For: Xbox 360
Developer: 343 Industries
Publisher: Microsoft
When?: Q4 2012

‘Wake me when you need me.’ Master Chief’s famous words and the very same chosen by 343 Industries to introduce the latest look at their upcoming shooter Halo 4.

For those who are thinking ’343 who, what happened to Bungie?’, suffice it to say that Bungie – having headed to pastures new – have left the Halo keys to 343, headed up by Frank O’Connor. 343 have in turn been rebooting the franchise, keen to stamp their own signature on what is arguable the jewel in the crown of Microsoft’s intellectual properties.

In fact 343 are so hell bent on forging Halo in their own image that they have announced their vision for the next decade of Halo, beginning with Halo 4 on Xbox 360 and continuing on through to the 360′s successor for the fifth and sixth in this brand new trilogy.

Not that this is a ‘reboot’ in the Batman Begins or Amazing Spider-Man meaning of the word, but rather a rekindling of momentum. The current state of the Halo universe will remain, Halo 4 opening immediately after the events of Halo 3. What is new however is the aesthetic, with redesigns of guns, power armour, HUD and even sound effects all present as 343 look to find their own voice.

Emphasis is being placed on Master Chief’s speed and power, with the word ‘visceral’ used more than once as director Frank O’Connor spoke of his vision of the game. That Chief gets suitably souped-up is perhaps no bad thing, given the as yet revealed ‘new threat’ he’ll face, so far simply, and mysteriously, described as a ‘dark and ancient’ enemy.

It’s clear that narrative is high on the agenda too, with 343 keen to explore the Chief’s humanity through his continued relationship with AI Cortana. In recent years Master Chief’s evolution as a character has been developed more through the spin-off comics than via his games, something O’Connor and co are keen to redress.

So far a series of vague statements with no real content on view to back up the claims then, but with Halo 4 due this year expect a torrent of hype to arrive shortly when, finally, we’ll discover if the tight-lipped approach afforded the game so far is because it’s a sure fire winner, or a secret concern for Microsoft.

343′s Halo 4 ViDoc is available below: