BEFORE WE BEGIN
This post is going to be a little different than the usual Tin Foil Halo. Considering there has only been one TFH post to date, most people probably don't know what a usual post is even supposed to be. Nonetheless, I wanted to be sure the reader was aware this is not the normal crazy lore theory I plan on writing here.
I have written my own article arguing the reason why the sequel to Halo 5: Guardians will not be released until 2019. Colin Perkins, host of Mission Debrief, has written the counterpoint to my opinions, and argues why the next Halo will be released in 2018 below. The idea for these posts stemmed from a friendly debate we had one evening regarding the future of the Halo franchise. I hope you enjoy.
Because these posts might sometimes get very specific and it can be hard to remember everything in the Halo universe, I have included links to more information about the people, places, and events in these posts. Blogging Evolved uses Halopedia as our primary source of information.
Additionally, I make an attempt every post to list any Halo media that might get spoiled. I have done my best to include the media that gets spoiled below. While this post will be very spoiler-lite, I always throw this disclaimer in so people are aware of the possibility. If you do not own any of below listed items, each is also a link to purchase via Amazon.
-Ian Francis, usual contributor for Blogging Evolved
Written by Colin Perkins, host of Mission Debrief.
HALO 6 WILL RELEASE FALL 2018. HERE'S WHY.
Whether or not you enjoyed Halo 5: Guardians, you’re probably starting to wonder when the next installment of Microsoft’s premier Xbox video game franchise is going to re-emerge. While consumers have come to expect something new from Call of Duty every year, Halo gives its first person shooter titles a little more breathing room between releases.
Halo Wars 2, while a fantastic real-time strategy game in its own right, doesn’t maintain the buzz and overall popularity of a mainline FPS game starring Master Chief Petty Officer John-117.
So, when are we going to suit up in Spartan armor for the next adventure? All signs point to later this year.
For the counterpoint to this post, see Ian Francis' rebuttal, Tin Foil Halo #2: Why the Next Halo Game will be Released in 2019.
THE 3-YEAR DEVELOPMENT CYCLE
The 4 main Halo games developed under Bungie released on a 3 year cadence (2001, 2004, 2007, 2010). Halo 4 was bumped up to 2012 because 343 Industries had taken over the Halo franchise reigns as Bungie detached itself from Microsoft to focus on Destiny. So when did development on Halo 4 actually start? You guessed it, 2009. Three years prior to release.
Halo 5 was released on October 27th, 2015. For those bad at math, 2015+3=2018.
For better or worse, large publishing companies work on budget projections so that they can properly fund projects and allocate resources. Companies will make tweaks and adjustments along the way, but you’ll typically see a shift somewhere else in the company to make up for the change. If Halo 6 was going to release in 2019 or later, it’s likely a large acquisition would have taken place or another project would be moved up to fill the void. Instead, you’ve seen the reverse happen. Xbox has cancelled many development projects as they adjust their strategy in the gaming marketplace. After a weak showing on the exclusive front in 2017, Xbox needs Halo 6 to be a success in 2018.
One newer project that has surfaced is the clean up of The Master Chief Collection. This has led some fans to speculate that relaunching this game, originally released in 2014, could fill our Halo needs this fall. However, this is misguided speculation. 343 Industries is cleaning up the MCC experience so that they can announce its addition to Game Pass, the new $10/month service that will include all new first party games moving forward. Re-releasing a 4 year old game that’s already been reduced to $30 is not a void filler. It’s a make good and additional content offering to encourage new Game Pass subscribers while building excitement for the newest Halo entry.
PROMOTING THE HALO BRAND
As steward to the biggest franchise on Xbox, 343 has done a great job of keeping Halo in the collective consciousness. The brand's popularity rivals Star Wars and Marvel from a holistic media standpoint and they do their best to maintain an ongoing mindshare among consumers.
While Halo related products can usually be found at your local retailer, they’ve been taking up a much smaller share of shelf space since there hasn’t been much recent media to support it. That will change soon. Here’s a rundown of the planned items that will help build Halo awareness in 2018. More will definitely be announced as the year progresses.
