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Halo 5: Guardians confirmed for fall 2015 release [updated]

UPDATE: Halo 5: Guardians executive producer Josh Holmes confirmed a few facts on Twitter about the mysterious, blue-faceplated Spartan featured in the game’s newly revealed key art. For starters, it is not Cortana, nor is it Halo: Spartan Assault‘s Sarah Palmer. Holmes confirms that HE (yes, male Spartan) is a brand new character. Keep the speculation coming, but be sure to take this new info into account.

ORIGINAL POST: The next chapter in Master Chief’s ongoing story is set to arrive in fall 2015, with Microsoft confirming the planned release of Halo 5: Guardians. What’s more, 343 Industries’ second creation in the Halo universe is confirmed as an Xbox One exclusive. Sorry 360 users; you’ll have to step up to the newer console if you want to stick with the continuing series.

Check out what 343 Industries general manager Bonnie Ross has to say about Halo 5: Guardians, as well as other Halo happenings for 2015 (including the Steven Spielberg-produced TV series), in this new post on Xbox Wire.

The announcement of “more Halo” first surfaced at E3 2013, when Microsoft shared a trailer noting that “your journey begins on Xbox One” in 2014. The reveal of Guardians could be viewed by some as a delay, though it should be noted that the trailer doesn’t specify “Halo 5” and we know Microsoft has more Halo surprises in store for E3 2014.

All we really have to go on right now is the first official art for the game, which features the logo on top of a sandy wasteland similar to the one seen in the 2013 trailer. Standing upright above the logo is someone in Spartan armor — is that a female Spartan? — with a blue-lit eyepiece. Can you think of anyone else in the Halo-verse that emits a blue glow?

Interestingly, Master Chief appears below the title, foot-to-foot with the unfamiliar Spartan, in a roughly mirrored pose. Microsoft is clear that Guardians continues Master Chief’s journey, so it’s surprising to see the series star seemingly de-emphasized in this early art, in comparison to the newcomer Spartan.

There’s one more bit of speculative possibility to chew on. The title: Halo 5: Guardians. The word “Guardian” isn’t unfamiliar in the Halo universe. Whenever a player dies of unknown causes, in campaign and in multiplayer both, the death is credited to the mysterious Guardians. There are a number of circumstances in which this can happen; you can read all about it on the Halo Wikia.

The thing that makes this especially interesting is the fact that Guardians death credits appear in every single Halo shooter, and they’ve even been tracked in player Service Records on Bungie.net as a cause of death. It is widely believed that they started out as a dummy name that appears when the game can’t attribute a player’s death to an in-game cause, but the Halo 5: Guardians title suggests a deeper meaning.

To be clear, all of this is speculation. We don’t have a whole lot to go on right now, so we’re working with what we’ve got. What do you think? Any insights to share now that you’ve seen the official title and first artwork for the game?

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