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SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Saving the universe has finally taken its toll on Master Chief.

The iconic supersoldier will face a different kind of battle in Halo 5: Guardians, the next chapter in the Xbox-exclusive sci-fi saga. While Microsoft and developer 343 Industries revealed the name of the new game at a recent press event, they didn’t offer too many details on what we can expect to see in Halo 5. All we have are some vague hints and a release window — fall 2015 on Xbox One.

“[In Halo 4] Master Chief lost his best friend,” said Bonnie Ross, the general manager and head of 343 Industries, at the event. “He’s in a very different, challenging place. He’s questioning everything. He’s questioning his past, his purpose, what he’s fighting for, why he’s fighting. And as we look on Xbox One, we want to be very deliberate with the story we’re telling with Chief. This is about his journey. It’s about his past, and it’s about his future.”

“We’re expecting to do things that are really incredible on the [Xbox One],” added franchise development director Frank O’ Connor. “And one of the ways that we’re gonna achieve that is with a brand new engine. With Halo 4, we talked about how we had gone back to the drawing board on a couple of features of that engine — but it was really an iteration of the existing Halo engine. This is a new platform with much more capacity and much more power and on a different architecture. So we’ve retooled the entire engine: everything from audio to graphics rendering and beyond. And it’s something that we’re really excited about.”


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The first piece of art [above] is our only other clue into what Halo 5 might be about. The reflection below the title shows what Master Chief looked like in Halo 4, complete with his familiar green armor. But the figure on top projecting that reflection doesn’t look like him at all. Did Master Chief finally upgrade his gear? Is it a younger version of himself? Or maybe even a new soldier? I asked Ross who that was, but she wouldn’t say either way.

“We’ll probably talk more about Halo 5 toward the end of the year or early next year,” she said.

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