Halo 5: Guardians

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Halo 5: Guardians
H5 final cover art.png
Developer(s):

343 Industries[1]

Publisher(s):

Microsoft Studios[1]

Platform(s):

Xbox One[1]

Release date(s):

October 27, 2015[1]

Genre(s):

First-person shooter[1]

Mode(s):

Campaign[1]
Cooperative[1]
Multiplayer[1]
Forge
Theater

Rating(s):

ESRB: Teen (T) for Blood, Mild Language, and Violence[2]

 
"The quest of the hunter and the hunted has begun."
—Official summary[3]

Halo 5: Guardians is the ninth installment in the Halo franchise.[4] It is the second game in the Reclaimer Saga and continues the story of the Master Chief.[4] Originally alluded to in a teaser trailer shown at Microsoft's E3 Media Briefing on June 10, 2013, Guardians was officially announced on May 16, 2014.[4] Exclusive to the Xbox One,[5][4] the game was released on October 27, 2015.[1] The first major coverage of the game was unveiled at E3 2014.[6]

The game grossed more than $400 million in its opening week, surpassing Halo 4's record of $300 million.[7] However, it had the weakest opening sales of any mainline Halo title in the UK and Japan.[8][9] Halo 5 had sold 3.9 million retail copies as of May 2016.[10]

Plot

"Peace is shattered when colony worlds are unexpectedly attacked. And when humanity’s greatest hero goes missing, Spartan Locke is tasked with hunting the Master Chief and solving a mystery that threatens the entire galaxy."
—Official summary[3]
Full version of the game's final cover art, depicting Spartan Locke, the Master Chief, and their respective fireteams.

Halo 5: Guardians features the largest ensemble cast of characters in any Halo game yet, with both new and returning characters.[11] The primary protagonist of the Halo series, Spartan-II supersoldier Master Chief Petty Officer John-117, returns in Halo 5: Guardians following the end of Halo 4. It has been noted that John has begun to question all of his former beliefs[12] following the events of "The Next 72 Hours", a story arc of the comic series Halo: Escalation during which he reunites with his long-time Spartan-II unit Blue Team, comprising Kelly-087, Fred-104 and Linda-058. Halo 5: Guardians marks the in-game debut of Blue Team, who fight alongside the Master Chief throughout the campaign.[13][14]

Halo: The Journey, a multimedia series leading up to Halo 5: Guardians.

Halo 5: Guardians also features another playable protagonist,[15] Spartan Jameson Locke, a "legendary manhunter" on a mission to find the Master Chief after Blue Team disappears and several colonies are unexpectedly attacked.[16][17][3] Locke is accompanied by Fireteam Osiris, which includes Spartans Edward Buck, Holly Tanaka and Olympia Vale.[13] Locke's role in the story is to act as a counterpoint for John-117's legendary and larger-than-life character, as well as a vehicle to contextualize both the Master Chief and the wider story from an outsider perspective.[18] Locke was introduced in Ridley Scott's digital series Halo: Nightfall, which has narrative connections to Halo 5.[19] 343 Industries stressed that Locke would not be replacing John-117 as the protagonist;[20] much like that of Halo 2, the campaign of Halo 5 alternates between the perspectives of the two main characters.[13] Locke was first shown in promotional artwork unveiled with the game's formal announcement.[4] He is also featured in Halo 2: Anniversary's terminals and new bookend cinematics, which have links to the story of Guardians.[21]

In the initial teaser trailer, the Master Chief is seen in the possession of an empty data crystal chip on a chain, alluding to his loss of Cortana at the end of Halo 4.[22] Regarding Cortana, Halo Franchise Development Director Frank O'Connor stated that "her fate is obviously very clear at the end of Halo 4" and claimed that the story of Guardians would explore her legacy in the form of the long-term impact her sacrifice had on John-117, and how he "copes with loss and how he deals with his memories."[13]

Plot synopsis

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Piano music plays in Doctor Catherine Halsey's office on Reach as she looks at a smiling Cortana just before she transfers to an armored matrix.

Fireteam Osiris is deployed by the UNSC Infinity to Kamchatka to extract Halsey from Jul 'Mdama's forces because she has information on a series of Forerunner attacks on human colonies. Fighting their way to Halsey’s coordinates, they find that the Covenant are under attack from their own Promethean forces which have inexplicably turned on them, weakening ‘Mdama’s hold on the Covenant. Fighting through Covenant and Promethean forces, Osiris finally kills ‘Mdama and his guards and secure Halsey. Arriving on Infinity, Halsey immediately begins asking Captain Lasky “how far has she gone,” to Osiris’s confusion.

Meanwhile, Blue Team insert onto the captured ONI research vessel Argent Moon to secure it from the Covenant forces that are stripping it for parts. While fighting through the Covenant scavengers, the Master Chief experiences a vision of Cortana activating an enormous winged machine and telling him that “Meridian is next.” Recovering, he and Blue Team continue the mission, deciding to scuttle Argent Moon to deny it to an incoming Covenant fleet. Blue Team set the reactor to overload and prepare to leave aboard an experimental ONI prowler, with the Master Chief reassigning them to Meridian against their superior's orders, hoping to get there before whatever team the UNSC decides to send and investigate whether Cortana is really still alive.

