Multiple endings is not an element that we tend to couple with the Halo franchise. Despite often being open-ended in the way players can approach missions, every Halo game to date has followed a strict storyline; one in which the only influence players can have is made via the following of the path that has been set out for them, completing scripted sequences along the way. The new Halo 5 trailers are therefore all the more intriguing.
If only due to tradition, we would have presumed that Halo 5 Guardians would also lead us down one narrow path in the vein of its predecessors in regard to the single player campaign. Sure, the maps within a typical Halo mission can be traversed in a number of ways via warthog or on foot, but ultimately they will all lead to the same destination. We’re speculating that Halo 5 could be set to change that formula.
This theory has been built for a number of reasons. First of all, allow me to present the nature of the situation we’re dealing with. Yesterday, not one but two new adverts were made public for Halo 5 Guardians through YouTube as well as ad-breaks during last nights episode of The Walking Dead. The order in which they were released may bare some significance, but more on that later. What is important is the content of the two short commercials.
The first of the two adverts stars Spartan Locke – a new, key figure who will apparently be playable in Halo 5. The second advert primarily follows Master Chief, although it’s important to note that both adverts host both characters, but in reverse ways. The first thing you’ll notice about the two adverts is that they are very similar, except that the roles are reversed for the characters. For example, in Spartan Locke’s advert our new soldier is shown walking through some wreckage, but it’s what he says that is significant. Looking in the direction of a wounded Master Chief, Locke says (or thinks) “let us remember him as our protector and not the one who gave us this” he then proceeds to gesture toward the damage that has been caused around him. But here is where things get more interesting.
Locke then claims that Chief should be remembered “as our savior, not our betrayer“. Ultimately, the trailer implies that Master Chief has betrayed the UNSC in some way, as the “one who was supposed to save us all” clearly did not and that he will now have to bite the bullet. Alternatively, did Master Chief inadvertently become a ‘traitor’ through his actions, perhaps without the intent of doing so? Is it what he believed to be just the cause of what has happened? My theory is that, in this instance, the Master Chief is no ‘bad guy’, but rather, his actions that he felt he had good motives for have created a situation whereby Chief is portrayed as the traitor. Regardless, the trailer culminates in Locke pointing his gun at the Chief, implying that he is about to end his life.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHQiYPiNVEE]
The second advert has Master Chief back in the driving seat. This time round there are a few more interesting and debatable implications. One of the first things that I picked up on – as did Brian Albert of IGN – is that Master Chief’s words could be directed toward himself as well as or perhaps rather than at Agent Locke. After watching Locke’s advert first, Chief’s trailer seems to coincide with what has occurred.
“Is this what you wanted? Is this what you were looking for? Was everything you’ve compromised, everything you’ve done, worth it?”
Whilst initially it is clear that he is looking at Agent Locke whilst speaking these words, it also makes sense to claim that this statement is relevant to Locke’s trailer. Rather than asking “is this what (Locke) wanted?”, how about, “is this what Master Chief wanted?”, the destruction that is around him in Locke’s trailer – is this what he wanted?[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rd8FWUCCZk]
Either way, what I do know for sure is that both trailers are well worth watching due to their brilliant voice acting and high production values. That’s not to mention the tons of theories that gamers and critics have and will continue to muster up from them. For example, IGN’s Rewind Theater of the trailers focuses partly on the symbolism of certain objects in the environment. For instance, the statue of Master Chief (which appears in both trailers) is slightly damaged with a chunk taken out of the helmet in Chief’s trailer. Does this symbolize that Chief has lost his mind? Another interesting point is that on Chief’s trailer Agent Locke shows up as a friendly target on his radar, so is there more to all of this than meets the eye? Looks like we have some detective work to do.
So, one of the key questions here, if you let me take you back to the original point of this article, is will Halo 5 feature multiple endings? Some have even suggested that there will be multiple campaigns entirely, but it seems to be a pretty safe bet that there will be at least two ways of seeing this story in some format. Perhaps there will be points in the game where the player has to make a decision and the choice that they make will ultimately lead to one of these consequences? That seems too obvious and it would be barbaric for the endings of the game to be shown in these trailers. Nevertheless, rest assured that the nature of Halo 5’s campaign will differ from those that came before it. You only have to look at the box art to see that the game is very much split into two parts as far as the story is concerned.
Ultimately, these trailers have done what they intended to do and that is to get people talking about Halo and arguing over where its plot will be going. Frankly, Master Chief has always been perceived as the hero of Halo’s universe, so to question his loyalty opens up the possibilities for some huge plot twists. I for one am excited to see how this evolves and you should be too. Leave us your theories in the comments and together we can hunt the truth.