Halo 4 was a not-so-shock announcement at Microsoft's E3 2011 conference last month, with Bungie finally handing over the reins to Halo custodians, 343 Industries, to embark on a new Master Chief-starring trilogy. We weren't surprised, but we are excited. The promise of a new Halo game at a new studio, bringing new ideas to the table, is just a little mouth-watering - lib-dribbling? - and it has now emerged that 343 has been working on Halo 4 for a "couple of years".
Halo had a big presence at Comic-Con 2011 over the weekend, with the likes of Frank O'Connor, Halo HD director Dan Ayouh and novelists Greg Bear and Karen Traviss sitting down to discuss all things Halo with the crowd. O'Connor revealed the team at 343 had been working on Halo 4 in "relative secrecy for a couple of years", although quite how he imagines the idea of 343 working on a Halo game being a secret is beyond us here at Dealspwn.
Next up, Traviss discussed her new novel, Halo: Glasslands, which bridges the time-frame between Halo 3 and 4. Glasslands also follows up Eric Nylund's Ghosts of Onyx tale, which is where many speculate Master Chief is orbiting as he lies dormant in the severed half of Forward Unto Dawn. Traviss explained she has a very strict time-frame to work within, but she's hoping to flesh out some of the lesser known aspects of Halo canon, such as the shady Office of Naval Intelligence.
The biggest news to emerge from the panel, however, is that 343 is - gasp! - adding new story elements to Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition. They've already revealed that Terminals will be popping up, but director Dan Ayouh explained that these ancient devices will concern 343 Guilty Spark, the ring's mechanical caretaker. Additional chunks of retrofitted plot will be relayed by Guilty Spark directly, whereas 343 is including more in in the environments and objects you encounter on the long-lost ring.
We're not sure what to think about this, to be honest. While we're all for 343 overhauling the visuals and whatnot, actually messing with the story itself - with Combat Evolved's tale easily the best of the bunch - is tantamount to heresy! And we all know how Halo treats heretics... [Gamespot]