Aboard Infinity, Halsey reveals that Cortana has somehow gained access to the Domain, a galaxy-spanning repository of Forerunner knowledge. Worried that she is manipulating the Master Chief, Osiris is sent after Blue Team with orders to bring them back, hoping to neutralize them with armor restraints. Arriving at Meridian, they descend the Meridian's space elevator and are contacted by Governor Sloan, who grudgingly accepts their presence in exchange for assistance fighting off Promethean forces attacking the colonists. Fighting with the colony’s Liang Dortmund Corporation security forces, Osiris fend off the Prometheans long enough for the colonists to get to safety, discovering that “Governor” Sloan is actually an aging smart AI undergoing rampancy, and pick up clues that lead them to Apogee. Governor Sloan arranges for a Pelican to take them to Apogee, where they find the Prowler and that Blue Team has already descended into the planet, seemingly without opposition. Osiris follow, fighting through more Promethean forces, including the Warden Eternal, who introduces himself as Cortana’s servant and engages Osiris to prevent them from catching up with Blue Team. Defeating the Warden, Osiris catches Blue Team moving through a series of portals to try to reach the Guardian. Locke is the only member of Osiris who is able to reach Blue Team, and engages the Master Chief in hand-to-hand combat. He is defeated after damaging the Master Chief’s armor, neutralized with his own armor restraint, allowing Blue Team to board the Guardian which begins charging its slipspace drive, devastating Meridian with EMP shockwaves. Governor Sloan reveals that Cortana had contacted him earlier allowing him to evacuate as many of his people offworld as he could, and that he intends to join her “new dawn,” disappearing during the evacuation as Osiris climb the space elevator to reach their Pelican. Aboard Infinity, Halsey deduces that another dormant Guardian lies beneath the surface of Sunaion on Sanghelios. Moreover, Roland figures out that the distinctive sound the Guardian gave off during its activation was actually a set of slipspace coordinates, and that if they can feed it into the Sanghelios Guardian they can follow Blue Team to their destination. Captain Lasky hopes that Osiris can catch a ride aboard it to Blue Team’s location, but is reluctant to involve the UNSC in Sanghelios’s civil war.

Blue Team arrive on a lush Forerunner world, noting the arrival of numerous Guardians. They are led to a console by a familiar signal from their training, and encounter ragtag Covenant survivors dragged through in the wake of multiple Guardians’ slipspace drives, who believe that the planet was promised by the Prophets. They encounter the Warden in another body, who introduces himself as Cortana’s defender. As Blue Team proceeds closer to Cortana’s location, the Warden interrogates the Master Chief over his intentions for Cortana. When John responds that he intends to take her home, the Warden announces that they have become a threat to his and Cortana’s goal, and uses his Promethean forces in an attempt to stop them. After defeating this iteration of the Warden, they are contacted by Cortana who explains that she arrived the planet aboard the wreckage of the Didact's ship after it was dragged through slipspace, and that her rampancy was cured by accessing the Domain. She leads Blue Team across the planet, to meet her at the access point to the Domain itself.

The UNSC prepare to insert Osiris onto Sanghelios with an escort from the Swords of Sanghelios. Inserting near Sunaion, they find that the Covenant has launched a last-ditch effort to kill the Arbiter and reverse its recent fortunes. Osiris fight their way to the Elder Council Chamber, hoping that the Arbiter can help them fight their way to the Guardian beneath Sunaion, which lies in Covenant hands. They arrive in time to evacuate the Arbiter in a Phantom to a Swords of Sanghelios camp, where they plan a counterattack on Sunaion. During tense moment between Locke and the Arbiter, Cortana reveals her presence on the planet. Halsey figures out that if they can acquire a Constructor Sentinel from one of the Forerunner ruins scattered across the planet, they can use it to activate the Guardian. Osiris are deployed to recover one from a nearby Forerunner facility, fighting their way through Prometheans and Covenant supported by Arbiter’s air support, which engages a Covenant Kraken walker to draw it out of their path. The Kraken positions itself between Osiris and the Constructor’s location, forcing them to board and destroy it. They recover the Constructor and deliver it to the Arbiter’s base, where Halsey reprograms it to activate the Guardian. The Constructor immediately sets about its task, and Arbiter leads his forces in a massive assault on Sunaion to destroy what remains of the Covenant on Sanghelios. Osiris fight their way through, assisting the Arbiter’s warriors, but their priority is to reach the Guardian above all else. The Warden leads Promethean forces in Sunaion to try to stop Osiris, but is again defeated. As the Sunaion Guardian activates, it charges its slipspace drive, creating similar EMP pulses as those which on Meridian, devastating Sunaion and the Covenant’s forces. Commander Palmer and Doctor Halsey use a Pelican to allow Osiris to board the Guardian, just as it enters slipspace. The Arbiter watches them leave, commanding his forces to clear Sunaion of the last of the Covenant.

Osiris manages to safely leave the Guardian and land on the Forerunner planet. They attempt to contact the Master Chief, only to be greeted by its monitor, 031 Exuberant Witness, who is horrified by the Warden and Cortana locking her out of her own systems, and their plan for “Created” to attain the Mantle, using the Guardians to “enforce the peace” across inhabited space on behalf of organic races – whether they want their protection or not. She assists them as they fight their way across Genesis to reach the Gateway, a link to the Domain, noting that Cortana has actually been leading Blue Team in circles to buy herself time. Osiris and Exuberant fight through more of the Warden’s forces, who are buying Cortana more time to bring the Domain’s systems online. Osiris meets up with Blue Team, offering to help the Master Chief stop Cortana, but Cortana translocates Blue Team away.

The Warden again confronts Blue Team, trying to convince Cortana that they are a threat to her plan, but she destroys his new body herself to protect Blue Team. The Master Chief reveals that no matter how warm her greeting, he has been suspicious of Cortana since he set foot on Genesis, and recognizes that she has been attempting to manipulate him through psychological tactics, confronting her about the casualties the Guardians have been inflicting. As Promethean forces renew their attack, Kelly-087 speculates that Cortana is allowing the Warden his periodic attempts to keep Blue Team distracted, despite destroying the Warden’s next body again as he tries to kill Blue Team. The Warden claims that while the Librarian intended the Mantle to be passed down, and prepared humanity for the task, the Mantle itself was meant not for humanity but for their creations, AIs. The Master Chief was never the Reclaimer – Cortana was. He repeatedly appeals to Cortana, urging her to recognize Blue Team as a threat as he engages Blue Team in multiple bodies simultaneously. Cortana counters that if he trusts her to use the Domain, he should also trust her judgement of the Master Chief and Blue Team, and recognizes that he is using her for his own ends. Finally confronting Cortana, reborn and with a new holographic avatar to represent her change, John tries to talk Cortana out of her plan, but is instead trapped inside a Forerunner Cryptum.

