Halo 4 was a juggernaut success financially and it was critically praised. While the game came out Nov 4 2012, that does not mean people are not wondering when the next installment of the Reclaimer trilogy, Halo 5, will come out. Or at the very least, when will Microsoft announce the next Halo game from 343 Industries? There is the problem, Microsoft has been quiet. Extremely so, whether it is in regards to their next-gen plans or what games they plan to release in the final half of the year.
As such, it is hard to determine that when Halo 5 is announced if it will be an Xbox 360 title or a launch (window) title for the Xbox 720 (or Durango or whatever Microsoft actually calls their next-gen system). If the Xbox 720 is backward compatible, it would make sense to release it on the 360 as it will sell to early adapters and those who are not quite ready to make the leap to a new console. However, Halo 5 could be a title that is released for both systems and the 720 has higher graphically fidelity similar to how PCs run games at different quality settings (which makes sense since the movement of consoles is heading more toward being locked PCs). Likely the wait for E3 play is the safest bet as to when and where Microsoft will release Halo 5. Regardless of where the game shows up, there are certain elements that 343i can keep in the new game that made Halo 4 great and improve upon some of its weaknesses.
Many reviewers and fans felt the gameplay in Halo 4 was excellent. However, some felt that 343i, fearing backlash if they changed the formula too much, adhered closely to the Bungie model of gameplay. While it is hard to re-invent the FPS genre and trying new things tends to turn off huge fans of the genre (and it is a money making genre, so that is no good). What should happen in Halo 5 is keeping the smart AI enemies, varied and fun weapon selection (adding some new weapons into the mix), but making sure that they move away from the Bungie style of FPS. 343i proved that they can make a good Halo game, but now they should try some new things and experiment with the gameplay. With multiplayer, there is obviously going to be the same structure as that again is a money making model and messing around with it too much will lead to discontent. Playing around with new modes and more interesting and involved maps is always welcomed, but competitive multiplayer will likely stay pretty similar with refinements to balancing. There should be more attempts at significant multiplayer/social experiences in Halo 5, much in the way Spartan Ops fiddled around with interesting episodic co-operative content. Except do more and expand the scope.
Considering Halo 4 was positively received, it is hard to say that Halo 5 needs to re-invent the series. Outside of the fact that all games should push for innovations and new creative avenues, Halo 5 needs to focus on what made Halo 4 work well. The story should focus more on Master Chief as a character that should continue to grow and develop as this trilogy moves forward. Plot wise, the coming conflict should not re-tread how events happened in Bungie’s trilogy and find a new way to explore a universe threatening conflict. Gameplay should see 343i stepping away from the Bungie formula and feel more confident to experiment and put their touch more strongly on the series. And Microsoft should announce something soon even if it is that Bill Gates got a new haircut.