It all started with a tease. Over the weekend, a video appeared on the official Xbox YouTube channel, with a link to a Tumblr page showing a timer that was counting down.
The time is now up, and we now know what it was all leading to: “Hunt The Truth,” a website and podcast investigating the mysterious Master Chief, in the same vein as the blockbuster NPR podcast Serial.
The website introduces Benjamin Giraud, a fictional journalist and war photographer residing inside the Halo universe, who has been tasked with an in-depth profile of Master Chief, the protagonist of most of the Halo games. “I’ve seen the absolute worst of humanity and I’ve also seen the best,” his bio reads. “A few months ago, I was hired to do an in-depth profile on the Chief. Join me as I hunt the truth.”
There isn’t much to the site itself — not yet, anyway. The main attraction here are the audio logs. Only the first episode, entitled “Primer,” is currently available, with the next installment slated for March 29. The first episode’s description reads “What began as a high-profile hero story quickly turns into a full-blown investigation. Sources claim they know the ‘real Master Chief’: The boy, the soldier, the hero … the traitor? But who’s telling the truth?”
Longtime fans of the Halo series may find this familiar, as a similar but far more complicated piece of viral marketing appeared in 2004 as part of the lead-up to Halo 2. “I Love Bees” was an alternate-reality game (ARG) that centered around a website of the same name. By the end of the game, players were tracking down mysterious phone booths in trying to solve the mystery. As a reward, the most dedicated fans were given a chance to play Halo 2 before its release date.
Since fans have already had a chance to play the Halo 5: Guardians beta, it’s unlikely that a similar scenario will take place here, but that doesn’t rule out the emergence of other ARG attributes as the “Hunt The Truth” saga continues.