Osiris follows, witnessing deployment of the Guardians and the arrival of hundreds of AIs from across human space to join Cortana's new faction. As Osiris try to prevent the Cryptum from departing with Cortana, she attempts to use their individual histories to demoralize them, and accuses them of being pale imitations of “her” Spartans. Locke retorts that Doctor Halsey trusts them to bring the Master Chief back – Cortana tells him that she will punish Halsey soon enough. Exuberant Witness continues to help them progress, attempting to reach the Cryptum. Cortana announces that she intends to put the Master Chief and Blue Team in stasis for ten thousand years, giving herself time to consolidate her grip on the galaxy, as she begins to leave Genesis aboard a Guardian. Cortana begins broadcasting across the galaxy, promising an era of peace and prosperity under her benevolent rule – and warning that those who resist will be conquered through force. Cortana sends her Guardians ahead across the galaxy and begins to follow, but discovers to her horror that Osiris have restored control of Genesis to Exuberant Witness, who uses swarms of Constructors to pry the Cryptum from her control. It stays on Genesis as Cortana’s Guardian leaves through slipspace, unable to stop itself. Blue Team are freed from the Cryptum and finally united with Osiris.

Cortana and her AIs begin shutting down UNSC control across human space, using the Guardians to consolidate control. She tracks down the Infinity, which makes an emergency slipspace jump to escape and find a way to fight her. On Sanghelios, the Arbiter, Commander Palmer and Doctor Halsey meet the Master Chief and Locke who disembark from a Pelican.

Over a lush, green world, a Halo installation orbits as Cortana hums.

Spoilers end here.

Campaign

The Halo 5: Guardians campaign comprises 15 missions,[23] of which three are non-combat spaces in which the only objectives involve interaction with characters or objects.

  1. Osiris - "Fireteam Osiris is dispatched to recover the UNSC's most wanted criminal: Doctor Catherine Elizabeth Halsey."
  2. Blue Team - "The Master Chief is reunited with his Spartan II Blue Team for a routine investigation of the lost ONI research station Argent Moon."
  3. Glassed - "Osiris must pursue Blue Team to a glassed world beyond UNSC jurisdiction."
  4. Meridian Station - "Osiris learns that Meridian Station harbors many secrets."
  5. Unconfirmed - "Osiris tracks Blue Team deep below the surface of Meridian."
  6. Evacuation - "Osiris are separated from Blue Team and must race to catch up."
  7. Reunion - "Blue Team arrive at the Forerunner world Genesis, where they discover the true reason for the Guardian’s activation."
  8. Swords of Sanghelios - "When evidence reveals the Master Chief is in danger, Fireteam Osiris' mission changes from retrieval to rescue."
  9. Alliance - "Osiris joins forces with the Swords of Sanghelios."
  10. Enemy Lines - "In order to activate the Guardian, Osiris must track down a Forerunner Constructor."
  11. Before the Storm - "Osiris and the Swords of Sanghelios prepare for a final battle with the Covenant."
  12. Battle of Sunaion - "Osiris races to reach the Guardian before it leaves Sanghelios."
  13. Genesis - "Osiris arrives on Genesis, where they meet a new ally in their battle."
  14. The Breaking - ""The Master Chief and his team face their greatest threat, and his hardest choice as the true power of Genesis is revealed.
  15. Guardians - "As Blue Team’s lives hang in the balance, Osiris must save them and stop the Guardians."

Appearances

Characters

Human

Sangheili

AI

Forerunners

Unggoy

Kig-Yar

Jiralhanae

Species and entities

Locations

Events

Vehicles

UNSC

Usable
  • AV-49 Wasp (First appearance)
    • ONI variant (First appearance)
    • Hannibal variant (First appearance)
  • HRUNTING/YGGDRASIL Mark IX Mantis
    • CORP variant (First appearance)
    • ONI variant (First appearance)
    • Urban variant (First appearance)
    • Tundra variant (First appearance)
    • Woodland variant (First appearance)
    • Hannibal variant (First appearance)
  • M12B Warthog
    • M12 Warthog LRV
      • CORP variant (First appearance)
      • ONI variant (First appearance)
      • Sword Needler variant (First appearance)
      • Vespin variant (First appearance)
      • Urban variant (First appearance)
      • Tundra variant (First appearance)
      • Woodland variant (First appearance)
    • M12G1 Gauss Warthog
      • CORP variant (First appearance)
      • ONI variant (First appearance)
      • Urban variant (First appearance)
      • Tundra variant (First appearance)
      • Woodland variant (First appearance)
    • M12R Warthog
      • CORP variant (First appearance)
      • ONI variant (First appearance)
      • Urban variant (First appearance)
      • Tundra variant (First appearance)
      • Vespin variant (First appearance)
      • Woodland variant (First appearance)
    • M12B Scout Warthog
      • CORP variant (First appearance)
      • ONI variant (First appearance)
      • Rally variant (First appearance)
      • Urban variant (First appearance)
      • Tundra variant (First appearance)
      • Woodland variant (First appearance)
  • M290 Mongoose (First appearance)
    • CORP variant (First appearance)
    • ONI variant (First appearance)
    • Urban variant (First appearance)
    • Tundra variant (First appearance)
    • Woodland variant (First appearance)
    • M290-M Gungoose
      • CORP variant (First appearance)
      • ONI variant (First appearance)
      • Urban variant (First appearance)
      • Tundra variant (First appearance)
      • Woodland variant (First appearance)
  • M820 Scorpion (First appearance)
    • CORP variant (First appearance)
    • ONI variant (First appearance)
    • Urban variant (First appearance)
    • Tundra variant (First appearance)
    • Woodland variant (First appearance)
    • Hannibal variant (First appearance)
Unusable

Covenant

Usable
  • Type-54 Banshee (First appearance)
    • Sword variant (First appearance)
    • Ultra variant (First appearance)
    • Temple variant (First appearance)
  • Type-54 Ghost (First appearance)
    • Sword variant (First appearance)
    • Temple variant (First appearance)
    • Ultra variant (First appearance)
  • Type-58 Wraith (First appearance)
    • Sword variant (First appearance)
    • Temple variant (First appearance)
    • Ultra variant (First appearance)
  • Type-58 Anti-Air Wraith (First appearance)
Unusable

