Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Reclaimer (Halo 4 predictions) [UPDATED]

     Hey all! In light of recent rumors and discussions, I feel this is a good time to go through my predictions for Halo 4. I haven't dealt with this subject since the concept art trailer that was released at Halo Fest. I got my Cotton Candy Trix yogurt (which is easily the best flavor) and I'm ready to unleash some mad logical predictions to your faces. Let's do this.

->UPDATES are at the bottom!<-

BE FOREWARNED, SOME SPOILERS AHEAD (from Glasslands and Primordium)

     First, let's deal with the basics. From the announcement trailer for Halo 4, we can put together the plainly obvious. Master Chief and Cortana are back (Huzzahs are in order simply for that) and the back half of the Forward Unto Dawn is being pulled into the giant mechanical butthole of the mysterious forerunner planet that we see at after the credits of Halo 3 (Legendary difficulty). Okay, we got our opening part for the premise of Halo 4 and, what has now been dubbed, The Reclaimer Trilogy. 

     Fast forward to Halo Fest 2011, where, at the Halo 4 panel, we got a couple new bits of info, along with the concept trailer I am about to discuss. First though, let's get the small bit out of the way- the music and sounds of Halo 4. The new sound director, who's name has escaped me..., is really making a change in the tone of the music. Most people instantly likened what little we have heard so far to the sounds and music of the Mass Effect series. This seemed to leave a bad taste in many peoples' mouths, considering it as being 'unoriginal' and taking away from the wondiferous sounds that Marty O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori gave us for 10 years. While I will miss those signature sounds, the fact of the matter is, is that it's a new era in the Halo universe, one in which is a flourishing renaissance of forgotten history and knowledge that Humanity, and the rest of the galaxy is uncovering. It's a time when the galaxy is moving out of what I would liken to being the dark ages of Europe, before the wealth of knowledge and art set them back on track. It's a time when we are venturing into very unknown territory, and by "us," I don't just mean Humanity, I mean all of the known sentient species in our galaxy, mainly the Sangheili and Humans. We walk into the dark, vast unknown, and I feel that what we've heard so far captures that tone so very well, regardless if these sounds are familiar. Now, 343i obviously doesn't feel like pissing off their fans, so I have a feeling that we'll be hearing stuff similar to what we've known in the past. And with the sound effects, it's a constant strive for newer, in-your-face sounds, with a bigger punch to them (in the context of gunfire and explosions). 

     Also during the Halo 4 panel, we got to see a bunch of concept art pieces put together for a small trailer for us to sink our teeth into, and sink our teeth we did. The night of the Halo 4 panel, I wrote a small article discussing what we are seeing and making connections to other things we've seen/heard in the past, and at Halo Fest. I'll link the video just below, and then I'll copy/paste the article below that.


"Mind you, this is somewhat lengthy, but if you want to know what I feel is going to happen in Halo 4, you WANT to read this. I feel it's quite well reasoned and the community should see and discuss. 

Hey all! By now I imagine most of us have seen this by now. But what sort of information can we gather from it? With some speculation and logical reasoning, I imagine we can gather a fair bit. And if you think about the video in a chronological order, it makes a TON of sense. 

0:07- We start out with an alien planet that actually looks quite natural, contrary to the mysterious planet we've been seeing the whole time. But what makes it weird is that it transitions to the Forward Unto Dawn plunging into the planet, engines first. This type of transition sort of implies that it's continuity cutting and that the artificial planet and the natural looking planet are one and the same. This, and a specific point that I will bring up in a little bit may support this. 

0:27- We see next the ship has crashed, presumably, inside the dyson sphere and we see the chief coming out of the launch bay that he crashed into at the end of Halo 3. From here is the searching portion. 

0:30- The next set of images are of the master chief looking out onto massive backdrops and forerunner structures. It is here that I want to explain a small theory. 

