This article originally appeared in GamesMaster magazine.
Finished Halo 4 yet? Cripes. What an ending! We caught up with 343 Industries' General Manager Bonnie Ross to find out just what it means for the Chief, and where we'll be going to next...
[BEWARE - MAJOR END OF GAME SPOILERS AHEAD!]
Halo 4 finishes with a major 'goodbye'. Was it tough killing off Cortana?
Yeah. There are many people not on the team who were not very happy with the ending, but when you look at it I hope we've told a great story. To date Master Chief's been somewhat sort of a pawn of the UNSC. He's obviously doing good but he hasn't had to make his own decisions.
One of the primary themes we have going through the Reclaimer saga is that he's human. He's a man and he has human decisions to make.
It's interesting you call him human because Halo 4 calls that into question...
I think most fans would say that Cortana is the human mirror of Master Chief. She was his humanity and that's an important thing to look at with Halo: he has to own his own decisions, and he has to own who he is.
How much of Halo 4's story was set in motion by Bungie?
We could have taken a different path. We could have said Master Chief was dead, right? When there were 22 to 25 of us, we thought really early on about whether we wanted to talk about the Forerunners because for some it's blasphemy.
If you reveal too many secrets of a world it ceases to be an interesting world. And many of the people who joined the team later on were a little bit concerned about whether or not we'd crossed the line with revealing the Forerunners. Revealing the Forerunners was completely our decision. And as soon as we did that it opened up a door to a different game. Bungie had no plans for Halo 4 - this is really our game.
So after that Cortana bombshell... where does Halo go now?
While Bungie were working on Reach we had the luxury of just basically laying the foundation for Halo 4 and beyond. A lot of the fictional pieces that we started with back in 2008 are critical to where we go in the next 10 or 20 years. Halo's about innovation and so it's our responsibility to carry that job forward.
Will Spartan Ops give us some clues about the future?
Spartan Ops was something we really wanted to push and it's something we want to continue doing. When you think about when we release a Halo, we need to make sure it's the right story and we're doing the right thing.
When you look at that cadence, the world is changing with how its digesting and experiencing content. Halo needs to change with that. You'll see a lot of things that we're seeding that we have opportunities to explore if we think it's what the fans really want.