Forerunner

Usable
Unusable

Weapons

UNSC

Usable
  • ARC-920 railgun
    • Whiplash variant (First appearance)
    • Arclight variant (First appearance)
  • BR55 battle rifle
  • BR85N battle rifle (First appearance)
    • Classic variant (First appearance)
    • Hybrid variant (First appearance)
    • Longshot variant (First appearance)
    • Morph variant (First appearance)
    • Sentinel variant (First appearance)
    • COG variant (First appearance)
  • M343A2 chaingun (First appearance)
    • ONI variant (First appearance)
    • Needle variant (First appearance)
  • M555 Gauss cannon (First appearance)
    • ONI variant (First appearance)
  • Hydra MLRS (First appearance)
    • Typhon variant (First appearance)
    • Echidna variant (First appearance)
  • M11 Combat Knife
  • M20 SMG (First appearance)
    • Hybrid variant (First appearance)
    • Morph variant (First appearance)
    • Projection variant (First appearance)
    • Recon variant (First appearance)
    • COG variant (First appearance)
  • M247H machine gun
    • War Games Etilka variant (First appearance)
  • M319 grenade launcher
    • Pro Pipe (First appearance)
  • M395B DMR (First appearance)
    • Hybrid variant (First appearance)
    • Morph variant (First appearance)
    • Recon variant (First appearance)
    • Sentinel variant (First appearance)
    • COG variant (First appearance)
  • M41 rocket launcher
    • SPNKR EM variant (First appearance)
    • SPNKR EX variant (First appearance)
    • SPNKR PRIME variant (First appearance)
  • M45D shotgun
    • Lawgiver variant (First appearance)
    • Blaze of Glory variant (First appearance)
    • Oathsworn (First appearance)
  • M57 rocket launcher (First appearance)
    • AD Victoriam variant (First appearance)
    • High Five variant (First appearance)
  • M6E Spartan Laser (First appearance)
    • Endgame variant (First appearance)
    • Selene's Lance variant (First appearance)
  • M6D magnum
  • M6H2 magnum (First appearance)
    • Gunfighter variant (First appearance)
    • Whispered Truth (First appearance)
    • Tactical variant (First appearance)
  • M739 SAW
    • Appetite for Destruction variant (First appearance)
    • The Answer variant (First appearance)
  • M80 missile launcher (First appearance)
    • M80B variant (First appearance)
    • ONI variant (First appearance)
    • Vespin variant (First appearance)
  • M9 fragmentation grenade
  • MA5D assault rifle
    • Hybrid variant (First appearance)
    • Longshot variant (First appearance)
    • Morph variant (First appearance)
    • Recon variant (First appearance)
    • COG variant (First appearance)
  • SRS99-S5 AM sniper rifle
    • End of the Line variant (First appearance)
    • Arrow of Time variant (First appearance)
    • Nornfang (First appearance)
  • 7 Wood
Unusable

Covenant

Usable
Unusable

Forerunner

Usable

Technology and equipment

Equipment
Other


Development

John-117 holding Cortana's data chip in the first teaser trailer.

What would later be revealed as Halo 5: Guardians was first revealed with a teaser released on June 10, 2013 during that year's Electronic Entertainment Expo. The trailer indicated that a major Halo release would occur for the Xbox One console in 2014, leading many to believe that this particular game would be the next entry in the Reclaimer Saga and the sequel to Halo 4. However, Microsoft stressed the trailer's phrasing that 2014 would mark the beginning of a "journey", with the implication that this may not mean the release of the then still officially unannounced Halo 5.[4]

Halo 5: Guardians was formally announced on May 16, 2014 by 343 Industries General Manager Bonnie Ross. Ross describes Halo 5: Guardians as a bigger effort than the preceding Halo 4 in terms of the content and scope of the game as well as the technology underpinning it. The game's engine is said to have been completely retooled to take full advantage of the Xbox One's hardware and ecosystem; according to Frank O'Connor, the engine is all-new apart from a number of core features retained from the previous one.[24] Ross stated that Halo 5 would incorporate lessons the 343 Industries team learned from Halo 4 with regard to technology, performance, aesthetics, and scale in response to feedback received from the fan community. She also mentioned that the game would run at 60 frames per second and feature dedicated servers.[4]

The various features in Halo 5: Guardians.

In E3 2014, 343 Industries' statements about a "journey" beginning in the fall of 2014 were revealed to be referring to a multimedia project dubbed Halo: The Journey by 343 Industries,[25] set to begin with the release of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, containing remastered "Anniversary" editions of Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2, as well as high-resolution versions of Halo 3 and Halo 4.[12] Additionally, it was announced that a multiplayer beta of Guardians was set to be released on December 29, 2014. Exclusive unlockable content for the beta was made available via The Master Chief Collection and the digital series Halo: Nightfall.[1]

The 343 Industries team underwent several internal changes between the development of Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians. Nicolas "Sparth" Bouvier replaced Kenneth Scott as senior art director, although Scott was stated to continue serving in an advisory role.[26] Josh Holmes was also replaced by Tim Longo (known for his previous work on Star Wars: Republic Commando and the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot) as creative director.[27] Christopher Schlerf was supplanted by Brian Reed as Halo franchise lead writer after Schlerf's departure from 343 Industries.[28][29] The game's soundtrack was composed by Kazuma Jinnouchi, replacing Halo 4's Neil Davidge as the principal composer.[30]

The Ur-Didact, the main antagonist of Halo 4, was originally slated to play a role in Halo 5. At some point during the game's development, however, he was deemed to have become "extraneous" to the story, leading to him being redacted from the narrative in the "The Next 72 Hours" arc of the Halo: Escalation comic series. According to Brian Reed, the manner of his removal from the story would still allow 343 Industries to use him as an antagonist in later stories if they so chose, as the franchise was considered to be lacking in recurring villains.[31]

On April 28, 2015 the final cover art was revealed.[32]

Gameplay

Spartan abilities listed, with slide showcased.

