In 2001, Bungie rocked the world of gaming by releasing Halo: Combat Evolved. The game was one of the most advanced FPS titles of its time, and jump-started console gaming as a genre. Many people bought Xboxes exclusively so that they could play Halo: CE; had it not been released, would console gaming even still exist?
Three years later, the creatively-named Halo 2 was released. It was the most anticipated title since the first Halo, and although the Arbiter portions of the campaign received lukewarm reviews, the game was lauded with praise for finally bringing Halo to Xbox Live. Another three years after that, Halo 3 was released to overwhelming approval from gamers and critics alike. Even IGN rated it well. But what's happened since then? We haven't seen Sierra-117 since 2007. In the meantime our Halo cravings have been satisfied with spin-offs and prequels; notably, Halo Wars, Halo 3: ODST, and Halo: Reach. And now, the Promised Land has been reached.
Halo 4 was announced at E3 2011, almost a year ago. Nerds everywhere went nuts, myself included.
And 343 Industries, who have taken over the Halo IP from Bungie, have gone dark since. We've heard nothing. Why?
We know a few things. We know for certain that it will involve the Forerunners. We know that Halos 5 and 6 will also be coming out, as Halo 4 is confirmed to be part of a trilogy. We know it will tie in with Halo: Cryptum, Halo: Primordium (which I never even finished), and the Halo: CEA terminals. (As an aside, Eric Nylund writes WAY better Halo novels than Greg Bear.) We know from the teaser trailer that a new UNSC weapon will be introduced, a magnum-like handgun firing what appear to be explosive projectiles (grenades). And we know that it takes place on the so-called Legendary Planet (Sigma 7).
What can we conjecture? Not a whole lot. Most of the UNSC ordnance can be guessed at; given the weapons and equipment available in Halo 3, and the fact that Forward Unto Dawn was only equipped with said ordinance, expect some of Halo 3's loadout. For assault rifles, expect a graphically-retooled MA5C; for midrange rifles, expect the good ol' BR55HB. Hopefully the totally OP'd M6 from Halo: Reach will be included, not the craptacular Magnum from H3. The Warthog is guaranteed to show; both from a Forza Motorsport 4 commercial and common sense, expect the Puma (ahem, Warthog) to make an appearance and hopefully feature in the end sequence as shit blows up. Besides UNSC ordnance though, we know fuck all. Like I said, 343i has gone dark. They're completely silent; absolutely nothing has left the doors of their offices. This is unsual for a Halo game; had Bungie been developing, we would have seen all four Vidoc trailers and a public beta by now.
343 Industries, if you're reading this, going dark does NOT build hype. In short, put out a little if you want anyone to buy Halo 4. Here's hoping it's good.