This past Monday, 343 Industries and Microsoft showed off the opening cinematic for Halo 5: Guardians. We’re quickly introduced to the four members of the Spartan Fireteam Osiris before they touch down on the planet of Kamchatka. The four skydive onto the Covenant-filled surface, at which point Osiris basically goes Avengers: Age of Ultron on the aliens. Y’know what, just look at it for yourself:
Is it ridiculously action packed, slightly bordering on overkill? Yes. Does it betray the canon of Halo by showing players the Spartans kicking ass and barreling through enemies like football players enacting martial arts on the field? Probably not, since the books and other media have made it clear that the Spartans fight much differently than they do in the games, where player input would be a nightmare if they could do all of that from first person. And yet, with all of that said…it’s really fucking awesome. Great action, great music, and that final shot of the Spartans jumping off the range is bloody amazing. But the best part about it has to be the new playable heroes.
Despite being the central hero and face of the games, the Master Chief hasn’t ever particularly been all that interesting. Chief’s (mostly) stoic nature was badass in the first three games, but as the years went on, things changed. Protagonists in games started to at least try and have some more personality to them, and the Spartan’s silence felt more and more like a relic of the past. There were novels and a comic that delved into his origin, and Halo 4 had him talk more, but it didn’t entirely click.
Chief is simultaneously the expanded universe’s spawn point and weakest aspect. His existence has essentially allowed for writers to use his actions to open up new avenues of the fiction, as we’ve already seen with the other Spartan programs; but he himself can’t really go through much change, and the fiction has to always make sure he’s lined up with everything else, hence the Librarian accelerating his evolution in Halo 4 and making him essentially the Greatest Spartan Ever, No Really You Guys. So unless Halo 5 is really gonna delve into the Chief’s psyche now that Cortana is gone–and I mean on an Arkham Knight level of delving in, complete with disturbing nightmare sequences and all–it’s a safe bet that nothing will really change all that much. If nothing else, his positive existence is responsible for the other Spartans in the series fiction. The newest batch of Spartans are Fireteam Osiris, and these are the heroes who should be leading the franchise going forward.