Halo 4 is eight weeks away. The last iteration of the franchise’s main storyline saw its release a half decade ago, developed entirely by a different studio.
In the last few weeks, we’ve been treated by the franchise’s new curator, 343 Industries, to a new video documentary chronicling the creation of Halo 4 every few days. Today, we’ve been given an extra-long, near eleven minute making of entitled A Hero Awakens.
This video documentary is probably the one that has gotten us most excited lately. We’ve seen quite a few videos surface about the re-imagining of some multiplayer gametypes like Griffball and Capture the Flag. But this video talks about the paradoxes between the story that is going to engross players when it hits shelves this November.
There are more than a few interesting pieces in this video documentary, and it all centres around the human story that 343 is trying to tell while the massive war goes on around them. Of course, this is a tiny piece of what is to become the next Halo trilogy, but that is getting ahead of ourselves.
The documentary piece shows just how cinematics and cutscenes are created, and how it is much more than creating a few renders in a computer and adding some audio. There are many labour-intensive stages, starting with the acting of the scenes themselves, then followed by CG and adding in voice effects. Even that seems too simple to really do the work justice, so please watch the documentary and you’ll really get a better sense of what is going on.
We get the true sense that 343 Industries isn’t trying to tell the same story that Bungie told. They’re continuing the legacy, sure, but they’re really crafting a new set of narratives in the grand scheme of the universe. Of course, there is this massive war brewing, but there is this massive yet tiny story going on at the same time that people can actually relate to.
Ironically, the most human character we’ve known throughout the series is the least human of all: Cortana. She is entirely artificial yet has more human emotions than we’ve ever seen from the Chief. There are also scenes in this documentary that show the newly-minted human side of the story between Master Chief and his superiors.
The next thing you’ll notice about the documentary are the subtle hints that we’re getting very close to the release of this game. 343 Industries is no longer discussing what they’re trying to create or the thought processes behind what they’re beginning to craft. The very preliminary work has likely begun on Halo 5 as the team finishing up Halo 4 is doing just that: finishing up, sending copies to Microsoft, and getting the gold master version of code produced. And we’re getting ready to play it.