In Halo 5: Guardians, armor abilities are replaced by a new set of gameplay enhancements known as Spartan abilities,[33] which are available to all players at any time. Both the campaign and multiplayer are developed around Spartan abilities.[34] There is an increased focus on player mobility; players can now use the thruster pack (which allows omnidirectional movement) at all times, vault ledges, rapidly dash for cover or charge an enemy, or generate a shockwave by striking the ground. The sprint function is still present but the player's shields do not recharge while sprinting. Additionally, the charge and slide abilities are executed as sprint reaches terminal velocity. A new feature called the "smart scope" allows players to aim down the weapon's sights in a manner similar to many other modern shooters, although with non-scope weapons this is purely a cosmetic effect and provides little to no actual accuracy enhancement; 343 Industries used the Multiplayer Beta to gauge the effects of this feature on the game's gameplay balance.[35] The heads-up display once again allows the player to see what other weapon they have but are not currently using, a feature that had been removed in Halo 4. Unlike past titles players are now able to switch seats in a vehicle without getting out.

Halo 5: Guardians is the first major Halo release without any form of local splitscreen multiplayer or campaign, and does not natively support LAN play.[36] Notwithstanding the lack of local co-op campaign, players are able to play campaign cooperatively via Xbox LIVE Gold membership.[37]

Campaign

Locke ordering Buck to destroy a Phaeton.

The campaign mode of Halo 5: Guardians has been designed around the game's fireteam-centric focus and alternates between the perspectives of John-117's Blue Team and Spartan Locke's Fireteam Osiris. 343 Industries considers the fireteams (internally known as "musketeers" within the studio) to be the most significant gameplay innovation in Halo 5.[38] Due to the presence of the fireteams, enemies in Halo 5: Guardians are designed to be faster, more responsive and generally more lethal.[39] However, the campaign difficulty also scales according to the number of players.[13]

In single player campaign, the other team members operate autonomously but the player is able to give them contextual commands by pressing up the D-pad. The order given is determined by what the player is currently looking at. Some of these orders include Attack My Target, Go To Location, Use Vehicle (or turret), Pick Up Weapon and Revive Teammate.[39] The new revival mechanic allows both AI members of the team to revive the player or players to revive one another in co-op play. When a player takes too much damage, they go into a "downed" state. Active players or AI-controlled fireteam members can revive the downed Spartan within a set time limit which is shown in an icon on their HUDs. If a player remains downed for too long, they will die and be subject to similar respawn mechanics as in the prior games.[39] This is also the case with certain types of damage such as being stuck by a plasma grenade or falling to one's death.[40]

Tanaka reviving Vale.

In cooperative play, players assume the roles of different fireteam members, with each having their own distinct loadout; for example, Linda-058 always spawns with a sniper rifle. The different characters' base attributes also have subtle differences: for example, Kelly-087 is faster than the other members of Blue Team and Tanaka has a higher motion tracker range. Characters also have minor differences in traits such as their grenade carrying capacity or thrust recharge rate.[41] The heads-up displays of each team member have a unique design.[39] In co-op, players are able to choose which character to play as, although they are restricted to either Locke or the Master Chief in single player.[40] Co-operative games run on dedicated servers and allow players to seamlessly drop in and drop out of gameplay by simply joining the game and selecting a character to play as.[39]

The game has an intricate chatter system in which fireteams offer both contextual commentary during gameplay as well as scripted mission dialog, filling the role Cortana had in the prior games. This is seen by the developers as a means to tie storytelling more closely with the gameplay.[42] If the player lingers in an area the squad members will have dynamic conversations about various topics, such as their past, the location they are in, or the ongoing events.[43] Some contextual lines of dialog are different depending on which characters are controlled by players at a given time.[39] 343 Industries has stated that Blue Team has more lines of dialog in the game than they do in all prior Halo media.[14] As a notable change from Halo 4, the Covenant enemies of Jul 'Mdama's faction now speak English as they did in the original Halo trilogy. This is explained as 'Mdama's authority over his followers diminishing, as they have lately begun to ignore his mandate forbidding the use of human languages.[13]

Halo 5: Guardians creative director Josh Holmes has stated that the game would feature the largest and most open gameplay spaces in any Halo game yet, with an emphasis on replayability and sandbox-like gameplay.[11] The campaign was stated to be twice the length of Halo 4's.[44] The campaign missions feature a variety of possible alternate routes, including ledges that can be climbed with the clamber Spartan ability[40] and routes that can be opened by charging through destructible walls with the Spartan charge ability. When playing as Fireteam Osiris, players have access to the Artemis Tracking System, which can be used to highlight these alternate paths as well as collectibles and other items of interest.[13] Such items include objects left behind by Blue Team. Quick time events, a controversial addition to the Halo 4 campaign, are not featured in Halo 5: Guardians, although some of the cinematics are designed to immerse the player to the experience of the character they are controlling in a similar manner.[41]

Several new types of enemy have been added to the gameplay sandbox. The Promethean enemy faction returns, with the addition of the new Promethean Soldier class of infantry units and the Phaeton gunship.

With Sequence making Halo: The Fall of Reach - The Animated Series, terminals have been replaced with 117 pieces of Mission Intel;[45] audio logs that provide background information contextual to each mission.[46]

Audio

Main article: Halo 5: Guardians Original Soundtrack

343 Industries' Sotaro Tojima returns as the audio director for Halo 5: Guardians, with the intentions to have the most realistic sound possible in gaming. Though Tojima's sound team used recordings for Halo 4 as reference, it was decided that reusing the recordings would not suffice for Halo 5: Guardians. Tojima stated "We decided to design the whole sound from scratch again to update the fidelity for the new-generation platform, Xbox One."[13]

For high quality explosion sounds, Tojima's team recorded the sounds produced from various forms of debris dropped from a crane. For better bullet sounds, a microphone was placed behind a rock and an armed individual shot past it from 1,000 feet away. An accurate weapon tail was captured by utilizing the reflected sound from the environment when a gun was fired; Tojima's team shot off guns in a variety of interior and exterior spaces.[13]

Kazuma Jinnouchi served as the game's sole composer,[30] recording music at Abbey Road Studios in London and the Rudolfinum in Prague. The game's tracks are noted to "sound fresh, yet distinctly Halo". Jinnouchi expressed interest in bringing back the original Halo Theme into Halo 5: Guardians. After a number of discussions, it was determined that the "Halo choir" was to be implemented into the game in an obvious way, compared to the subtle manner the choir was implemented in Halo 4. Ultimately, Jinnouchi and his team composed their own interpretation of both the Halo Theme and its choir.[13]

Voice cast

Multiplayer

The ground pound ability, used on the map Crossfire.

With Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer, 343 Industries seeks to highlight the "arena shooter" aspects of classic Halo multiplayer gameplay. The unlockable custom loadouts and killstreak rewards present in Halo 4 have been disposed of in favor of a "level playing field"; all players start with identical equipment as in the pre-Halo: Reach games, with a focus on controlling weapons present on the map.[47] The new Spartan abilities also play a large role in the multiplayer;[35] the thruster pack in particular increases player mobility significantly. Another new feature is battle-chatter, automatic dialog among the team in which Spartans call out enemy locations and kills.[48] The multiplayer also includes the name of the segment of the map that the player is currently in being displayed near the motion sensor as in Halo 2: Anniversary and Halo: Reach. Dynamic map elements similar to the multiplayer maps in Halo 2: Anniversary are also present.[49] During the Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta when a team won a match the Spartan-IVs on said team would congratulate each other with high fives and clap. However, in the final game the winning team will only stand.

In addition to the staple UNSC and Covenant weapons, all of the Forerunner weapons introduced in Halo 4 return in Halo 5: Guardians. A number of new weapons have been added to the multiplayer sandbox, among them unique weapons including the Mythic weapon Arbiter's personal energy sword, Prophets' Bane. Other new weapons include the Hydra multi-launch missile launcher. Vehicles like the Mantis now have multiple variants and skins.[50]

The Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta was used to gather data and feedback on the new multiplayer model as well as some of the new features. The beta featured two new multiplayer modes: Breakout, in which two teams are thrown into a training arena via man cannons and each player has only a single life with no respawns;[48] and Strongholds, in which two teams control moving territories.

Players in the new Warzone game mode.

Halo 5: Guardians also features an all-new multiplayer mode called Warzone, which combines large-scale competitive multiplayer with objective-based gameplay and AI-controlled enemies. Warzone is treated as a distinct experience from the game's classic competitive multiplayer, now named "Arena".[51]

The game's ranking system is similar to Halo 4's dual-ranking system composed of a progression-based rank and a competitive skill rank based on wins and losses.[52] A new addition to the game's multiplayer component is the Requisition system, designed to reward players across different multiplayer modes. Players earn "REQ Points" after each match of Arena or Warzone multiplayer. These points can then be used to purchase "REQ Packs", which contain both cosmetic and gameplay-affecting items; however, the latter are only usable in Warzone while only cosmetic items are usable in Arena to maintain balanced competitive play. REQ packs can also be purchased with real-world currency.[51]

Halo 5: Guardians matchmaking features no voting or veto system and instead features map rotation.[53] The game launched with 21 maps and there will be over 18 maps as DLC, the most of any Halo game. Unlike past titles all DLC maps are free.[45] Forge in Halo 5: Guardians has been greatly improved upon even in comparison to Halo 2: Anniversary's, with feedback from members of the community used to improve the experience.[54]

Multiplayer maps
  • Alpine – A large Forge map with grassy terrain, hills, and a body of water that can be Forged over.
  • Breakout Arena - A dedicated Forge map used in the Breakout mode, set in an orbital UNSC training arena with a holographic floor.
    • Altitude - A Forged map used in the Breakout mode.
    • Crossfire - A Forged map used in the Breakout mode.
    • Gambol - A Forged map used in the Breakout mode.
    • Trench - A Forged map used in the Breakout mode.
    • Trident - A Forged map used in the Breakout mode.
  • Coliseum – An Arena map set on a Forerunner structure inside a Burn, used to train Warrior-Servants for combat against the Flood.
  • Eden – An asymmetrical remix of Empire at night.
  • Empire – A human urban-themed Arena map with a symmetrical layout.
  • Fathom – An Arena map set in an undersea base.
  • Glacier – A large snow and ice covered Forge map set beside a cliff with a giant ravine cut down the middle.
  • Mercy - Arena map and remake of the Halo 4 map Haven, set on Sanghelios.
  • Molten - A remix of the Arena map The Rig, set in an industrial facility on Ruthersburg.
  • Overgrowth – A remix of the Arena map Plaza, set in an overgrown urban environment.
  • Parallax – A "skybox only" Forge map set in interplanetary space.
  • Plaza – An asymmetrical map dedicated for Arena, set in the back alleys of a human city.
  • Regret – A remix of the Arena map Truth, set in the now overgrown wreckage of the ship after its crash-landing on Alpha Halo.
  • Riptide - A remix of the Arena map Fathom, set on a Created-controlled world.
  • Stasis - A remix of the Arena map Torque, set on a crashed habitat ring on an icy planet.
  • The Rig – An asymmetrical map dedicated for Arena, set on a mining rig on Meridian.
  • Tidal - A Forge map set over open water.
  • Torque - Arena map, set on the Created-controlled Auriga Station.
  • Truth – A remake of the Halo 2 map Midship. Arena map set on one of the ships attached to the Fleet of Particular Justice in a re-imagining of the Battle of Installation 04.
  • Tyrant - Arena map, set on intact Forerunner structures remaining in the Zeta Hydronis Secundus system.
Warzone maps

Armor permutations

Main article: Armor permutations (Halo 5: Guardians)

The player can only choose from a standard Spartan model. There are several armor permutations which can be combined, though unlike previous games, only the helmet, visor, and armor can be customized. All armor permutations do not have any effects on gameplay. They are unlocked by opening REQ packs.

Marketing

E3 2013 teaser

Main article: Halo Xbox One announcement trailer

In their E3 2013 conference, Microsoft showed a teaser trailer intended to showcase the future direction of the Halo franchise on the Xbox One. Rather than announcing Halo 5 in particular, the trailer announced the presence of the Halo franchise on the new console, set to debut in 2014 with a then-unspecified Halo title.[4]

The teaser opens with a hooded figure journeying through a desert on an alien world. The figure, revealed to be John-117 clad in battered MJOLNIR armor, clutches Cortana's empty data crystal chip as he encounters an enormous Forerunner machine rising from the sand.[4]

Multiplayer Beta teaser

Main article: Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta announcement trailer

First shown during Microsoft's E3 2014 press conference, this announcement trailer unveils the Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta. It depicts Blue and Red teams of SPARTAN-IVs in War Games training aboard a dedicated space station.

