A new year is upon us. It's time for fresh starts, clean slates, new leaves and other born-again phrases.
As far as gaming is concerned, the franchise with the biggest rebirth potential has to be Halo thanks to a nicely rounded end to the devastatingly successful Bungie era and the promise of more to come under new custodian 343.
But with nothing even remotely Halo on the horizon as of yet (unless you give whisperings of a Halo Combat Evolved remake any credence) we're left with little choice but to speculate what kind of new direction Microsoft's flag-ship franchise could take, if any at all.
Here's what we want from Halo 4 but, as always, we're much more interested in what you think.
MORE KIP FOR MASTER CHIEF
Let's start off by touching a nerve. We left Master Chief all snuggled up in a cryogenic kip at the end of Halo 3 and, if we're honest, we'd rather he snoozed for a bit longer.
As iconic as Master Chief is, he doesn't have that much depth to him as a personality. Great if you want someone to stand in the corner and look epic at your party, on the empathy front though, not too hot.
Don't get us wrong; when we talk about shaking things up in favour of something with a bit more character, we're not talking Timmy Mallet. It's just, although the strong silent type is always admirable, M to the C has been a bit too strong and a bit too silent for a bit too long.
We get that since you're stepping into Master Chief's space boots, you're supposed to impose your own personality on the character, so that it actually feels like you're in the game, but the big man is starting to feel like too much of an empty shell.
You know what, you're right, Halo 4 without Master Chief wouldn't feel right. Maybe he does need to be woken up, but we still stand by what we said. We want to see Halo from a new perspective. To fight alongside Master Chief as a lesser powered marine with a bit more to say would be good for a bit of empathy, it'd give 343 the chance to tease a bit of character into the icon's helmet and it would also be an honour sir!
A WHOLE NEW WORLD
This might be another reason to keep the Chief around, even if we are just following him about the place. With Halo's protagonist currently drifting through space there's every possibility that he's going to wind-up landing on a brand new planet (unless Halo 4 takes place completely within Master Chief's own fever dream...Hold the phone!).
We're all for the idea of a new, untouched location for the series, not only would it mark the beginning of something new but it would provide a nice opportunity to add some new story elements that could in turn add something new to the campaign, which started to feel a bit familiar in Reach.
We think it's time, for example, for a completely new foe. We've been fighting The Covenant and The Flood for years now. Thankfully, things seem to have been patched up with The Covenant now but even though The Flood was well and truly bitch-slapped in Halo 3, as always, it feels entirely possible that the flood gates could be opened again at any moment.
We say weld them shut. The Flood was a nice twist in Combat Evolved, but it's since lost all impact as an enemy and now seems like a really good chance to bring a new threat to the table, one that can have an effect that washes over the player like The Flood did originally. OK enough water puns.