This week on October 27th, 2015, the 7th instalment 'Halo 5: Guardians' was released. After 2 years of waiting, the game has finally com. So much force behind the marketing of the film really got the excitement fueled up. The clear signs of a devastating battle between Master Chief (The Halo Series's Protagonist) and the new protagonist, Spartan Locke are shown throughout most of the advertising. (Featured in Halo 2: Anniversary and TV show 'Nightfall').
But the question is, did the game itself live up to this?
I will be addressing some slight spoilers for previous Halo instalments and Halo 5: Guardians itself.
As you can see by the video I just shared with you, you can really see the destruction behind (what is quite clearly implied as) Chief and Locke's battle. From looking at the devastation, you can imagine that the pair are incredibly powerful. You even have what looks to be UNSC Infinity above them, trailing smoke!
As you see the final few shots of the trailer, you can see that Locke is severely injured with his suit, which is malfunctioning, and Locke's lack of strength to evade Chief's threats. This was truly a hard fight to win.
One massive part of this trailer, though that was speculated on, was that if you look at the statue of (what is assumed to be) Master Chief and then look at the back, there is a massive hole. This could either be the loss of Cortana, or the idea that Chief has lost himself. He's no longer psychologically fit for action.
A quote from the opening cinematic for Halo 4 does state this, which could support the statue's appearance:
Records show Spartans routinely exhibited mildly sociopathic tendencies: difficulty with socialization.
This could possibly support Chief having psychological issues, hence half of his head missing.
To show both sides of this conflict, 343 actually featured a second trailer to this sequence. Locke and Master Chief are in completely opposite places, and the battlefield around them is slightly different.
In this setting, everything seems to be a lot brighter, almost implying that this was the more morally right decision. In contrast, the last trailer had more reddish colours, which could be a symbolic for hell and how it wasn't the right decision.
The interesting part about this trailer is that, like I said, everything is directly the opposite. In this trailer, the back of Master Chief's helmet on his statue is not blown off. In fact, it is completely intact.
Seeing this makes me believe that the hole in the last trailer wasn't due to CortanaHowever, I do believe that it proves that Chief isn't psychologically fit. In Chief's trailer, there is a hole because he does something that is out of character, something he shouldn't have done in order to win. Whereas in this trailer, he didn't do those things and, therefore, he lost.
But once again, Chief has now taken the place of Locke and is now defeated with his malfunctioning armour. This further supports the power coming from both sides.
But this is not the only trailer that gave us a different message than what the game actually shows. Another trailer features Chief and his time running through a building complex as it collapses.
As the trailer goes on, you will see that Chief and his team are ignoring the civilians even though they quite clearly need saving from the building above them
The narration of this trailer depicts Chief as a traitor and almost an enemy to the very side he became a hero to. Some of the narration reads as follows:
"But he's not responding to orders"
We created him[Chief], so we're responsible when we can't control him"
"The only thing worst about losing a hero, is watching him turn against us"
These quotes are definitely the most significant from the trailer. This, more than ever, brands him as a man that is committing the crimes, the man who needs to be stopped at all costs. With the music and the way Chief acts in the trailer, they really set him up as someone to be concerned about.
Even this small video (that I now have as an image) on huntthetruth.tumblr.com, shows the timeline of every status Chief has bared with. The bullet spins in the air. Each time it spins, a new name appears, whether it be, son, orphan, hero or traitor.
Even as a man shouts "Help!" as he is pulling someone's body, the Chief ignores his call. I find this scene extremely significant because even though Chief is running in a group, the camera angle purposely shows only Chief ignoring this man's call.
In this trailer, Master Chief is depicted as selfish and is only focused on achieving his own goal. He doesn't have that much of a regard for others (like this civilian). He seems incredibly focused on this goal.
In the next shot, even though he is with a team, Chief seems very focused on the goal - wherever he is going. Even to the point that it looks like he almost ditched the formation of his group just in order to get their quicker.
Where is Blue Team? Later on in the scene, you can see that the rest of Blue Team are actually relatively close together. It even gets to the point where Chief is running so far ahead, focusing on his objective (which could be his own), that he actually becomes careless and gets knocked down, only to be helped back up by Blue Team.
The reason I say that this could Master Chief's own objective is because Locke and his team (Fireteam Osiris) are clearly shown to be deployed by ONI as they are dropped from a Pelican (A UNSC Vehicle). Whereas Blue Team just come out of no where, almost as if they are doing this under the radar.
But then you may be asking, why are the rest of the Blue Team following the Chief if it's just Chief's objective?
It's because Blue Team are like family. My knowledge of Blue Team isn't as deep as some fans, but the current group of Master Chief (John), Frederic, Linda and Kelly have been with each other for a while. They have completed countless missions together. The opening cinematic for Blue Team really does add that family bond to the mix.
But does any of this link to the game itself?
Do we see Chief act as a traitor?
For both, my answer is no.
In Halo 5: Guardians, we follow two antagonists, John and Locke. But the main protagonist is really Locke. We follow him and Fireteam Osiris, trying to find and hunt down the Master Chief, but he is never depicted the way he is in the trailers. In fact, the person they are really trying to stop is Cortana. It gets to a point when they want to warn Chief about what she is doing and bring him home.
Admittedly, there is one fight scene between Chief and Locke, but this isn't anything spectacular... The pair fight for about 1 minute and it ends with no harm done to one another.
Sadly enough, this is the only fight scene between the pair, whereas all of the trailers set the pair up to have one massive brawl. I think we were all really expecting something explosive!
The rest of the game has Locke hunting down Chief's location, finding out more and more about Cortana's plans and the different Guardians that are popping up on different planets. You could argue that from Chief's perspective, you can see quite clearly why Chief is doing what he's doing and why he's doing it, but the reason is also found out pretty early on when it comes to Locke's side - the side that is supposedly branding Chief as a traitor!
However, this could be one misunderstanding from ONI. You see, Master Chief has been appearing every single place where there is a Guardian. This is where Cortana is setting them off and it could be that Chief is going to each location to try and find her. But as each Guardian is being activated, there is a lot of human casualties and to ONI, it may look like Chief is setting these devices off, hence thinking he is becoming a threat.
Even in the trailer, the narrator mentions that:
"and he's setting these things [Guardians] loose"
It could also be argued that as we play the campaign, we are never shown how the world is reacting to what's going. We are only ever really shown the perspectives of Fireteam Osiris and Blue Team. We aren't shown in-game anything else besides these two stories, so if you look at it like that, the opportunity is never given for us to really explore and hear about the UNSC's opinions.
This could also be linked to the 'Hunt the Truth' slogan the merchandising is carrying with it, it's for both the UNSC and us to find out what's really going on with the Master Chief.
But regardless of that point, it still doesn't explain how and why, in the majority of the trailers, the confrontation was between Locke and John. The huge battlefields that only seemed to have our two protagonists within it, the marketing definitely put a massive USP on the fact that Locke and John were going to be enemies and were going to have one massive battle against each other. All the posters and earlier trailers denote this!
This isn't the first time the Halo franchise has actually been involved in this though. Halo 2 was actually the first of it's kind to be rather misleading.
This MASSIVE poster, along with a lot of Halo 2's merchandise, featured a descriptive line of text that involved saving Earth, like this was going to be the focal point of the game. But instead, you spend about 2-3 missions on Earth out of the whole campaign and the rest takes place somewhere far from Earth.
The marketing department clearly used these 2-3 missions as the main marketing ploy as we can all relate to Earth - it's our home and of course we want to protect it.
So now I ask you, what do you think? Where do you stand? Do you think 343 Industries mislead their audiences?
Let me know. I'd love to hear you all!