Multiplayer Beta First Look

Main article: Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta First Look

First shown during Microsoft's Gamescom 2014, this trailer presents the first details of the Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta available in Halo: The Master Chief Collection.

Multiplayer Beta: Behind the Scenes

Main article: Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta: Behind the Scenes

A Behind The Scenes feature released on November 10, 2014, detailing the new features and development of the Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer beta.[35]

The Sprint

Main article: The Sprint

The Sprint is an ongoing digital series which presents the development of Halo 5: Guardians, with the first season focusing on the Multiplayer Beta, the second on developing the footage for E3 2015, and the third on the campaign.

Multiplayer Beta Trailer

Main article: Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta trailer

The trailer was revealed in December 18, 2014, and presents new gameplay of several weapons, game modes and maps.

Halo 5: Guardians cover art puzzle

Between Saturday, April 25 and Tuesday, April 28, 2015 Halo fans from around the world searched for 117 pieces of an image. These pieces of the image were found in emails from Microsoft, Twitch, YouTube videos, and Xbox.com before the puzzle was completed revealing the final Halo 5: Guardians cover art. Coincidentally, Rob Semsey, senior communications manager for the Halo franchise, claimed that the puzzle was completed at 1:17 pm PST.[55] Shortly after the puzzle's completion an animated version of the poster was uploaded to YouTube featuring some of the Halo 5: Guardians soundtrack.[32]

Hunt the Truth

Main article: Hunt the Truth

Hunt the Truth, stylized as HUNT the TRUTH, was a marketing campaign for Halo 5: Guardians. It featured audio logs, blog posts and other media posted online and spanned two seasons. The first season centered on journalist Benjamin Giraud's hunt for the truth about the Master Chief's origins, while the second season continued the story, now focusing on the supposed rebel leader "FERO" who helped Giraud during the first season.[56]

Character advertisements

Main articles: All Hail and The Cost

Two live-action trailers featuring a confrontation between Agent Locke and the Master Chief from both characters' respective points of view were released on March 29, 2015.

Spartan Locke Armor Ad

Main article: Halo 5: Guardians Spartan Locke Armor Set Gamestop Ad

A CGI trailer featuring Spartan Locke fighting Jul 'Mdama's Covenant forces on Sanghelios was released on April 20, 2015.

Cinematic trailer

Main article: Halo 5: Guardians E3 Cinematic trailer

During the E3 Xbox Media Briefing on June 15, 2015, 343 Industries released a cinematic trailer, showcasing some cutscenes from the game and establishing the premise. It was followed by the demo.

Demonstration video

Main article: Halo 5: Guardians E3 2015 Campaign Demo

The gameplay demonstration picks up from the scene shown last in the cinematic trailer, depicting Fireteam Osiris as they track John-117 through Sunaion in the midst of a battle. The demonstration showcases the use of Spartan abilities, the ATS, the squad interaction system, and the new weapon plasma caster. It also introduces a new type of enemy, the Promethean Soldier, and the new Forerunner character Warden Eternal.

Warzone trailer

Main article: Halo 5: Guardians Warzone Trailer

Another trailer released on the same day as the cinematic trailer and gameplay demonstration announces the new gametype Warzone. The trailer showcases the multiplayer level Escape from ARC as well as Warzone gameplay.

E3 Hololens Experience

Main article: Halo 5: Guardians E3 Hololens Experience

At E3 2015, Microsoft had a Hololens presentation set up to show off Warzone. The presentation is 'set' aboard UNSC Infinity and has Sarah Palmer explain how the gametype works.

Halo 5: Guardians ViDoc: Warzone

Main article: Halo 5: Guardians ViDoc: Warzone

A documentary released on June 15, 2015 showcases the development of the multiplayer mode, Warzone.

Halo 5: Guardians ViDoc: A Hero Reborn

Main article: Halo 5: Guardians ViDoc: A Hero Reborn

This documentary focuses on the development of the Halo 5: Guardians campaign.

Gamescom Multiplayer trailer

Main article: Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer trailer

At Gamescom 2015, a multiplayer trailer was shown.

Opening Cinematic trailer

Main article: Halo 5: Guardians Opening Cinematic

A trailer released on August 31, 2015, showcasing the game's second cutscene.[57]

REQ System Tutorial

Main article: Halo 5: Guardians REQ System Tutorial

A tutorial video released on September 17, 2015, of Mister Chief explaining the new REQ system.

Blue Team Opening Cinematic trailer

Main article: Halo 5: Guardians Blue Team Opening Cinematic

A trailer released on September 23, 2015, showcasing the cinematic for the Halo 5: Guardians mission Blue Team.

A Hero Falls and The Hunt Begins TV trailers

Main articles: A Hero Falls and The Hunt Begins

The minute long live-action trailer, A Hero Falls, debuted September 27, 2015, on Sunday Night Football. It was followed five days later by a longer trailer, The Hunt Begins, which had been leaked. This trailer's officially planned debut was during commercial break of Fear the Walking Dead on October 4, 2015.

Launch Gameplay Trailer

Main article: Halo 5: Guardians Launch Gameplay Trailer

The Halo 5: Guardians Launch Gameplay trailer debuted October 12, 2015, two weeks before the game's release. It shows several aspects of the campaign.

Merchandise

Features Standard Limited Edition Limited Collector's Edition
Image of contents H5 final cover art.png H5G Limited Edition.png H5G Limited Collectors Edition.png
Game disc & 2 weeks XBL Gold Yes Yes Yes
Halo: The Fall of Reach Animated Series No Yes Yes
Guardian model by Metal Earth® No Yes Yes
Uniquely-designed Spartan themed SteelBook® No Yes Yes
Spartan Locke’s Classified Orders No Yes Yes
Dossiers on Blue Team and Fireteam Osiris No Yes Yes
14 Premium Warzone Requisition packs No Yes Yes
Commemorative statue of John-117 and Jameson Locke No No Yes

A limited edition Xbox One based on the game is available for preorder from the Microsoft Store, Amazon, and Gamestop.[58]

Editions

On December 28, 2014, Microsoft announced three editions of Halo 5: Guardians that are available for preorder. The standard edition includes a poster for those who preorder and retails at $59.99 USD. The Limited Edition, retailing at $99.99 USD, includes a Warzone REQ Bundle of 14 Premium Requisition packs, Halo: The Fall of Reach - Animated Series, Guardian model by Metal Earth®, Spartan Locke’s Classified Orders, dossiers on Blue Team and Fireteam Osiris, an Xbox Live Gold 14-day Trial, and is packaged in a uniquely-designed Spartan themed SteelBook®. Available for $249.99 USD, the Limited Collector's Edition includes all bonuses given with the Limited Edition, as well as a digital copy of the game and a commemorative numbered statue of John-117 and Jameson Locke, designed by 343 Industries.[59] A limited edition Xbox One console is also available for $499.99 USD.

