Yep. I want a Halo game without Halos.
Here’s the thing about trilogies: they end. Three parts and you’re done. Story’s over. If you do revisit that place or those characters again, fine…but you’d better have a new tale to tell. And by that token, the Halo story ended with Halo 3.
I spent a night in a Monterey B&B once. It blew up, too.
Notice how the three games released since — Halo: ODST, Halo: Reach, and Halo Wars — all take place during (or feed directly into) events in the trilogy. They fill in the background of the same story. But now we’re moving forward into The Reclaimer Trilogy, as revealed at PAX this last weekend by developer 343 Industries, and the game should change to reflect that. I insist.
And we should start by losing the things most closely associated with the franchise.
Ditch the rings
I've already stomped across three Halo rings, and they're all out of secrets. Weapons of mass destruction, kills all life to starve out the Flood, yada yada. Been there, done that, times three. We need a change of scenery. Hell, I wouldn't even call the new games "Halo." "Reclaimer" could serve as a better game title than Halo — too bad Microsoft will cling to that particular name recognition until our sun dies. Maybe longer. The concept art released so far shows a fair amount of Forerunner architecture, but that doesn't necessarily equal a fourth, fifth, and sixth Halo ring. C'mon…they must've built something else we can blow up.
Oh yeah, big, glowy iris thing? You want some of this?
Drop the Covenant and the Flood
I don’t expect much pushback on bidding farewell to the Flood (though I personally enjoyed the panic and fear a nice Flood horde rush created), but I’m handing the Coveys (and their weapons) walking papers, too. Reach did a good job injecting new menace into old enemies, but we've spent six games popping Grunts like piñatas. Halo always excelled when it came to escalating the threat level — the mid-game introduction of the Flood proved a masterstroke, even if it did lead us into the much-hated Library. Time to change the danger again. Besides, I might be fuzzy on the state of diplomatic relations, but it sure seemed like the Covenant left Earth space peacefully. Still, when better to shoot them in the back and teabag their smoking corpse? This is Halo, after all.
We do get a quickie squeal of something bad at the end of the concept art reel, but it's intentionally vague. For all we know, it's a Kardashian in a Power Rangers Halloween costume.
Or any other armor abilities, for that matter. Throw them into multiplayer or challenge maps if you like. I still enjoy a jetpack, and the "armor lock killed Halo!" arguments I've heard are ludicrously deluded, but keep them out of the campaign. They don't belong there…not in the Chief's hands. Those are Reach tropes, and they should stay confined to Reach. That's not to say Halo 4 can't pull some kind of special ability trick, and most likely it will. But whatever 343 comes up with should be unique to the new trilogy.
Personally, I'm wondering where the Master Chief got the jetpack he sports in the Halo 4 teaser trailer, because that would've been pretty damn handy back on the Flood-infested High Charity.
Help me, Obi-Wan. You're my only hope!
Shelve all previous Halo music
Martin O'Donnell's iconic score for the Halo series needs to go away now. Oh yes, I got a jolt right up my spine when I first heard the Gregorian chant drift in at the end of the teaser trailer. A nice callback like that works fine, but a new trilogy needs a new identity, and few things create identity quite like music. The Reclaimer Trilogy needs its own unique, instantly recognizable, iconic score to stick in our brains. A decade from now, I want to get a jolt right up my spine when the announcement trailer for Halo 7 play a few bars from Halo 4. And wouldn't you know, O'Donnell's not on board to score Halo 4…that task falls to Sotaro Tojima of Metal Gear and Castlevania fame.