Today at the Halo 4 panel, Frankie stated that these forerunner structures and technology aren't abandoned and offline. They are very much online. It has been theorized that the MC will be acquiring some Forerunner armor for himself. And with Cortana well on her way to rampancy, her life is very much at risk. It can be seen and read in Halo: Cryptum that Forerunner AI lasted so very much longer than human AI ever had a chance of. With Cortana's longevity at stake and MC's armor being more make-shift than it ever has at this point, and with all this running Forerunner stuff online, I would imagine that somewhere along the way, these problems will be addressed and fixed. By which I mean, Cortana is going to be going through some forerunner upgrades to make her life-span last much longer, while the chief will receive some new toys. Though I imagine this wouldn't happen until the end of Halo 4-the beginning of Halo 5 (in the same way he went from Mk V to Mk Vi in Halo 2). I really wanted to bring this up instead of the Halo Fest music during the Q&A session, but it was likely that they wouldn't be saying much of anything. Also at the Halo 4 display at Halo Fest, we see Cortana in a... curled up position, very forlorn looking and sad. Surrounded by the black of space, and her impending rampancy, her light is flickering out and will probably be a huge issue in Halo 4. PLEASE DISCUSS!! 

Now back to the video: 1:01 

The next big theory starts here. We see what look to be Human vessels heading into the same planet that the Chief is in. I presume these are Human mostly due to the 2 pelicans flying along side them. And I say they're heading into the planet because if you look in the background, it looks quite the same. And if you have been to Halo Fest this weekend, and have seen the Halo 4 display, seen here, we see the picture titled, "Grandeur." This picture is of a UNSC vessel over "an alien planet." A planet quite like the one from the beginning of the concept art video? And if the two planets are one and the same, these 2 pieces of art pretty much shout out to the audience that the UNSC was able to receive Cortana's stress beacon (from Halo 3) and they have come to rescue her and the chief, because at this point, the stuff they know is quite valuable to the Humans. 

1:10- We see the chief looking upon Forerunner ships being deployed (Primordium cover art). VERY INTERESTING POINT that supports other theory that will be stated in a moment. 

1:13- ship wreckage everywhere floating around space. Like I said before, if you take this video in a chronological manner, it probably means that the UNSC forces sent to retrieve the chief and cortana have been decimated by the Forerunner ships we have just seen launching. 

We see the Halo 4 logo. 

1:30- We see a non-organic being that is humanoid in shape but with a bright blood-red eye, which, with a few exceptions, tends to imply rampancy in AIs. Presumably forerunner, these humanoid machines are, i imagine, going to be our new primary enemies, and the ones that have attacked the UNSC forces. You can see the full imagine in here 

So what do you all think? I am quite excited to see what is in store for us in Halo 4! Please discuss everyone! 

P.S.- One more side theory: 

This new trilogy is called "The Reclaimer Trilogy." When one reads this, they must have to wonder why that name and what significance does it have in representing the overall story? Once MC and Cortana are all fixed up and Forerunnerfied, we will see them spearheading the movement to (Drumroll please) RECLAIM this technology from the now rampant AI that has taken over. Once this trilogy is over, The chief and cortana will have helped humanity turn to a new age with new knowledge and history and technology. These characters will usher in a new age."
     Okay, now, with all of that in mind, I'd like to clarify a couple things. Certain aspects I feel I have misinterpreted, mainly being the presence of marines within the Dyson Sphere. After further analysis, I do feel that after the forerunner-UNSC battle outside of the sphere, which I still feel will happen, we will get a ship or 2 in there and we will have marines fighting alongside us. And while I really got hooked on the idea of being pretty alone throughout the game, I suppose I can deal with  marine presence. And might I add, before moving on, that I think it's possible that the UNSC has found a map of these worlds in Onyx after the retrieval of the Spartans and Halsey.

     But perhaps I should first deal with the Forward Unto Dawn. It's clearly being ripped apart and shot at by the Forerunner defensive systems. It makes perfect sense from a mechanistic view of nature and society that there are anti-bodies to fend off whatever is viewed as a threat. The UNSC is going to have to fight their way into the planet. That's why I feel there will be a major space battle to witness in Halo 4 that will either end in two ways: First, Master Chief and Cortana manage to disarm the defensive systems and the sentinels are disabled, or (and I feel this is more unlikely) The UNSC Infinity, which is the UNSC's newest prototype warship, which is outfitted with as much recovered Forerunner tech on it as it could hold is going to come in and somehow achieve the same thing, allowing the remaining UNSC ships to enter the planet. In either case, Marines will be touching the ground and will be fighting our new "ancient enemy" with us. 

