Halo 5: Guardians came and went back in 2015 without leaving nearly as big of a cultural footprint as its predecessors did a generation or two ago. But hey, at least all of the fans were happy to see another Halo game come along, yeah?
Well, not so much. A good many fans were upset that series’ iconic protagonist Master Chief was given a back seat role to a newcomer by the name of Locke. The disappointment slammed double for some because the marketing campaign made it seem like the story would focus on Master Chief’s betrayal of humanity and give equal screen time to both characters.
Franchise Director Frank O’Connor recently acknowledged these criticisms in an interview with GamesTM, admitting that they were legit complaints.
We very much realised that people wanted Master Chief’s story of Halo 5. We definitely marketed in a way that we hoped was going to bring surprise, but for some fans and certainly fans of Master Chief, it was a huge disappointment because they wanted more Chief.
Doubling down on Master Chief story and the amount of focus on him was probably the easiest learning from Halo 5. That was a really simple thing to absorb and embrace.
Given the company’s acceptance of this one fact about Halo, that Master Chief is the man, its writers will definitely learn from this and put more Master Chief into Halo 6.
Seriously, are we ever going to stop falling for this?
It’s like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, where the two heroes fought for five minutes, just enough for trailer footage. Or Captain America: Civil War, where the two sides had a quick skirmish at an airport before settling their differences.
That five minutes is all you’re going to get. Heroes don’t kill other heroes, especially to the point where permanent damage is done to a profitable face, like Master Chief.
Halo is a series that is in need of some serious soul-searching. It’s being dominated by the likes of Call of Duty, Overstrike, Destiny, and Battlefield thanks to those four franchises being available on multiple platforms and pushing gaming forward. Meanwhile, Halo still feels like a game from 2007.
The franchise is not exactly the cornerstone of gaming that it was ten years ago, either. New fans are not climbing aboard in the same numbers, and Halo is getting old enough to survive on the fumes of nostalgia at this point. However, what it’s not doing is finding ways to evolve like Zelda, Mario, and Final Fantasy have over the years.
I can appreciate 343 Industries trying something new with the storytelling, but the last group of people you want to make angry in this fragile state are the hardcore fans. Luring them into one story and telling another is just the way to go about doing that.
If you need to explore new areas of Halo’s universe, which is already extremely limited, then you need to do so with a familiar face, not Locke, masked protagonist of the week. Without Master Chief, Halo is nothing more than an aging FPS series at this point.
Correction: A previous version of this article identified the lead character of the game as Osiris.