We come a long way together. A long way yet to go. . .
I’d one hundred percent like to start this post by saying a huge thank you to my friend Taras (LateNightGaming) for helping me with this post with his experience. However, take everything here with a pinch of salt, as I won’t be talking anything with many sources to back me up, some theorycrafting and beyond.
I will be using Concept Art, remnants in the full game, and so on to fully explain this, however, it might not be very well put, or I may look over some stuff and if I do I deeply apologise and you can feel free to correct me, however, without further a due, I believe we should get started. . .
Was it a lie?
Let’s open up with something simple, let’s address the elephant in the room, was it really a lie? By that, I mean everything in between Halo 4 and 5, all the marketing, all the stories told.
Which for that I can say it is quite complicated, why? Because half of it was true, some were never really meant to be taken seriously for the game they ended up making due to everything that happened.
I’m certainly sure everyone remembers this image, showing things that were essential to Halo 5, but in reality, nothing in this really played a part into the full product, once upon a time it was essential but the final product didn’t make use of any of it. They might as well have a connection by association.
But what if I told you that all those little words going around the image, Mystery, Reconciliation, Family, Trust, Heritage, Truth, Honour, Heroism, Sacrifice, Betrayal and Redemption were going to play a bigger role in the original idea of the writers? Before. . . Everything happened.
Well, that brings me to my next point.
Causality, Post-Mortem Of Halo 4, influencing Halo 5:
Of course, I will bring this point which I have certainly brought up before countless times before, but I maybe haven’t really worded it perfectly before.
We’re the cause of Halo 5’s current direction. We really are. And the proof is all around the treatment of the Halo games Pre-Halo 4 and Post-Halo 4. By that I mean, the outcry for Halo 4’s Campaign being so ‘complex’ influenced each and every release afterwards, leaving seeds from the next and the next. It’s basic business, really, the people don’t like something? You’re usually forced to change it, as much as it pains you, and that’s what happened with Halo 5.
But let’s look at it from a thorough timeline of events.
A Thoughtful Timeline:
2012 Arrives, release day for Halo 4, and you can bet that everyone and their mothers played this game, it had been years before they had stepped with John’s boots on the battlefield, we had somewhat finished the fight years before in a bombastic campaign that brought a close to Bungie’s trilogy as their contract was about to expire. They just needed to do two more games and that was it, but here we are. The elusive number 4 and it is a massive disappointment for everyone that expected something not deep or using the lore.
Fast forward a bit and we get Spartan Ops, it offers absolutely nothing to the company, plans are cancelled and efforts moved to Dark Horse’s Halo: Escalation comics which hoped to answer every single detail from Spartan Ops complaints, but as time went on, reception offered nothing to the company and brought little to no returns, 343 opted all these efforts cost money, and we did not support them, although we did complain a whole lot and that’s all they’ve had.
So we’re here at the turn of events and this deeper storyline is dropped to appease the increase of complaints in the community. Out of fear, and fear alone, the complex, character-driven storylines that we were offered from the start of Halo 4 were finally dropped around the time of E3 2014.
Well. . . Not everyone liked it.
Those were the words of Bonnie Ross once in regards of Halo 4.
However, to avoid running on a tangent and never getting on the topic of today’s post, I want to address the only rebuttal I and everyone else that argues this comes across. Blaming it on the Community? How retarded can you be?
It’s not blaming the execution of the games in the community, neither are we blaming the failures of 343’s projects on the community when the product itself is rather questionable when it comes to enjoyment, I have said this time and time again, I much prefer the old game’s gameplay mechanics, but what I will always defend is Halo 4’s story and beyond, with the exception of the final product of Halo 5: Guardians, however what I will defend in regards to it is their intentions.
But, when it comes to acknowledging the fact that we influence the concurrent releases more than most people give credit for, we must acknowledge our sins in our harsh treatment of Halo 4, as the cycle turns and people start loving Halo 4’s story which they already are because of many different reasons, maybe they start to understand it better, they are more open-minded, etc.
We must not fail to give fair trial without clouding judgements, nostalgia, hatred, these are things that cloud the mind and obstruct the fact that our opinions are what gave us Halo 5’s direction in the first place. And for that, all of the proof shall remain on the internet and the overall treatment, as a monument to all our sins. . .
But, without further a due, after all that rant, let’s hop onto the juicy bits. Let’s look at the Halo 5 that we could’ve. . .
[DISCLAIMER: This is very loose interpretations of original plans, although, it may be denied, and it only went as far as the ‘Talk’ stage of preparation but not beyond that. I’d also like to state that this can be dismissed as theorycrafting as well.]
The Journey, The Story:
Let’s start with the basics, the story they wanted to tell, which was a character driven story with themes such as Family, Redemption, Heroism, etc. I’m sure they sound familiar, right? Well, let’s just give it more detail, shall we?