Pre-order bonuses

Those who pre-ordered from Gamestop received HUNTER-class Mjolnir armor for use in multiplayer upon launch.[60] Gamestop also offered the Sentinel Battle Rifle with laser targeter and the Bloodthirst Battle Rifle weapon skin.[61] Consumers who pre-ordered from Amazon received the long barrel Projection SMG.[62]

Gallery

Promotional artwork

Screenshots

Renders

Concept art

Multiplayer

Sources

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Halo Waypoint: Halo 5: Guardians
  2. ^ YouTube: Halo 5 Multiplayer Trailer [Gamescom]
  3. ^ a b c Xbox Wire - Halo 5: Guardians Pre-Order Details Released, Multiplayer Beta Starts Today
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Xbox Wire: The Halo Journey
  5. ^ Microsoft Xbox One briefing E3 2013
  6. ^ Halo Waypoint: The Great Journey
  7. ^ Xbox Wire: Halo 5: Guardians Biggest Halo Launch in History
  8. ^ Softpedia: Halo 5 Guardians Fail to Deliver Halo 4 Level Sales in the United Kingdom
  9. ^ Gearnuke: Halo 5 Guardians Worst Selling Mainline Halo Japan Sales Compared to Past Halo Games
  10. ^ VGChartz
  11. ^ a b NeoGaf: post #9039 by Josh Holmes
  12. ^ a b Microsoft Xbox One briefing E3 2014
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Game Informer: July 2015 Halo 5: Guardians coverage
  14. ^ a b Game Informer: Halo 5: Guardians – The Spartans Tough Enough To Work With Master Chief
  15. ^ YouTube: Halo: Nightfall Panel - SDCC 2014
  16. ^ Halo: The Master Chief Collection announcement trailer
  17. ^ Halo Waypoint: Halo: Nightfall
  18. ^ Gamesradar: 343 chats to GR+ about Locke and Master Chief's mystique in Halo 5
  19. ^ YouTube: Every. Halo. Ever. E3 2014
  20. ^ NeoGaf: Frank O'Connor on Locke and Master Chief
  21. ^ YouTube: Halo 2: Anniversary - Cairo Station Campaign Gameplay and...
  22. ^ Halo Xbox One announcement trailer
  23. ^ Halo Waypoint: Achievements Revealed
  24. ^ NeoGAF: Frank O'Connor on game engine
  25. ^ Eurogamer: 343's master plan for Halo 5: Guardians
  26. ^ IGN: Halo 4 Art Director Steps Down at 343 Industries
  27. ^ Joystiq: Tomb Raider, Republic Commando creative director joins 343 Industries
  28. ^ Twitter: schlerf
  29. ^ Twitter: Brian Reed
  30. ^ a b NeoGaf: Frank O'Connor on music
  31. ^ Halo: Escalation Library Edition Volume #1, "The Next 72 Hours" developer commentary
  32. ^ a b Xbox Wire: Halo 5: Guardians Cover Art
  33. ^ Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta announcement trailer
  34. ^ Josh Homes on Twitter: "The Campaign and MP have both been designed around the Spartan Abilities."
  35. ^ a b c YouTube: Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta: Behind the Scenes
  36. ^ ArsTechnica: Halo 5 listing, dev statement confirm end of series’ local multiplayer (Updated)
  37. ^ Halo Waypoint: Clarity Regarding Halo 5: Guardians Online Co-op Access
  38. ^ Halo 5: Guardians ViDoc: A Hero Reborn
  39. ^ a b c d e f Halo Waypoint: Halo 5: Guardians - Your Team is your Weapon
  40. ^ a b c Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named RUL
  41. ^ a b YouTube: Interview Exclusive Josh Holmes (343 Industries)
  42. ^ Game Informer: Evolved Combat: How Halo 5: Guardians Is Breaking Tradition
  43. ^ YouTube: Halo 5: Guardians - The Best is Yet to Come (Interview) - E3 2015
  44. ^ IGN: Halo 5: Guardians: Gamescom Footage
  45. ^ a b Halo Waypoint: Halo 5: Guardians Goes Gold
  46. ^ Halo Waypoint: Canon Fodder - Locke & Load
  47. ^ Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta First Look
  48. ^ a b IGN: We Played the Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta, and...
  49. ^ Game Informer: A Guided Tour of Fathom
  50. ^ The Game Informer Show: The Halo Spectacular
  51. ^ a b Halo Waypoint: More info: REQ Packs in Halo 5: Guardians
  52. ^ Josh Holmes on Twitter: "Still have SR, plus CSR in Arena. Also a new progression/unlock system that we'll be talking about in the coming months."
  53. ^ Beyond Entertainment: There Will Be No Map Voting In Halo 5: Guardians
  54. ^ Halo Waypoint: Building the Biggest Forge Yet
  55. ^ Twitter: RobSemsey (According to my sources, the Halo 5: Guardians cover art puzzle (which consisted of 117 pieces) was solved at 1:17pm PT.)
  56. ^ huntthetruth.tumblr.com
  57. ^ Neogaf: Frank O'Conner clarifies
  58. ^ IGN - Halo 5: Guardians Limited Edition Xbox One On Its Way
  59. ^ Halo Waypoint: Halo 5: Guardians
  60. ^ Gamestop Ad
  61. ^ Gamestop: Halo 5: Guardians
  62. ^ Amazon: Halo 5: Guardians

External links