The Chief is a strange cat because people graft their own impressions of what he’s about onto him, and he’s become kind of an avatar for people’s heroic experience. I often have conversations with people about the Chief, and all of the things they are saying are true, but they’re not written down anywhere, they’re not actually recorded anywhere in the games.
So people just have a reflexive and instinctual understanding of who he is to them that is true to the character. Going forward, I think even in the trailer, we’ve seen this discussion a lot on the forums after we debuted the trailer. It’s a truism of our game that we want to take people on a journey with this hero, and see him evolve, and see him grow.
That’s going to be part of our storytelling in going forward. So people will graft those ideas onto this but this is a verbatim retelling of the original story. We’re not going to throw in easter egg lines where he’s going to be like…
“Someday I’ll meet up with my counterpart from the Covenant!” Is there going to be a different take on the Covenant? Again, if you’re going to foreshadow stuff in Halo 4, are there going to be different visualizations because I felt that some of the Covenant classes looked different as they progressed?
Yeah. We’ve redone the models a little bit and used some of the more recent models like in Reach and so on, and we’re tinkering with those. The funny thing is that Reach took the leads in the Covenant back, to their more kind of brutish nature–that’s almost a pun–so they’re more savage.
They took out the English language and made them just much more alien. You felt like this was a real alien species. Halo already did that, so, in a way, we didn’t have to retouch that because that’s already built into the fabric of the game. But it’s a truism going forward is that alien species should be alien. They should be understandable, they should be rich.
We don’t want cartoons. One of the things about Halo that always fascinated people is feelings of isolation and wonderment and exploration and alien. And those are really hard things to certainly put in a contemporary shoot-em-up like a Call of Duty, and really exciting things to put in a sci-fi shoot-em-up, so we’re doubling down on that.
Can you guys talk about engine or graphics tech at all?
What you’re seeing in Campaign Mode is mostly the original Halo code running under a second engine, which is a graphics layer we worked with our partner Saber Interactive on. There’s a lot of technology under the hood to enable things like switching, and to enable the simultaneous blending of that. We knew going into this project we absolutely couldn’t touch the basic gameplay.