Well, to recount things told to me, the story was going to have two sides, like two sides of a coin, but it was originally planned to be played from the perspective of Osiris alone, giving us insight on Blue Team through cutscenes instead of gameplay, which gives me the perspective that Halo 5 sounds more like a spin-off title preparing for the mainline game rather than a mainline game itself, however, the writers wanted to go deeper and give the two sides a deeper perspective, it was going to be very much like Detective work making incredibly intricate Easter eggs that activated with certain weapons in certain locations, some at certain times of the day, and beyond.
It was going to give depth into the story preparing everything for the ultimate reveal, Didact returns and he is controlled by Dr. Halsey and The Librarian as they used the Janus Keys to find and wake the Guardians.
And your work as Locke was to genuinely hunt Chief down, ONI’s legitimate orders were to kill John, By Any Means Necessary as he had gone rogue. But as you went deeper into the story and you uncovered more and more secrets your task changes from killing John to aiding him, and your actions could’ve triggered a civil war between UNSC and Innies.
But it wouldn’t come without hardship as Osiris was going to be shattered, a heavy sense of disdain would fill the team in your journey as your team genuinely hated your guts, Tanaka hated your ONI badge, Vale hated you for similar reasons, but Buck was the only one open to discussing and dialoguing with you. However, it would be a rocky relationship between the two.
Meridian comes and you’re met by an incredibly pissed Tanaka in the middle of your mission to hunt John after your tracks came to no end. She despises you, she yells at you that you will never know how it is to live in an outer colony, and how much she despised his guts. But you move on and you return to Infinity for your next mission, and so on would your journey go where your family would slowly build from the ashes of hatred while Blue Team shattered to pieces.
Fred would become incrementally worried about John’s mental health, as Linda would deny it all, there’d be fighting, distrust between their ranks. Although between references of older missions, brothers and sisters in arms lost, they would find the way to see their mission through, until the end of the line.
But as missions unfolded and the next came, your family in Osiris would build more and more, you would see all of their character arcs unfold before you, Buck would happen in Andesia, given the cityscape in a very similar setting to ODST he would get through it with Osiris, with cutscenes entirely dedicated to building this relationship in between brothers and sisters in arms.
And then comes Sanghelios, we’re at the wake of the Battle of Sunaion, the revelation is through, Blue Team is in Sanghelios and hunting a Guardian so you must hunt them down, for the first time you see your family bond without disdain and Tanaka would give some words to the team. Before heading into the deep end once again, where you would find Warden for the first time granting access to the Guardian to Blue Team, but, however, not to you.
So you fight this unit, this new enemy that would come from nowhere to fight you. And I believe beyond this mission we would slowly find out Halsey’s plans. . .
But that’s as far as the information I have goes, sadly, not everything is really known and well this is very much theory as much as it may be obscure fact.
Although, beyond that, that’s honestly all that’s left for Halo 5: Guardians, a cesspool of speculation and reminiscing. One fact is clear, though, it’ll definitely live on as a monument to our collective sins. But beyond that, one cannot deny the state of the game’s story as is, is laughable at best, and quite depressing when you learn all of the things they had planned. But out of fear, opted not to appease their own need and sense for creation and instead cater to every complaint.
However, I’m sure every single plan that was once talked or pondered about, will live on in the form of art. . .
But, whatever it was supposed to be, whatever it is, whatever it will become. None of these are healthy thoughts to have in mind beyond the caring thought of the franchise you love. It’ll only leave you a headache when it’s gone. . .
We can’t really dwell on the past, and we can’t dwell on the future, we can only look at what is in front of us and hope for the best, we know for an absolute fact that the men and women in-house at 343 Industries are not evil much more the complete opposite of this.
They’re humans, just like us, with their own issues and intricacies. But we also fail to acknowledge that the industry doesn’t work like it does in our dreams. It’s very complicated and it is a lot of check-ups upon check-ups of each and every single work done. And they sure as hell work their arses off.
But, of course, you may provide the criticism you feel you must expel from your body, however, remember that our words affect more than it doesn’t. ‘It falls on deaf ears’ is not entirely accurate. So criticise fairly, constructively. That’s what’ll help the franchise move forward, not acute insanity.
Oh wow. . . TWO posts in one day. That’s a new milestone for me, but then again I have certainly been working on this one beyond two days, a month even, with all the research done in between from earlier posts and for this one, lots of discussion with Taras, Ian, etc. It has certainly shaped up the vision of this post, I not so much wanted to tell the remainder of the details of what we could have had, but I wanted to be clear on the fact that, this is very much our own sin as it is 343’s. Just as much as we influenced Halo 3 to make Arbiter and the Great Schism almost non-existent, we did the same here. That is something we must definitely acknowledge.
This post has also certainly taken many different forms in my head, from in-depth research regurgitation of many different articles online which I gathered, my experiences with in-depth conversations about its development, or whatever else my crazy mind thought of. However, I hope this double deal is very insightful for all of you. And I hope you enjoyed.
Also, be sure to check out my patreon! (Shameless Double Whoring of the Patreon)
As always, though, for the second time today. This Venezuelan hopes you live your life, stay safe and play lots of Halo. ❤
TL:DR: Halo 5: Guardians was a much more intricate creation.