When 343 Industries took over development of the Halo games in 2010, their first move was to reintroduce Master Chief as the main protagonist of the series. Halo 4 saw John-117 as the lead character for the first time since 2007, kicking off a new trilogy known as "The Reclaimer Saga."
Continuing this trend, the next game 343 released was Halo: The Master Chief Collection, a compilation of all the Halo games that featured 117. Despite the game's technical problems, the collection was applauded for providing such a comprehensive look at the character's arc and exploits since Halo: Combat Evolved. Afterward, Master Chief was in perfect position to take the lead in the next installment of the franchise.
The thing is, Halo 5 isn't just the Chief's story. Not only is the narrative split between two protagonists, Chief and Spartan Locke, but each will be leading a team of Spartans in the fight against the Forerunners. That's not to say that the John-117 isn't central to the plot, but Locke is being positioned as an equally important character to the series.
Case in point, the Halo 5: Guardians opening cinematic (above) doesn't feature the Master Chief at all. Instead, we're introduced to Spartan Locke's Osiris team as they prepare to mount a rescue mission and escort Dr. Catherine Elizabeth Halsey back to the UNSC Infinity.
The team consists of:
- Spartan Jameson Locke (Mike Colter, Marvel's Luke Cage) - ONI Acquisitions Specialist and leader of the team. His main mission is to hunt down the Master Chief
- Spartan Holly Tanaka (Cynthia Kaye McWilliams) - Survived the Covenant glassing of her world and enlisted to ensure no other world suffers that fate
- Spartan Olympia Vale (Laura Bailey) - Child prodigy with a vast knowledge of alien languages
- Spartan Edward Buck (Nathan Fillion) - Former Orbital Drop Shock Trooper
After a brief series of introductions, the team leaps from the back of a Pelican, dropping toward the warzone on the planet below. What follows is easily one of the slickest and most visually impressive cutscenes of the entire series. For a full minute, a single tracking shot follows the team as they unleash the type of carnage only the Spartans are capable of. The various team members employ acrobatics mixed with gunplay and the occasional display of brute strength to tear through enemy lines, never breaking their stride. Longtime fans of the franchise will appreciate the Spartans' display of skill, rivaling anything the Master Chief has done in the games proper.
The opening cutscene hints at some incredible set pieces in the first mission alone, a fitting start to Halo 5's lengthy campaign. The story promises to incorporate the best part of the series' extended universe, including aforementioned fan-favorite Edward Buck from Halo 3: ODST and Master Chief's Blue Team, which was first introduced in Eric Nylund's novel Halo: Fall of Reach. The game will be catering to the fans and while a single cutscene isn't enough to judge the entirety of the story, the opening cinematic alone is enough to justify the excitement behind this latest entry in the Halo franchise.
Halo 5: Guardians launches on October 27th, 2015 on Xbox One.