"Making a 'Halo' game that runs at 60 frames per second, on dedicated servers, with the scope, features and scale we’ve been dreaming of for more than a decade, is non-trivial," said 343 Industries' Bonnie Ross on Xbox.com today. This confident declaration was made alongside an official announcement of Halo 5: Guardians, the next entry in the esteemed Halo franchise. It's set for a fall 2015 release exclusively on Xbox One.
If forming the technical side of the game will be "non-trivial," thanks to the Xbox One's power, then what matters most will be the creative side. The original Halo in 2001 revolutionized the first person shooter genre by being one of the first remarkable games of that type to hit consoles. Prior, first person shooters were mostly played on PCs. But Halo's intuitive control scheme in addition to its captivating sci-fi world and stunning (at the time) graphics began a powerful movement of console shooter popularity that has yet to fade completely.
It could be said that the original Halo saved the original Xbox and made Microsoft's first gaming console a worthy, must-own system. In almost cyclical fashion, Halo 5 has the daunting task of raising the Xbox One to a similar venerable status.
It's difficult to imagine how 343 Industries can innovate upon the Halo series any further. But the possibility still exists, and they must grasp it if Halo 5 is to repeat the original's resounding success. The Kinect could have played a vital role here. However, due to its negative reception from consumers, the motion and sound tracking device is no longer being bundled with every new Xbox One.
This could have been the chance to revolutionize the shooter genre once again: first by capturing the once-essential feel of a mouse and keyboard and condensing it into a controller, and now by expanding gameplay possibilities using convenient and innovative sound and physical gestures. Unfortunately, the latter will no longer be feasible if not every Xbox One is guaranteed to have a Kinect with it, which is a shame.
Halo 5: Guardians has an impressive legacy behind it that pressures it to succeed. On the bright side, 343 Industries can be considered more capable of delivering the goods this time around, thanks to their experience and lessons learned from making 2012's Halo 4.
More details for Halo 5 will be available during E3 on June 9. Maybe we'll find out for sure who the other character is on the cover art - the one that isn't Master Chief.
In the meantime, Halo fans may not have to wait for fall 2015 to sate their renewed sci-fi shooting cravings. A collection of Halo games 1 through 4 is rumored to be in the works and releasing later this year, according to Engadget. Perhaps that means fans can indulge in Halo 2's masterful multiplayer once more or catch up on the story before Halo 5 arrives next year.