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Awakening is a pre-rendered teaser trailer for Halo 4, developed by agencytwofifteen, produced by Digital Domain, and filmed at Anonymous Content. The music featured in the trailer was composed by Neil Davidge and Human Worldwide.
The trailer was first shown at Microsoft's E3 Media Briefing on June 6th, 2011. It depicts Cortana hastily awakening John-117 from cryo-sleep on the aft half of the UNSC Forward Unto Dawn, followed by John securing Cortana's storage chip and rushing through the wreckage to witness the ship being pulled into Requiem.
In the teaser, John-117, asleep in his cryo-chamber, awakens as Cortana shouts for him to wake up. Although slow to wake from his stasis (as is normal for cryo-sleep), John energetically snaps into action. He gets out of the tube and approaches Cortana, reassuring her that he is awake and present. An explosion reverberates through the hull, cutting their brief reunion short and alerting John to the danger of the situation. With little time to lose, he transfers Cortana to her data chip and exits the room, drifting weightlessly through the disintegrating interior of the UNSC Forward Unto Dawn with the aid of a thruster pack. As he maneuvers through the debris-filled corridor, he grabs a M363 Remote Projectile Detonator that fires off single-use explosive projectiles. He uses the weapon to blast open an opening in the aft section of the ship. Exiting through the torn section, John prepares to face whatever warranted his awakening, as the Dawn approaches Requiem with a massive portal on the surface of the shield world opening.
Fades in to many points of reddish light, apparently stars, against a black background. In the foreground, one of these sends small curling sparks throughout columns of smoky material; the lights resolve themselves as neurons in a human body, sending slow pulses to one another.
- Cortana: (muffled) "I need you!"
The neural pulses reach the heart.
- Cortana: (muffled) "Please!"
The heart begins beating, and the neural pulses race up the spine to the brain.
- Cortana: (muffled) "Wake up, John!"
- Cortana: "Chief!"
John, now wide awake, forcibly throws open the cryotube and pushes himself to Cortana's holotank.
- Cortana: "John..."
- John-117: "I'm here."
John and Cortana turn to see the UNSC Forward Unto Dawn exploding and collapsing. John stows Cortana's chip in his helmet, and pushes off the holotank to speed down the hallway. Taking advantage of the zero gravity, he uses a pair of thrusters inbuilt in his armor to maneuver through the girders and debris in the imploding hallway. He grabs a floating M363 Remote Projectile Detonator and blasts a piece of debris out of the way, and stops his movement by grabbing a protruding girder. His boots magnetize themselves to the ship's hull. Now standing on the edge of the Forward Unto Dawn, John reloads the detonator and stares out into space. The camera turns to show the Dawn being pulled into Requiem.
Cut to black. The Halo Theme plays.
The Microsoft Studios logo and the 343 Industries logo are shown below the Halo 4 logo.
Video ends as the Xbox 360 logo is shown.
- Frank O'Connor has confirmed that the events depicted in the trailer were "definitely not a part of the real game story" and that the trailer was intended as a teaser only.
- The Forward Unto Dawn looks noticeably different from its appearance in Halo 3, as the external bridge structure is not present and the hangar bay is less prominent. John's armor also appears to be visually revised; the helmet has an external rebreather apparatus, the chestplate has a different configuration, the shoulder pauldrons are much wider, the abdomen is armored, the groin armor is absent, and the gauntlets are smaller and are flat rather than ridged. Frank O'Connor has stated that some of the changes to John's armor are merely aesthetic, though other changes, including the lack of the codpiece, will be explained in the game's story.
- Cortana can be heard crying "Wake up, John!" and "I need you!" to John while he is still in cryo-sleep. This is a reference to the final line of Halo 3, when John tells Cortana, "Wake me, when you need me."
- Cortana has a different model in the trailer than in the final game. It appears that Cortana's Halo 4 model in the final game was not finalized be the time this trailer was shown to the public.
- There is also a "Director's Cut" version of the trailer. Differences include the music, John-117 not saying "I'm here," the sound effect of the Sticky Detonator, and that John throws away said Detonator at the trailer's end instead of reloading it.