     Which brings me to my next point, the ancient enemy. I theorized that the ancient enemy was none other than now-rampant A.I.-controlled forerunner tech. This theory has gone in a new direction for me. In one of the terminals from Halo: CEA, 343GS discovers a crashed ship of unknown origin. He never ends up seeing the inhabitants of the ship and that's pretty much where that little bit ends. Now, time and time again, we've heard that CEA, Glasslands, Cryptum, and Primordium have major ties with Halo 4, so I think it's pretty safe to say that the crashed unknown ship holds our new enemy within. While they are obviously dead now, if not from the crash then from the destruction of Installation 04, I think we're going to get to see the face of this enemy in Halo 4. The picture above depicts what is presumably this new enemy, which is clearly mechanical, instead of organic, so we can at least assume that it's not the Flood...yet. I definitely feel we will be encountering the flood at least once more by the end of this trilogy. But if this new enemy isn't rampant AI, then what the fuck is it? Well, right now, I can't say for sure, as this picture and the CEA terminal are our only prevalent clues so far. I'd also like to add that in Glasslands, 343i is clearly setting up a new war between the Humans and the Sangheili, who I feel we will being seeing again sometime soon. Possibly a race between the UNSC and the Sangheili sects to gain Forerunner tech. I see their presence in Halo 4 being similar to that of Halo 3. They show up here and there, but they're more of an after thought compared to the bigger issues of the game. But amongst all of our various enemies, we still have friends- the Huragok .

Out with the old.

     There are still clearly Huragok stationed within the planet, which can be seen in the concept trailer and in Glasslands. Despite being circumstantial evidence at best so far, I feel that the Huragok are going to be a huge part of Master Chief's and Cortana's well-being, in particular to the upgrades that I theorized about. Now, let's take a sec and go back to the announcement trailer. Master Chief looks CLEARLY different and there hasn't been much of any explanation so far that says why, and even Cortana looked relatively different. I am no longer taking how they look in that trailer as how they will look at the beginning of the game. The only way I could explain their look change while sleeping was that in between games, He went around and scavenged the ship for replacement parts, being that he is pretty well versed in how his armor works. I am now under the impression that this was just a way to show us the upgrades we're going to be getting alone the way in Halo 4, much in the way that before Halo 2 came out, we only saw him in the new armor. Like I said in my concept post, Cortana and the Chief are going to be getting some nice upgrades and I think that the Huragok will be the instrument of those changes. If there's any point I feel most confident about, it's this one.

In with the new.

     And finally, I'd like to go over the entirety of the Reclaim trilogy.

     I'd like to start by saying that I still stand by what I said in the Concept analysis post above. By the end of the Reclaimer Trilogy, Humanity, and subsequently, all of the other species will have regained their lost histories, which will usher in a new age in the galaxy. Past this though, I feel that Primordium really has more ties with this than with just Halo 4. Mainly the idea of the ingrained personalities that are acting subconsciously in MC and Cortana, and possibly Noble 6, as Natalie predicted. Now, I can't really speak on what is discussed in Primordium because the audiobook hasn't come out yet. I was pretty blown away and gave an audible "Holy fuck," after reading her theory. So for specifics and predictions, I recommend reading over her review and analysis of Primordium:

     Now, every story has its end, and that includes Master Chief's and Cortana's story. I obviously can't say for sure at this point, but I think this trilogy will finally take their lives. And while it is sad, if my theory is correct, they will have almost single-handedly ushered in a new age of the galaxy. Whether they end up dying or not, I think we're in for one major ride for the next few years.

     On a side note, which is still Halo related, there are rumors circulating around saying that at the end of this month, Microsoft is going to be holding a presser which will feature something big for Halo 4. Laird feels that we will be getting it even sooner than that, particularly during the Super Bowl. I have patience, but it's obviously not infinite, so I'm hoping that Laird is correct. Kevin and I have also been looking for signs for Halo Fest 2012, which is by no means confirmed at this point. I will say though, that one of the people who dealt pretty heavily with Halo Fest 2011 has been very quiet about what they are working on. I can only guess that Halo Fest is coming back as an annual thing. But, as I always say, only time will tell. So stay tuned, folks.

