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Making Halo 4: Return of the Forerunners

From Halopedia, the Halo wiki

Halo 4: Return of the Forerunners is a video documentary by 343 Industries, about the development of the Prometheans and their weapons. It was released on YouTube on September 12th, 2012.[1]


  • Prophet of Truth: "Putting aside our sorrow, we renewed our faith in the prophecy that other rings would be found. And see how our faith has been rewarded."
  • Josh Holmes: "The Forerunners have been the source of so much mystery throughout the Halo franchise, it was something that was just fascinating to us."
  • Brian Reed: "So far it's been a lot of stumbling into their belongings, y'know, we found Halo's, and now we found something more; we found the Prometheans.
  • Kenneth Scott: "There's a degree of animalistic fierceness that maybe you didn't see in previous games."
  • Kiki Wolfkill: "The conditions and the context are what pit a hero and antagonist against each other."
  • Lindsay Lockhart: "For this game we're gonna get to see a lot of complexity to their civilization."
  • Josh Holmes: "From their world view what they're doing has to make sense."
  • Armando Troisi: "Trying to figure out ways to tell that story without interfering with the shooting aspect of it has been a really challenging thing."
  • Kiki Wolfkill: "We've gotten glimpses of this Forerunner presence that was kind of always there open as to whether it would ever erupt, and it did."
  • Armando Troisi: "We're trying to really take game systems and manipulate them and give them emotional coloring of context."
  • Josh Holmes: "We wanted to create something that could stand alone and be an enemy that is just as challenging, just as engaging, as the Covenant has been in the past for Halo."
  • Scott Warner: "A lot of that initial discussion was around: 'If you had this incredibly evolved race, and they were well beyond humanity, the Covenant, what would that look like?"


