaign. It does not contain actual gameplay, instead only a cutscene depicting John-117's rescue by a D79-TC Pelican and reunion with Thomas Lasky, and then a cutscene depicting John taking off his MJOLNIR Mark VI armor and a speech made by the Didact.
Still floating in the debris field from the Mantle's Approach, the Master Chief is rescued by a Pelican from the UNSC Infinity and is greeted by a Spartan honor guard on the ship. Shortly thereafter, Captain Thomas Lasky joins a grieving Master Chief on an Infinity observation deck overlooking Earth, leading to a discussion between the two about soldiers and people, leading the Master Chief to reflect on how Cortana once asked him to determine which one of them is the machine.
As a voiceover by the Didact defends his actions, troops secure New Phoenix and witness the aftermath of the use of the Composer while the Master Chief has his armor removed on Infinity S-Deck for the first time in over four and a half years.
Fade in to the debris field left of the Mantle's Approach. Then cut to John, floating above Earth, not moving at all. A searchlight shines on John's body, who looks up slowly to see an approaching Pelican.
The Pelican's back door opens. Cut to aboard the Infinity, where SPARTAN-IVs and Marines stand in formation to await Master Chief. They turn and salute as John steps out of the Pelican. Cut to black.
Fade in to establishing shot of the Infinity. Cut to John standing at a window, looking down at Earth below. Thomas Lasky comes from behind.
- Lasky: "Mind if I join you?"
- John-117: (turns to see him) "Of course not, Sir."
- Lasky: "At ease, Chief. It feels kind of odd for you to call me Sir."
The two face out towards Earth.
- Lasky: "Beautiful, isn't she? I don't get to see her often enough. I grew up on New Harmony. Attended Corbulo Military Academy. Never saw Earth in person until I was an adult, but... I still think of her as home."
John says nothing. Lasky breaks their silence.
- Lasky: "You don't talk much, do you? (John doesn't respond) Chief, I won't pretend to know how you feel. I've lost people I care about, but... never anything like you're going through."
- John-117: "Our duty, as soldiers, is to protect humanity. Whatever the cost."
- Lasky: "You say that like soldiers and humanity are two different things. Soldiers aren't machines. We're just people."
John turns to look at him, then turns back. He does not respond.
- Lasky: "I'll let you have the deck to yourself."
Lasky walks away. John looks to see him go.
John continues to watch Earth's surface.
Cut to black. Credits roll.
Open on the city of New Phoenix. The sound of a Pelican can be heard in the distance.
Cut to within the deserted city. Smoke rises from piles of ashes on the streets and there are many abandoned cars.
- Ur-Didact (voiceover): "In this hour of victory, we taste only defeat. I ask why."
Two Pelicans fly over the street.
- Ur-Didact (voiceover): "We are Forerunners, guardians of all that exists. The roots of the galaxy have grown deep under our careful tending. Where there is life, the wisdom of our countless generations has saturated the soil."
The Pelicans land. Several troops come out of the troop bay of one. They secure the area, but slow down to realize that the city is empty. One of them examines a pile of ash on the ground with his instruments. He looks up and away into the horizon; the entire city population is dead.
- Ur-Didact (voiceover): "Our strength is a luminous sun towards which all intelligence blossoms. And the impervious shelter beneath which it has prospered."
Cut to John-117, slowly walking down a hallway in Infinity. Fade to black.
- Ur-Didact (voiceover): "I stand before you. Accused of the sin of ensuring Forerunner ascendancy. Of attempting to save us from this fate where we are forced to... recede..."
Fade to the SPARTAN-IV armory on Infinity. Numerous personnel and SPARTAN-IVs are seen below.
- Ur-Didact (voiceover): "Humanity stands as the greatest threat in the galaxy."
Cut to SPARTAN-IVs being armored by machines.
- Ur-Didact (voiceover): "Refusing to eradicate them is a fool's gambit."
Sarah Palmer and another S-IV who is running on a treadmill turn to see John. The running S-IV almost trips in the process.
- Ur-Didact (voiceover): "We squander eons in the darkness, while they seize our triumphs for their own."
Palmer walks forward to approach John. Cut to John, walking right past her. His size dwarfs hers.
- Ur-Didact (voiceover): "The Mantle of Responsibility, for all things, belongs to Forerunners alone!"
John walks to one of the machines, prepared to take off his armor for the first time in years. Personnel and S-IVs in the area gather around his station and watch. Since he is too tall to fit inside the disarming machine, the technicians around him prepare to remove his armor manually.
- Ur-Didact (voiceover): "Think of my acts as you will."
The technicians free the bolts to his arm plates, allowing them to fall off.
- Ur-Didact (voiceover): "But do not doubt the reality."
The machine frees John's chest plate, also allowing it to fall. The chest plate hits the floor with a loud thud.
- Ur-Didact (voiceover): "The Reclamation... has already begun."
John's helmet begins to de-bolt as machines begin to lift it off.
- Ur-Didact (voiceover): "And we are hopeless to stop it."
John's helmet is lifted off. If the player has not yet beaten the game on Legendary, beneath the helmet there is only black. Once the player has beaten the game on Legendary, however, John's adult face is revealed for the first time. All that can be seen is his brow, cheekbones, and bridge of his nose, while his eyes are shadowed. Cut to black.
- The Legendary ending which reveals John's face will play every time, regardless of difficulty, once the player has beaten the game on Legendary. The same is true in Halo Wars, but in Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, the Halo: The Master Chief Collection version of Halo 4, and Halo 5: Guardians, the Legendary endings only play on Legendary difficulty.
- In Halo: The Master Chief Collection, the Legendary ending can be accessed by playing Epilogue on Legendary even if the rest of the game is beat on a different difficulty.
- All SPARTAN-IVs that appear in the epilogue use Recruit and Scout armor.
- During the last cutscene, John is depicted as being roughly two feet taller than Sarah Palmer (6'9"), despite his canonical height of 7'2". As a result, he is too tall to enter the armor assembly/disassembly station, forcing a team of engineers to remove his armor manually. However, Paul DeMarco and Carlo Hoya (both 7'1") have no trouble using the same machines in the first episode of Spartan Ops.
- Lasky's clothes indicate that he is still an Executive Officer (XO) of UNSC Infinity while originally he was now a captain of UNSC Infinity after Captain Del Rio's removal from Infinity by UNSC High Command and promoting Lasky as a Captain of UNSC Infinity with the rank of Captain. This could be his new Officer Uniform was not ready to use due to the timeline between the Battle of Requiem and New Phoenix Incident only happens in a couple of days.