After the announcement of Halo 5: Guardians...yes, that's what they're calling it at the moment (why not call it Halo 5: Electric Boogaloo?), Microsoft Studios corporate vice president (cue the Imperial March Theme) Phil Spencer said that the "Reclaimer Trilogy" had been expanded into a longer series of games, saying they "[didn't] want to limit the Reclaimer story within a trilogy." Now i speak a bit of corporation and marketing, let me translate:
"The Halo series is all we have left. If it wasn't for Halo, the Xbox would have been relegated to the landfill where they store other failed consoles. Now that we sold Bioware, alienated ourselves from Bungie, relegated Rare to making Kinect games and turned a majority of developers against us, we realized how fucked we are. Our days of relevance are numbered, but we hope that pointlessly shoehorning The Arbiter into the series to look for John as he apparently has gone AWOL over the death of his AI, we can keep our gaming system relevant just for a little while longer. We are going to milk this franchise bone ass dry and hopefully fans will be too excited about the return of the Arbiter to notice until at least Halo 8."
And here is the premise they have so far, ripped straight from Wikipedia. Spoiler alert for those who care:
"In the far reaches of space, Mendicant Bias, an ancient forerunner AI and the leader of the Guardians awakens from his slumber. Meanwhile, Agent Locke and The Arbiter were tasked to find John 117 while he's gone missing in the Ark."
Let me stop you right there...because I have a few questions:
1) Why is Master Chief so shocked over Cortana's death to the point that he goes AWOL? Seriously, why? Shouldn't someone have told him "Yeah, this AI only has a life span of 6 years before it thinks itself to death. So don't get too attached to it." SO with the millions of humans dead, the comrades he's lost over the years why does he care about an AI more than any of them? Is it just me, or is Master Chief devolving into Cloud Strife right before our eyes? Fuck this new emo Master Chief (who shall be henceforth be called Larry) 343i has created!
2) Why is the Arbiter coming back? He has no reason to be back other than to give a little fan service for the few people who actually gave a shit when his story was shoehorned into Halo 2. Excuse me while I ask a question, remember how awesome Halo 2's Cairo Station and New Mombasa levels were? Remember how you felt as though the game was going at one hundred miles an hour as you saw Master Chief defend the Cairo station then take the fight to the surface, encountering your first scarab then destroying it only to find out the Prophet ship was going to jump to god knows where. You get aboard the In Amber Clad to chase after the ship and...then the game comes to a complete halt as suddenly we are supposed to care about an Elite who glassed half of Reach. I don't care about this guy. Really i don't. But let me ask those "in tune" with the series. Why is he coming back to find Larry? Larry is the Arbiter's rival. Keep in mind one thing, a truce is NOT a mutual protection pact. A truce is simply a ceasefire. A mutual protection pact is the promise to come to one's aid in the event of an attack. Let's put one thing into sharp focus, humans and elites are not friends. The only reason Lord Hood came to the Arbiter's aid during the Servants of Abiding Truth Uprising was, as i interpreted it, not one of friendship. One of "look's like the shoes on the other foot." Keep in mind, the elites were given technology from the Covenant, technology that even the Covenant didn't understand. Without the Covenant to repair the tech, the Elites are S.O.L. Humans, though inferior technologically to the Covenant are not technologically inferior to the elites in their current state. The Arbiter inherited a world of problems when he returned to Sanghelios and is still trying to pick up the pieces after the Uprising. Why would he help whoever the fuck Agent Locke is to find Larry? What reason, what obligation, what bet did the Arbiter lose to get his ass off of Sanghelios to help Locke?
3) Why does Mendicant Bias want to kill humans and why was he given control of The Guardians, whatever the fuck they are. Is the Halo series really turning into villain of the week? I can only imagine the development meeting behind this creative decision. "Just dig anyone up we never showed but only referenced in the previous Halos as a villain for the next Halo. Brilliant!" No. Mendicant Bias turned against it's creators during the Forerunner/Flood War, then after the Halo rings are fired, seeks atonement by helping Chief. In fact in the last terminal he says “And so here at the end of my life, I do once again betray a former master. The path ahead is fraught with peril. But I will do all I can to keep it stable - keep you safe. I'm not so foolish to think this will absolve me of my sins. One life hardly balances billions. But I would have my masters know that I have changed. And you shall be my example.” I sense no evil here. Why is he the villain? What, did he go rampant again? Is it just me or are Forerunner AIs buggier than Windows Vista? Or is this an attempt to cover your tracks after shoehorning the Greek Mythology into Halo 4. Word to the wise about seamlessly weaving themes in, when the characters in the story acknowledge who Prometheus was and why his name is linked to the Promethean Knights, you're not doing it right. Did the ancient humans (gah) and Forerunners worship Greek gods? That's dumb.
4) The Ark? Really? Didn't we blow that up in the end of Halo 3? Am i out of my mind? And even if it did somehow survive...which it didn't, how did Larry get to it? Seriously? HOW?! Did he reopen the portal in Voi? You think someone would've noticed...
Umm here is an idea...Make HALSEY the villain. Before you sharpen your pitchforks and chant death to Defenderofgo, let me explain why this should be. In the end of Spartan Ops, although her intentions remain ambiguous, she seems ready to betray her species in the name of gaining supreme knowledge. We already know she is the Dr. Frankenstein equivalent of this series. She is insane and seems to suffer from a God Complex. She firmly believes she by kidnapping and killing most of the original Spartan-IIs, saved the human race (which to her credit, is somewhat true). But not only saved the human race, but was the next step in human evolution (that i take issue with). Complete the Frankenstein arc. Seriously, redirect this abysmal plotline into this: Halsey, after somehow gaining the other half of the Janis Key, gains control over the remaining Forerunner structures, installations, cyborgs and weapons. The Servants of Abiding Truth are fine with this because they view Halsey as some sort of savior or something. With the Servants of Abiding Truth and the Forerunner installations and weapons under her control, she becomes a threat to all the species. Now the elites have a reason to join the humans and fight, now you can shoehorn the Arbiter back into the series. The human/elite alliance fights an uphill battle to stop Halsey before her curiosity drives her off the deep end. Lar...fine I'll stop...John-117, one of Halsey's "monsters", if we're sticking with the Frankenstein analogy, distraught (i guess) by Cortana's "death" is tasked by the UNSC to assassinate Halsey. The monster is sent to kill the doctor. But hey, take it a step further, through her new found knowledge, Halsey found out how to make AIs memory life indefinite which she promises to do to Cortana if Chief spares her. Now we have a dilemma, the mission or Cortana. The fate of the human race or one AI. If the creators have an iota of common logic (and aren't Bioware's Mass Effect 3 team), they would have Chief kill Halsey. Thus completing the Frankenstein arc.
Keep in mind, i banged out that storyline out as i was writing. Keep it (relatively) simple. A Frankenstein arc is simple yet subtle enough for most to not see it at all. Keep in mind, most of the general public think the monster Dr. Frankenstein created is named Frankenstein. It's not people, it's called just "The Monster". Keep it a trilogy 343i, I'm aware you are just a hand puppet of Micro$oft $tudios but surely you can make a few decent spin-offs...just keep them off the tablet.
I'm done. Out.