When Microsoft announced the Halo series' Xbox One debut at E3 2013, they talked a lot about Master Chief's "journey," and even went so far as to send the Chief tramping through the desert in a tattered robe, just like the protagonist of thatgamecompany's Journey. They couldn't have driven the point home more clearly if they'd invited Steve Perry to croon on stage.
It turns out that journey will take a bit longer than anticipated, though, as 343 Industries has announced that game – Halo 5: Guardians – won't be arriving until fall 2015. The game's failure to make a 2014 launch isn't particularly surprising, though; according to 343 representatives, a proper Halo game takes three years to develop, and the Xbox One hardware specs weren't sufficiently locked down for full development on Guardians to begin until 2012. Besides, the timing of Halo 5 (2015) versus its host platform's launch (2013) exactly matches the timing of Halo 3 (2007) versus the Xbox 360's debut (2005).
"Halo 5: Guardians is a bigger effort than Halo 4," writes 343i general manager Bonnie Ross on the Xbox blog. "That applies to the content and scope of the game, as well as the technology in what’s now a brand new and more powerful engine. Certainly there are some core elements carried over from prior games, but we’ve invested a huge effort in retooling our tech to take full advantage of the Xbox One’s hardware and ecosystem to create worlds and experiences worthy of next-gen."
More surprising than the "delay" (though given that 343i had never announced a release date until today, it's not technically a delay) is the fact that Halo 5 features a subtitle. The series' proper sequels have never featured subtitles. While not particularly a big deal in the grand scheme of things, this minor detail does suggest that 343i is serious about shaking up the Halo franchise property with the game's Xbox One premiere.
In any case, the lengthy lead-up time to Guardians suggests that we won't be seeing playable footage of the game at this year's E3. But it's the journey and not the destination, right?