Halo Wars 2’s campaign has already been shown off somewhat, and it’s got an interesting premise. The crew of the Spirit of Fire is at the Ark, which has automatically repaired itself since Master Chief seemingly destroyed it at the end of Halo 3. That idea has a ton of potential, and the game’s art director, Jeremy Cook, agrees. His team’s been working on changing an area that’s mostly been seen from a first person perspective to “staring at the ground”, and while it isn’t an easy task, there’s a lot that can be done with it.
One of the biggest things that can be done is making a game that people who aren’t Halo fans can get into. The Spirit of Fire’s crew is just now waking up from cryosleep, and they missed out on the events of every main Halo game so far. Players will end up learning about the Halo universe as the crew does, and this should also help out players who are just here for a good RTS and not a Halo game.
Halo Wars 2’s cast also helps with this. While the main crew from the first Halo Wars is still around, they’re joined by Isabel, an AI that’s “much more grounded” than Cortana. Kevin Grace, the narrative director at 343, says that she’ll not only show off how other AIs work in the Halo universe, but she’ll be a character that both new and old players might find interesting.
The hardcore fans will pick up and enjoy, but the new players don’t have to get right away. Hopefully they get curious, but they don’t have to get it right away.
Halo Wars 2 isn’t just about the UNSC, though. The game’s antagonists are a faction known as the Banished. They’re led by the Brutes, a faction which seemed to vanish after the end of Halo 3. They’re still around, though, and they’re still just as big of a threat – if not bigger. After the deaths of both Tartarus and the Prophets, a new leader’s in control: Atriox. He’s one of the strongest forces in the game, and Grace’s description of him is pretty fearsome.
He can completely take you in hand to hand combat, but he doesn’t need to because he’s smarter than you, and he’s outthought you, and chances are you’re probably dead already.
Atriox seems to be a Brute with the cunning of one of the old Covenant leaders, and he’s going to “stick around for a while”. That makes it sound like he might even end up in a main Halo game, and it’ll be interesting to see if Halo Wars 2 ends up influencing the main story.
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