UPDATE: I did manage to forget a semi-crucial detail in that ( Primordium SPOILERS): we'll most likely be meeting the Librarian and the Didact in some incarnation in The Reclaimer Trilogy, if not in Halo 4, and that the UNSC Infinity is using a duplicate of 343 Guilty Spark as its shipboard AI, which lends itself to my theory of the Infinity coming in and halting the forerunner defensive systems. 

UPDATE (3/5/2012): A new Vidoc came out today that shows the first behind-the scenes look at making Halo 4! It showed us in-game footage, which looks fucking amazing by the way, two new multiplayer maps, and a fandful of other stuff. I am quite interested in how 343i is going to do the Spartan IV storyline with multiplayer. Check out the new vidoc just below!

UPDATE (3/11/12): After doing a little reading on Halo wikia, I was looking over the Spartan IV program. Evidently I overlooked the bit in Halo: Glasslands when Parangosky mentioned that Spartan IVs were already being deployed and that some were stationed on the UNSC Infinity. So, assuming that I am correct in how we'll be seeing the Infinity in Halo 4, presumably, that means we'll also be seeing Spartan IVs in action during the campaign. That is simple speculation. Now, 343i has confirmed that Multiplayer is now being integrated into the official storyline of Halo, and features the Spartan IVs. I can't say for sure whether those stationed on the Infinity will simply end up being the MP storyline, or if they will be effecting the main campaign and Master Chief. Personally, when it was first brought up in Glasslands, I really didn't think that they would be coming up so quickly, otherwise I would've mentioned them in the original article instead of this update... In any event, I hope this bit intrigued some folks. Keep checking back in for more news and updates!

UPDATE (4/7/12): There has been some leaked info from the up-and-coming May issue of Game Informer magazine that is featuring Halo 4. I want to first note that, while I do pay some attention to the multi-player details, my main focus is on the campaign and plot details. So that being said, the GI article mainly seems to focus on the Multiplayer aspect, but there are certain features that seem to be carried over from the campaign side of things. Most notably, because it's something totally new, is what's apparently called "Forerunner Vision," which let's you look through walls and barriers. Seeing as the campaign generally sets up the MP side of things in Halo games, and considering it's called FORERUNNER Vision, that it's something we'll be getting to use at some, or possibly many, point(s) throughout the campaign. Multiplayer is, at least from my understanding, being called "Spartan Ops" now. From the description I've read, which is either word-for-word or could also be the dude's interpretation of it, All MP  seems to be taking place ON the UNSC Infinity while it takes them into deep space for a secret mission. When I read it like that, I got the feeling that the Infinity may not be seen in Halo 4 after all, or at least in the campaign. If this were the case, then the Infinity won't be coming and saving the day for the UNSC from Forerunner defense systems and it will most likely be up to the Chief and Cortana. Thinking back, it's not that I don't think the UNSC Navy can't take care of themselves, but we almost always see them losing and now they're facing forerunner teach straight on instead of the Covy version, which they also had a hard time with. 

     Past those bits, we also had a linked pic of one of the article pages, while most of it was just words, there was a picture of an Elite Minor that wasn't wearing bracers on its forearms like they always have. It was a little weird for me to look at, the balance of blue to brown was odd because the arms are naked besides the shoulder pauldrons. Apparently, though, the Elites won't be making a comeback to MP. Understandable, considering that it's all S-IVs onboard a starship. So I think it's without a doubt that we'll be once again killing the Covenant once again, or at least seeing them. I still feel like they'll be the more seldom of our enemies, but only time will tell. In the meantime, Halo Waypoint moderators have since deleted info on the thread leaking it, and the magazine photo has also been taken down. Looks like we'll have to wait a week or so until the May issue hits shelves, not to mention the Halo 4 info that, I imagine, will be released at PAX East, which is happening right now. 

UPDATE:(4/9/12): I found scans of the full Halo article in the next issue of Game Informer. Enjoy!
    On that note, I think I'll end it here. I leave you in the capable hands of two songs today: "Reclaimer," by Marty O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori, and "Undying Love," by Two Steps from Hell, which was featured in the Halo Fest 2011 trailer. Enjoy!

& yes, the Halo Fest trailer DID bring a tear or two to my eyes.
"Believe again"

Until next time...

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