Mattel wave 2 (Release TBD): Mattel took over as the sole toy producer for Halo in 2016 and they’ve supported the partnership with a solid stream of products. However, the 2nd wave of 6 inch figures that were reported in August 2017 remain missing from store shelves. The launch was most likely pushed to 2018 in order to support the launch of Halo 6. (Which means, this Atriox 6” figure will be mine very soon)
Halo: Collateral Damage - Issue #1 (of 3) releases June 06, 2018: It’s not uncommon for franchises to create comic book extensions of their gaming properties and Halo has been producing their own illustrated stories for over 10 years now. The latest entry will focus on Blue Team, led by 117. The three part series will likely be released monthly, which puts issue 3 out around August with a series collection likely released in September. Perfect timing to leave a hanging story thread that will be resolved in the game the following month.
Halo: Bad Blood - June 26th, 2018: Casual fans may not realize it, but Halo has created an expansive library of books and extended lore. This new story by Matt Forbeck will be the 23rd standalone novel in the Halo extended universe. The 24th entry, outlined below, will likely be a little more interesting to fans that don’t keep up on the greater lore.
Halo: Silent Storm - TBD Summer, 2018: One of the primary criticisms of Halo 5 was that it didn’t have enough of the series’ main character. Of the 15 missions, players only suited up as Master Chief and his Blue team in 3 of them. Since then, 343 has communicated that narrative focus will shift back to Chief in Halo 6. This novel will feature Master Chief as the main character and should prime the pump for the story that will unfold this fall.
Halo: Official Spartan Field Manual - September 25th, 2018: What seems to be a play towards younger/casual gamers, 343 has posted the release of a Spartan handbook. This excerpt from the product description proves particularly interesting: “Inside these pages is the guidance you'll need to put your enhanced strength, speed, and skills to use in both War Games training simulations and, ultimately, joint combat operations.” Why would 343 be promoting War Games, the Halo 5 multiplayer mode, 3 years after release? They’re not. They’re promoting the multiplayer mode in Halo 6 so players can know what to expect when the game releases a few weeks later.
REDUCING THE HYPE CYCLE
One of Halo 5’s biggest criticism came from its marketing. From the poncho chief trailer at E3 2013 to the underwhelming short film Halo Nightfall; F-14 spartans and a misleading ad campaign, Halo 5 failed to accurately portray what players should expect from a story perspective.
Microsoft clearly got a little ahead of themselves when Halo 5 was originally announced as a 2014 game during E3 2013. It’s unclear why they were so ambitious to release the follow up to Halo 4 after only 2 years, but regardless the date drifted to 2015. Something else happened in 2015: Fallout 4 was a surprise announcement at E3 and it released in November the very same year.
Fans went nuts. The game hadn’t even been mentioned by Bethesda at this point, so the fact that the game was playable at E3 and available in stores within a few months was applauded by all. 343 most definitely learned from the positive response and are taking the same approach with Halo 6.
Steven Spielberg announced his involvement in a Halo TV series back in 2013, but we’ve heard very little about it since. However, it was recently confirmed that filming will finally begin in the fall of 2018, which would mean the show will hit screens in late spring/summer 2019.
Now, that would seem to hint at the new game releasing in 2019 if the TV series was being created to promote Halo 6. However, I believe the TV show is being produced to extend the life of Halo 6.
With so many great games being released every year, developers are struggling to maintain the attention of gamers and keep concurrent player counts up. Halo 5 had strong sales at launch, but the player count has continued to decline as more games in the same genre have released over time.
To help combat the inevitable dip in player count, the TV show will release after Halo 6 in order to breath new life into the game and get people excited to login after they’ve moved on to the latest and greatest (or just went back to Fortnite).
Even if everything laid out above isn’t 100% correct, the remaining sum total suggests Halo 6 will indeed be announced this June and be playable in your living room (and desktop) in October 2018.
In other words, keep calm. Halo 6 will be here very soon.
Ian Francis has his own take on the evidence that we've seen coming out of 343 Industries this year and argues that we won't see a new Halo until 2019. We'd love to hear your thoughts on both articles. Specifically, tell us why you're now convinced that you'll be getting some new Halo goodness in 2018.
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