Ahead of Microsoft’s E3 2015 Media Briefing and this fall’s release, we’re learning more about Halo 5: Guardians, including new characters, hints about an upcoming, never-before-seen multiplayer mode and completely free maps.
Halo 5: Guardians is on the front cover of GameInformer, a monthly magazine about games and game development. The outlet rolls out new content on a gradual basis. As such, the new things we’re learning about today for Halo 5: Guardians is a short preview of what’s to come.
Mainly, most of the details are story driven. We’ve known for a while that the campaign in Halo 5: Guardians would focus on series protagonist John 117 suddenly being declared a traitor by the UNSC military that created him. Introduced in the Halo: Nightfall series, it’s Agent Spartan Locke — a relatively unknown quantity — job to find Master Chief John 117 and bring him down. So far, Microsoft and 343 Industries’ commercials and reveals have focused on that.
What we didn’t know is the entire legendary Blue Team from the expanded Halo universe will join the Master Chief in the battle. According to the story, Linda, Fred and Kelly will all join John 117 in the single player in different ways. They’ll interactive with him, delivering need-to-know details and anchoring the game’s cutscenes. Linda, Fred and Kelly were raised along with John 117 and spent years fighting alongside him. In Halo 5: Guardians players can join each other’s story mode and play alongside their friends. When they do they’ll take on the role of one of these characters too, keeping the experience intact and story driven.
The team hunting down John 117 will consist of less familiar names and recognizable faces. Called Fireteam Osiris, it mostly consists of Spartans never seen before in the Halo games. Buck is a member of Fireteam Osiris and was featured in Halo 3: ODST, the series’ first spin-off with its own story and characters. In that game Buck was an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper or ODST. Now he’s a Spartan, with all the power-ups and abilities that involves.
Halo 5: Guardians is almost a reboot of the popular first-person shooter franchise that’s now managed by 343 Industries inside Microsoft. It’s the studio’s second main Halo game and it is anxious to prove that it has what it takes to the keep franchise alive with key gameplay improvements and visual upgrades. The ability to leap onto ledges and pull yourself up is new to the franchise. So too is being able run as much as you like during game play. Previously, this was a timed ability that users had to switch out if they wanted to gain other tactical advantages. Players can use jets built into their armor to pulverize anyone standing below them too.
A few months ago 343 Industries said that it had more changes planned for the multiplayer based on the feedback it received from the Halo 5: Guardians beta that it held in late December and early January.
Besides listening to feedback and steadily improving the game, 343 Industries is aiming to deliver some must-haves to entice buyers too. The five Halo 5 map packs that will arrive over the game’s life span will be free for anyone and everyone to download. Additional 343 tells GameInformer that co-operative gameplay won’t require an Xbox Live Gold subscription, even though it’s technically considered multiplayer.
Halo 5: Guardians arrives on store shelves at the Xbox Store on October 27th, just in time to kick off the holiday gaming season. Microsoft is hoping that the game will entice another wave of users to upgrade to the Xbox One instead of hanging on to their Xbox 360 or purchasing Sony’s PS3.