  • Kiki Wolfkill: "The design process for the Prometheans was intriguing, exciting, and then long and painful process. I think just, 'cause everyone was so invested in what they wanted out of them."
  • Nicolas Bouvier: "How do you imply something strong, something vertical, something different? And how could we actually have a global, logical language out of that Forerunner philosophy?"
  • Kenneth Scott: "Anybody who's played Halo goes 'Okay, Forerunner is the silvery angular stuff with blue lights across it. That's really the language kind of in a nutshell. For us, it was important to break that, but still find, kind of like, a mathematical organization."
  • Gabriel Garza: "We had to do a very clear separation of style, shapes, colors right from the start."
  • Matthew Aldrige: "I think the Knight's been through almost like fifteen plus iterations of geometry."
  • Gabriel Garza: "This sheet is like, very traditional way of doing brainstorming. You just do silhouettes, and then we take it, and iterate some more, and more, and more."
  • Kiki Wolfkill: "We didn't want them to look like monsters, because they're not monsters."
  • Matthew Aldrige: "We had a version that looked very demon-y."
  • Gabriel Garza: "These things on his back, they will go together and they will, like, flare out — when the player was being spotted."
  • Kiki Wolfkill: "We didn't want the Prometheans to look like robots, because they're not robots."
  • Matthew Aldrige: "-Had a version that looked very thin and spindle-y."
  • Gabriel Garza: "We would see one, and it's like 'Y'know, that one looks cool, but it really doesn't convey "commander of the battlefield".'"
  • Matthew Aldrige: "We had other stuff where they could clamp on and have these big, hulking massive armors on top of them that would really change the variant look."
  • Kenneth Scott: "For us it was important to get into something that people could relate to; which I think is always going to be a challenge when trying to take the Forerunner language and create a character."
  • Matthew Aldrige: "Making sure that his head stood out, that you could see it, that players had the ability to headshot it."
  • Matthew Aldrige: "Also-also into animation; they're able to bring these guys alive and make it feel believable and plausible and still be very fast and lethal."
  • Stephen Dyck: "The locomotion didn't look heavy enough at one point so we scrapped everything and did it all again. The Knight's, like, twelve feet tall; so if it doesn't feel heavy and menacing as its walking around, if it doesn't intimidate the player, then we're not doing our job."
  • Nicolas Bouvier: "There were not a lot of real-life elements that we could take."
  • Gabriel Garza: "Their joints, they're-some of them are not physically connected. They're hold up with the space in between them; which is some of the features that the architecture has; which is big, massive buildings, like, floating: defying gravity. We wanted to keep some of that mystery, and kind of the unknown in the characters as well."
  • Matthew Aldrige: "We even have the little micro-driver arms in here; and then all the way to where you turn these layers off and: the glowing skull."
  • Gabriel Garza: "We thought it would be more of an impact if it's like a sarcophagus; it opens up and its showing all this aggression."
  • Frank O'Connor: "There's certain ways to approach fighting an Elite with a group of Grunts, and really what we wanted to do was change that up."
  • Ray Almaden: "The Covenant are tried-and-true. You know what you're gonna get out of a Grunt, you know what you're gonna from a Jackal with his shield, the toughness of Elites; here are the brand-new hooks to the sandbox."
  • Kiki Wolfkill: "Prometheans are made up of the Knights, the Watchers, and the Crawlers.
  • Josh holmes: "One of the big focuses for us in the design of the Forerunners was to have these different enemy classes that would be able to work together."
  • Chris King: "Having this dissection so that when the player went into combat he's sort of tactically evaluating which order to take guys out."
  • Kiki Wolfkill: "They don't act independantly of each other: you put any combination of them together and the strategy you need to engage with them is really different."
  • Scott Warner: "There are a variety of Knight classes and each one of them is progressively more powerful, but your base Knight actually starts a little more powerful than an Elite."
  • Josh Holmes: "But in addition to that we wanted the Knight to have his own set of traits and abilities."
  • Scott Warner: "There's all kinds of these special features of each one of these characters that players haven't played in a Halo game before."
  • Ray Almaden: "You think about basic combat encounter design; a lot of the challenges designers face is how to introduce enemies."
  • Scott Warner: "What would a Promethean do if it could bend time, space, form, matter?"
  • Ray Almaden: "Knights can phase in and out of anywhere."
  • Scott Warner: "He's able to go anywhere he needs to at any time. Which is something that the Covenant can't do."
  • Ray Almaden: "Crawlers can walk on walls, walk on ceilings."
  • Stephen Dyck: "If a Knight shield bursts, Crawlers will come rushing at you and try, and like, melee the player: they'll get more aggressive."
  • Kenneth Scott: "These certainly slot into that Grunt-style combatant, and so there was certainly a want to make sure that we get a lot of them on-screen."
  • Kiki Wolfkill: "If you let too many of them get together they become a really formidable force; one-off: super fun to take out. All together, its like a pack of feral dogs."
  • Kenneth Scott: "Its mandibles, when it screams, will actually separate and float around in the air while it's howling. Animation adds so much fresh behavior to this character; very exiting."
  • Kiki Wolfkill: "The Watcher is definitely a support class."
  • Chris King: "One of the things we wanted to do with the Forerunner characters was constantly have them mix up their tactics, make the player react to it."
  • Kiki Wolfkill: "The Watcher is able to regenerate Knights."
  • Mattew Aldrige: "One of the things we needed to do when the Watcher design was coming along was make sure the Watcher would actually fit inside of the Knight; that bursts out and swap to the actual Watcher asset."
  • Chris King: "The Watchers are aware of the Knight's damage; they'll protect 'em, they'll catch grenades, so they kinda coordinate their efforts."
  • Scott Warner: "The Prometheans feel like the most advanced of the bunch; they're able to bring all of their technology and wisdm to the battlefield."
  • Ray Almaden: "With new enemy class comes new weapon class."
  • Chris King: "We literally concepted, probably, two hundred weapons for this game before we settled on the half a dozen that went in."
  • Scott Warner: "It's kind of like you've got that balance between human's model of what a weapon's like and the desire to want and try to make something crazy and futuristic."
  • Chris King: We tried coming up with this perfect mix of stuff that was still relatable: you would still identify a weapon as a rifle, or a shotgun, or a submachine gun; even though they're almost magical. The Forerunner Scattershot was probably the first one where we really nailed the design on it. Everybody loves the hinge-action shotgun so we tried doing somethinng like that so that the reload animation would be to cock it up and then the front half would smash together."
  • Ray Almaden: "Every time you pick up a Forerunner weapon it forms in your hands."
  • Chris King: "So that sort of kicked off the component of having these guns form around the player."
  • Ray Almaden: "So there's that moment of 'Oh, what is this gun, what is it doing?' And when it comes into shape it's kinda immediately identifiable."
  • Scott Warner: "What makes the Foreruner weapons distinct is that usually they have dual-purpose. So, for instance, from the bolt pistol you can charge it up and have something that's equivalent to almost like a shotgun blast."
  • Chris King: "In the case of the Lightrifle we actually experimented with doing dual firing modes. We tried to make it so it was the best of both worlds with the BR and the DMR."
  • Frank O'Connor: "It works like the Battle Rifle when you're not scoped: it has a little spread, has a three-shot burst; and it works like the DMR when you are scoped, so it's like a mini-sniper rifle in a way."
  • Chris King: "It actually changes to a different firing mode where the projectiles are stronger."
  • Bill Clark: "One of the big things we really focused on for them was making sure that the weapon doesn't just feel like a chunk of metal but that it actually has glowing energy that's flowing through the gun, going down the barrel, so that everything is very full of life. The moment where all the Promethean effects really started to click the most was when we started showing the dissolve whenever you kill a Knight. That was when we really started to feel 'Yes, this is something cool, this is something unique and something that we haven't really seen before.'"
  • Jon Wood: "This is an early prototype of the Knight de-res. As the spere expands yoou see the particles are birthed, and everything in the red region you see will be the crack and the erode."
  • Bill Clark: "When you shoot and kill the Knight the actual point on the body where you did the damage is where the dissolve starts."
  • Jon Wood: "So if you shoot from his foot he will de-res from the point of his foot up."
  • Bill Clark: "The end result: when we blow up a Knight, they dissolve: proving that the technology works."
  • Armando Troisi: "I look at the changes that we're making, and it really feels like we're making a sequel to Halo 3. And that's exactly what we're setting out to do."
  • Gabriel Garza: "We have the Covenant from previous games, we have the UNSC, we have all these things to take from like, 'Alright, we can make a new take on this,' but we had zero information to some of this Forerunner stuff."
  • Brian Reed: "We're not just on a Halo, we're on a whole planet now. We're not just threatening one corner of the galaxy, we're threatening everything."
  • Armando Troisi: "We're listening to the fan feedback, we're incrementally evolving aspects of the game design, but there's nothing really revolutionary and I think that's important because I think really good design is evolutionary not revolutionary."
  • Scott Warner: "Yeah, I think at some points we got into our heads with this game that 'we're just gonna make another Halo.' I don't think that's what people want, they may think they want that but what they really want is something that speaks the things that they love but then provides them with something new."