We don’t yet know a lot about Microsoft’s upcoming Halo 5: Guardians first-person shooter for the Xbox One beyond multiplayer, but that could all change over the next few days. A new viral website confirmed to be from 343 Industries includes a countdown clock that points to more Halo 5 release details coming early next week.
The site receiving all of the attention is called HuntTheTruth and its available on Tumblr for anyone to see and look at. Right now, there’s not much to see there. A single bullet with the word “Traitor” etched into it acts as a background. In the foreground is a countdown clock and the Halo 5 Guardians logo.
Creating a Halo 5 themed website on Tumblr isn’t exactly difficult, leading some to suspect that the site was actually a hoax put out by someone not affiliated with the game. All of that changed when 343 Industries franchise head Frank O’Connor confirmed that it was genuine in a post on Twitter.
Buttons on the bottom of the site let users add the HuntTheTruth announcement to their calendars in Outlook, Yahoo and Gmail. The description for the reveal in those calendar entries reads like a teaser for the game’s story saying, “It all begins March 22nd at 18:00 PT at HUNTttheTRUTH.tumblr.com.”
Since O’Connor confirmed the authenticity of the site, we can expect 343 Industries to share more about Halo 5: Guardians on Monday at 6pm Pacific Standard Time. That’s great because building excitement has never been more crucial for any game in Microsoft’s past than it is for Halo 5: Guardians.
Microsoft revealed Halo 5 was in development during its media briefing at the Electronic Entertainment Expo back in 2013. At the time, the company only showed series protagonist John-117 in a few shots on an unknown planet. Shortly before E3 2014 Microsoft revealed that the game would be called Halo 5: Guardians. Microsoft’s slate of holiday 2014 releases included Halo: the Master Chief Collection, which acted as a compilation for previous games in the series and included Halo 5 multiplayer beta access.
Hype for the game was at an all-time high until Xbox One owners got their hands on Halo 5: Guardians’ multiplayer. Some had concerns that in trying to appeal to the hard-core first-person shooter market 343 Industries had ruined what used to be a slightly slower, but more satisfying multiplayer experience. Others found that new abilities like Ground Pound were too hard to trigger. On top of that, issues with Halo: The Master Chief Collection’s multiplayer had users wondering whether Halo 5 would have working multiplayer on release day.
Nailing this release is important because Halo is the banner franchise for the Xbox and has been for some time. The game will act as bait, luring the longtime fans of the franchise away from their Xbox 360 and on to Microsoft’s platform. A well-selling Halo: Guardians could allow Microsoft to at least catch Sony’s PS4. Last week Sony confirmed that Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End was delayed until next year. Unless the company has exclusives to reveal for the fall, it’ll be the Xbox One with the most exclusive games during the important holiday shopping season. Exclusive games aren’t just great for keeping the attention of users you already have. Exclusive games are also the best way for Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo to convince those who haven’t invested in their ecosystem yet to switch.
This past fall 343 Industries did confirm that John 117 would be joined in the Halo 5 story by Agent Locke, a new character the studio introduced in a six part video miniseries included with Halo: The Master Chief Collection.